8 Nov 2008

Philip Dunn's new blog

Philip Dunn has moved his blog to www.photoactive.co.uk

I'm delighted to tell you that my blog is now incorporated within my own Photoactive website. I very much hope you will continue to visit for photography advice, tips and information.

Everything seems to be running fine with the newly updated website, but if you find any glitches, please let me know. Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

The plan is to grow the Photoactive blog even further with lots more free photography tips and techniques advice.

If you subscribe to my blog, please make sure you update your Bookmark or RSS Feed.
See you over there

4 Nov 2008

Seeing photographs differently

It's been a particularly busy period with one-to-one tuition. Some photographers have come as far as Brighton in the south of England and the range of their skills and experience has been very wide-ranging: everyone from an complete beginner who brought along her new compact camera, to an experienced pro from London who wanted to learn more about using portable studio lighting on location.

The one thing that all these photographers have in common is a keenness to learn more and to get more from their photography. The other common denominator is that they all see things quite differently. I have many options for different locations here in Galloway, and I try to suit a location and subject to each photographer's particular requirements. Some, for instance want to learn more about photographing interiors, people or seascape. I simply take the photographer to the location that I believe will best suit. Even so, this means that I visit some locations more often than others - but always with different photographers.

The thing that never ceases to astound me is that each photographer will approach these subjects and photograph them in a totally different way. Yes, I know light conditions are never identical from one visit to the next, but that's not what I mean. Take Neil Murray, for instance. We went together to a part of the coast where there is an old derelict stone building. I've been their dozens of times with other photographers but none has seen it the way Neil saw it.

What was one of the first things he did? He sat in the ruined fireplace and pointed his lens up the chimney.

Okay, the picture didn't work very well, and as I watched him shooting away, I had a good idea that it wouldn't. But no way would I tell him that. Far better that he kept his enquiring eye and learnt from the ocassional failure. That way he will definitely produce something very special every now and again.

That's Neil in the photograph above

2 Nov 2008

Light and landscapes

I was out and about with a student the other day – and what a glorious autumn day it was for taking photographs. Despite the strong winds and terrible weather we’ve had recently, the trees have held on to lots of leaves and the colours are still fantastic.

We walked together down a wooded path which I’ve not used for over a year. This path meanders alongside the tidal river Dee through a stretch of oak and beech trees. It came as something of a surprise that, although I knew the path well and have taken many pictures here before, I was seeing things as if for the first time. New pictures were jumping out at me at almost every step. I was seeing new close-ups and different angles between the tree trunks; I noticed lovers’ initials and hearts carved in the bark of some of the trees, I photographed the sparkling water of the river, and hawthorn berries showing bright red against the deep blue sky. So why did it all look so different? The trees were the same and so was the river.

It was all about light. That’s what was so different. It was brighter, crisper, and striking the trees and all the other subjects at different angles to the last time I was there.

It reinforced my old theory that even though your local landscape may be very familiar to you, and you may have photographed it many times before, if you look at the same place at a different time of day, a different season and in different light conditions, it can reveal many previously unseen secrets.

Certainly my student for the day enjoyed his walk through the woods – and we took an awful lot of photographs together that lovely morning.