On the Monet?

Posted on March 3, 2013 by Admin under lake, Monet, pastel, reflection, Stourhead

Photographs can inform, challenge, inspire.  They can bring excitement or moments of reflection. And sometimes they just tease. One of the photographic teases I enjoy is to set up the conundrum: is this real?  This shot is one of those.  I am often asked whether it is is photoshopped.  And barring a mild colour / contrast boost, it’s not.  The Monet-esque effect is pretty much straight out of camera.  (And, for those who know I post-process with Aperture 3 not Photoshop, there was no more tweaking there either!)
There is a second tease element here too: what way up should this be displayed.  In fact, what do you think the camera ‘saw’?
Well, the picture was taken in early Autumn at the wonderful Stourhead ( nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead/ ).   The lakes here often offer the possibility of great reflections. My usual thought would be to capture both image and mirror-image.  But here the height of the trees were challenging from the narrow path and anyway, the real interest was in the reflection on the so-slightly disturbed surface of the water.  So that’s what I framed.  In a way it was an easier shot than to try to include the trees and brighter sky: I was able to concentrate on getting the exposure right – and balancing shutter speed against the movement in the water.

When I saw the final image it was a Monet moment, reminding me of his waterlilies.  So which way up would you hang it?

I was delighted to sell a 16×12 print of this at Christmas.  The gift was for a Monet fan. I understand she hung it the way it was shot.   Available as print, card or canvas over at Redbubble.com/people/colinkemp

Thanks for stopping by – do let me know what you think.

Peachy: to cure butterfly eyes

Posted on February 24, 2013 by Admin under contemplate, D90, floral, macro, Nikon 105 f2.8, peachy, petals, rose, savour, texture, velvet

Take a moment to do something we so rarely find time for in our lives.  Take time to look.  But not just to look. Take time to really see.  

Look at a rose.  Take a while.   Can you feel the velvet touch of the petals? Almost smell the delicate perfume? It’s sumptuous, its sensuous. It is beautiful.

I love this type of photography – that an image like this can capture more than our eyes usually see.  Last time you glanced at a rose, did you really take in the texture? Did you want to touch it? To feel the soft velvet? Our senses are so intertwined, so inclined to prompt each other,  that if you didn’t, then perhaps you didn’t really look.

Because that is what we do in our daily lives: we glance.  Our eyes are butterflies flitting from sight to sight, resting just long enough to record an impression, to snapshot a scene.

And if I have an aim, a desire in the pictures I share here – it is to encourage you to go beyond that butterfly moment, to rest your eyes in one image for a few moments, and to really see what is there.  Then next time you pause to admire a rose, you may look closer, to seek what you previously discovered in a photograph on my website or in a picture on your wall, and to savour a moment that you may otherwise have missed.

If I have tempted you to do that – come back and tell me what you found.

Thank you.
Sonning Creatives

For cards, prints and canvases of this image please visit my page here: 

Be mine, Columbine

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Admin under backlit, Colin Kemp, Columbine, flower, macro, Nikon 105 f2.8, petals, pink, Sonning Creatives, valentine, yellow

Valentine’s day is coming fast and roses are everywhere.  But whether it’s my cheesy alliteration  or the sheer joy I got when I saw this on the camera LCD – it’s this shot of a Columbine with which I want to say ‘Be Mine’.

So why the passion?  Well, sorry to be a camera geek, but this was taken within 10 minutes of unpacking my first proper macro lens – the trusty Nikon 105.  Bought on ebay, picked up by a relative in Hull, brought down to ‘sunny Southend’ where it was unpacked on a beautiful June evening.  Not being blessed with the proverbial green fingers, my garden is not well endowed with luscious blooms.  But this Columbine was  in flower,  and it was back lit by the evening sun.  What’s more, the area behind it was in quite deep shadow.

Metering so that I exposed for the bloom, hand held despite this being the non-VR version of the lens, I was blown away by the outcome.  So blown away, that a good proportion of my work is now close up or macro.  I love the fine detail we can pull out with close ups, detail we may not even be aware of with normal vision… just look at those fine, back lit hairs along the petals!

So be mine, Columbine.  Or perhaps, what I’m whispering those sweet nothings to… is Nikon’s Micro 105 f2.8.  Gorgeous! 

Oh… sorry Mrs Kemp!  You are gorgeous too!

You can get closer to my Columbine as a card, a print or even a canvas, over on Redbubble where this my most viewed image:

Photography: feet can be as important as hands

Posted on February 10, 2013 by Admin under autumn, big sky, mirrored water, reeds, reflection, Snape Maltings, Sonning Creatives
1 Comment

Photographs are taken with the hands – right?  Well, perhaps not!  Sometimes the photographer’s feet are just as important!   In November I visited Snape Maltings – a gentle, reed-girdled river just in from the Suffolk coast.  It was a perfect Autumn afternoon, the river showing a classical mirrored stillness.  The colour contrast between river / sky and the reeds was glorious and I couldn’t wait to get the camera out.  

Snape Maltings, Autumn Day - a photo chosen to illustrate the wrong viewpoint for a compelling image and to compare with right view elsewhere on the page
Right time, wrong place: Big sky, peaceful river, good colour contrast – but entirely un-compelling image.

This part of the east coast always offers huge skies, but with no cloud, the interest was in the landscape.  My first shot showed that big sky and good reflections.  But the image lacked something.  It had no pizzazz.

 So I walked on a little … no more than 30 or 40 yards… and suddenly the vista opened up, revealing a beautiful S-curve.  The final key to the shot was to engage knees too and take it from a lower position to provide some foreground interest by emphasising the reeds on my side of the river.

Late autumn landscape of Reeds and river at Snape Maltings Suffolk. River disappears around a bend towards horizon while foreground framed by reeds.  Image reflects good photographic framing compared to other image on this post.
Just 30 yards or so along the bank and a lower viewpoint opens up the scene – right time and right place.

The final image needed very little post-processing – a judicious crop, and a little detail boost was about it.  
This shot looks great in print- but you wouldn’t give it a second glance if I hadn’t moved my feet!

Currently available as 18×12 inch print through my Etsy shop, below,  For other sizes please message me: etsy.com/uk/listing/151626280/riverside-landscape-fine-art


Posted on February 3, 2013 by Admin under black and white, bourbon on the porch, Kennebunkport, reflections, Sonning Creatives

It was late afternoon at the end of May 2012.  We were on our first visit to New England and had just one night in Kennebunkport.  And you know how it is: just when you want pristine, puffy-cloud scattered skies for the perfect sunset over the marina – that’s when you get overcast skies, drizzle and lousy visibility.  But as we wandered across the bridge at the head of the harbour, I knew I had to capture the view.  And I wanted it in black and white.
Looking out over the lagoon from the bridge you can’t miss a fabulous large residence or hotel.  The woods behind were shrouded in mist, and the lagoon was still enough for pleasing reflections.

It was so damp I did not want to risk changing the lens – Nikon’s excellent 16-85 DX was on the camera.  The first shot was nice and wide – but there was too much grey sky, too much grey lagoon.  Zooming in to bring the building to prominence at an effective 75mm produced this shot. It’s OK in colour, but it’s in black and white that I see what I had hoped to capture.  It’s a timeless image – nothing to suggest 2012, or indeed, the time of day. Perhaps, like me, you can rest your eyes here – and contemplate life overlooking the lagoon… Nice glass of bourbon on the porch, anyone?

 PS: Do you know Kennebunkport?  Please let me know what this building is on my feedback page.