Frim issue 8

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Text of Frim issue 8

  • Fresh - Passion - Photography

    A Conversation in Black and WhiteSteve and Simon discuss and share images

    Frim

    Issue 8 - February 2015

    The Torrs, New MillsA fascinating and atmospheric riverside

    Five Poems for the Winters End by Simon Corble

  • Fresh - Passion - Photography

  • FrimThe Monochrome Edition

    A few months ago Steve mooted the idea of a black-and-white edition of Frim; I suggested we leave it until the middle or end of Winter, when all colours are muted in any case so here it is! It turned out that we both really enjoy the challenge of shooting or processing in black-and-white and so we started a conversation, the gist of which makes up the opening article. Steve has selected images from our two portfolios.

    We touched on the strength of architectural forms in our discussion and this reminded me of a place in New Mills that has fascinated me for years. This became the second feature, on The Torrs, with photography exclusively by Steve.

    And, finally, the poems just keep on coming. I have written five new ones for the end of the season. I am definitely aiming for a book by the end of the year, charting a personal journey through a year in the White Peak. We have found that black-and-white images make the best illustrations to the poetry colour can be too dominant. We share the photographic honours on this feature.

    Inspired to explore for yourselves, you can turn to the Nuts & Bolts page which will list all the practical information you need for getting to the places featured, along with links to relevant websites.

    Frim: Adjective - fresh with new grass growth, especially in the Spring. [As defined by F. Philip Holland in Words of the White Peak].

    Simon Corble & Steve Wake.

  • A Conversation in Black and Whitewith photography by Steve Wake and Simon Corble

    Si: So what is the attraction of shooting in black-and-white for you, Steve?

    Steve: The attraction of shooting in black-and-white is in the striking results that can be achieved, converting a photo to black and white is the easy part, it is being able to see what will work well in black and white. easier said than done. I look for strong shapes, lost of contrast between objects.

    Si: Oh, so do you choose a black-and-white setting on your camera, or always shoot in RAW and convert afterwards?

    Steve: I always shoot in RAW and convert afterwards, but this in itself sometimes brings a dilemma. I will download the photo and be torn between working with it in colour, or converting to black and white. Of course I could do both, but I have a bit of a bizarre trait in that I can only do one or the other.. Sounds odd, but I will have to delete one of them as I feel they both lose something by keeping one in colour and black-and-white.. Odd I know!

    Si: Interesting. I am the opposite in that I choose whether an image is going to be a black-and-white shot before I shoot and set the camera for that. It shows what a fundamental decision it is from the way we approach this question. Do you sometimes feel, as I do, that colour can be a distraction in a photo?

    Steve: Oh yes, to me the best black-and-white photos are striking and strong, taking away the colour means the subject has less distraction but also needs to be strong enough to make the photo work. Strong can mean many things...strong lines, shadows, shapes; in B&W you can really make a simple strong subject say so much. My ratio of B&W photos to colour is very low, this is not intentional, well I would like to think not, I dont set out with the intention of shooting one way or another, but I do get a buzz when I get a cracking B&W shot, as they can really be emotive and powerful.

    Si: Do you ever do anything to adjust the warmth of tone on your B&W images, or add colour tints?

    Steve: Yes I do; the problem with having a powerful photo editor is the options. I try and do the minimum I can in B&W, but I do alter the brightness, contrast and detail/structure. I find noise can work well in B&W; it brings a grungy, grainy texture.

    Si: So, you mean you add noise, (normally seen as a defect) as an enhancement, in your editor?

    Steve: Yes, the great thing with dark colours is the ability to work with the noise, it makes the image have an aged effect and of course you can have a bit of fun - I took a photo of a fellow rambler once, and made it aged.. :)

    steve shot

  • A Conversation in Black and Whitewith photography by Steve Wake and Simon Corble

    Si: So what is the attraction of shooting in black-and-white for you, Steve?

    Steve: The attraction of shooting in black-and-white is in the striking results that can be achieved, converting a photo to black and white is the easy part, it is being able to see what will work well in black and white. easier said than done. I look for strong shapes, lost of contrast between objects.

    Si: Oh, so do you choose a black-and-white setting on your camera, or always shoot in RAW and convert afterwards?

    Steve: I always shoot in RAW and convert afterwards, but this in itself sometimes brings a dilemma. I will download the photo and be torn between working with it in colour, or converting to black and white. Of course I could do both, but I have a bit of a bizarre trait in that I can only do one or the other.. Sounds odd, but I will have to delete one of them as I feel they both lose something by keeping one in colour and black-and-white.. Odd I know!

    Si: Interesting. I am the opposite in that I choose whether an image is going to be a black-and-white shot before I shoot and set the camera for that. It shows what a fundamental decision it is from the way we approach this question. Do you sometimes feel, as I do, that colour can be a distraction in a photo?

    Steve: Oh yes, to me the best black-and-white photos are striking and strong, taking away the colour means the subject has less distraction but also needs to be strong enough to make the photo work. Strong can mean many things...strong lines, shadows, shapes; in B&W you can really make a simple strong subject say so much. My ratio of B&W photos to colour is very low, this is not intentional, well I would like to think not, I dont set out with the intention of shooting one way or another, but I do get a buzz when I get a cracking B&W shot, as they can really be emotive and powerful.

    Si: Do you ever do anything to adjust the warmth of tone on your B&W images, or add colour tints?

    Steve: Yes I do; the problem with having a powerful photo editor is the options. I try and do the minimum I can in B&W, but I do alter the brightness, contrast and detail/structure. I find noise can work well in B&W; it brings a grungy, grainy texture.

    Si: So, you mean you add noise, (normally seen as a defect) as an enhancement, in your editor?

    Steve: Yes, the great thing with dark colours is the ability to work with the noise, it makes the image have an aged effect and of course you can have a bit of fun - I took a photo of a fellow rambler once, and made it aged.. :)

  • si shot

  • Steve: In fact, I would say working in B&W is just as hard as colour when it comes to post editing, if not harder.

    Si: It is all about making the right choices in the end. But the great thing, I find, with working in digital is that you can save any number of versions of the same image and always keep the original. As you could in the old days with a negative, of course, its just so much more touch-of-a-button these days. Shooting in RAW gives your original many more options, I suppose...I think I kid myself there is still a film in there! Are there any Peak District locations that are especially suited to monochrome shooting, would you say?

    Steve: Old buildings work well, Throwley Hall is a good example.

    Si: Ah yes, Throwley Hall. Is that just an olde worlde effect or is it to do with the strength of form there?

    Steve: A bit of both, just being there takes you back in time, but the structure in its ruined state provides strong contrast to the surroundings. So, you know when you are shooting B&W and change the settings on your camera to suit, do you miss shots sometimes because of this?

    Si: I dont think so. I am more likely to find myself stuck in B&W, (when shooting a wildlife subject, especially) and unable to spare the time to switch back to colour, but Ill run with it anyway. But this is rare: If the image really needed colour, (a Greenfinch, for example) I would not have started in B&W in the first place. A Mute Swan, by contrast, is an obvious example of a strong B&W wildlife subject.

  • steve shot

  • Steve: Do you have a favourite B&W subject that you lean towards?

    Si: I like to shoot portraits in B&W; there is something very distracting about skin tones otherwise, when I want the viewer to see the strength of character, for example.

    Steve: Do you find it easy to see in black-and-white? With me, it does depend on what mood I am in! Si: Oh, I am learning more and more to see in black and white. My mantra is that any really good photo should work in B&W. Though this is not always true, of course.

    Steve: A good mantra. I find that I turn to black and white photos on dull days when, to most, the landscape may look dull and uninteresting; these are sometimes the best conditions to shoot B&W.

    Si: Yes, I have taken some good shots in the fog, when I might have left the camera at home.

    Steve: So,what advice would you give to someone new to photography to help them with taking a good B&W photo?

    Si: Remember my other mantra: Photography means, literally, drawing with light. Light-and