Appreciating your own backyard and new techniques

Abandoned farm building in monochrome

Whilst I adore travelling the world and documenting our trips through photography  it can be even more satisfying to obtain pictures you are proud of from your own locality. When you’re faced with the incredible wildlife of the Mara, or the architectural wonders of Paris it’s not hard to get a decent photograph. It can, however, be much harder to experiment with new approaches closer to home where inspiration, and the luxury of time, is often harder to obtain. That’s why I like to push myself to experiment with new methods and techniques – and why I end up having one or two serious photography obsessions a year.

One obsession is macro photography, which is well documented through my macro challenges blog and ,my macro photography gallery… the latest obsession is infrared photography.

Infrared is a big challenge – not just technically, but also because it requires a new ‘eye’ and a special kind of patience to wait for the right conditions and light.  I’m used to / favor the kind of photography where I can react to my inspiration without having to stakeout in a hide or wait for the right conditions – that’s why I love macro, it is so accessible and you don’t even have to leave the house! In comparison, infrared requires me to consider the shot well before I even place the camera to my eye. It has made me re-consider composition, sharpness and the little details…waiting for clouds to frame the subject of the shot, ensuring that shadows are cast into the picture as desired, ensuring that the sun is not too strong and focusing more on inanimate objects opposed to wildlife.

Take, for instance, the barn above. I would never normally dream of stopping in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales to photograph an abandoned farm building…but this caught my eye because of the band of white cloud wrapping around the darkness of the abandoned building. It was a stark contrast to the turbulent skies and textured snow that frames the top and bottom of this image. It’s nothing special to look at, but I like this image because of what it represents to me – a new technique which, with every shot, is improving my skills and fueling my obsession.

It’s also not bad for a wee compact point and shoot camera! To see more of my infrared shots, visit my online infrared gallery.

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