August 2019

ABC: From Aushwitz to Butterflies to Calendars


Painted Lady
A Painted Lady on Buddleia

This month so far has been one of great contrasts in many things not even mentioning the weather. But the weather is responsible for one thing I guess and that’s Lord of the flies! August is a brilliant time to capture butterflies. Currently we’re seeing a “once in a decade” boom in Painted Lady numbers, an opportunity too good to be missed! Look for local buddleia, perhaps in your garden, to maximise your chances of seeing these beautiful creatures. So far this year in my garden there has been an enormous number of butterflies, we’ve had Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoishell as well as the Painted Lady. The season will be over fairly soo, so make the most of this once in a decade chance.

Seeing the above phenomena really makes me glad to be alive especially after visiting Auschwitz and Aushwitz-Birkenau on a short holiday to Poland this month. Krakow is a lovely city and well worth a visit, so much to see and do that it demands a second visit sometime soon. One of the visits of course that most people undertake is to go to Auschwitz and that really brought home to me how cruel people can be. Today the visit doesn’t really reflect what conditions were really like for the victims of the Nazi regime. It’s difficult being shepherded around by a guide when you’re wearing comfortable shoes, carrying a bottle of water, being able to use a proper toilet, eating what you want when you want and have a rest when you want to really feel what the suffering must have been like.

Auschwitz - Birkenau
Looking along the railway line towards the entrance of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Crackpot Hall – July 2020 image

Yesterday I collected my free copy of the ‘My Yorkshire’ Calendar from The Garden Rooms at Tennants in Leyburn. Their 2020 calendar is now available in their gift shop. If you’re in the area I’d recommend popping in there for a look at their exhibitions, perhaps a browse on one of their pre-sale days or simply a lovely cuppa and a cake in the cafe. My image of Crackpot Hall is the July image. The calendar is priced at £10.99.

Out and about and thoughts on composition


Looking towards Whitby Abbey
Freshly cut grass form lines in the field in front of Whitby Abbey

Here we are entering the eighth month of the year. As they say time flies! As you’ll hopefully see my favourite type of photography is Landscape, but I also like shapes, patterns and abstracts and that’s pretty much what my portfolio is made up of. I hope that what I do attracts people to the images and that they could happily hang it on their wall or send the friend a notecard. In the vain hope that people do like them then they have a chance to browse and buy. From August onwards I’ll be at the local Friday Country Market in Northallerton Town Hall as often as possible. This is held every Friday from 10.00am until 12.30pm. If you’re in the area why not pop in? Refreshments are served all morning and there are various other ‘stalls’ to look at from fresh home baking through to woodworked items and other crafts. It’ll be an interesting opportunity and I’m keen to see how things go. There will be a full range of Notecards on sale at £2 each or three for £5 plus a selection of prints in various sizes.

On Saturday 10th August from 1.30pm I’ll have a stall at Thornton le Beans Village Show. Again I’ll have Notecards and Prints in all sizes for sale, plus a selection of framed prints. Any print can be ordered and framed and delivered free within the Northallerton Area.

As mentioned at regular intervals going forward I’ll be back at the town hall but of course if you can’t make these events then theres’ always the SHOP and MORE PRODUCTS links above to choose from!

5 Elements of Composition in Photography

Good Composition is a key element of good photographs yet is something that is hard to define. Instead of looking at composition as a set of ‘rules’ to follow – perhaps it as a set of ingredients that can be taken out of the pantry at any point and used to make a great ‘meal’ (photograph). Alternatively it could be described as a set of ‘tools’ that can be taken out of one’s compositional tool box at any given time in the construction of a great image.

The key is to remember that in the same way as a chef rarely uses all the ingredients at their disposal in any dish – that a photographer rarely uses all of the ingredients of composition in the making of an image.

Here are five of the ingredients (or tools, or elements) of composition that can be used in photography. They’re not ‘rules’ just things to consider when setting up a shot.

Hotel balconies, Famagusta
Pattern – Hotel balconies, Famagusta

Pattern – There are patterns all around us if we only learn to see them. Emphasising and highlighting these patterns can lead to striking shots – as can high lighting when patterns are broken.

Whitby Pier
Symmetry – Whitby Pier

Symmetry – Depending upon the scene – symmetry can be something to go for – or to avoid completely. A symmetrical shot with strong composition and a good point of interest can lead to a striking image – but without the strong point of interest it can be a little predictable. Try and experiment with both in the one shot to see which works best.

Under West Pier Whitby
Texture – Under West Pier Whitby

Texture – Images a two dimensional thing yet with the clever use of ‘texture’ they can come alive and become almost three dimensional. Texture particularly comes into play when light hits objects at interesting angles.

Railings at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Depth of Field – Railings at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Depth of Field The depth of field that you select when taking an image will drastically impact the composition of an image. It can isolate a subject from its background and foreground (when using a shallow depth of field) or it can put the same subject in context by revealing it’s surrounds with a larger depth of field.

Pattern in the field
Lines – Freshly cut grass forms lines in the field

Lines – Lines can be powerful elements in an image.They have the power to draw the eye to key focal points in a shot and to impact the ‘feel’ of an image greatly. Diagonal, Horizontal, Vertical and Converging lines all impact images differently and should be spotted while framing a shot and then utilised to strengthen it. –

These are just some of the elements of composition that I might consider in when I’m taking a photograph.

The bulk of this article was cribbed from an Australian author, Darren Rowse.

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