The Difficult Second Album
That’s what photography has felt like for me recently. I changed jobs in the middle of last year and it has been pretty full on with a lot of European travel which has soaked up most of my time and energy. I picked my camera up again at Christmas and started work on a project but then came down with a rather unpleasant lurgy so I’ll resume that project later this year. Since then I had taken some fun photos whilst skiing and a handful of photos at my Dad’s 75th birthday but nothing much other than that.
I finally felt inspired again last weekend. I had to drop James off at his school at 5.30 am for a French trip so I thought I would grab the M8 and my 40mm and 90mm lenses and head down to the river to get some images in the early morning light. In fact that was what the post was meant to be called “Early Morning May Light”. Well it didn’t quite turn out like that.
You may heard the phrase Ring Rust that describes boxers who’ve been out of the ring for a while. Well I was suffering from Leica Rust. The delight of an all manual camera is that you can make the images rather than the camera deciding how they should look, or at least you can if you know what you are doing. I seemed to have forgotten everything. With a beautiful early May sun reflecting off the water of the river I left my camera on its highest ISO setting making sure I over exposed the images. To make matters worse when I realised I was over exposing instead of closing up the aperture of the lens to reduce the light I slowed the exposure which let in more light! Don’t ask me what I was thinking, I have no idea.
The net result was a bunch of noisy/grainy over exposed images which frankly left me distinctly underwhelmed. What you’re seeing here is the one or two passable ones from a very poor batch.
I have been struggling with colour for a while now and this just made it worse. Muddy over exposed images with little clarity or vibrance are not good base material for post processing to glowing colour photographs, which is why there are so few colour images in this post. I actually prefer black and white most of the time but this really was a case of trying to eek a small amount of lemonade from some very sour lemons.
I’m not sure why I’m not able to find the colour output I want/expect from my M8. Maybe its the old sensor but I’ve seen other people generate glowing colour from theirs so its probably down to the way I’m taking the images. I did achieve something closer to what I’m looking for the next day, as you’ll see in my next post, but I may need to experiment with slight under exposure to achieve the right look.
Just as I was about to leave another photographer, Ray, turned up. He’s a wildlife photographer who was down there to see if any of the birds he has yet to capture were flying. He very kindly allowed me to take a few portrait shots whilst he was scanning the skies for his fleeting subjects. though these too are over exposed at least there is an interplay between the light and shadows that give them some interest.
So what would I call this difficult second album? Well given my reaction to these over exposed photos how does “Overwrought” sound?