All things bright and beautiful, All creature great and small,
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
Those words take me right back to my infant school assembly! Everyone knows this hymn, even today – and most of us can say we know the words by heart – to the first two verses anyway!!
I’ve been trying to think of inspirational themes for my photography outings – much more successful with a theme!! Now it so happens that the theme for the 2021 BBC Countryfile Calendar Competition is ‘Bright and Beautiful’ so I think I might just give that a whirl.
Of course it’s light and dark that create all those great photographic effects: the photographer who can capture light falling in a special way on a scene or lighting up a person’s face (to minimize those wrinkles!) holds the key to success – candle light, the glow of an open fire, reflections bouncing back off office windows, sunlight streaming through stained glass – Christmas lights! – all lovely, but Nature’s light has the most appeal – glorious sunsets, or dappled sunlight through the trees in a forest, light caught in water droplets on a leaf or clear blue skies over snow capped mountains. I’m going in search of some of those now but in the meantime here are some I prepared earlier !
I would never want to see things in just black and white, but as far as photography goes, with the aid of Photoshop you can see your colour photos as monochrome images as well and it makes for an interesting experiment. You find yourself concentrating more on the shapes, textures and composition of a picture – it’s a bit like when you turn the volume on a television down – what you notice are the facial expressions of the people on the screen, their gestures and movements rather than just what they are saying.
Of course some people only ever shoot their pictures in monochrome and they often turn out more striking than if you desaturate an image you’ve taken in colour. Here are some of my black and white pictures: I think architectural features stand out, patterns and textures are accentuated, you notice the shadows, reflections and shapes in the windows of buildings, the markings on a butterfly’s wings or a bird’s plumage.
I love this picture – the snowy white plumage of the goose and the dark gravel behind it. Birds’ plumage and their beady eyes look great in black and white
Reflections, mirrored in water or glass, create some interesting effects
A silhouette creates a stunning image. A dark shape or outline against a light background makes for a great photo.
Eliminatiing the colour is an excellent ploy for getting people to concentrate on the details, the forms, the action …….
I’ll finish with some butterflies – one of the most colourful creatures I can think of – but with their extraordinary markings they still look beautiful in black and white !
I thought I’d round off the year with an a, b, c of photos from my archive:
A is for AC Cobra – a mean, sleek racing machine.
B is for Bull – a Hereford White Face, emblematic breed from my native Herefordshire.
C is for Cockerel – this is a composite image from shapes I was playing around with in Photoshop.
D is for Dragon – we found this one in a park just on the outskirts of Barcelona.
E is for Entrance – the entrance to the Boquería food market in Barcelona city centre – a mecca for all foodies.
F is for Fire engine – this one is Norwegian – they seem to use them more for clearing the streets than tackling fires.
G is for Graffiti – Barcelona has some fine examples of it.
H is for Husky – this one lives in Tromso, Norway with his 299 kennel mates – a vociferous mob but very friendly.
I is for Ikea – that well known purveyor of flat pack furniture.
J is for Jalopy – this one being put through its paces in the construction stages by my dad.
K is for Kune kune pig – this breed has gained in popularity over recent years.
L is for Lifeboat – slung overhead they make for an interesting photo.
M is for May Fair – our annual fair invades the town for three days in early May to provide fun and entertainment.
N is for Nativity – a traditional alternative in Spain to the Christmas tree – a lot of homes display a nativity scene.
O is for Origami – my son has become adept at this after a trip to Japan – as you can see, this one is a bookmark shaped like a cat’s head.
P is for Patch – a piebald horse I used to ride who is now contentedly retired.
Q is for Quoits – a very competitive game on board ship !
R is for Roulette – a rather more sedentary, but nonetheless exciting, game, played in the on board casino.
S is for Sculpture and this is a beautiful, interactive one.
T is for Tree – this one is at Shobdon Arches, Herefordshire.
U is for Ural owl – this feisty youngster lived at Kington Owl Centre, Herefordshire.
V is for Vegetable – the talented chef on our cruise ship created all sorts of beautiful vegetable animals and birds inspired by cartoon characters.
W is for Windsurfers – there are always some off Barceloneta beach in Barcelona
X is for Xmas starter – I was ready to throw in the towel trying to create this from a Gary Rhodes recipe – only 4 pages of instructions!!
Y is for Youth clinic – children learning to ride at an annual clinic in Monnington, Herefordshire.
Z is for Ziggy – this beautiful animal, owned by friends of mine, was called Ziggy Stardust – sadly no longer around, but aptly named -a prima donna!