Thu, 18 November 2010 going monochrome

Ivy net

I’ve been experimenting with changing some of my recent photographs of trees to black and white, and taking a slightly arty style. In some of them I’m using sepia tones. I start with the base image, go with my instinct about which filter works best and start building layers of effects.

Of all the creative work I do artwork and photography are probably the most satisfying. I lose massive chunks of time when I get involved in it because it absorbs my attention completely. It’s also the work that has no pressure attached: I do it simply for my pleasure.

I’ve mentioned before that woods and forests are where I feel most at home. If you were throw in a good view from a mountain and a river I might just expire from bliss. But, it’s all about trees for me. I often ponder how long they live and how a human life is a mere growth spurt to some of the elders of the forest.

When I walk through Coole Park forest (a short drive from my house), the home of Lady Gregory and visited by most of the literati in Ireland in the 19th century, I consider that these same trees also witnessed the passage of writers like Yeats, Synge, Shaw and AE Russell. The above photograph is of a tree in Coole Park, caught in an ivy net.

In winter I love to photograph trees because their bare bones are uncovered. Denuded of leaves I can observe their stark shapes, sinewy branches and odd contortions.

This is their essential form. It seems to me – in my idlest of idle fancies – that the seasonal stripping away of all the externals is an expression of utter honesty. During the winter (deciduous) trees reveal everything while they latch deep into the earth and sleep.

I wonder if I could ever be so brave.

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