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  • valeriehuggins0

Thinking Lines

One of the challenges of keeping one's enthusiasm for a hobby such as photography is finding new things to photograph. Especially at this time of the year, when the chilly weather is a deterrent to long days out. But we had a beautiful deep blue sky-day last week, the air was still and the light low, casting long shadows. I had an hour to spare - where to go? I went to a location that I had used for a previous project on Bridges.

And what to focus on? Charlie Bellamy had suggested that one way to start on a project is to take your camera for a walk and use it like a sketchpad. React to something that you notice, reflect on why it interests you, and then look for other examples that link to the original provocation.

As it was a spur of the moment decision to go for a photowalk I only had my 'little' camera (Panasonic Lumix TZ95). It produces quality images (with its 20.3 mp sensor), has an impressive zoom (24-720mm) and can take raw images that make possibilities available in post-processing. However, it does not do ICM well or have the capacity for multiple exposures in camera so I knew I would be taking individual 'record' shots rather than my customary creative ones. A useful challenge to take me out of my comfort zone.

My first image was of the bridge:

I reviewed the image. What had caught my eye? The lines, the white against the blue sky, the abstract result. I followed this trail and looked for other possibilities:

I noticed the reflections in the water. The same white lines against the blue, but more diffuse and constantly changing in the fast current.

I pursued this strand of thought for a while, taking a range of images from different perspectives. I then watched how the scene changed as walkers and cyclists crossed the bridge and how that added a narrative to the reflection images.

Now I was beginning to think about sets of images that would work together and these of the lines dissolving as a swan swam through work well as a triptych.

I love that this way of approaching a photowalk had led to such a wealth of diverse images that also worked well together! Rather than individual, random shots, I now had the bones of the story of the walk. It felt good to be achieving something out of this spontaneous expedition.

Conscious of time I quickly walked across the bridge to look for further lines. This one of the barbed wire fits the criteria (white lines/blue background) that I had set myself but conveys such a different message. On its own, it is not a strong or appealing image. Not one I would put on my wall. But in the context of a project, it could be a 'contrast' or 'turning point' shot in a sequence.

I remembered how useful it can be to look back along your route to get another perspective. This resulting image is perhaps too cluttered to fit into the set, although it adds to the overall sense of the place:

I also remembered the advice to look up - and I spotted a microlite glider against the deep blue sky. Thinking of 'lines', I waited until they were framed by the electricity cables, and was very grateful for the long zoom!

When I subsequently uploaded the images to process them, I was quietly pleased with the 'success' rate. Being thoughtful, deliberate and limited in the shots I had taken meant that I had a set that worked together. Possibly the start of a larger project on 'lines'. Or on blue and white.

I have also been wallowing in the work of Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery. They play with an imaginative mix of ICM, multiple exposure and post-processing to achieve amazing abstract images. I spent an evening lost in experimentation, taking a series of square crops out of one of the reflection images, blending them together in Photoshop in layers and using different modes to change the effects. What a rabbit hole that is! Here is one of the more effective creations!:

Thank you #Charlie Bellamy and #FYV for your inspiration!

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These are such great images Valerie and illustrate the use of Charlie’s prompt so well. Start with something you really like and grow it. Thanks for sharing.

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