I see so many people wishing for Spring, wishing for Summer, wishing for anything but the cold, dark and damp of the British winter. I, however, lament the longer daylight hours, the warmer weather, the green leaves on the trees. I actually love winter and although I find it difficult to keep my hands and feet warm, for me there is something appealing about stepping outside into the cold. Stepping out into the cold makes you all the more grateful for the warmth of a cosy cafe or the feeling you get when you return home, open the front door and you feel the warmth inside. I like being at home, cocooned away from the coldness outside as I look out of the window. Not that I spend all my time during winter at home; autumn and winter are my absolute favourite times to be out taking photos. If I could shoot in the light of autumn and winter all year round, I would – there is a quality to the light and the air that just isn’t there at other times of the year and I love being able to shoot at midday yet receive the kind of light that you have to wait until 9pm for on a summer’s evening…and even then it’s still not as good. I like wrapping up warm and heading out with my camera…somehow it seems easier to feel closer to nature than when you can walk around comfortably in shorts and a t-shirt.
As I’ve mentioned previously on my blog, I’ve recently been studying Ansel Adams and the zone system. While colour photographic negative has a good degree of flexibility and latitude, black and white film does not and you have to take a more calculated approach, especially if you’re wanting to achieve something more specific than a faithful rendition of the scene before you. With all that in mind I have been shooting so much more black and white film, and I’ve really come to love it and I am finding it easier to see scenes in black and white and to judge tones in terms of their placement in the zone system. I love being able to shoot black and white in this more precise way and I know it’s really going to benefit me when shooting weddings where you can find yourself in tricky light situations. I now carry my 18% grey card with me while shooting black and white film and I use it for each and every shot to determine where I want my exposures to sit for certain parts of the scene.
Today we headed out into the Peak District; it started off sunny and I managed to get a few more contrasty shots before the sun disappeared behind a cloud for the rest of our walk. I’d made the decision to shoot TRI-X 400 at 800 and push it one stop back at the lab to create a more moody and contrasty look, and I’m pleased with how it’s come out. These are all shot on my Contax 645 and of course developed and scanned by my very own hand back at UK Film Lab HQ.