Welcome to the latest instalment of our monthly focus on one of our Society members.
For December 2018 we talk to Ian Andrew
Can you tell us what first got you interested in photography?
I had my first camera when I was a school kid – a Kodak Instamatic, which used the now-defunct 126 cartridge-type films. It seems a long time ago and I presume it must have been a Christmas present! In those days I just used to take a few holiday snaps.
I then moved on to a Zenith SLR when I was at Durham University. (How many people had one of those as their first “proper” camera?) (Editor: Yes, I put my hand up to that and I still have it!) I’d joined the Industrial Archaeology Group and we used to roam the north east of England looking at derelict lime kilns, lead mines, abandoned railways and much more. It had to be photographed!
What type of photographs do you most enjoy taking?
Landscapes, buildings, industrial archaeology, anything steam-powered or transport-related, stuff I come across when out and about.
What type of photographic equipment do you use?
These days I’m not keen on lugging around loads of heavy equipment (the weight of my old film SLR kit amazes me!) so I use a Panasonic Lumix G2 4/3 format camera with a selection of lenses. Probably the lens I use most often is a 7-14mm zoom (equivalent to 14-28mm). I also have a Lumix TZ80 compact camera which I’ll take if I want something to just slip in a pocket.
Can you identify some photographers that have inspired you?
One of my favourite photographers is Joe Cornish. He takes wonderful landscapes and his use of lighting is often breathtaking. Back in the days when Dunchurch Photographic Society used to host an annual Celebrity Lecture in Rugby School’s Macready Theatre he was one of the photographers we had as a guest speaker and he put on a great show. Couldn’t afford him these days!
Can you show us a selection of your photographs each with a short explanatory paragraph; what inspired you to take the photograph or process it in the way you have?
Taken from the end of Cromer Pier. I desaturated all the colours except yellow in order to enhance the warm feeling of the image and highlight the sunlight on the groyne.
A wide angle shot from quite a low viewpoint. This took a lot of processing in Lightroom but I was pretty happy with the result.
The Clouds of War
A view of the memorial at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. This is also from a low viewpoint with a wide angle lens. Again this took a lot of post-processing – I seem to remember ending up with seven graduated filters to achieve the effects I was looking for.
This was taken at Draycote and I went for a vertical pillarbox crop to emphasise the big sky and the sense of isolation of the figure. It turned out to be a bit of a “Marmite” picture – Bob Moore dismissively said he’d seen it done before but Hazel Manning gave it 20 in a battle. At least one of them is a good judge!
I go down to Cornwall quite a bit and these are arguably the most photogenic engine houses in the whole country – the famous Crowns Section at Botallack. The mine workings here went over half a mile out under the sea. I had a cottage a mere 5 minute walk from this location and was fortunate to get two or three good sunsets whilst down there. A wide angle shot to include plenty of thrift in the foreground.
Barmouth Snow Squall
This was taken during the weekend of the “Mini Beast from the East” and was a dead-lucky piece of timing. We knew a train was due (there aren’t many use that line on a Sunday) and had watched for around 10-15 minutes as it slowly approached round the bay – with the sun shining. Then a snow storm appeared, coming down the valley behind the bridge… 5 seconds before taking this picture the train was within shot and the sun was still out but there wasn’t much snow falling in the image. Then – BINGO! train, bridge, snow and sun all together. 15 seconds after this exposure the train had gone, the sun had gone and the bridge had very nearly gone as a white-out swept in. Another 10 minutes later the sun was out again.
So far as processing goes there were dozens of buoys and seagulls to be cloned out, leaving just a single pair of orange buoys in a strategic place. The snow and sunlight are real though!
How do you see your photography developing in the future?
I still do all my post-processing in Lightroom and have done since I “went digital” in 2006, but it now seems increasingly difficult to achieve a successful image without doing significant jiggery-pokery in Photoshop. I may have to take the plunge!
Thank you, Ian, for sharing this with us.
Great atmosphere in these landscapes, all taken in exactly the right light and weather conditions. Fantastic!