Project 28 - intimate landscape

I have completed this project out of sequence. The reason for this was that the light conditions were not suitable for the earlier projects when I ventured out, so I decided to capture selective images of the landscape excluding the sky. For this project I visited the towpath of the River Thames at Dorney.

I used a long zoom throughout the shoot and did not use any filtration. I decided to isolate interesting areas of foliage, reflections in the river and tree branches/flowers using the river as the background. I decided to shoot most of the images with my zoom wide open to create interesting bokeh effects, except where I wanted to use motion as a creative feature when I stopped down to give a slower shutter speed.

My favourite images from the shoot are shown below:

Details from riverbank, River Thames Dorney Berkshire England

I was pleased with these photographs. This type of image is something that I rarely make. Perhaps now I will try this more often, especially when the light conditions are not ideally suited for the big vista shot. Some things I need to work on are 1) to think more carefully about the composition for these slices of the landscape - the usual rules apply, I just need to put them to use, 2) when using limited depth of field to decide which part of the image I want to be in focus - this should not happen by accident and 3) the use of motion creatively is tricky - experiment with different shutter speeds to give options in post production.

Project 18 - sunrise and sunset

This project involved scouting out a location for dawn/sunset photographs and making the photographs thereafter. I had an opportunity to do this during my trip to the Languedoc. The first two images were taken at dawn. The subjects are a house and a Chateau near Montgey, Languedoc France. Both images were shot from the same place. I had found the location the afternoon before, but I only had time for a brief reconnaissance.

House, Montgey Languedoc France

Chateau de Montgey, Languedoc France

It is interesting to compare the colour of the images. The first was shot before the sun came up and the scene has a definite pink tone. The latter was just after daybreak and the pink is replace by an orange tinge. These could have been very good images but the electricity poles and wires ruin the scene - more careful reconnaissance might have avoided this problem. At the time it was simply too dark to see the detail in the landscape. Lesson - prepare more carefully. On a technical note I uses a 3 stop graduated filter for both of these shots.

The third shot was one of a hillside chapel above Dourgne - I do not know its name (lesson - take better notes at the time of shooting!). This was taken as the sun went down. Not a bad image but the light is not as dramatic as I had hoped for. About 10 minutes after I had packed up and was leaving the scene was bathed with a beautiful red tone. Lesson - don't pack up too soon!!

Hillside Chapel, above Dourges Languedoc France

Project 19 - choosing the moment

I had an opportunity to carry out a few projects during my trip to the Languedoc. We had several shoots at sunset and sunrise.

This project involved making a series of images as the sun sets or rises and to review the output to see if what seemed to be the best image at the time remains so on review of the processed images.

My subject for this project was the Abbaye Sainte Scholastique de Dourgne, which as the name suggests is close to the town of Dourgne in the Languedoc. I was shooting from a hillside overlooking the town at sunrise. The photographs below show three images taken within a time period of about 15 minutes - the scene was changing very quickly. 

          Abbaye Sainte Scholastique de Dourgne, Languedoc France

As can be seen from the images the sun was lighting an increasing part of the frame from the top downwards as time progressed. The movement was quite rapid. At the time of shooting the last image was my preferred one. However with hindsight the second image when the sun just started to kiss the main subject, the Abbaye, is after further consideration my favourite. The final image where most of the scene is illuminated is less dramatic.

Lessons learned from this exercise are that the scene can and will change very rapidly - one needs to be vigilant. Second, I learned that impressions at the time of shooting are not necessarily right and so several images should be taken for closer inspection later on.


David Noton Workshop - Languedoc South West France

My feet have hardly touched the ground since returning from the USA. The USA trip was based around cities and my programme very full with racing an Ironman triathlon, so little opportunity for pursuing the landscape course. However, this weekend I am off to the Languedoc in south west France to take part in a landscape photography workshop with David Noton. This promises to be an exciting trip.

My wife bought me an old guidebook, published in 1987. What is most interesting about this book is that the photographs were taken by Charlie Waite, who is one of my personal favourite landscape photographers. David Noton also recently published a blog on the region which was also inspirational. I am really looking forward to the trip. Here is one of David's photographs from his recent trip....

Bastille Day firework display over Carcassonne, Aude, Languedoc-Rousillon, France By David Noton

Assignment 2: Tutor Feedback

I received my feedback on this assignment whilst I was away in the USA. This trip also explains I  haven't made any posts for a few weeks.

Overall the assessment was fine. My work was judged to be technically competent, my selection and design of the assignment effective and my communication strong. The area which I did less well was in terms of creativity. My worked was judged as 'safe', by and  large, rather than innovative.

The latter is a fair criticism. I have tended to steer away from including highly innovative and unusual images in my assignments to date. This is perhaps due to my lack of creative vision, but it is also in part due to fear of failure. Going forward I need to be more adventurous and to quote my tutor 'playful'. I will then find out if my traditional approach is due to a shortfall in my inherent creativity rather than my reserve and caution. My tutor also suggested that I review the work of Terri Weifenbach and other contemporary landscape photographers. This I shall do.

In a number of the shots my tutor suggested that I might have improved an image had I got in closer and made more creative use of limited depth of field. Here is an example of one of these photos.

Pollard Three, Burnham Beeches Buckinghamshire

Looking at it now I can see that the knarled tree trunk is begging for a close up photograph, perhaps from a side angle to show its bulbous nature to full effect. With the right light conditions such an image would have been very strong.

On a positive note my tutor liked two of my images in particular. Curiously these were the two which before submitting the assignment I was most concerned about. Not because I disliked the images. In fact they are my favourites too. But because I was concerned that they might be too abstract.

Silver Birches, Upper Pond, Burnham Beeches Buckinghamshire UK

Reflection, Middle Pond, Burnham Beeches Buckinghamshire UK


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About Me

I have been taking photographs since I was young boy some 45 years ago, but only seriously since 2005 when I enrolled to study at the Open College of the Arts. I am working towards a BA in Photography. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society. This log record details of my projects and assignments during my studies. It also records ideas, work by other artists/photographers, notes on books/websites/exhibitions, influences, discoveries, thoughts, research findings and observations as I work through my courses. You can contact me at keith.greenough@btinternet.com or simply leave a comment on one of my posts.

Landscape Photography Bibliography

  • Andrea G Stillman (2007), Ansel Adams 400 Photographs, Little Brown New York USA
  • Andy Grundberg (1999), Crisis of the Real, Aperture Foundation New York
  • Ansel Adams (2007), Examples The Making of 40 Photographs, Little Brown New York USA
  • Ben Maddow(1989), Edward Weston, His Life, Aperture Foundation New York USA
  • Charlie Waite (1989), Scottish Islands, Constable London
  • Charlie Waite (1992), The Making of Landscape Photographs, Collins and Brown London
  • Charlie Waite (1999), Seeing Landscapes, Collins and Brown London
  • Charlie Waite (2002), In My Minds Eye, Photographers Institute Press East Sussex UK
  • Charlie Waite (2005), Landscape, Collins and Brown London
  • Clive Minnitt and Phil Malpas(2009), Finding the Picture, Envisage Books London
  • David Noton (2008), PHOTOGRAPY ESSENTIALS: WAITING FOR THE LIGHT, David & Charles PLC, London
  • Fay Godwin(1985), Land, William Heinemann London
  • Fay Godwin(1990), Our Forbidden Land, Jonathan Cape London
  • Fay Godwin(1998), Glassworks & Secret Lives, Stella Press East Sussex UK
  • Fay Godwin(2001), Landmarks, Dewi Lewis Publishing Stockport UK
  • Galen Rowell (1995), Mountain Light, Sierra Club Books San Francisco USA
  • Galen Rowell (2001), Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, Norton & co New York USA
  • Galen Rowell (2002),Galen Rowell's Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography, University of California Press USA
  • Harry Callaghan (1993), Ansell Adams in Color, Little Brown New York USA
  • Hunter, Biver & Fuqua(2007), Light Science & Magic, Elsevier Oxford UK
  • James Bentley & Charlie Waite (1987), Languedoc, George Philip London
  • James Bentley & Charlie Waite (1987), Languedoc, George Philip London
  • Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, David Ward, Eddie Ephraums (2006), Working the Light, Argentum London
  • Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, David Ward, Eddie Ephraums (2007), Developing Style and Vision, Argentum London
  • Joel Meyerowitz (2002), Cape Light, Little Brown and Company New York USA
  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing, Penguin Modern Classics
  • John P Schaefer (2007),The Ansel Adams Guide Book 2 Basic Techniques of Photography, Little Brown New York USA
  • John P Schaefer (2007),The Ansel Adams Guide Book I Basic Techniques of Photography, Little Brown New York USA
  • John Szarkowski (1981), American Landscapes, The Museum of Modern Art New York USA
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 01 (2007), AA Publishing
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 02 (2008), AA Publishing
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year Collection 03 (2009), AA Publishing
  • Liz Wells (1996), Photography:A Critical Introduction, Routledge Oxon
  • Liz Wells (2003), The Photography Reader, Routledge Oxon
  • Marc Garanger (1989), Louisiane, Kodak
  • Robert Adams (1996), Beauty in Photography, Aperture Foundation New York USA
  • Robert Adams et al (2009), New Topographics, Steidl Germany
  • Stephen Shaw (2004), Uncommon Places The Complete Works, Thames and Hudson, London
  • Susan Sontag, On Photography, Penguin Books London
  • Terence Pitts (2008), Edward Weston (Icons Series), Taschen
  • TPOTY Awards (2010), TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR Journey Three, Travel Photographer of the Year Suffolk UK