Stills V3

February 13, 2011


Filed under: Mike — sojournerphoto @ 22:11

Leeds Liverpool Canal – updated image as couldn’t print original!



  1. There is a great feeling of 3-D to this: I’m not sure whether it is the dash of light bottom right or the angular difference between the canal path and the line of the bridge. The tonal distribution also seems to help with that. I like the framing, the tinting and the ivy against the stone. A lovely-looking picture.

    Comment by zavaell — February 14, 2011 @ 08:07

  2. Channelling Atget, I’m jealous.

    This is so beautiful and I can imagine it printed on some heavyweight matte paper.


    Being led into the canal past the Ivy and then towards the little bit of light coming from underneath the canal is wonderful. The right-hand side of the picture has its own points of interest including the number plaque and a continuation of the curve of the top of the bridge, and lower in the picture the reflections.

    Comment by rhoehne — February 14, 2011 @ 22:11

  3. I really like the way that there’s a juxtaposition of on the one hand the smoothness of the water and on the other the patterns of the brick and ivy. With the strong disgnals and and placement of the tunnel in the frame the composition works for me.

    The only thing I would say, is that it doesn’t really tell a story, or get you thinking. When selecting prints to enter in the Australian professional photography awards I have been told to look for a story in my images. In hindsight, all of my entries that were just “pretty pictures” scored well, but didn’t get awards. You need something extra to grab the judges attention, and it’s the same for normal folks. We get so bombarded with imagery on a daily basis that we become blase about good images. They need something extra to win the viewer, to make them give more than a cursory glance. For example, imagine if there was a pair of empty shoes neatly placed facing the water on the pathway at the bottom left.

    As well as being on the third and improving the composition, your mind would be thinking “Whose shoes are they?”, “Did he drown?”, “Did he commit suicide?” etc. You get the idea.

    By the way I really love the B&W treatment you’ve given to this image – can you share you post processing recipe?

    Best regards, Antony

    Comment by northcoastphotography — February 14, 2011 @ 23:27

  4. Antony, for a competition photograph you are probably right, a friend of mine calls this including a third element. I’d hang this picture on the wall just as it is though without the third element, for me a picture which is calm and quiet is what I want facing me every day in my office or at home. A picture that raises questions every time I look at it could possibly drive me to distraction as I may never really know the answer.

    Comment by rhoehne — February 15, 2011 @ 00:12

  5. I’m with Robert too on the story telling aspect. I’m very much of the show don’t tell mentality in order that my brain has to do a little more exercise. I don’t mind the effort though I guess many others would rather take the easier path to enjoyment. As such, last night on NHK I sat through a wonderful documentary about life on the Macclesfield canal. Early on in the programme I saw bridge 26 and in combination with this photograph and some time spent researching the subject I now know a lot more about canal navigation.

    I’d more than happily hang this on a wall…so if a print is ever available let me know. It’s so wonderfully dark and still and quiet but moody none-the-less. The simplicity of the number and its contrasting tone with the majority of the picture combined with its positioning is a perfect stepping stone to the merest glint of light coming from the other side of the tunnel. Perfect and well seen.

    Comment by akikana — February 15, 2011 @ 00:56

  6. I’ve enjoyed the comments almost as much as the picture. There’s probably a bit of a third way between the two lines of thinking: sometimes the unadorned works, sometimes one needs more to lift a ‘pretty picture’.

    For me the this one falls into the former category given the history behind the place and structure.

    Comment by zavaell — February 15, 2011 @ 08:40

  7. I am not sure I would use the expression “tell a story” as I think that is only one way in which an image can communicate. To lift an image from the ordinary it must make an impact, that may be a story but there are a myriad of other ways an image can deliver a message and touch the viewer.

    I enter exhibitions and have even run one and I have found that the images are only seen by the judges for a few seconds therefore an image that grows on you is not going to be accepted, nor is one that relies on subtlety to intrigue the viewer, it needs instant wow. Even more amazing is that images that reveal technical errors after a minute or so of study can get accepted.

    This image is evocative for me (tells an old story :-) ) and the richness of the shadows draws me in.

    Comment by Rex — February 15, 2011 @ 21:46

  8. Thank you all. The comments here are really interesting and form an intelligent commentary on approaches to photography in themselves.

    Antony, picking up on a comment you made elsewhere (that I don’t think made the front page again – not you, but wordpress!) direct is fine here. Unless anything has changed then the principle is clear and direct, but not rude.

    Using Antony’s commentas a basis, there are a few thoughts I have, which just reflect my approach.

    There are no shoes or other items because there weren’t any. I don’t tend to crop frames nor to add/subtract from the scene. Having said that, this one was slightly cropped in the end, though that had more to do with the joke 35mm framelines that led to me including a bit of sky where I didn’t want to.

    The picture is more about the sense of the place than a story. It grabbed me as I walked past on a lunchtime photowalk and the keys were the light through the arch – a common theme I admit – the path and the ivy and stone textures.

    Even a straight picture is interesting in that this is right in the centre of Leeds, a busy city, and turning around you will be surrounded by new buildings along the old waterside.

    The black and white conersion was done in Lightroom using the B&W colour mapper and the tone curve tweaked to give me the detail I wanted in the stonework and ivy. The toning is a split tone also from lightroom (40,3,0,28,5 iirc). No vignetting, but I did burn the bottom left and top right corners in a bit.

    I’ve nearly got there with a good print now. Hopefully in the next week or so I’ll have something I really like and will let you know. Happy to send one if you’d like one – feedback is always useful.

    Comment by sojournerphoto — February 17, 2011 @ 22:29

  9. I though more Edwin Smith than Atget. A classic style, yet rendered in a modern manner. One of those photographs that i think is made for printing.

    Comment by doonster — February 20, 2011 @ 05:20

  10. Sorry I’m so late to comment on this photo gem. You’ve already gotten many good ones so I’ll just add my appreciation for the view and how beautifully rendered it is. I’d love to see that print.

    Comment by Christina — February 27, 2011 @ 05:29

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