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Wednesday was Barbados’ Independence day, which basically means no one can get married, and that I am able to give the team and myself a well deserved day off.  This is always good news.  Even better news was that our dear friends Mike and Jenny, who we met on our first ever contract with Colorbox aboard  the Thomson Destiny, were in Barbados the same day as a port of call on their holiday cruise.

Mike and Jenny are awesome.

Jenny dances amazingly, and Mike is a fantastic singer.  We were very lucky that they could make it to our wedding a year and a bit back, and Mike did us the honour of singing our first dance, along with a genius set.  If you want to hear the dulcet tones, (which I strongly recommend) you can hear him here. 🙂 For an even further shameless plug, BOOK HIM IF YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED IN THE UK, HE IS AMAZING! 😉 (Cheques made payable to me please Mike)

Anyways, back to the fun events of Wednesday…So we were ridiculously fortunate that the guys’ visit coincided with an unheard of day off during the week, and even more so that we got a tiny spot of sunshine during the otherwise miserable weather we have been experiencing lately.

As is now customary, we took the guys up to the Animal Flower Cave for the amazing views.  As we headed over, the short spell of sunshine was replaced with spitting rain.  I suggested we head to Bathsheba.  Luckily Jimbly insisted we head to the Cave, and I am so glad he did.

As we drove down the pot-hole ridden lane that leads to the amazing views, my heart skipped a beat as I saw what looked like a tornado skitting across the water out at sea.  We bundled out of the car as quickly as we could – I ran ahead with the camera in hand whilst Sian scrabbled to get our long 70-200 lens out.  It was awesome.

Later research proved that it was a water spout that we witnessed.   It was remarkably hard to expose for the spout.  As is often the way in photography, your eyes are so much better than even the mighty sensor of our wonderful D700.  Looking out to sea, it was very obvious to the naked eye, but there was very little contrast in the skyline, and no amount of underexposure seemed to make the spout ‘pop’ as much as it did in real life.  I was also greeted with an incredibly mucky sensor when I came to process these photos.  No matter how careful we are with changing our lenses, out here where there is so much sand and wind, it is inevitable to get crap in your sensor…an occupational hazard I guess. 🙁

As such, the pictures are a little less sharp than I would normally like – This is a classic example of me out of my comfort zone! Low light is fine, harsh sunlight with lots of contrast, I can deal with…but flat skylines with little contrast in them are clearly an area I need to improve upon.

And unfortunately time was not on our side.  As soon as I had popped off a few frames, the spout disappeared from the skyline, and a very hot and sticky sun reared it’s head back out for us.  We were so very lucky to have seen the spout at all!

We had to get Mike and Jenny back to their ship before it sailed onto the next port without them, so we had just enough time for a group snap before jumping back into the car and heading for the port.  This proved to be another wonderfully smug moment for me – always having the massive tripod in the boot paid off once again.

So a massive thanks to Jenny and Mike for making the 4000ish mile journey to come and see us – it was wonderful to see you both again, and as always seems to be the way, the fact we had visitors meant we saw another part of Barbados we otherwise wouldn’t have.  I was also made privy to the fact that Mike’s mum is a reader of my blog too…which is massive news.  This one’s for you Mike’s mum, thanks so much for reading – make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything, and thanks for giving us all such a lovely chap 😉

And as always, thanks for reading guys x

Hi guys, sorry, no photos today…but there is a cheeky video 🙂

Sian, Jimbly and I were shooting a wedding a few days back, and I was on film detail.  We were at a gorgeous resort called the House, and the wedding was scheduled quite late – 4:30PM…this makes life very difficult for us, because by 5:30, the sun has set and you have no light to play with…none.  So James did a great job of conducting the shoot quickly enough for us to get everything we needed in the small time window we had.

In between rushing from the sunset on the Beach, and a cake cutting shot in the hotel, we came across hundreds of red sand crabs.  They were just your ordinary, run of the mill crabs, knocking about and raising their comedy pincers in defiance of the hulking humans as we point and coo.  But one crab, James noticed, was very proudly carrying a lollipop stick.

And we thought this was hilarious.

In hindsight, and watching the video back, I am not too sure the comedy will come across, but rest assured – we all had a good chuckle at the sight and hope you do too 🙂

Massive blog in the pipeline by the by…we witnessed a weather phenomenon the other day which I cannot WAIT to share with you all…so please keep posted and I’ll hopefully share with you all over the weekend 🙂


Thanks for reading guys 🙂

As is now appearing customary, I start with an apology for the delay on things.  Work is getting really exciting – loads and loads and loads of stuff on, and with the world as it is at the moment I can’t grumble for a second.  There are thousands without jobs, so the fact that mine is depriving me of a privilege like ‘blogging time’  can’t be a bad thing.

So, a quick update.  My cousin Den came out to visit us last week, which was awesome.   We got some dives in that made me wish I could take my camera with me…but having already spent well over $3k this year on the camera, I thought an underwater housing would be the nail in the coffin with my very-understanding, but-only-human-after-all wife.  We dove (dived?) the Stavronikita, or Stav to the locals, and it really was up there in my top 5 dives of all time…

Den also insisted that we go sea fishing.  This is something I have always wanted to do, but we never get around to doing it.  One of the best things about having motivated guests is that we actually have to wander off resort (shock horror!) every now and then to go and do touristy stuff.  I will blog about the sport fishing properly soon, but in the meantime here are a few snaps of Den’s big catch.  A beautiful ‘Wahoo’

By the end of the week, we were all pretty knackered.  Work had been busy, and Den was keen to get as much in as possible.  On the last night of his stay  we were treated to a beautiful sunset and it only seemed right to have a lazy game of catch whilst we were bathed in the beautiful soft light of magic hour.

Thanks for a blast Den – I have finally caught up with my sleep now!  Oh – and the pictures we took of the moon that night down at Fowl Bay…I was pretty happy with the final result – hope you like it too! 😉

Thanks for reading guys…more adventures to come 🙂

x

Hey guys, nearly on top of everything now, so business will resume as normal in the next few weeks.  As some of you know, one of the reasons we came back to the UK was to celebrate our first year wedding anniversary.  After Andy and Emily’s wedding (film to come – promise we haven’t forgotten about you guys!) Sian and I headed over to Hartington Hall, where we got married on the 10th October, 2010. (10/10/10 – so no excuses for me to forget!)  It was lovely to see the place, and we were really spoiled because a lot of friends and family came to see us, and share a wee mini reunion.

Amongst these wonderful travellers were Lucy and Duncan, and their gorgeous baby girl Edith.  When we saw her last, at the wedding, she was a few months young and tiny tiny – the youngest of our guests.  Now she is a lot bigger, and getting a wonderful smiley – sometimes a bit bulshy, but all round amazing attitude.

This is the happy family at the wedding last year...look how tiny she is!

As always, a million things on today, so I can’t stay long – but I wanted to get the pictures up now to share with you all, as I finally begin to conclude our trip home, and can get back to exploring Barbados with you all – armed with a new book and loads of info, I am really excited about the months to come – so stay tuned!

Until then, I give you Edith, Duncan, Lucy and the horse…and a guest appearance from Jenny – keen eyed spotters will remember her from previous posts such as these.

 

Enjoy – and hope you are all having a great weekend 🙂

Following from my previous post, you all know that Sian and I stayed with two of my best buds Will and Eddie in Will’s house out in Carlisle a few weeks back.   And, while we were there, we fell in love.

Not with each other – I have ensnared Sian for over 11 years now and am fairly confident she has done all the falling she can for the time being.  But we met Will’s dog, Lois.

And she is all kinds of awesome.

Although only with her for a few days, it was very obvious to us how this (let’s be honest, beautiful) Labrador has made our dear friend Will’s life so, so much better over the last few months.

Poor Will has had a tough time of late, and seeing him in his new home with his new dog, Sian and I were both utterly relieved and immensely happy.  She truly is man’s best friend.

And she adores Will.

We had a late train home on the Saturday night, so Will kindly offered to take us out to Corbridge via a rather splendid butchers.  With the car heavily laden with a ridiculous slab 0f fresh silver side, camera gear and a dog, we set out along a fantastic Roman Road that ran parallel with Hadrian’s wall.  And what a day it was.

Upon arrival in Corbridge, Lois leapt to attention, only to drop her smiling eyes at the site of a famous kitchen shop that Sian and Will found fascinating.  After the obligatory walk around, we fetched the intrepid traveller from the boot of the car, and to her disgust, put her on the make shift lead Will had fashioned from a strap he uses to attach his canoes to the roof of the car.  Lois doesn’t need a lead, but the general public do tend to get a bit antsy when they see a pooch roaming free on the pavements.

We bumbled around the beautiful town of Corbridge for a few hours, and then headed down to the river bank to let Lois (and Will) have a play in the river and stretch the legs.

There is a beautiful bridge in the town, which Sian later quipped was probably how the town got it’s name.  She imagined the Scots seeing it from afar and saying ‘Cor! Bridge’…you may have had to have been there, but I found this hilarious.  Anyway, I felt obliged to get a snap of the said monument, but I’m afraid I rather let the squad down on this one with an average at best attempt – but I had to share it none the less in order for the narrative to make sense.

There were some ducks chilling out in the fast moving water, and in an homage to my dear mum who reads this blog religiously, I thought I would give her a snap of one…she freaking loves ducks.

And then Will found a stick which Lois quickly became very fond of.  Casually throwing it into the running river, Lois had no qualms jumping in to rescue her beloved piece of dead wood.  It was amazing how strong she is, and how well she fought the fast moving current.

We then retired for some ginger ale and olives whilst Lois ran around the trees, like the middle class tourists we are.  Watching the river run by, and enjoying the sun on our backs…it really was a lovely, lovely day.

At this point, I already knew that I would be writing a blog about the day, and the sheer awesomeness of Lois doting on Will – and I knew I needed a portrait of them together to tie the whole thing up.

They say that you should never work with children or animals…but I was working with a soggy dog and Will.

Believe me, this is much, much harder.

But I think I got there in the end:

I love these two shots.  Lois dotes on Will in a way I have never seen in a mutt before.  He looks left, she looks left.  He shows interest – she shows interest.  He laughs, she wags her tail.  They really are inseparable…and both are happier for having each other.

Even Sian started to see why people like dogs so much – which is a big step in the right direction for this canine lover.

So we headed back to Carlisle station to catch some fish and chips and the train, but not before we stopped off at the local paper mill (factory?!)  to capure this magnificent site:

Thanks Will.  And thanks Lois.

We had a great time

x

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A post!! It feels like months since my last, and to be honest I have really missed not sharing with you all here on what is fast becoming my personal diary  more than anything else.  But I hope you have been well and will allow me a moment of egocentricity as I think that maybe…just maybe, some of you have missed me posting too?

Or not.

Anyway, as I am sure you have all gathered, Sian and I had a very brief trip back to Blighty a few weeks gone, and I have finally got round to editing some of the pictures for you all to see.  As you all know, we do love our jobs out here in Bim, but there is an awful lot about old Liz’s Kingdom that both Sian and I adore; and coming from the evergreen flora of  the rock we now call home, we were utterly delighted to be treated to a good old autumnal country walk with one of my best friends Eddie, up in Carlisle.  We took Will’s dog Lois (MASSIVE POST TO COME) as he taught kids drama at William Howard – a secondary school in Scaleby.

Truth be told, I’m afraid I didn’t really listen to where it was we were going.  Will and Ed had discussed where the best place was to go for a walk, and after many hours of being shown various routes on Google Maps, I lost interest and let my best man do all the navigation.  We got to – wherever it was-at about eleven thirty, and all of a sudden the hours of Google maps and concise directions seemed more than worth it.  We wandered down through a valley to be met with this beautiful bridge – the water fiercely running down the fell.  Lois, the awesome, decided to run through the gushing water, and we all felt our hearts leap a beat at the thought of her getting washed away (it really was fast)

But she was hardcore and just took it all in her stride.  She soon got bored of the ‘random-people-who-have-put-me-in-their-car,-brought-me to-this-strange-place-and-are-now-calling-my-name-incessantly-game’ and came back to the river bank.  But only when she was good and ready.

And as we climbed the steep valley on the other side, we were treated to the stunning views that only the north of England can offer, all tinged with the tell-tale signs of decay as Autumn slowly sweeps in over the next few weeks.

At this point I would like to quickly apologise – we have just bought a couple of AMAZING new lenses (EVEN BIGGER POST TO COME) but they are both massive, and as such we have no filters that will fit them at present…so all grads are done post, which I think is, upsettingly, fairly obvious.

As we got to the top of the hill, the view opened up.  There were a few houses dotted around, which sparked the question why anyone would ever want to live there – slap bang in the middle of nowhere.  I quite liked how this image captured that utter isolation that we were disparaging…but it must appeal to someone – because the houses are there…

We then found the obligatory ‘dead tree’, surrounded by stone walls and wheat growing wild.  I actually really like this shot – a lot more than I did when I was composing it:

And by about this time we realised it was three and we had not even turned back yet! So we upped the pace and got back in time to greet Will home from his hard day’s toil, kick off our boots, and drink some posh cava…it truly was a magic few days.

Massive love to the boys for looking after us – and I very much look forward to filling you all in on all our other vacation shenanigans soon.

As always guys, thanks for reading 🙂

 

Ferg x

Hi guys, sorry, yet again, we are completely and utterly rammed.

I have so many photos and stories to share with you all from our trip back home in the UK.  We had the best time.  Andy and Emily’s wedding was wonderful, our wedding anniversary was amazing along with trip to Alton Towers, and a trip up to Carlisle to see two of our best friends..it was all good.

But work has got a hold of me, and I want to do everything justice.

So in the mean time, please enjoy this picture of an old diesel locomotive I snapped as we waited for our train in Carlisle…not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but having inherited my dad’s train spotter dna, I am rather fond of it.

Looking forward to sharing my stories with you all soon,

Ferg

x

Hi guys.  As you know, things have been crazy busy this end what with coming back to the UK for a few days, filming our friends’ wedding (which was truly, truly awesome) enjoying a cheeky wee first year wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife, and generally scatting up and down the country like a couple of jack rabbits in a bid to see all the dear friends and family that we left behind here in the UK.  As I write this, we are sat on a Virgin train taking us from Euston to Carlisle to see two of my best friends Will and Eddie…no doubt a blog to come about that later.

Meanwhile, I have been very conscious of the fact that I have written nothing for over 10 days now, and have been sitting on some wonderful pictures that I would like to share with you all.  So, without further ado, I give you: An outing with the Barbados Photographic Society…

The last weekend before we left for the UK, Sian and I were ecstatic at the thought of a proper two days off.  The wedding calendar was surprisingly empty and the studio had nothing booked, so we glamorously planned to get all our laundry sorted, our stuff packed and make sure everything was in place for the guys to ensure smooth operation during our time away.

And then I turned on Facebook and it all went tits up.

I had heard of the Barbados Photographic Society in the past, and somehow I stumbled across their Facebook page on Thursday night.  I joined up with the friendly bunch that evening, and before we knew it, Sian and I were signed up for a 5 am start on Saturday morning to meet right down on the West Coast in a little alcove of the country called Conset Bay.

Idiot.

So long to a lie in; bye bye all the laundry time…but it was totally worth it.

The reason for the savage start time was not because the BPS are made up of a carnally evil people, hell bent on ripping you from your much needed slumber when you have booked a lie in, of course.  The timing was down to the wonderful soft light that a good sunrise in Barbados can produce.  I once went over to the South East coast (to The Crane beach) at four in the morning when my dear brother Ed was over.  We waited patiently for a spectacular sunrise, but were treated to a hilarious thick fog that hugged the water line and hid any magic light that may have given us a good snap.  We saw absolutely nothing.

But the BPS had clearly booked the sun for that morning.

There was a lovely pink tinge in the sky, and the boats in the bay listed peacefully as the 50 strong group marauded around the marina.  Everyone looking for lines, and compositions, and ‘that’ shot…And I found this both very funny and very odd.

I have never been on a photo walk per say, and I quickly started asking myself how I would create different images to everyone else.  The point of the walk was ultimately a social one;  it was great to meet such a lovely bunch of people, and to put faces to the names of the people who I had been semi speaking to on the Facebook page…but ultimately we were all there to take great pictures, and it was an interesting experience for me having so many people, all in one place, all trying to get the same thing.

We started out at Conset Bay,  with the wonderful and friendly Ainsley telling us about the history of the bay; the cliffs overlooking the bay are a very high and dry place, and are prone to regular fires as the dry grass is scorched by the long sun it is treated to.  It was also host to a train station that serviced the line connecting Bridgetown and The North.

We followed the old railway line to find another bay -the name of which escapes me.  We were on the cusp of morning light. and that beautiful pink was still there, but this was the last snap I got before the sun was in full force and the harsh light we are so used to in Barbados was back.

After this, we headed to what is affectionatley called ‘The Puff’, so called because of the impressive spurt of water that the waves create as they crash up through the small holes they have carved from the coral.  We were very lucky to see some fisherman down on the coast, which helped give context to the sheer size of the coral and spurting water.

I was shooting with the 70-200, which is a beast of a lens, and as such my polariser won’t fit on it.  This meant that we were getting a savage glare from the water’s surface as the now midday sun beat mercilessly down on us.  As such, I tried to make a feature of the reflection, rather than try and fight it.

As we headed back from The Puff, I was keen to find some bits and bobs to shoot in the shade, as the sun was far, far to harsh to look for any more panoramics or views.  I’m not mad on flower shots to be honest, but I found these knocking about back outside the fish market of Conset Bay, and thought they were quite fascinating being made up of seemingly hundreds of tiny little flowers:

And then I found this guy chilling out in the trees…anyone who knows me will be fully aware of my utter fear of spiders…and so I am even more proud of this shot, as I had to get quite close!

I love this guy – if you zoom in on his rump, I swear you can make out the head of and orc – it looks like he has a black studded helmet and big grin…can anyone else see it, or am I going mad on this Virgin train?!

Anyways, that’s that for now – LOADS of stuff to share with you since our time home, and can’t wait to get you all up to date, along with lots more photos 🙂

As always, thanks for reading guys, and feel free to SUBSCRIBE 🙂

Ferg xxx

Ok, so for those hardcore blog fans of mine may remember this guy from a post I made about Oistins a few months back:

We were down at the Fish Fry and saw Dwayne dancing – I showed him the shot off the back of my camera and said we could do a lot more with him if we booked a proper shoot.  He then injured his wrist, and it all went a bit cold.

Until Thursday.

We have shot a video for him which will be going up on the Colorbox Studio Facebook page (like away if you haven’t already!) Sian was an amazing assistant on camera number two, and the footage already looks incredible…I can’t wait to piece it altogether for Dwayne early next week…

But as well as the video, I wanted to take some photos, so I roped James into coming down with us and being chief flash holder and lens caddy. As always, Jim rose above and beyond the challenge, and he helped Sian and I get some wonderful stuff.

I wanted to do the shoot down at Oistins again, not only because  that’s where we met, but the place has so much character in and around the fish stalls…Lighting was obviously an issue down there – lots of neons chucking red into your lens, and on the whole rather dingy.  As such, we popped my SB800 onto a boom and just played with the setup…it was really good fun.

I love these two shots – with the hard light coming in and the flare pushing through, but we decided to move the flash further around, towards camera to offer more side than back light:

And then Dwayne told us he could flip:

This sequece was taken with the flash positioned directly above Dwayne at about 1/16th power.  We shot through an umbrella to give a much more even and soft light.  We tried various different setups – but these came out as my favourites.

The final shot of the evening was one that I had been puzzling over for some time…I wanted to freeze Dwayne in action during a long exposure in the traffic heavy road that runs by Oistins…but we found that the headlights of the cars washed him out during the exposure…we got something – but it wasnt exactly what I was after…I need to go back to the drawing board on this one.  If at first you don’t succeed…

And that was that – a great fun shoot, with a very nice (and talented) bloke – thanks Dwayne!  All of the photos and video will be going up on the Colorbox Studio Facebook page, so be sure to check back  over the next few days 🙂

As always, thanks for reading guys – hit the subscribe button if you fancy it…I will be giving a special present to my subscribers when we hit the fabled 25!

Baby steps…baby steps.

 

Keep on snapping

 

 

Ferg x

 

 

As you will no doubt see from the majority of the work I post on this blog, I am a sucker for rich, saturated colours.

My all time favourite accessory, which breathed life into the aging D80, is the polariser that my dear mum bought me for Chrismas last year.

It’s amazing.

A twenty quid piece of glass you screw onto the end of your lens, and through a series of ingeniousness and marvel, it helps give deep blue skies and vivid greens.  Essentially, it is like having a million little ‘venetian blinds’ on the end of your lens, so as you turn the filter around, it allows light through the gaps in one direction…this means that green leaves that normally reflect the sunlight back into your lens, can have the reflective light ‘removed’ and only the green of the leaves is captured.

It truly is a magic device, and anyone with a DSLR should buy one.  Quickly.

I took this photo when Sian and I were on Honeymoon in the states – I used my polariser with a cheeky Grad filter over the top to get that beautiful blue sky and the vivid colours of the buildings in the background…it really is an awesome bit of kit…

But black and white has its place; and that’s what this whole post is about – when, why, and where.

As far as I can tell, there are two types of photographers out there -‘the cerebral’ and ‘the feeler’.  Neither is necessarily better than the other, but they do approach photography in vastly different ways…my sister and I are wonderful examples of the two extremes.

Felicity, Felix, or Zincy to those that really matter, is my big sister and she is frighteningly artistic. I mean, seriously.

It’s terryfying…

But on the other hand, she is also terrifically academic.  She recently got her PHD at Oxford Brooks, of which we are so proud, and of which I am relieved that we finally have a real doctor in the family, and not just a couple of clown shoes GPs 😉 (Love you daddy and big bro Ed) But anyway – I digress…despite her awesome academic background, and love and want to read every and any article,book or manuscript that has even the faintest whiff of interest to her, she approaches photography in a much more ‘feely’ way than I do.

She is the first to admit that she is not an authority on f-stops and shutter speeds, yet with her donated Pentax, she wanders around with her eyes wide open, and takes astonishing pictures like this:

My sister, Zincy's shot of Linahall - a concert hall in Talin

I love this picture – the exposure, the colours the composition…everything just works.  Now, I am sure that if I had been there with her, I would have captured a similarly striking image, but I dread to think how long I would have toiled with myself before taking the frame.  I would have instantly thought:

  1. Want a lot in focus – shoot narrow – maybe f13-ish
  2. Want to bring in that industrial ‘blue tinge’ to hit the concrete, hit the tungsten White Balance
  3. Need a slowish shutter to blow out those windows and light up the inside – but not too slow to overexpose and lose the windows all together – all depends on my –
  4. – ISO? Want it high enough to allow for a handheld shot, but don’t want any unecessary grain…better keep it safe in the 1,000ish range
  5. Should I chuck it into RAW in case I get it wrong with the white balance and need to correct later?
  6. Oh hang on – maybe I want to highlight the contrast of that concrete next to those (bottles?) in left of frame – should I use a single flash off camera, close to the wall which I will shop out later to bring out that texture?

And by this point, Zincy has alrady seen her shot, snapped it (in P mode?) is happy that she recorded what she wanted, and has moved on through the hall…and is enjoying her visit to Linahall an awful lot more than me, who by this point is having an aneurism  from the possibilities that this scene throws up.

But that’s me – I am a bonified ‘cerebral’ photographer, and it drives me nuts.  Lots of people, like my sister, can see an image and just make it happen – their view of the world is what makes them awesome with a camera.  I see things well too – but training the eye is a lot harder than training the hands.  Within a month (if she wanted to) Flick could have a comprehensive knowledge of her camera’s functions and foibles, a good grasp of the theory that backs it all up, and a better understanding of how to go about taking ‘that shot’.

I, on the other hand, can read every blog, every manual, every book that there is on photography, but training my eye to see things like Flick does…I don’t know if you can learn that…But this is not about ‘woe is me’ as a photographer – far from it, I am very proud of my work, and I know I get great results – the point that I am trying to make (and it has been a long time coming, I know!) is that when I take a picture, I normally know how it is going to look, and when I open a file in photoshop I ALWAYS know how it is going to end up.

And this is vital for black and white photography.

—> Insert blog start here

When  you’re shooting for black and white, you have to know what you’re looking for, and what will work in the frame.  Seeing as you lose colour as your number one language, you rely solely on contrast to convey your image.  And contrast means texture in the game of black and white.

To prove this point – here are a few black and white pictures from the engine room of one of the cruise ships I worked on once upon a time:

As you can see – I have gone crazy with the contrast to bring out all of those wonderful, man made textures that are present in the Engine Room.  If I had left these images in colour, your eyes would be bleeding from the putrid colours that would be visible on the screen.  The green paint of the engine parts would clash horribly with the red checker plate floor, and I would be the first blogger to induce so much vomiting from a single post.

By making the images black and white, I am able to emphasise the different textures of the various metals.  The shiny, smooth metals of the exhaust pipes, for example, are very, very different to the beaten and tired piston heads. (Yes, they are pistons – from memory there were sixteen in total, and each one was bigger than me.)


Textures are rife in industrial settings, like this, but they are also very prevelant in the great outdoors.  Sian has very helpfully been going through the old harddrive with me to find good examples of black and whites, and she spotted this corker that she took in Nolos – one of the thousands of tiny islands in Greece:

This was a great example for Sian to pick out – it has all the classic features of a strong black and white – the cobbled street is brought out in the contrast, and I love the way that she has silhouetted the chairs against that washed out horizon.   The sign, made of metal, almost looks super-imposed as it stands out against the white background…this is a cracking shot – all credit of which goes to Sian 🙂

And next, we jump back to Gunhill – the very photographs that inspired this post:

I simply love that texture coming through from the wooden slats of the roof, and then you have the harsh stone of the chimney juxtaposed next to the velvet skyline…this is one of my favourite black and whites to date…

This was taken in a shipyard in Morrocco.  I knew it was to be a black and white the moment I shot it.  The sky was a horrible dull grey, and I wanted to emphasise the gnarled wood and the rusty iron on the floor.  The boats’ hulls also offer a nice slab of wooden texture, and as the contrast has been increased every plank and rivet becomes more obvious.

This was taken on the same day, with much the same in mind.  I like the rock in the foreground – it throws in an extra texture to this very busy scene.  Coincidentally, when in black and white, it is amazing how much more crowded the yard looks.  In colour, your mind automatically distinguishes one boat from the next, but here, where only contrast is available, it becomes very difficult to discern where one boat ends and another begins…I must confess, this was not at the forefront of the shot at all…but I love the effect it has.

And finally:

Don’t forget to look for textures in nature!  This bird’s feathers are screaming for a black and whitening, and once you take those colours back, you can really push the contrast to emphasise each and every one…

So, in conclusion – the moral of the story is THINK before you shoot.  Or, if you’re like my sister and have an annoying gift of being able to get incredible photographs from just ‘feeling them’ (bloody amateurs) then think before you process.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen my guys, sat in front of a computer flicking from black and white to colour asking themselves ‘which looks better?’  The easy answer to that is should it be in black and white at all?  To justify black and white, you need texture – you need some reference for the contrast in order that your brain can work out what is going on with the image.  If there is no texture, there is no contrast…and as such, there is no black and white photo.

Keen eyed spotters may notice I had this very problem with a portrait of Sian in my last post…but just look at the left of the frame – see the palm leaves, see the TEXTURE, and see why it works so well in black and white…

I hope that this has been helpful – as always, if you have any questions, or you want to tear me apart – my deets are below 🙂

Thanks for reading guys – subscribe if you like – I will have a lovely special present for my subscribers once I hit 25…tell your friends!

Ferg xxx