#339 – Reworked Images 5 – Dinorwic Flower

DSC_2185-Edit print-2

 The finished image


The starting point – pretty much straight out of camera with one or two tonal adjustments.

I originally cropped this into portrait format, processed it, and subsequently presented it that way for several years. When I revisited it, I decided to process it in its original landscape format, and then decide afterwards what format to present it in.

Although I’m not a huge advocate of the selective colour technique, having only done it on three images for my ARPS panel, in my opinion, it does give this particular image more impact. With that in mind, I carefully made a selection of the flower in colour, and then converted the background into monochrome. I might at some point do a straight monochrome version, but I’ll have to process it differently. By taking away the impact of colour, the flower could get lost, so I would have to figure out how to give it emphasis through more selective toning and also selective sharpening. This latter technique is something I’ve never tried and so have been reading up on of late – this would make an interesting first subject!

This photo was taken on my old Sigma 14mm lens, a lens best described as ‘idiosyncratic’. The lens could focus remarkably close and consequently the flower is incredibly sharp, but the edges of the image are maybe less so, while the chromatic aberration and fringing was that bad I ended up using a very small brush to physically remove it. At least there was no lens flare, something the lens was susceptible to in almost any light!

So does it work in this format? In a straight 3×2 format, there’s maybe too much at either end of the frame, as the focus of attention is in the middle of the image. However, the railway track provides a dynamic lead in across the frame, and take the eye to Mount Snowdon on the right hand side.
I’m undecided on the format, here’s a crop in the portrait format:

DSC_2185-Edit print-1-2

And another in the square format compromise:

DSC_2185-Edit print-1


#338 – Reworked images 4 – Pleasley Colliery


Pleasley Colliery is the only preserved coal mine in Nottinghamshire, and is worth a visit if you are in the area.  I don’t think I’ve posted this before and it’s probably the best one I took on my visit. Unfortunately the sun was behind the mine when I was there, which made photographing it from the best vantage points difficult, but I’ve managed to recover something from this one.

I composed it with the barbed wire prominent in the scene, as being a child of the 80′s, I have vivid memories of the strife and conflict that was the miners strike, even though the coal mines were long gone in the area I grew up in. I remember seeing a photo taken in the 70′s of the courthouse in Belfast, and it was taken through barbed wire, almost like the place was under siege. Pleasley is quiet now, as is the British mining industry, but the barbed wire and headgear are both powerful symbols, especially when in the same frame.



#337 – Reworked images 3 – Chatterley Whitfield


Another rework, with some quite dramatic changes to the mood. It is somewhat timely as I read this morning that two of Britain’s remaining coal mines are under threat of closure. The storm clouds continue to gather over Chatterley Whitfield with every passing year resulting in further deterioration, and I really don’t know what the future holds for the place. Coal past and coal present – not a promising outlook.




#336 – Mechanical Landscapes – my new website

Sometime in April 2007, in a paradox of high hopes and no expectations, I launched theviewfromthenorth.org. Since then the journey that the website and I have been on has been an interesting one to say the least, and one that shows no sign of coming to an end.

The site has now had over 2 million views, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much, but for someone like me who is clueless at self-promotion, it’s a landmark I’m proud of. So now seems a great opportunity to launch a new website to complement theviewfromthenorth.org.

I’ve been faffing around with mechanicallandscapes.com since December last year (and have been playing around with the concept for about 3 years) as I’d forgotten just how much work goes into setting up a website especially when you are relying on someone else’s templates and you are trying to make it bend to your will. Still, after much swearing, late nights and many, many changes of mind I now have it looking something like I had in mind.

In some respects it’s the same but different. The site is all black and white, and while a lot of the pictures are in fact the same as on theviewfromthenorth.org, they are often comprehensively reworked or presented for the first time in black and white. The intent, the look and the layout of the site is completely different and is ordered by theme rather than location.

One key difference will be that I am limiting the number of galleries online at any one time, and I will rotate the galleries on a regular basis to keep it fresh. I also intend to have occasional guest galleries as well.

At the moment it’s complete, apart from the long task of captioning several hundred photographs, but I’m getting there.

Please take a look and let me know what you think If you do the social media thing, please use that to share or whatever jiggery pokery you do on twitter, pinterest and all that other nonsense.

So another journey begins, I’ll be interested to see where it takes me this time!



#335 – theviewfromthenorth.org Backbarrow Pictures on the BBC

I was approached by the BBC asking for permission to use 6 of my photographs of Backbarrow Ironworks in a story they were doing. Only two were used in the end, better than nowt I guess.

The Ironworks site has been sold and some of the vacant land is going to be used for a holiday village, hopefully the remains of the Ironworks will be restored.

BBC story here.

Full set of photos on thewviewfromthnorth.org are here.


#334 – Reworked images 2 – Grove Rake

untitledThis is another problem image that I’d had several goes at over the years and never came up with anything that I liked. I think it’s getting somewhere now, although I’m not sure it’s there yet.

The problem has always been in balancing the tones. The light on the day was constantly changing as the clouds were being blown in front of the sun by the wind, and the hilly landscape meant that some areas were in shadow and others weren’t.

The photograph is about the derelict old mine and its position on the landscape, and using the tools in Colour Efex pro has enabled me to subtly focus attention on the mine, even though it’s only a small part of the sceen.

It’s certainly an improvement on the previous iterations of the image, I’ll probably come back to it again when my skills are at a higher level to produce the definitive iteration!


#333 – Reworked images 1 – Bridge of Doom


This was an image I’d struggled to do anything with in monochrome. As a colour image, it works quite well, but converting it to monochrome always left it looking flat. That’s not a problem as the initial conversion normally does look flat, but I could never get anywhere with it after that.

However, after my recent course with Martin Henson, I chose this as my first photograph to revisit. I’ve managed to change the mood of it quite significantly. It’s got some real ‘pop’ and is a lot more dramatic, which probably suits the scene – a length of railway track dangling precariously over a huge hole high up in a valley.

The reworking involved selectivelt adjusting different areas of the image to get the right balance of tones, before going into the Nik suite of tools to add some contrast and drama.


The original picture, pretty much straight out of camera. Your eye is drawn to the track as the colour makes it stand out amongst the other subdued hues.


One of the better black and white iterations. The problem seems to lie in the lack of contrast in the image, now that the colour has been removed from the image.

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Mechanical Landscapes Book

Exploring The Indus...
By Andy Marland
April 2014
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