Friday, 17 May 2013

Well that was a busy few weeks...

So. Self-employment. Where you have a million and one things to do, except you haven't because you just remembered something else and now it's a million and two...

I managed to get out to Derbyshire yesterday for the first time in a long time - it's a long way and a lot of petrol but as far as I'm concerned it's more than worth it for the end results. I'm so much more inspired when I'm in the hills.

Yesterday's trip was the start of an idea I've been brewing in the back of my mind for a while. The White Peak has a very distinct feel to it. Whilst it's quite a gentle landscape at first glance, the bones of the earth are close to the surface. There's a definite feeling that yes, this landscape has been settled, but not yet tamed. The remnants of the previous inhabitants litter the area and that connection with neolithic prehistory adds another layer to the feel of the place. So the thrust of my (currently very, very nebulous) idea is to put together a project documenting a loose class of subjects that I'm currently calling stuff-that-sticks-out-of-the-ground-in-the-White-Peak. If I put the pictures together in a book I might have to find a different name.

Anyway, here's a couple of pre-edits that hopefully illustrate what I'm banging on about. The first one is at Arbor Low, an ancient henge not far from Parsley Hay. The trick with shooting this place, apart from having a wide enough lens to do it justice, is to try to place it within the landscape as it's an incredible location with absolutely huge views. Waiting for the shadows was the key to this shot - the only processing here, apart from the black & white conversion, is a bit of dodging and burning to add definition to the foreground.

The second shot is a more natural feature - the Cork Stone on Stanton Moor. Heavily eroded, it's appearance was also modified by the Victorians, who added the steps and handholds up the side. 

This was almost the opposite from shooting at Arbor Low - rather than placing the subject in the landscape, the Cork Stone needs to be isolated as it's actually quite difficult to get an uncluttered shot - there's trees and grass banks very near. Other than that, it was a case of waiting for the sky to frame the stone and hoping that my ND grad darkened the sky without knocking out the detail in the stone itself.

In other news... I now have a Pond5 account, and I've just had my first batch of stock footage approved - hopefully that will turn into a nice little safety net. I'm also shooting a pilot webisode at the weekend, which even if it doesn't go any further will still be useful and will give my rather sparse YouTube and Vimeo pages something with a bit of substance other than showreels!