It’s #PhotoFriday! Today’s image, “The Glorious Dead at Peace” features Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, France.
Caterpillar Valley Cemetery is located just west of Longueval, France. In the autumn of 1918 a small cemetery was created at this site containing 25 graves. It was not until after the Armistice in November 1918 that this cemetery was greatly enlarged to accommodate the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men who where brought from the battlefields of the Somme and from other smaller cemeteries to be interred here. The memorial and the cemetery was designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker.
This week’s image is of the Menin gate, Ypres, Belgium. This magnificent structure is dedicated to the British and commonwealth soldiers who were killed during the First World War, and still to this day are missing in the Ypres Salient.
Once completed, the gate appeared to be not large enough to contain all the names as originally planned. It was then decided by the Commonwealth Graves commission that the 54,395 names of those who had died before 15th August 1917 would be inscribed on stone panels of the Hall of Memory within the Menin Gate. The remaining 34,984 names of those who were killed and are still are missing would be commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing instead.
In an act of gratitude to the brave soldiers who fought for the freedom of Belgium during the First World War, every night at 8pm buglers from the local fire brigade close the road which passes through the memorial and sounds the “Last Post.” With the exception of the German occupation during the Second World War, this evening ceremony has been carried out each night since the 2nd of July 1928.
When visiting Ypres earlier in the year, I had the privilege to witness this ceremony for myself. Standing alongside hundreds of people within the Hall of Memory surrounded by all the names of the missing etched onto the walls, knowing that the ground I stood on was were hundreds of thousands of brave men made their way to the front line, was a very overwhelming experience. Even now, recalling it now as I write this makes me emotional. The dignity, gratitude and honour shown to all those who fought all that time ago was extremely poignant and humbling. The memory of the night will live with me the rest of my life.
Dominating the skyline near the Villiage of Thiepval, France, stands the Thiepval Memorial which commemorates the 72,246 missing, or unidentified British Empire soldiers who have no known grave who died during the the battles of the Somme which took place between 1915 and 1918.
This magnificent memorial was constructed over a period 4 years, from 1928 and 1932. This edifice which is the largest commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who is well known for designing the Cenotaph in London, Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Viceroys House) in New Delhi, as well as many more well known structures.
The memorial is also the Anglo-French battle memorial which commemorates the 1916 offensive where Britian and France fought side by side. At the foot of the Thiepval Monument lies a cemetery containing the 300 British Commenwealth and 300 French graves which recognises further the relationship both countries had during the Somme offensive. When I visited this site earlier this year I was in awe of the sheer scale of this structure. I had seen many images of it, but it wasn’t until I was standing inside the main arch that I truly realise the sheer scale of this magnificent memorial. Surrounded by the thousands of names of the lost carved in the newly restored Portland stone I stood overwhelmed. As physically monumental in scale this structure is, it does not compare to the scale of sacrifice and horrific loss of human life that took place between the July 1915 and March 1918. Like many of the sites visited on the trip, visiting the Thiepval Memorial is something I will never forget.
Yes you guessed it, I was on my holidays again!! But don’t worry this trip has filled the ReClick Photo pool so much that there will be enough material to keep #PhotoFriday going for the next couple of years! As I have mention before I always shoot images in Raw Format so every image is processed individually so all these new images, combined with all the other images I have taken this year has created a vast ReClick Photo stockpile! In order to give you a tiny preview of my latest images (the rest of them you will see in the coming months) I am going to share an extremely special image of mine which captures a moment I have been waiting for all my life. Today’s #PhotoFriday image is of the Secession Building, Vienna, Austria.
Ever since I new what art truly was, I have known about the Secession and those who created and inhabited it. All throughout my secondary school education and then later on to art school, I learned all about the great secessionists such as the Great Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, Egon Shiele, Joseph Olbrich, Koloman Moser etc. Through time these great artists became my own personal creative heroes.
On Friday the 1st of June 2016, I finally had to chance to stand on the steps of the great Secession Building which is situated near Karlsplatz, Vienna. Looking up I was so overwhelmed by what I saw. For at least the past two decades I looked at various images of this building but to be there, to take it all in, to touch its wall with my hands was a dream come true.
Above the magnificent entrance in bright gilded lettering is the phrase which is synonymous with the secession movement “Der Ziet ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Frieheit,” which translates to “To every age its art. To every art its freedom.”
These great artists believed that there should be no barrier between art forms. Their belief was in the gesamtkunstwerk or the total work of art. This means an art work encompassing all types of art forms. A great example of this is the Palais Stoclet in Brussels where every thing was designed and created to form a total work of art. From the architecture, to the paintings inside, right down to the egg cups and teaspoons.
This image, along with the others I took that day are a great reminder of the day my dream came true, and I hope you enjoy looking at the image just as much as I enjoyed taking it.
Whilst in Lancaster on holiday a couple of months ago I visited Lytham St Annes for the first time in many years. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining and it looked as though people had ventured there from far and wide to enjoy the beach and take a leisurely stroll along its beautiful pier.
With my sunglasses on, cool drink at hand, a fully charged battery and a spare SD card, I spent a lovely afternoon taking pictures of everything I could.
As much as light is at the very heart of photography, sometimes the type and strength of it can make, or break a great image. When working outside light conditions can change within seconds, so we must always be ready, with our finger on the shutter release button, waiting to capture the best image we can. This can be rather frustrating at times because you can’t force the sun to come out from behind a cloud, or stop a shower of rain just for you to take a photograph. Mostly it isn’t until I am back at home and I can see the images I have took that day on my larger computer screen that I can see if I have had a successful day. When you do find the one image that you are delighted with, you sit back and take pride in the work that you had done, and forget about what you had to go through in order to get it.
Personally, when I take my camera outside I believe the final result is only achieved when I can find that slot of time where mother nature and I can work in coalition with one another. It is almost like every relationship we have in life; work with one an other then good things will happen, but fight against one another then it can be miserable!
Now on to the elusive perfect shot, how many photos did it take before I got it? In truth, a lot! would you like to see it?
I stood at the very same spot for around 5 minutes taking many photographs of this view. This was due to the clouds moving quite quickly across the sky, the light was hitting the sourrounding area in many different ways. The trouble was that with each of the images had their merits, with different qualities. I have chose this image as my best shot, but I’m sure if you seen the others then you might pick different one as the best shot. That is the most interesting thing about art, it is completely subjective. I choose this one as it truly represents the atmosphere of the day, everything was bathed in beautiful light. Everything from the plants to the finials of the ornate ironwork of the shelter seemed to glisten and radiate in the early afternoon sun.
The only post-shoot work I carried out was that I decided to apply a slight vignetting around the image, and to increase the vibrancy ever so slightly – it didn’t need any more!
Like nearly everything to do with photography, it is important to be prepared. Here is a my own personal check-list I have before heading out for a day with my camera.
Ensure battery is fully charged, and SD cards have been cleared and ready to go. ( I also have a spare battery which I charge and have at hand just in case!)
Make sure everything is packed and ready to go in my camera bag, batteries, SD cards, lenses, tripod etc. (preferably done the night before.
The night before make a plan. Decide location in advance and check what the weather is going to be like (this can help with knowing what to wear and help determine what equipment you need to take).
If your chosen location is an extremely rural one, make sure you prepare a packed lunch, maybe a flask for a hot drink if its cold. Pack a map and make sure mobile phone is fully charged (Getting lost is easier that you think!).
Make sure to pack a lightweight water-proof jacket in my rucksack. (Especially if like me, you live in Scotland!)
Take a book with me, to pass some time between bouts of not ideal weather conditions.
Sadly sometimes there are days when, it doesn’t matter how many photos you take, the perfect shot is just out of reach. There are many times where I have had to revisit a location in order to get what I want. The main lesson is, don’t give up. It just means that when you finally capture that perfect image then the victory is twice as sweet!
If you like this image featured in today’s post then please visit my 500px profile at https://500px.com/reclickphoto where you even purchase it for re-use (terms and conditions apply).
Today I’m going to showcase something completely different. Yes you were right, that was a quote from the great Monty Python! I’m a great believer in that your creativity is only limited by your imagination, so with this as my mantra I got started. Firstly I needed an image to work with.
After Grimm’s Fairytales were published in the 19th century, many people started to wonder where the famous brothers had drew their inspiration for their tales, as it was well known that both brothers wrote their stories taking inspiration from their own lives and surroundings. At the time Sababurg Castle was believed to be the source of inspiration of Grimm’s Sleeping beauty as it was reminiscent of the castle in the tale, and when looking at it you really can imagine the story may have happened there. Plus, it was known that the Brothers spent some time in this area of Germany.
With all this in mind, I knew I wanted to create a fairy-tale inspired image. Not in the sugar-coated Disney style, but more in a Brother’s Grimm fashion. After sketching out a few ideas on paper I knew what I was going to do, so now I needed some more images to achieve this. Knowing that I did not have the images I needed, my search ventured out in the the world of the stock photography website. As you can imagine there are many to choose from, but at the moment I like to use www.pixabay.com. Here the images are free, all in public domain, and can be used for commercial purposes. Here is a slideshow of the images I selected to use in my project:
When you look at the finished image, sometimes it is not evident that some of these images have been used. This is because I did not use the whole image, only parts e.g. the doves wing, segments of the hair etc. Each section I used I adjusted the colour, brightness/contrast, and sometimes the exposure levels in order to blend it in with the original image. I also retouched my sisters skin and eyes, so that they would contrast strongly with the hair and background. Lets take a look at the finished project:
What do you think? I think its safe to say that there has been a major transformation! I wanted a truly atmospheric image which you could imagine illustrated within the pages of a fairy-tale book. I hope you agree with me that this is an example of the image as art; of how you can, with a some time and creativity, transform a holiday snap into a piece of art.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any images that you would like given the same treatment then please do not hesitate in contacting us. You can do so by sending us an email, with your image attached, to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website at http://www.reclickphoto.co.uk for more information.
A few days ago we decided to take a little meander through our own personal photo archive looking at pictures of our loved ones from yesteryear and reminiscing of the family holidays we had in times gone by. Each image we looked at triggered off emotion in our minds some happiness, others laughter, and some even sadness. Each one capturing a moment is time from the past and brings it immediately into the present.
In the future we will share a few of these personal images with you to demonstrate what these images really mean to us; hopefully they will make you look at your own images in a different light. We believe a photograph is not just a two dimensional piece of printed photograph paper, it is amoment in time captured in physical form.
A few years ago we travelled around Scotland; up the east coast all the way to John O’ Groats; then across our country’s most northerly edge travelling over to the west coast before indulging in a bit of island hopping visiting the isles of Skye, Mull, and Iona; before heading back to our Ayrshire home.
This photograph is of the beach on the beautiful island of Iona, just immediately next to the ferry terminal. This was not the first time we had visited the Island, and to be there again was an absolute delight. If you have not had the chance to visit, please do, because no photograph can do it justice, as we believe it is one of the most beautiful places in Britain.
Whilst on the short ferry journey across the Sound of Iona from Fionnphort, on the Island of Mull, you get to witness the island from the sea and for a brief moment you try to image what it must have been like when St Columba made his way there from his exiled homeland of Ireland in the 6th century A.D.
Stepping off the ferry you immediately realise that you are visiting a very special place. We have travelled to many places over the years but none quite compares to the atmosphere we have experienced there. It is almost as if the island is in a world all of its own, a small individual microcosm on the west coast of Scotland.
As the island is so small, everything is accessible by foot. With cameras in hand we walked around the highlights of the island such as the Iona Nunnery; the Celtic crosses dotted around the island; the stunning Iona Abbey; before stopping for lunch at the St Columba Hotel.
Heading back we decided to stop at the beach next to the pier to wait for the ferry coming in. Sitting on one of the large rocks nestled in the almost white sand we gazed over the magnificent scene before us. Unfortunately we have not had the opportunity to visit a Caribbean island, but here on Iona we were experiencing some of the attributes we associate with one, the fine white sand and the crystal clear water which rippled out reflecting the azure blue sky above. Needless to say we ended up missing the ferry back to Mull, but thankfully we had another half an hour on the island to just sit and do nothing but enjoy the nature that was on show before us. This image was taken during that time and it brings back all the lovely memories of the time we spent there.
As I mentioned before photographs do not do the island justice, well maybe it was our amateur photographic skills back then! So now when revisiting the photographs we took back then, we would like to enhance them so they are more in line with the special memories we have of that memorable day.
What do you think? This image is more like the memory we have. When we look at something we do not always notice everything. Some aspects are drawn to our attention and others are not. So when it came to the memory we have of this specific view; we could not remember, amongst other things, how many boats were in the water or the debris that had washed onto the shore. Looking back the things we remember most is the white sand with the rocks embedded into it like sculpture, and the crystal clear blue waters that gentle lapped up just in front of our feet. So when it came to enhancing this image we highlighted all these elements and removed some of the elements that were not in our memory. Slightly cropping the image and adjusting the vibrancy of the colour really brought our reminiscences back to life.