Thursday, 10 December 2015

On making art with my camera

When I'm on a long trip, I take a huge number of photos. This time in Australia and New Zealand, I amassed over 4,000 in five weeks. I thank heavens for digital cameras and, although a big culling process will now be needed, the taking of these photos is a very important part of the experience for me. I look at everything I see in a different way when armed with my camera and notice shape and colour and graphic possibilities constantly. Without a good camera, where this is possible, my experience would be lessened.

So what photos do I take? Of course, many are a straight forward record of memories of people and places visited. However, if I learnt one thing while I was away this time, it was just how much I feel as if I'm 'making art' when I look through the view finder and take a photo. It seems to have become an essential part of my art practice and gives me great pleasure.

This time, I was especially taken with the huge variety of trees I saw, from the robust tropical species in Singapore and Northern Queensland to the conifers and small thorn bushes on the alpine mountains in New Zealand. They came alive and dead, in rows round fields (lots of them), in small random groups, singly, and of course in vast, uncountable numbers on the mountains and hills everywhere. Here are samples, now in black and white since that seemed the best way to exploit their potential and anyway I just couldn't resist the temptation.

In the photo above, taken at Hokitika on South Island, it was the outline shape and the spiky, ragged, 'bad-hair-day' nature of the palm fronds that amused me as it was silhouetted against a light sky.

With this small group taken near Uluru, it was the contrast between the strong trees and the fine, whispy grasses that carpeted the earth around them that caught my eye.


In this one in central South Island, I was fascinated by the line of trees with its delicate shapes made by the spindly trunks topped with a crown of leaves. 


In this one, it was the negative shapes confused by the fence posts that interested. 


On this trip, I took my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 bridge camera with which I have been delighted since I bought it last year for a previous trip. I know I've posted about it before but it continues to be extraordinarily versatile with its excellent in-built wide angle and zoom lens. I like the fact that, although smaller than a standard DSLR camera, it has both a view finder and a closeable small screen for reviewing photos on the back. Especially important on a long trip like this, it is very light in weight and compact and fits into a small canvas shoulder bag along with other basic essentials when I want to hide the fact that I'm a tourist.

4 comments:

  1. des découpages futurs...superbe!

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    1. Peut-être des découpages au début de nouvel an?

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  2. I am madly in love with your Treeline photo ... wonderful !
    I will be doing an large ink drawing of 6 maple tree in the new year, so I have been scouring the countryside for the naked beauty of winter trees and your photo is inspiring, Margaret !
    And, I am going to need a new camera soon as my Lumix is quickly becoming obsolete ... have taken note of your more modern one ... great camera's though !

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    1. That treeline was wonderful, but funny enough, I saw a similar line the other day MUCH closer to home, near Bath in fact, but I had no camera, was in a great hurry and driving at the time - the advantage of being on holiday.
      And Yes, the Lumix is great. My husband was so impressed as we travelled by what it could do that he now wants one, ready for the next trip!

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