Freelance Photographer Cambridge - Blog | 07 - Colour Blind

January 18, 2017
bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Freelance Photographer & Freelance Photography Services in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.    
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   Alistair Grant 

Freelance Photographer Cambridge & London

     
     

bokeh photographic: Blog No: 07

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Colour Blind

There can be little contention that January is often bleak, perhaps especially so in the Fens. The somewhat apocryphal story goes that as the land east of Cambridge is flat until you reach the Ural Mountains, an unhindered cold Easterly wind is able to selectively chill East Anglia through winter until late spring unlike the rest of the country where the prevailing winds are milder Atlantic Westerlies. As a Food & Drink Photographer who covers the entire food cycle, including production, I spend quite a lot of time in Fenland as the area accounts for around half of all Grade 1 agricultural land in England. The characteristic ‘Black Fen’ soil is especially prominent in winter and provides a strong contrast against the open skies of Fenland. In its own unique way it is a starkly beautiful scene.

One January highlight for me is the Whittlesea (aka Whittlesey) Straw Bear Festival. Unlike other winter festivals it takes place during the day and so does not revolve around ‘light at night’ – illuminated displays, bonfires, fireworks etc. This does not make it less of a show. Straw Bear is a lively affair with various dance sides performing traditional Molly, Morris, Clog and Sword dances whilst the Straw Bear is paraded around the town by its keeper in a contemporary revival of a tradition where agricultural workers cadged money and/or beer and/or food by roaming around the town. From a professional perspective good shots of Straw Bear heading up the parade are essential for image syndication.

What particularly stands out at Straw Bear is colour. Each dance side is distinguished by extremely vibrant costumes - usually bright rags or a form of fancy dress - with performers faces painted as an extra disguise. How strange then that from a personal perspective I generally seek out probably the least colourful troupe - Pig Dyke Molly - who dress in ‘glorious’ black and white. Moreover, my preference is to photograph them in black and white. In a way, this doesn’t make sense. As I always mention to those considering booking an Active Portraiture shoot, soft winter sunlight is far more flattering than harsh summer sun and can yield much more pleasing results in terms of colour and tone. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate how the colourful spectacle of Straw Bear lifts the spirits during dreary January. Nevertheless, from an aesthetic point of view, monochrome rendering of this particular dance side always works best.

However, monochrome photography isn’t necessarily straightforward. Indeed, most students on bokeh photographic Training Courses seem to find black and white photography tricky. The key is realising whether the dynamic range of the scene fits that of the camera and then how best to interpret this tonally – simply selecting ‘monochrome picture style’ in-camera is never terribly successful. Whilst I have developed by own monochrome presets I often use the excellent (and now free) Nik Software Silver Efex Pro plug-in which Google acquired in 2012 and hopefully won’t botch-up or discontinue!

   
     

Call Alistair Grant on 07775 365507, Email alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk or click Booking Enquiries if you have any questions or would like to make a booking.

   
     

bokeh: "the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens"


Freelance Photographer offering Food & Drink Photography Cambridge; Commercial Photography Cambridge, Product Photography Cambridge & Packshot Photography Cambridge; Event Photography Cambridge; Portrait Photography Cambridge; Corporate Photography Cambridge & PR Photography Cambridge; Engagement Photography Cambridge & Wedding Photography Cambridge and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge. Also covering: Huntingdon, St. Ives, Ramsey, St. Neots, Peterborough, Bedford, Stamford, Newmarket, Sawtry, Alconbury Weston, Brampton, Hartford, Warboys, Houghton, Wyton, Godmanchester, Hilton, Hemingford Grey, Hemingford Abbots, Fenstanton, Whittesley, Yaxley, Needingworth, Somersham, Chatteris, Ely, Bar Hill, Grafham and Buckden.

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bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer | Cambridge, London, UK

Food & Drink Photography | Commercial Photography & Product Photography | Corporate Photography & PR Photography | Portrait Photography (inc. 'Active Portraiture') | Event Photography | Wedding Photography | Photography Training Courses & Camera Tuition

Tel: 07775 365507 | Email: alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk