Get closer…

I was at the Cheshire Show recently. I like events like that – there are often good opportunities to hone a few skills. For example, the day I went, there was some jousting and horse-boarding going on in the central area, both of which provide some exercise for the sports-shooting muscles.

For the purposes of this post, though, I want to talk about the vintage cars; and one in particular.

I don’t really ‘do’ cars: I like to drive them, but photographing them doesn’t really appeal to me. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this lot—they were parked close to each other, lots of people wandering around, distracting backgrounds—except that among the Ferraris and Jaguars and others was a wonderful 1959 Cadillac Coupé de Ville.

What drew me to that car in particular? Partly it was the gorgeous pearlescent green paint work and partly the outrageously OTT styling from a more naive age: one where we didn’t really understand the effect we are having on the world.

As I said, the layout didn’t lend itself to a full-car shot, so I decided to go for detail shots. I wanted to try to capture the ‘essence’, if you like, of the car: what aspect of the styling is important to recognising it as that particular make and model? (Apart from the words ‘Coupe de Ville’ written down the side, of course.)

I think that there are three things that are at the core of that car’s distinctive look: the tail fins, the tail lights and the headlight cluster. Given that, I decided to go in really tight on those features, to make pictures that were not just about a 1959 Coupé de Ville, but about a specific feature of a 1959 Coupé de Ville.

When I got back home, I looked through the pictures and realised that I actually needed to crop those particular images even tighter than I had framed them at the time.

What I got at the end was three pictures that I could combine into a triptych that pretty much screams “1959 Cadillac Coupé de Ville” without ever showing more than about 10% of the car.

coupe de villeThe point I’m trying to make is that you don’t always want to step back and get more in to your pictures. Sometimes it pays to step forward, get closer and then get a bit closer still. Follow the link I gave above and see how many pictures aren’t a fairly generic wide shot of the car, and see how those that close in on a detail seem to say more.

So challenge yourself – look for the essence of something and photograph that, rather than just trying to ‘get the whole thing in’.


† Not at the same time…

It was a bit damp out there

Some pictures taken during a heavy rain shower:

I was particularly pleased with two images that show the falling raindrops. This is quite rare when photographing rain: the drops often fail to register because they are either too small or moving too fast. Usually, you have to rely on splashes, umbrellas and cowering people to suggest the conditions, as you can see in the other pictures (it was raining heavily in all but the first one).

Massive props, by the way, to the Altrincham choir who performed through the downpour without missing a beat and never losing their smiles.


For those interested in these things:

Olympus OM-D; Zuiko 17mm f/1.8; Zuiko 45mm f/1.8

Down among the trees

It was a pleasant day, so my wife and I decided to go for a walk in Delamere forest.

I have slightly ambivalent feelings about places like this. On the one hand, they provide a much-needed protected nature area in the midst of so much that is altered by humans but, on the other hand, they are areas that have been altered by humans. Continue reading “Down among the trees”

Two days, two years, two walks, two pictures

After a week or so of sitting around eating too much chocolate and watching too much rubbish telly, the new year provides an opportunity to get out into the fresh air, clear the cobwebs and freeze various important bits off.

For the last day of 2012, we went up to Salford Quays and a wander around the Lowry, the Imperial War Museum North and Media City UK.

Then, for the first day of 2013, we took our now-traditional walk around Tatton Park. Both days were grey, cold and intermittently wet.

I like the juxtaposition of these two pictures; the similarities and the contrasts between two apparently very different locations.

Salford Quays

Tatton Park