Landscapes were the thing that first drew me to photography, I’ve always been very into nature (my first word was flower!) and felt fiercely protective of it. Photography is a means of freezing a moment in time, and being able to successfully capture the beauty of a misty morning, a windswept beach, or a wonderful summer’s day is a real gift. Unfortunately, it’s one I don’t possess! I feel out of my comfort zone with landscape photography, I can’t move things about to get the best light or ask it to pose in a certain way, and I snap away frustratedly and then head home disappointed, so when I first heard about Mike McFarlane’s course in Northumberland I jumped at the chance to learn more from someone whose work I admired as soon as I saw it, especially as he has such wonderful work on the Western Isles of Scotland where I spent many of my childhood holidays.
10 budding landscape photographers gathered at Fi Fie Fo Fum Art Gallery on Saturday morning eager to learn what we could to improve over the weekend. We were sent out on assignments meant to make us stop and think about what we were doing and why (we were allowed just 36 frames per assignment, which is completely unheard of for me!), and it was surprisingly challenging. Mike talked about ‘making’ rather than taking a photograph, and urged us to take time to think carefully before we pushed the shutter. Very slight changes in light, cloud pattern, cropping and exposure can end in significantly different photographs.
I had a tiring but very inspiring weekend, and have come away with plenty to think about. You may well spot me at dawn or dusk (more likely dusk!) with a camera and tripod hovering around areas of beauty in the not too distant future. Mike is running further courses in September and October and I would recommend that anyone interested in landscape photography signs up quickly before the places are taken. Visit the Fi Fie Fo Fum website for more information.
Here are some of my efforts, I have included exposure information in case anyone is interested. A tripod was used for all these shots.
This is one of my fellow photographers on the dunes above the beach, even with a whole beach to photograph I still found myself focusing on the people! I love the backlighting in this photograph.
ISO 50, 1/12 sec, f/22
I find everything about jellyfish fascinating, and these had kindly arranged themselves in a nice S curve on the beach:
ISO 50, 1/6 sec, f/22
Striking patterns in the sand:
ISO 50, 1/30 sec, f/22
ISO 50, 1/15 sec, f/22
1SO 50, 1.0 sec, f/22
Lastly, this is one of the sculptures outside the Fi Fie Fo Fum gallery. I liked this one in particular as I think horses are beautiful, and I was also amazed and impressed to find out that it had been made from old horseshoes. It almost looks like the mare and foal have been sketched onto the sky:
ISO 160, 1/2000 sec, f/2.8