My two visits to Woodbury Park (here and here) made me realise that I ought to take a trip to the main town graveyard, but if I am honest it felt a bit odd.
Visiting Woodbury Park, with few graves newer than about 1870 feels like a history lesson, but taking pictures in a site with so many recent burials is more potentially intrusive. Fortunately when I got there, it was clear that there were sections which were older and where I ended up strolling and others with more frequent memorials of still raw grief.
But what a beautiful site it is- no sign that I could find of its two most famous residents, the light music star Mantovani or the first Doctor Who, William Hartnell. But some beautiful monuments, including the one at the top for some wealthy local who even in death dwarfs all around- and without a hedge to protect him from prying eyes like mine!
The start of summer is lovely in most ways, but it presents challenges to photographers as cloudless skies and bright light combine to make dull and flat photos. One exception to this is when you slap an infrared lens onto the front of your camera. This blocks out the normal rays of light and makes the plants glow white and the sky turn black.
Suddenly my routine route to work gets a bit of magic back- a bit of tinting in photoshop and voila:
I blogged a few weeks ago from Bedgebury. If I am honest after visiting this place for ten years, I am really only recently beginning to appreciate its charms. With so many of the trees being still relatively young, it feels like somewhere that will be worth visiting in about a hundred years and much of it feels so artificial with its walkways, playgrounds and wooden sculptures.
And yet the trees are beautiful and I am learning to love its strangeness. Last time I brought these out in long exposures and false colour. Today I worked in infrared:
I have blogged once before from Woodbury Park Cemetery. This wonderful graveyard is hidden away behind the bus station at the top of town and although I got some pictures I was proud of, I felt the other day that a return trip was in order.
Taking pictures in a graveyard can be a challenge- there are so many different gravestones competing for attention that it can be hard to get a composition with simple focus that you like. This time I worked a lot in photoshop afterwards to get the shots as I wanted.
When we look at a picture, our eyes are attracted amongst other things to areas that are lighter, have greater contrast and more focus, so in these pictures I have essentially painted on light and darkness, blur and contrast.
The old black and white masters like Ansel Adams could use techniques in the darkroom to do this with light levels, but had less control after the shot over the focus and the micro-contrast- so thank-you photoshop!
The horrid weather at the weekend meant a change of plans for a day out, but all that rain does make the pantiles come out all nice and shiny.
So that’s alright, then!
Incidentally, I was inspired to go down to photograph there again, by seeing some great recent pictures of the Pantiles by George Layne- check out the one at this link in particular.
As part of an occasional series showing the vagaries of the local weather- here is the view from Bidborough over the Weald on this fine bank holiday morning!
One of the joys of being a colour blind photographer is that I have the excuse to try out all kinds of nonsense with my pictures. In today’s selection from nearby Bedgebury Pinetum, I have tried a technique in photoshop where I first make a black and white image and then superimpose it on the original colour snap. I blend the two together to take the light levels (luminosity) from the black and white and apply them to the colour version:
And if you don’t like all that technical talk or the OTT look the technique creates (not always sure myself) I’ve included the monochrome ones as well:
These are also all long exposure shots – there was a lot of wind that day, so 30 seconds left quite a lot of blur in the clouds. All in all, it goes some way towards bringing out the beautiful artificiality I find in this place: