It's been a very busy past few weeks for me and I haven't had time really, to write on this blog. For which I am very sorry. I'm just back from Ethiopia where I made a lot of very nice portraits (I think!), so the films are off for processing as I type. :-)
So, I've been keen to show you all a contact sheet from my Eigg workshop this September, but I've decided that I'd like to show you individual images from each of the group members instead and ok, a contact sheet at the end too!
I felt the trip went really well and there were a few stunning images that the participants managed to make. Everyone I felt, managed to hit the button at some point through the week, which I always find very satisfying to see.
So without further a due, here are some of my personal favourites from the participants efforts:
What I try to convey in my workshops is that often, the best images are the simplest. If you've read my 'Simplifying Composition' eBook (bit of promotion there!), you'll see that I'm a big fan of simple shapes and tones. Sonja clearly understood that message with this photo. I love the way the cloud starts high on the left hand side of the frame and then dips down to show the top of the isle of Rum peaking through. There is a helix type shape to the clouds through the frame. Plus, I feel that the clouds and the isle suggest a 'flow' towards the right.
Some participants get the idea of 'flow' and curves very quickly and Gerard illustrated this in the shot above. We found that the tide was very high during our stay on Eigg which meant that a lot of the features we'd normally shoot were obliterated. This lent for a much simpler landscape to shoot in and in this picture, Gerard completely removes the always present shape of the isle of Rum from the horizon to completely focus on this fault line of rock leading off to the distance. My only complaint about Gerard's compositions were that he tends to frame things very neatly, not allowing for much breathing space between them and the edges of the frame. Still, I was really pleased to see this effort by him and wished I'd shot it myself.
João shot this near the singing sands. It was one of the few days where we didn't see the Isle of Rum in the distance (fully) so he took full advantage of that as everyone had been saying how hard it was to make shots on the beaches without framing Rum in the distance.
My only criticism about this shot is the overly stretched feel from using an ultrawide - it's something I tend to advise against. Plus, I really don't like 3:2 aspect ratios.... they're too tall and skinny in portrait mode, and I feel this shot would have been much more pleasing if it had been shot with a 24mm and composed with a 4x5 aspect ratio in mind. Those that come on the workshops soon find out that I personally feel that the 4x5 aspect ratio is a 'golden ratio'. Anyway, I think he made a very dramatic shot of this pool of water with the waves lapping into it. Being able to anticipate how many moments in time can be accumulated to convey a sense of movement is an art in itself. I love the swirl in the foreground, it reminds of me a cauldron.
Beaches are great studies for light, tone and especially movement. Kenneth is from Holland and he's never been to shoot at a beach before, and was really drawn by playing around with movement. My particular favourite part of this shot is the dancing waves. I think the long exposure works well even if the camera has been settling into the sand over the duration of the exposure. I felt there were a series of images at this particular shoot where Kenneth pressed all the buttons.
While we were at the Singing Sands, I noticed there was a section of the beach that was acting like a moat. Phil used this part of the beach to fill in the mid ground. To me, it feels like a whale is surfacing at this part of the beach. But I feel what really makes the shot is not just the Tyranosaurus-like head in the foreground, but the swirls of froth that suggest 'flow'. These swirls also 'marry' both the whale and the Tyranosaur's head together . It's a lovely shot. That's what I love about the workshops, I give people on the trips some criteria to shoot with and they come back with things that really surprise me. I'm sure Phil is very pleased with this image, as I am too.
Bo managed to do something here that I tend to do the opposite off - I often have dark vignettes to the edges of my image, but in this case, Bo's used the reflections in the pool to suggest a lightened vignette, which I'm really taken with. I also love how the colours of the green seaweed are shown only by the shadow of the Rock in the foreground. My only criticism about this shot is maybe that the rock protrudes above the horizon. I often try to convey to participants that each object in a scene should have it's own 'breathing space', but i really like this shot all the same.
Jürg turned out to be one of the most compelling shooters of the week. He often really surprised me by what he saw and shot. This is a perfect example of one of those surprising moments. He found this scene on the beach and it has a very dark, brooding feel to it. But don't you think it looks like some Dinosaur bones? And the water is being used to convey an otherworldly mood to them?
On the first night of our trip, we had some really incredibly beautiful shapes of clouds and I spent a bit of time getting excited about them and trying to get everyone to point their cameras up into the sky. Mats shot this one which was one of my favourite images from that particular shoot out of all the guys on the trip. Often, just like I said at the beginning of this post, the most simplest images are the most successful and in this shot, Mats has just used what was there - those beautiful shapes in the clouds.
I felt that this September's trip to Eigg was a really productive one. Each day brought surprising images from the group and I came home feeling that I'd had a group that had really run with my brief. They'd had their eyes open and had used simple shapes, tones and complimentary colours to make some really nice images.