Sunday, November 25, 2012

#SundaySnapShot with @JamesRainsford at @NWCreativeUnion

‘Making the Moment’

A short photographic essay


James Rainsford

Thanks to Natasha for kindly inviting me to write a short piece for Snap-Shot-Sunday about my photography.

Those of you who have ever visited my blog, ‘The Sanctum of Sanity,’ will be aware that I use photographs to enhance and hopefully illuminate my writing. For me, the power and significance of photography lies in its ability to freeze forever, a single unrepeatable moment. To make such moments, requires not only the right photographic equipment, but also the skills to spot the potential in a particular scene, the patience to wait and the ability to always be prepared for the unexpected.

I rarely venture out without my camera and it’s usually around my neck, turned on and ready for instant use. My favourite camera is my Nikon D 300. It’s superbly built and immensely flexible, allowing me to change its settings swiftly to suit the subject and the light. Unless I’m shooting a pre-planned subject such as a landscape or portrait my lens of choice is my Nikkor 18- 200 mm as it provides the flexibility to shoot wide-angle and telephoto shots in an instant.

Having learned my photographic skills in the age of film I try to remember the discipline which film photography demanded.  I don’t fire off hundreds of shots in the hope that one of them will be good. I always try to take the best shot possible, this not only produces much more considered results, but also eliminates the need for extensive post shot photo processing. Of course, digital photography has opened up photography to many more enthusiasts and has given everyone the power to manipulate and control their own images to a degree unimaginable a few decades ago.

The three shots below illustrate my point about being ready for the unexpected.
"Reflections" by James Rainsford
Taken at night at a street market. I spotted the young girls reflection in the mirror. She was looking intently at her mother who was buying a necklace.

"Seagull & Shadows" by James Rainsford
This was taken with my Nikon D300 and and shot at a high shutter speed. Again, to capture this kind of action, you just have to be ready.

"Light in St.Peter's" by James Rainsford
Here's another example of the necessity to be ready.  This shaft of light illuminating visitors to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, lasted but a few seconds.

All three of the above photographs also illustrate my point about the uniqueness of the moment. These shots are unrepeatable and freeze forever one instant in time.

Another key element in creating a memorable image is composition. This is especially true in landscape photography. I was taught early on the importance of the ‘rule of thirds.’ This is perfectly illustrated in the following shots taken recently in The English Lake District.

"Lake Windermere" by James Rainsford
Here, the sky forms roughly two thirds of the picture, giving a sense of scale and drama to the scene.

"Grassmere, The Lakes" by James Rainsford
In this shot of Grassmere, it is the land which predominates, with the sky forming only a third of the image.

Both the above shots exemplify the ‘rule of thirds’ and illustrate the importance of correctly framing your shot before pressing the shutter.

In portrait photography I try to use a narrow depth of field. For this I use my fixed focus Nikkor 85mm f1.4 lens, which allows me to shoot in low light and to take shots using the available light, which I always prefer to using flash, as I believe it produces a more pleasing image. Here are a couple of my portraits illustrating this.

"Kitten & the Hip in Concert" by James Rainsford
This is ‘Kitten & The Hip’ in concert. Shot without flash, with an aperture of f1.4
It captures the dramatic lighting and movement of the event.

"Eva" by James Rainsford
This shot of Eva was taken against a black background using light from a window to the right with a reflector to the left to ensure even illumination of her face.
This was also shot at f1.4. Don’t be afraid to place your subject off-centre. It can add real impact to your shot.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short trip though some of my photos. Please feel free to use any of them as a prompt for your own writing. Thanks again to the remarkable Natasha Head for the invite. Kind regards to all at NWCU, 

Thank you so much James!

You can see more of James Rainsford's fantastic photo's HERE

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  1. Thanks for the invite Natasha. Much appreciated, James.

    1. James! Thank YOU for sharing a few of your secrets with us...I've been a fan of your photography for sometime, and it's so wonderful to be able to feature your work here. My pen is fired up, just have to determine direction! :)

  2. James, such talent. My husband's the photog. As an artist, it's a huge frustration for me to see the perfect composition and never be able to capture what I see. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Love your photographs James. Thanks for sharing them and your words with us.

  4. Wonderful post and excellent information on photography ~ Exquisite photography you have done as well as James ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^