I found the readings and presentations this week very interesting and in particular the views of Francis Hodgson about spending time looking at images and also making the effort to “learn how to look.”    Berger refers to this not only in viewing others work but more specifically in relation to how we as photographers make images and develop our photographic practice.  This will be important to me in terms of developing my portfolio of images and making choices about those to include for my Research Project The Road to Elgol.  In the presentation about responding to photographs we were introduced to emotional and cognitive responses.  We were encouraged to focus on the subject but also to think about the aesthetics and how the image is constructed.

As part of developing my photographic practice I am trying to be more spontaneous and creative but at the same time spend time enjoying the moment and thinking more carefully about my photographic choices, why the image is important to me and what I am trying to convey.  As part of this process I am recording my thoughts as I prepare to take the image – I am talking about the day, my mood, my response to the scene in front of me and why I make the choices about lenses, exposure, composition and aesthetics.  I will also record my thoughts about the processing of the image.  I will then create a word cloud to show the key words I used in describing my work.   It has also been suggested that I might just think about the key words and record them in a notebook in the rain!

I intend to develop this practice and methodology as I work on my Research Project in an attempt to slow down my image making and allow myself to absorb and get lost in the landscape.

Our webinar identified the very organised approach I have to my photography even when I am trying to be more spontaneous.  I have been asked whether I want to leave traces for others to find – perhaps in terms of the methodology which may work for others.  It was also suggested I include more in my Research Proposal about the origin of my idea for The Road to Elgol project.  I will take these comments on board as I develop my Research Proposal whilst remaining authentic in what I do.

An example of an image, the words I captured at the time, and the word cloud I generated are below:

The image of Loch Cill Chroisd

My words about Loch Cill Chroisd

It is a bright, sunny March morning on Loch Cill Chroisd and the overnight snow has settled on the Black Cuillin behind the loch.  The stunning colours of blue and yellow lead me to stop in one of my favourite places on the Road to Elgol.

 I take a walk along the edge of the loch looking for reflections and trying to get a glimpse of the Cuillin through the reed bed.  I clamber down a path normally used by sheep and find myself in a mud bed.  Undeterred I spend time working the scene to find the best viewpoint.  I look back along the Road and wander along the water’s edge standing up and crouching down.  The sun is lighting up the loch and the blue sky intensifies the tonality in the water. 

 After reflecting on the narrative for the image I decide it should be monochrome because any colour will detract from the message.  For me, the scene is about scale, texture and pattern.  The contrast between the dark Cuillin behind and the light grasses in the mid ground, along with the patterns of the reeds in the foreground attract my attention.  The sense of scale is emphasised through a low viewing point.  The scene is also about the permanence of the mountains against the transitory and fragile grasses, showing their heads to the warm spring sunshine.

 I am pleased to have the camera back in my hands and raise it to my face.  I want the Cuillin to be central so the eye is drawn through the grasses as mine are.  I use a 70-200mm lens to bring the scene together and give a greater sense of perspective but I zoom in close.  My aperture is set at f20 to try and get an Ansel Adams-type sharpness right through the shot and the image is made.

In processing I have little to do.  I increase the contrast, apply a filter to the sky and add some clarity to the patterns of the grasses in the foreground.  I tweak the line of the grasses to ensure the “horizon” is level.

 Word Cloud for Loch Cill Chroisd

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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