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Kitesurfer and dramatic sky, Exmouth beach, Devon, England

Kitesurfer and dramatic sky, Exmouth beach, Devon, England
Kite surfer against a dramatic sky, surfing the Exe Estuary between Pole Sand sandbar and Exmouth Beach, Exmouth, Devon, England. Image MBI000660.

Kite surfer against a dramatic sky, surfing the Exe Estuary between Pole Sand sandbar and Exmouth Beach, Exmouth, Devon, England. Image MBI000660.

Kitesurfer and dramatic sky, exmouth beach, Exmouth, Devon, England. Image MBI000660. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to license use of this image or purchase a fine art print.
Kitesurfers catch the wind, flying along between Pole sand sandbar and Exmouth beach on a blustery summer evening.  Kitesurfing has become hugely popular in the Exe Estuary off Exmouth in recent years; on some evenings I have counted upwards of twenty kites. 

Reflections on water

Reflections on water

Yachts silhouetted just before dawn, San Diego harbour. Image MBI000899.

Yachts silhouetted just before dawn, San Diego harbour. Image MBI000899.

San Diego Harbour just before dawn. San Diego, California, USA. Image No. MBI000889. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to license use of this image.

Those of you with way too much time on their hands may have noticed that reflections on water is a recurring theme in my images. I know its a cliche, but hey! Cliche images only become so because they work. The images I’ve uploaded span a good few years; although most were taken in the past four, the Loch Ness image pre-dates that by quite some time. Consequently the pictures include both digital and film originated images. I’ve also chosen pictures from around the World: from San Diego’s bay-side to rural Devon,Southwest England, through to the Navua River creek at the southern tip of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu, and back to the northern hemisphere to the shores of Loch Ness, northern Scotland during a particularly hard winter. You won’t find a great many bright summer days amongst my pictures. Not that I don’t enjoy the sun as much as anyone else, but it’s rarely dramatic. I much prefer the low light of dusk and dawn or winter days when the sun bobbles along the horizon, creating light and shadow that I can play with. Although I cut my teeth working underwater with a purely mechanical camera devoid of even a light meter, I’m not really a purist and will use Photoshop or whatever tools are at my disposal to enhance an image. To me it is not that different from dodging and burning photographic paper. However, you don’t great create a good image from a mediocre one straight out of the camera. For me at least, what I see through the lens in 95% of the final image and getting that image on to the camera’s sensor is 95% of the work. Everything after that is dressing. Two of the photographs were taken in the 30 minutes or so before dawn. For me that’s a magical time; very still, the World haven not fully woken. A not-so-magical time is when my alarm goes off at 4:30a.m., but if I do force myself out of bed it is often well worth the effort. The final image of Exeter historic quay was actually an evening shot, around 9p.m. on a warm evening in early June. The sun had just set, leaving a dramatic sky but with most of the quayside in deep shadow. To bring out this detail I created an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image as a composite from four seperate images covering (if memory serves me correctly) six full stops. The images were then processed using Photomatix and Photoshop. The hardest part of compilations like these are what to leave out. Thus reflections is a theme I will no doubt return to, with a ‘Reflections’ gallery up soon. All feedback, including reports of any gliches, most welcome.
Colin

The Turf Locks Pub, Turf Lock, Exeter Canal, Devon, England. Image No MBI000900

The Turf Locks Pub, Turf Lock, Exeter Canal, Devon, England. Image No MBI000900


The Turf Locks Pub, Turf Lock, Exeter Canal, Devon, England. Image No MBI000900. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to licence use of this image.
Yachts reflected on the calm waters of Exeter Canal on a winter's day. Image MBI000775.

Yachts reflected on the calm waters of Exeter Canal on a winter's day. Image MBI000775.


Yachts reflected on the calm waters of Exeter Canal on a winter’s day Image No. MBI000775. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to licence use of this image.
Sunrise over the Navua river near the mouth at Beqa Lagoon, Viti Levu, Fiji. Image MBI000583.

Sunrise over the Navua river near the mouth at Beqa Lagoon, Viti Levu, Fiji. Image MBI000583.


. Sunrise over the Navua River, Viti Levu, Fiji. Image No. MBI000583. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to licence use of this image.
Frozen birch trees and snow-capped mountains reflected on the waters of Loch Ness, Scotland,. Image MBI000124

Frozen birch trees and snow-capped mountains reflected on the waters of Loch Ness, Scotland,. Image MBI000124


Frozen birch trees and snow-capped mountains reflected on the waters of Loch Ness, Scotland. Image No. MBI000124. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to licence use of this image.
Exeter quayside at night. Exeter's historic quayside. Devon, England.

Exeter quayside at night. Exeter's historic quayside. Devon, England.


.Exeter quayside at night. Exeter’s historic quayside. Devon, England . Image No. MBI000890. Please email me, quoting this number if you’d like to licence use of this image.

Boats and wind and winter skies

Boats and wind and winter skies

We’ve just had around ten days of stormy weather here in southwest UK; a series of deep lows have driven rain-laden westerlies out of the Atlantic and up the English Channel. I’ve spent this time trying to effect repairs on my deck between squalls, while winds howl through the rigging. Trying to pour molten pitch into leaky seams between planks, each seam rather less than quarter of an inch wide, in a force eight gale is somewhat akin to attempting to juggle ping-pong balls whilst standing in the downdraft of a helicopter. A stream of bubbling pitch carefully aimed at a newly raked out seam will unexpectedly slew sideways to decorate my newly sealed deck with a long string of tarry sine waves. I spend the next ten minutes scraping off rapidly solidifying pitch, then retire to my laptop as the next squall arrives. Days like this can make me long for the blue skies of summer. When trying to work outdoors on the water, winter offers relatively few advantages. It does offer others though. Whilst sun-kissed beaches and clear blue skies look pretty, I generally prefer my landscapes to look dramatic. Dark skies and storm clouds with shafts of sunlight breaking though are, to me, intrinsically more interesting. Very often the look of a landscape will change dramatically in seconds as cloud cover waltzes light and shade across the terrain. It’s the opportunity to capture these ephemeral patterns that makes me climb out of bed early on winter mornings, pile camera gear into the cab of my old Landrover and try to make it to my selected vantage point in time for sunrise. Okay, sometimes it does; and sometimes I’ll hit the ‘snooze’ button on my alarm, turn over and reassure myself there’ll be other mornings like this.

Landscape photography is one of the few areas where I still on occasion use film. In terms of workflow and cleanness of image 35mm film no longer compares with current DSLRs (to be brutal, spatial resolution, signal to noise ratio and even the old weakness of dynamic range are all better on good DSLRs than 35mm film equivalents), but there is something about producing images by initiating and influencing a chemical reaction on a medium you can touch and feel that has a magical quality about it. I no longer process my own film; cutting, mounting and scanning slides is enough of a chore. Yet exposing images on film still feels closer to the spirit of Louise and Auguste Lumiere’s autochromes or Hurley’s Paget Plates than allowing photons to kick electrons up the energy escalator in layers of silicon.

Given the wintry weather we (in the UK) are experiencing at the moment, I thought a local winter scene would be an appropriate image of the week. This one was taken a couple of years ago, on a chilly November afternoon on the Exeter canal near where it joins the Exe Estuary. The sun was getting fairly low and boat hulls were shining brightly against the dark water. It was very still, and where the canal widened to allow vessels to moor alongside, just in front of the first lock (the Turf Lock) a perfect mirror image of the moored boats reflected of the water. It may have rained later that day but I’m really not sure. It’s the moment I remember.
Link to image of the weekRead More