Monday, 24 February 2014

The Stallion - Roger Lever

On a recent trip to the Shetland Isles I thought it would be only right to seek out a Shetland pony. It doesn’t take long to find one in Shetland.

I was heading south towards Sumburgh lighthouse. Weather cold wet and windy. 10 miles down the road I spotted two ponies and pulled over. These were stallions very proud guys with dreadlocks even. The lighting couldn’t be much worse.

Camera at the ready, wellies and storm jacket. Question - should I use a long or a short lens??Hiding my camera under my coat I advanced.

Question did I have the right lens on my camera? 85mm fixed Nikon lens - Question answered, the inquistive ponies came to me.

Problem TOO CLOSE Its beginning to rain again - Get back in the van Roger. So after a chat to them I returned to the van to wait. They both started eating the rough grazing and retreated a short distance.

Having had our chat they were quite happy to stay back this time. Rain eased off a little so I could safely take my camera out from it’s hiding place.

Trying to get a pony against the sky and still retain some of the distant Shetland landscape was the plan. I fired off a dozen shots at various angles and exposures before the rain came on again GAME OVER.

I downloaded the files when I got home . A quick search to identify potential good images. Of the ponies, this one stood out more than the others a quick conversion to black and white and a few tweeks on photoshop created a bit more drama and here we have it.

Roger Lever

Monday, 3 February 2014

Wedding Dress - Kim Ayres

At the Galloway Photographic Collective fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Care, my donation to the cause came in the form of a photo shoot, and the lucky winner was Isobel.

When I went out to see her to discuss what kind of image she would like, it became clear she's a woman of the land. All her life in one form or another she has lived on farms, and she came to her current one when she remarried 13 years ago. During the conversation it transpired she still had her red velvet wedding dress and thought it might be quite fun to combine with her wellies.

We went for a walk a short way from the house where I saw a couple of old, gnarled hawthorn trees, and beyond was a wonderful view down the valley out towards the Solway coast. It was grey and overcast and the light was very flat, but I knew if the sun was out it could be quite spectacular. Red dress, hawthorn tree, wonderful view and a low winter sun - all we had to do now was wait for the right combination of weather and a day when we might both be available.

While most of the past few months have been wet, grey and dull, there has been the odd rare moment when the sun has made an appearance, and on such a day in December I was able to make the most of it.

The temperature was only about 6 Celsius (43 Fahrenheit), and there was quite a wind blowing, making it feel several degrees colder. After about 20 minutes, I was feeling frozen, despite being wrapped up in several layers plus my coat and wearing 2 sets of gloves. Isobel, on the other hand, had her genes and life history on her side and wasn't bothered in the slightest.

Despite the fact the last time she had any kind of photo shoot was at her wedding, she had been quite relaxed and natural in front of the camera, which meant in a relatively short space of time we were able to get plenty of great shots, from the wistfully romantic to outright fun.

Back at the house we looked through the images. The one Isobel was most delighted with, though, didn't feature the welly-boots - in fact she wasn't even facing the camera. However, it did have a lovely combination the dress, the tree, the land and the light, which reflected how she felt about the place. And I have to admit I felt rather pleased with it too.

Wedding Dress

Kim Ayres