Douar Erha

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I have just returned from a holiday in Marrakech, Morocco and whilst the holiday was mainly about chilling out with my wife, I did find time to practice my new found love of New Topographics photography. Our hotel was next to a village called Douar Erha, just south of Marrakech. Being in an area frequented by tourists, the village has its fair share of holiday villas and hotels. However, surrounding these are the rather more humble homes and shops of locals. Better known for my minimalist photographic style I was naturally inspired by the shape, form and line of the buildings, as well as their eerily isolated feel. However, despite the unfinished look of the buildings and little signs of life, it is quite evident that they are habited. In fact, I was invited into one of the homes to share mint tea and Arabic bread!

The complete series can be found here

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Re-edit

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I just decided to re-edit it this 2013 photo based on the techniques I’ve learned since then, and I am very happy with the results. It was taken in Baltimore, and was one of my first true minimalist photos.

Breakfast Photo

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It’s been a while since I last posted here, January in fact, mainly because I’ve had a role change at work, limiting the time I have for social media. I do find time for photography though, albeit around work commitments. Indeed, this photo that I took this morning,  I had to sneak in walking from hotel to car whilst dressed in my suit ready for work!

Paradise, and a 10ft fence post

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I am coming to the end of a 5 day visit to Joao Pessoa in Brazil. Although it is a working visit, I have been able to find some time to get out and about with my camera. During my stay, my inspiration for photography has come from the long stretches of golden sandy beaches, and true to my minimalist self, I found just the shot I was looking for!

Autumnal cliché

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I can’t believe it is October already, and that the last time I posted was in July! For one reason or another, things have been very busy hence the lack of posting, despite the fact I have many images waiting in the wing. Anyway, things should get easier in a few weeks and I can get back to  posting regularly.

Car park facades

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One very common sight in most cities and towns are car parks, and many provide great abstract photography opportunities due to their mostly rigid geomentric structures. Here is one in Fort Worth, Texas, the lines helped by strong midday sunshine.

Pre-planning

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Recently while travelling for work I had the weekend free, and on saturday night was undecided where to go the next day. So what better to do than have a pint or two of beer and do some online research. While doing a reconnaisance using street view mapping, I noticed this building, and decided to drive 90 minutes the next day to find it!

 

Easier said than done

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I saw this building whilst driving north towards Boston on the interstate and decided it would make a good photograph to compliment my ‘City Facades’ series. However, trying to find this building once parked was another issue as, once in the downtown area, the high rise building make it very difficult much other than straight up!

Right place, better subject

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During the cab ride to my hotel in Fort Worth recently we passed a building that to me looked very interesting as a photographic subject. A few day later I walked four miles to find the building, but when I got there it wasn’t what I had expected, but found this instead just around the corner.

Old and New

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Like many larger cities, downtown Fort Worth has its fair share of glass clad buildings, and as a consequence I took many reflection photos. This one, which is a reflection of an older building, is my favourite.

Worth waiting for

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I arrived at my hotel in Fort Worth at 6pm after travelling for over 12 hours from London. The sun was still shining, so rather than take an early night, I decided to take a walk in the city, camera in hand. Later, when I was walking back to my hotel, I looked up and noticed how this otherwise boring concrete building appeared  to glow golden in the late evening sun.

Colour Photography

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I have desaturated this image to remove a slight cyan cast, otherwise this is as seen. The wood was painted grey, the window frame was white, and there was no reflection from the window, because I deliberately postioned myself to avoid such reflections.

Colorado Windows

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I never set out to build a series of photographs from scratch. Rather, I usually try to build a series from one or two photos in my collection, deliberately targeting particular areas, such as I did with my ‘Industrial Minimalism’ series. ‘Colorado Windows’, on the other hand, happened quite by chance during a visit there last summer when, after a few days, I realised I had a full series without trying!

 

 

Is it real?

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I am regularly asked this question when sharing my images. Each time I have to say yes, it is real. I walk the streets to find these unusual building and objects; that is the pleasure for me. I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting at home on my computer making these things up. I know others do, and that is fine, but I don’t.

First impressions last

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Sometimes the best image is the first one you take. At the time I was not happy with the lighting as this wall was in shade. However, when I returned later in the day, there was too much glare from the glass, and the shadows in the windows were too distracting.

 

Black Windows

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Although I have done some editing to eliminate reflections from the glass in the window, most of the work was done when taking the shot. I often have to move around to adjust the reflection to my liking, sometimes to include it, sometimes not.

 

It’s all in the detail

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The building I was photographing here was a fairly boring, almost brutalist style concrete structure. Here I have focussed my composition on a section of the structure, just as the concrete protrusions were casting shadows, all perfectly in line with the windows.

Had to go back!

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The day I first visited this location, there were two problems. The first one was that it was a working day, and there was too much activity to feel comfortable about taking the shot, particularly as the only suitable position was in their private car park. the second problem was the sun was behind me, so I was getting far too much reflection from the steel walls and glass. Thankfully I was able to return the following morning, which was a Saturday, and the sun was in front of me!

Getting distracted

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I often mention in my blogs about how I try to avoid distracting objects like streetlights and trees. Well, in this example, without the streetlight it would have been plain boring. Sometimes a bit of distraction is good, sometimes it is essential!

Play it again Sam

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The beauty of abstract work is that the viewer can see what they like. Someone commented that this image looked like a piano keyboard. I never saw this until they commented, now I can’t get it out of my head!

Industrial Happiness

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Isn’t it great to be able to wander around industrial estates when the sun is shining! Much better than those boring country walks with nothing to see but lakes, valleys, trees and grass. I much prefer steel walls, security lighting, conduit and rivets!

It’s a Small World

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Compare this to an image posted by my WP friend Melinda Green Harvey last week. It is a different composition, but taken from almost the same spot in San Antonio, Texas, no more than two weeks apart. Now, I believe Melinda lives in Texas, but considering Texas is 3 times the size of England where I live, this is quite a coincidence. It really is a small world!

Show me the colour

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Sometimes converting images to black and white works, sometimes not. in this case I had little choice, as the steel structure was very monochrome. In fact, going back to the unedited file, I can’t tell if I ever converted it, although there may have been a slight cyan cast in the shadows.

Highway Wilderness

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I had just spent a few hours wandering the city streets for inspiration and I was on my way back to my hotel when I spotted this image. The first problem was I was driving along a highway so had to take the next exit, and then back to the location. The second problem was, trying to find a suitable place to stop as the location was right next to a highway exit. Having driven around a few times, I did find somewhere to stop, but then there was the third problem, finding somewhere to stand to compose my photo!

You goin’ to the mission bro?

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As a rule I dress down when wandering the city streets in search of good photographic subjects. I try not to look like a tourist, or that I am carrying around expensive camera gear. When I was asked last week by two homeless people if I was going to the (homeless) mission, I realised my deception was working!