Sunday, 30 May 2010

Parthenon Marble In Green

I'm still processing shots from my trip to Athens in April. I hope you like this most recent one to make it out of the digital darkroom.

Glass marbles

I liked the idea of making this into an artefact. When I was a kid, I heard the words "elgin marbles" but it wasn't til much later I knew what it was all about. In the meantime, the only marbles I knew of were the round glass ones we used in our childhood games (remember playing for "keepsies"?)

So as a nod to me as a child, my intent was to merge the two ideas and give this shot a treatment that would be reminiscent of glass, under-lit for drama.

Parthenon Marble In Green

Does it look like it's made of glass to you? What about the interplay between the figure and the horses—is something almost mystical going on, do you think?

I hope you find something to like about it :)


comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Exciting new gear on Zazzle

Here's a sample of cards and gifts I've produced for my Zazzle store recently.

Windsor Castle

I heart Windsor Castle mousepad mousepad
I heart Windsor Castle mousepad
I've got postcards, t-shirts and mugs with this image too. See them here...

Abstract Art

Personification of Persephone blank notelet / card card

Personification of Persephone
A blank notelet so you can say what you want.
Follow the link and read more about why this has the title of a Greek goddess.

Birthday

DJ on the decks - birthday card card
DJ on the decks - birthday card
Lots more birthday cards and invites in my Zazzle store

Best seller

And finally... my best-seller, this poster (I Have Time) featuring the full Desiderata.
I've been scratching my head wondering why this product line does so well, why I sell so many. See if you agree with my conclusions below...

Desiderata poster print
Desiderata poster
The wonderful verses of Desiderata, that coming-of-age guidance for young men and women. It's as relevant today as it was when it was written.
These are flying off the press!

I've come to the conclusion that especially in today's society of slippery and changing morals, parents know that their children, as they turn into young men and women, still need a "fall-back" position. And by that I mean they want to know a set of morals, based on wisdom and experience, that will work for them if/when the new ones they're experimenting with fail.

I think switched-on parents and grandparents are buying them as gifts for their kids' bedroom walls - whether they're still at home or have moved out into their own space for the first time. Good move, a last-gasp attempt to influence them for the better! So, do you think that's the reason?

See my Zazzle store here: www.zazzle.co.uk/HightonRidley where you'll find a full range of gifts and cards at good prices featuring my artwork.

comments / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Photoshop tutorial: Sky Rescue

Here's a step-by-step video tutorial I've put together showing how to combine two shots, one exposed for the sky and one exposed for the ground, so that you end up with one shot with the best bits from both.

Getting the shots

As I've mentioned before I always shoot in RAW (see an explanation of RAW) so for me it's easy. From the one RAW shot I create both exposures, one for sky and one for ground.

If you don't have RAW you can either shoot hand-held, using automatic bracketing and being very sure to not move between shots or you can use a tripod to get both exposures.

Play the video tutorial!

However you get the two shots, they're your starting point for the tutorial. So without further ado, play away!

Sky Rescue

I hope you've found the techniques shown to be effective, quick and simple to follow. As I said at the end, I will do a follow-up tutorial to finish off the work in the digital darkroom on this shot, showing a really nifty technique to get perfect contrast on the way.

Watch this space!

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Saturday, 8 May 2010

More dilapidation in Athens

I said I had a few shots of shutters from my Athens trip.... not many more to go now!

A real tragedy

It's such a shame to see what were once fine old buildings falling into wrack and ruin. And more on the way, no doubt, with the new austerity measures imposed by the Greek government to combat their dire economic crisis.


Greek Tragedy

See what I did there? Just a play on words, hehe!

Seriously, though, I wish the nation a quick recovery so they can save and set to rights the gorgeous architecture being lost in so many places.


comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Unusual view of the Parthenon

Not been feeling too great over the last few days--a three-day headache is just about gone, thank heavens! Headache tablets hardly touched it and it felt like flu, with aching bones and muscles, but it couldn't have been because I had no cough or runny nose. Weird!

Parthenon Pillars

Here's one of the shots I took at the Parthenon in Athens on my recent trip there. Major renovations were taking place and it was difficult to get one that didn't include scaffolding. It was a real shame that the buildings were out of bounds as it further limited my shot opportunities.

Parthenon Columns

Anyway, I like the way this one has turned out, with such a variety of soft marble patterns and the way they contrast against the strong verticals. Most of the blocks in the column are the originals, with occasional new ones replacing any that were crumbling away too much.

Wikipedia Parthenon extract:

The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their protector. Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC on the Athenian Acropolis, although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 431 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure. 

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Friday, 7 May 2010

New (including colour!) work now in Martin Bush Gallery, Royal William Yard

So my hard work of these last three days has been rewarded. Five framed colour, one framed b&w and many mounted prints, all taken in the last couple of months are now hanging in Martin Bush Gallery in Royal William Yard (map). I think you'll like them.

Get a preview of them on my website.

Another from Greece

There were some undercurrents of unrest in Athens on my recent visit in early April. I'd already been keeping half an eye on their general economy, you know, BBC news headlines etc.

I knew that things were potentially going to get a bit tough there, but I didn't realise how much would happen in the last few weeks since my return to the UK.

Anyway, with such thoughts in my mind, and with my usual attraction to dilapidation, I thought that this shot would perhaps reflect the likely future in the past. I can see many fine buildings today, with beautiful embellishments and styles, becoming like the image pictured.

I do hope that things improve for them before any apocalyptic vision of mine comes to pass!


Greek Ruin, Athens

I love all the signs of a once-proud building, shamefully in rack and ruin now. Look at those great balustrades, the shutters against intrusion and sunlight, the wonderful casts at the top of the pillars on the building corner and those beautiful window panes on the left, unshuttered so we get a chance to see their beauty.

I can guarantee it would have been a truly inspiring building in its hey-day!

Do you think the problems with the Greek economy will ripple across Europe with a domino-like effect?

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Freshening my work in the Martin Bush Gallery, RWY

I've just finished printing, cutting, mounting, signing and bagging / framing my new work (b&w and colour, too!)

Bricks and mortar gallery

I'll be taking them down to Martin Bush's gallery in Royal William Yard in the next day or so... (map). Personification of Persephone looks especially fine printed at 15x10inch in a 18x23inch black-bordered frame.

So if you're anywhere nearby, do pop in and see my unique style alongside Martin's fantastic brand of abstract painting.

On my gallery website

When you have a look at them on my website maybe you'd like to rate one or two of them? - those you like and those you don't! You'll be doing other visitors a favour as the best rated ones bubble to the top.


Thanks all you lovely followers :)

comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Composition and frame-edge distractions

I was browsing through flickr and came across a shot that was really great—apart from a couple of things which detracted from the composition, and so I felt it deserved some feedback...

Before you read on, you might want to have a look at Shadowgraphy's image for yourself (opens in a new tab).

Feedback

Here's the critique I left:
Another great shot - but that grass left of centre has to go... too distracting. It's one of those rules of thumb about composition, not having something which contrasts against the edge of the frame.

The reason is because it automatically draws the eye to that spot and it's hard then for the eye to "get into" the picture. Also, in this case, it cuts across the beautiful, clean lines of the shed/barn reflection and breaks its symmetry. (Same for the aerial atop the barn.)

There's another comp rule in there - simplify, simplify, simplify!! I hope you don't mind the critique but it's/you've got such great potential, you deserve the constructive feedback :)

What is a frame-edge distraction?

This is anything that crosses/bumps into the edge of the picture and which is very obvious. Have a look at Shadowgraphy's image. Another example, say you've got someone in the background wearing a red top, cut in half by the left frame edge and they're standing in a wide expanse of green grass.

If you can imagine that, you'll see in your mind's eye that the contrast of the red against the green means it stands out. Then, with the figure cut in half by the edge of the picture, it will interrupt the straight edge and will be doubly obvious for that reason.

Why is that bad?

Any time the viewer's eye moves towards and into the edge of picture, their attention is likely to continue across the edge and out of the picture. The last place you want them to be! Anything that interrupts the frame edge will act like a magnet to the eye, so don't do it!

Like with all rules of thumb, though, it's made to be broken—just do it consciously and with artistic intent!

Why does that happen?

It's a side-effect of the way that the eye/brain works on the physical level. Between them, they're hard-wired to subconsciously respond to straight edges, especially verticals, horizontals and diagonals.

If one of those straight lines is broken or interrupted, that boosts the stimulus even more and the subconscious responds by knocking on the door of your consciousness. This in turn attracts your attention right to that spot.

Nothing we can do about it, it's just the way we're built. But of course, now that you know why this happens, you can turn it to your compositional advantage... using lead-in lines is a great example. Way to go!  :)


comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Monday, 3 May 2010

New work now on my gallery site, including colour!

I've just been updating my gallery site and you can now see all my new work that made the grade... Here's a link to just the new photos (colour and mono)

Many are available as posters and canvas prints via my Zazzle store. You'll see which ones in a panel on each image's page.

If you like, when you get there, rate the images - those you like and those you don't! You'll be doing other visitors a favour as the best rated ones bubble to the top.


comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

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