David travels the world capturing images of remote and spectacular wilderness areas. His work is characterised by strong light and colour and evokes a strong emotional response. He seems to have an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time to capture the perfect image. His images are often very colourful but they are not overdone, which one often sees these days now that the saturation slider on Photoshop is so accessible. His work is mostly images of the classic vista, isolated elements of the landscape and panoramas. Here is an example of his work.
Lake Pehoe, Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile Photograph by David Noton www.davidnoton.com
In addition to reading the book I have been lucky enough to attend a weekend photography workshop with David on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset UK. I now realise that his photographs are not about luck. David carries out meticulous reconnaissance before any shoot, seeking out the best viewpoints and anticipating the light. He is uncompromising when out shooting. He is prepared to wait for as long as it takes to capture the scene at just the right time.
He is quite experimental technically. His images often show movement (in foliage, water, clouds, people etc) through the use of long exposures. He uses depth of field to great effect using extreme wide angles and tilt shift lenses. He frequently includes people in the landscape to provide context and/or scale. His portfolio is also well populated with environmental portraits, often with the landscape as a backdrop. In these portraits he generally uses limited depth of field so that the sense of the landscape is maintained but being out of focus it does not detract from the subject.
His management of exposure always seems to be just right. To achieve this he makes very effective use of graduated ND and polarising filters. In very high contrast situations David sometimes combines two images in Photoshop to avoid clipping shadows and highlights.
For many years David used both 35mm and panoramic film formats. Today he has moved completely over to Digital SLRs.
During my weekend workshop with David in Dorset, we were not blessed with fine weather. Indeed it was a weekend of storms and winds (of up to 100mph). Watching David work in this situation was very instructive. He chose subjects to hightlight the stormy weather and was very careful to accomodate the wild conditions in his choice of viewpoints and camera settings (high shutter speeds and ISO's were the order of the day).
I was able to capture a few decent photographs during the weekend but I particularly liked the one below. This shows the view looking west along the coast at Durdle Cove. At the time of taking the shot I was lying on my stomach on the edge of a cliff. The wind was blowing at around 50mph. The camera was on a tripod set low with my 70-200 lens and a 0.9 ND grad filter. To avoid camera shake I had the ISO set to 800 which gave a shutter speed of 1/2000th at f/6.3. I remember concentrating on trying to keep the camera steady so as to maintain the framing I was hoping for. With hindsight I think I should also have been concentrating a bit more on what was happening within the frame. Happily I took a number of shots and this one was the best - one of the big positives of digital shooting!
Durdle Cove, Jurassic Coast Dorset England