TOM LOWE

Land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher Tom teaches us to look again at de­bris

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

Mak­ing in­ter­est­ing and unique im­ages from de­tails within the land­scape that are of­ten over­looked or con­sid­ered not pho­to­genic is a chal­lenge that I love. The coast is a par­tic­u­larly great place to do this kind of photo project: it’s in a con­stant state of change, with new weird and won­der­ful sub­jects re­veal­ing them­selves with the ebb and flow of each new tide.

On the late De­cem­ber morn­ing I took this shot, I ar­rived at Whit­ley Bay Beach to find the stormy win­ter seas had washed up large banks of tan­gled kelp. Overnight sub-zero tem­per­a­tures had dusted the kelp in a light frost, ac­cen­tu­at­ing its form. I was drawn to this ar­range­ment as I was in­stantly re­minded of oc­to­pus ten­ta­cles.

To get this shot, I mounted my Canon EOS 6D and 24-105mm lens on a tri­pod. I set the sen­si­tiv­ity to ISO 100 and the aper­ture to f/11, and used a re­mote cable re­lease to take an ex­po­sure of 2 sec. In post-pro­cess­ing I wanted to try to cre­ate a dark sci-fi feel rem­i­nis­cent of work by the artist HR Giger. To do this, I de­sat­u­rated the im­age and in­tro­duced cold tones. I also boosted contrast and clar­ity and used ra­dial fil­ters to draw the viewer’s eye to the main part of the frame.

Tip 1

Look down. When you’re out in the land­scape, try to ig­nore the wider view and fo­cus on all of the many small de­tails that make it up. Look out for bold colours, tex­ture, pat­terns and contrast.

Tip 2

At the beach, try to shoot on a fall­ing tide. The re­ced­ing wa­ter will re­veal pho­to­genic pat­terns and shapes in the sand, and will strand in­ter­est­ing ob­jects such as kelp and drift­wood on the beach.

Tip 3

Don’t be afraid to stage a shot. I of­ten col­lect nat­u­ral ob­jects that I then place within the land­scape to get a pleas­ing shot.

Tip 4

Slow down. When mak­ing coastal ab­stract im­ages, it can take time to get your eye in and make good com­po­si­tions. Use a tri­pod to help slow you down and con­sider which el­e­ments to in­clude in your shots.

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