It's Cold Outside.
As I mentioned in my last blog, it was snowing in the UK while I was there for a few weeks over Christmas and New Year. I love the snow, it always creates such a beautiful change in the landscape, plus we get to go sledging, there are few more enjoyable simple pleasures. The Snow didn't last too long but Mrs.L and I made the most of it whilst we could.
My Fujifilm X100 is a constant companion for me, it may be the first generation from Fujifilm but it really is an excellent piece of kit still. I am hoping to get some more kit from Fujifilm and develop my relationship with them over the coming year, I hope my Nikons don't get upset with me. There is a mind boggling amount of photographic equipment available these days, but as I am asked fairly regularly what I choose to shoot on and why I keep my research and knowledge up to speed as best I can. We all know photography hardware is a fast moving area, more megapixels, faster processors, better focus systems etc. The reason I have chosen Fujifilm is for their sensor development, it is unique and different, I come from a film background, it seems to me that Fujifilm and the X-Trans sensor are the closest to the feel from film, I don't mean it is emulating film perfectly, but the feeling I get from the images is similar. It's a bit like the difference between vinyl records and cd's, for me one is warm and embracing whilst the other is clinical and cold. Their lenses are solid and the optics are clean and sharp, so it seems the sensible way to go. (you can check out their range here: http://www.fujifilm.com/)
The above shot is from my X100, just a little in camera adjustment for colour temperature to make a lovely warm photograph of the low winter sun over the snow. The little Fuji handles the contrast in the scene very well.
Another from my Fujifilm, I had never been here before, I will be returning though. It looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter. Really beautiful colours among these gnarly and atmospheric twisted trees on this flat white day in Bradgate Park.
One of my favorite places, and a regular visit with my camera when I am home in the UK is Beacon Hill in Leicestershire, I never tire of making photographs here. The light is never the same, there is always something new as the seasons change, so be sure to take your camera back to the same place from time to time.
Having received requests about availability of my photographs for purchase (very flattering I must say, so thank you), I have opened an account on Fine Art America. They have created a very user friendly place to buy art from. If you are not familiar go and check it out: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/duncan-longden.html?tab=artworkgalleries. I am posting more work regularly on there, I have plenty to add so am gradually working through my archives. You can really tailor your order to fit what you want, size, finish, frame etc. It is well worth checking out, there are some great artists selling their work there, and it is affordable too, especially when you are getting something well made to have and enjoy forever.
Travelling sends your body clock haywire, I have learned not to fight it. If I wake up, I get up, so I am often out as the sun rises, a perfect time to get those deserted shots and lovely dawn light. This photograph of a playground may not be for everyone, I like the stillness of what is usually a noisy, busy place. I am also influenced by Bill Brandt, although I don't embrace his love of grain and high contrast, well not all the time anyway.
I have become fascinated by this tree up on the Beacon Hill after photographing it for the first time a year ago. I just love its windswept shape, even on a still day it is so animated. As I said above, I am a strong believer in revisiting the same place to make photographs time and time again, never say "I photographed that already." it is a new photograph everytime you press the shutter. Remember that that exact moment in time you just captured will never happen again.
My friends in the UK seem to have difficulty believing that it gets cold in Taiwan, but believe me it does. Not wanting to go out and feeling like I needed some studio time I set about making some shots of liquids.
First up, plain water. I don't have fancy timing triggers so it was trial and error. It is tempting to over complicate shots like this, but it isn't needed. Like the water, keep it simple. If you're wondering, no it is not a composite, it is a one shot photograph pretty much straight out of camera.
Milk was fun, a little more complicated with the lighting and certainly a bit more messy. I am very pleased with this results I made.
Continuing with liquids, it was time to get a little more complicated with my lights. I am not a Whisky drinker, I prefer Rum, however my father in law is, so I grabbed a couple of interesting bottles and began to build the set and lighting rig. I wanted to make a different feel for each so chose to place one on a gray background and the next shot on a white. The decision to shoot on white was to emphasize the blue tone in the glass, again keeping my shots simple looking, uncluttered and focused on the product.
This is not all I have been doing since I got back. I made a couple of fashion tests and have organised a full on, full team fashion shoot this coming Friday (the 27th). Looking out of my window at the fog though this may take on a different aesthetic than I had anticipated. All part of being a good photographer, work with what you have. Thinking about it, fog would work really well actually for the amazing outfits we have lined up. Living on a relatively small island always results in changing conditions. I will be off to have a real scout around the location I have picked on tomorrow, as ever though, there is a back up just incase.
I am looking forward to getting started shooting a range for a new client, their concepts should be heading my way toward the second half of March, I love the products so that should be lots of fun.
I have sorted out my driving license, the first photographic outing was made a couple of days ago and resulted in two stunning seascapes, even if I do say so myself.
I also had an wonderful weekend in a small village called Dabang which is in the Alishan area of Taiwan. This area is known for its beauty, if you ever visit Taiwan, you have to make a stop in Alishan. I was there for a Warrior Festival, what a fantastic experience. Since getting back to Linkou, I have made the first steps towards heading back to make proper portraits of the Tribes people in the village and hopefully some from the surrounding area too. Taiwan is friendly, Taiwanese indigenous people are the most friendly in my experience, generous, caring and always great fun. I am really looking forward to a return visit.
In future blogs I will post photographs from the warrior weekend, the fashion tests and shoot, bring you news from the National Geographic Photography competition I was a judge for (the magazine should be out soon.), and hopefully lots lots more.
As I mentioned above, head over to my Fine Art America page, there is also link in the sidebar somewhere I think.
Thank you for taking the time to look at my work, please go ahead and share it, leave a comment or ask a questions you may have.
Should you need a photographer feel free to get in touch anytime, I am always happy to hear from people around the world regarding any work they would like to talk about. You can reach me here or through my website: www.duncanlongden.photography
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The next blog will be in a couple of weeks, so until then, have fun and don't be a stranger.