Photo-Walk 2017

For several years, on and off, I’ve attended an annual Photo-Walk based in Inverary, Argyll. This year was no exception – always good to catch up with friends I’ve met on the walk previously.

As always, Argyll is a favoured place and Autumn a favoured season; the combination of light and landscape makes for enjoyable drives.

An auspicious viewpoint – right next to the public toilets on Inverary front – but it makes for a cracking view up the loch toward a spot of sunlight illuminating the hills around Ardkinglas.

This time the organizer, Richard, had brought a couple of props – most notably a bottle of Isle of Jura¬†Superstition and I had one or two ideas in mind “just in case” we ended up at a particular favourite waterfall.

 

We made our way down the slippery embankment to the burn, where I set up tripod amongst the boulders to maximize the lead-in lines of water flowing around the rocks up to the waterfall – tripod placement was fairly tricky with a wide-angle (24mm) lens and the slippery lumpy terrain to negotiate – and then as the camera was busy taking 20s exposures (4x with pixel-shift) I trotted back and forth through the water firing a flash-gun down onto the bottle of whisky and surrounding rocks (manual triggering at 1/8 power with the diffuser out and reflector down to stop the light itself registering in the scene).

Product Placement
I quite like Isle of Jura whisky… not necessarily on the rocks though.

I had originally experimented focussing in on the bottle itself and using a wide aperture to restrict depth of field, but that did not fall naturally through the scene – the waterfall was still sharp behind – so I stopped-down to make everything in focus and relied on post-processing tricks in Affinity Photo to draw the eye onto the bottle differently instead – some Orton effect and various soft-light Gaussian blurs, masks and elliptical gradient fills to boost the saturation, make it all glow and still leave the bottle sharp and bright. The final toning came from Snapseed of all things.

I’ve done a little product-photography before but never tried blending [bad pun intended] it with landscape work, let alone pairing it with light-painting, but I think it worked – certainly compared to the straight shot, the bottle with its amber glow just makes it.

Perth close-ups: floral colour

The last in a short series of photos from a stroll around Perth.

These are all processed slightly differently from my usual workflow – instead of darktable, I used RawTherapee with a film emulation (allegedly Fuji Provia). As with the others in this series, all images were made on a Helios 58mm f/2 prime lens, pretty wide open.

Fern Bokeh

Ferns

Ferns

The past couple of days I’ve been experimenting with the old Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 lens; its bokeh wide-open is quite spectacular, giving this small scene a strong sense of depth.

Morning Blur

Having discovered one or two people on Blipfoto who use it, I’m finding intentional camera movement (ICM) interesting as a means of artistic expression. 

I make at least one photo per day; a few weeks ago I settled on wiggly wednesday as a theme – the results arising from multiple images taken with random camera movement, chosen for their visceral response, blended together and toned black&white as always. Making it a “Wednesday” thing is a great way to balance exploring the effect regularly with not overdoing it to the point of boredom.

Anyway, this morning I discovered it’s also viable on the mobile phone – in low light of a dull day among the trees its automatic exposures were long enough to let rip and see what happened.

Motion-blurred ferns/bracken

(two frames blended in the Gimp and toned and processed in Darktable).