At the beginning of last month I held a 5-day workshop in the Yorkshire Dales. The first two weeks of June is a wonderful time to visit with meadows full of buttercups and trees displaying a lime-green freshness. The Dales has an abundance of waterfalls and these, of course, featured heavily on the workshop schedule. I’d visited these particular falls (West Burton Falls) a number of times previously so I was keen to produce something different to that which I had created previously. I left the tripod in the car, purposefully, to force myself into seeking compositions and utilising techniques that were only possible while hand-holding the camera. It was a dark, gloomy afternoon (perfect for waterfalls) and rather than fighting against the light forcing me to increase the ISO to give me a sufficiently fast shutter speed I went in the opposite direction and selected an ISO and aperture setting which gave me a slow shutter speed, in the region of 2-4 seconds. During exposure I would move the camera intentionally (known as ICM) to give a soft, ethereal quality to the photograph and upon inspecting each image on the camera’s LCD I would adjust the direction or speed of movement (sometimes both) until I arrived at an image I liked. In many ways, when photographing such subjects, I think this technique results in a much truer and accurate representation of what we are witnessing at the time than a more traditional photograph. Do we, for example, really take any notice of all the small details in such a scene or are we moved by the sound and sight of the waterfall?
J.M.W.Turner visited Aysgarth on July 28th 1816. He was making illustrations for ‘A General History of the County of York’ by Thomas Dunham Whitaker and, apparently, stayed that night in Aysgarth Village. As a homage to my favourite of all artists I produced the image below.
I adore hawthorn blossom! Perhaps it’s because I spend so much time on the north and south Kent marshes when, in the middle of May, its blossom fills the air. Indeed, I would go as far to say that it’s intoxicating. I have found, when mentioning this to others (not my usual topic of conversation, I hasten to add!) that the same opinion isn’t held by everyone. It’s, clearly, an acquired scent!
While photographing Aysgarth Falls, on the opposite side of the river stood an extremely tall hawthorn. I wanted to fill the frame with its blossom and keep out all signs of green vegetation that surrounded it so I attached the longest lens I had with me – a 70-200mm with 1.4x tele-converter – and set the camera to Multiple Exposure / 10 frames. I, simply, hand-held the camera and took a series of images, moving along and up the tree and then assessed and tweaked each attempt. The resulting image you see below has had very little post-processing done to it, aside from Split Toning. The technique, along with the effect of the lens attached, produced the vignette.
I think it’s natural for a photographer to feel the desire to develop – both technically and, perhaps, artistically and over the last few years I have found that I have leaned more towards producing creative images both of the landscape and of the natural world. I can’t explain it. It hasn’t been a conscious move just something which has emerged organically which I believe is really the only way it can happen if your work is to have some authenticity and credibility. Don’t get me wrong, not every image I produce from now on will be tackled in such a way as I enjoy all forms of photography but there is something very satisfying and ‘true’ about recording a subject that has been repeatedly photographed in a refreshingly new way which, believe me, is incredibly difficult these days!
Tags: aysgarth falls
, intentional camera movement
, robert canis
, yorkshire dales