Friday, 1 February 2013

Final piece - rewrite

The final piece for TAOP has to be in the form of a magazine article telling a photographic story. I have decided to show the WWI and WWII defences that circle the coast of Fife, most of which are in very poor repair and can only be found if you are actively looking for them, they are certainly not signposted like most historic monuments, although they probably should be. These are coastal remains that fascinate me, as they are so rarely visited except by the local graffiti artists, and were so important in the defence of Britain.

I spent some time deciding on whether to use monochrome or colour, trying using all of one or the other and ended using a mix to show the feelings the buildings evoked in me. Many were taken in poor weather, a few in bright sunshine. Most were taken using a Panasonic Lumix G1.The images were taken in RAW, processed via Lightroom 3, and the pages put together in Photoshop Elements 8 and 11. The font for all the pages except the title page is Ariel.

The hardest part of this project was to cut down the number of image used from hundreds of possible ones. Initially I had several more on some of the pages, but the pages looked cluttered, and the additional images did not add anything to the story. I also tried a variety of fonts for the text, but they made reading it more difficult and proved an unnecessary complication.

Cover page:
            Tank blocks - ISO 80, f/5.0, 21.8mm efl, 1/320 sec
This shows the tank blocks that were made in their thousands and lined the coast. They are hardly visible today in most places, and many have been moved. Monochrome was used to emphasise the graphic nature of the cubes. The font is 'Day Poster Black', which was then outlined with a white stoke in Photoshop Elements.

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 Page 1 – Castles:
Top – Seafield Tower – ISO 80, f/5.6, 14.8mm efl, 1/400 sec
Bottom –Ravenscraig Castle ISO 100, f/16, 42mm efl, 1/60 sec
The castles along the seacoast make dramatic images, especially when seen on a stormy day. I choose to concentrate on the skies to show the often threatening nature of the weather in Scotland in winter. This was emphasised further in monochrome and by the distance and use of a wide angle lens in the lower image. The upper image was taken from directly below the tower to show the effect it has of looming over you, even though mostly in ruins.

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Page 2 – Rosyth
            Top – Overgrown Brick bunker – ISO 100, f/5.6, 90mm efl, 1/30 sec
            Bottom – Bunker on hillside – ISO 100, f/4.5, 34mm efl, 1/640 sec
The WWI and WWII defences are much less dramatic, and often much less visible. Here the lower image shows how the bunkers sits on the hill, and uses the hill as protection, unlike the castles which stand above the landscape. A wide angle lens was used to show the bunker within the background. Walking backwards to get further away would have had me walking off the edge of a cliff. The colour detail image shows the overgrowth of ivy and closed over window.

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Page 3 Braefoot 1
            Top – Top of gun emplacement – ISO 640, f/6.3, 28mm efl, 1/200 sec
Bottom – Detail of gun emplacement – ISO 640, f/ 6.3, 62mm efl, 1/100 sec
The colour images here show the scale of the massive gun emplacements, and how desolate they are. Even with colour in winter the concrete blends in, and in summer they are almost invisible behind plant growth.

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Page 4 – Braefoot 2
            Top left – Telephone post – ISO 400, f/5.5, 68mm efl, 1/50 sec.
            Top right – Summer view – ISO 400, f/5.6, 90mm efl, 1/50 sec
            Bottom – ISO 640, f/7.1, 40mm efl, 1/125 sec
The use of colour shows how different the bunkers look in different seasons, but they are still overwhelmed by the new (relative to the age of the bunkers) tree growth. Even in summer there is little light available, needing a high ISO to take a sharp hand-held image.

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Page 5 – Charles Hill 1
            Top – Corridor in the gun area – ISO 100, f/2.5, 40mm efl, 1/200
            Bottom – Gun base – ISO 100, f/4.0, 40mm efl, 1/640 sec
This page uses a combination of detail (above) and landscape of the same building. The lower image is taken from where one would stand if operating the gun.

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 Page 6 – Charles Hill 2
             Top – Inside a bunker – ISO 125, f/1.7, 40mm efl, 1/250 sec
Bottom – Bunkers lining the coast – ISO 100, f/4.0, 40mm efl, 1/640 sec
The view inside the bunker seems much larger because of the relatively wide-angled lens which increased the apparent way the walls converge, even when only a short length of the side walls is visible. It also increases the depth of field so all is in focus.  The monochrome emphasises the wrecked and deserted inside. The figure stress out the window as many must have done in the past. In the bottom image a wide-angle view was used to show as much of the view as possible. Colour shows the contrast between the concrete and nature, especially now the site is almost overrun with gorse.

Page 7 – Elie
            Top - Pile of tank blocks – ISO100, f/9.0, 52mm efl, 1/320 sec
            Bottom – Tank blocks ob cliff edge – ISO 100, f/6.3, 28mm efl, 1/320 sec
The landscape image shows a line of blocks looking over the coast, here the alien nature of the blocks is emphasised against the sky, but in most cases the blocks are being slowly broken down by the elements and lichen, or tumbles out of their original position. The monochrome emphasises the bleakness of the coast, especially on a winter’s day.

Page 8 – Crail Airfield
Top – Part of aircraft hangers – ISO 100, f/11, 90mm efl, 1/100 sec
Bottom – Bunker at the edge of a cliff – ISO160, f/5.6, 400mm efl, 1/250 sec
Colour was chosen here to show the deserted, rust streaked, nature of the hangers. A similar image in monochrome also worked well. The single bunker is a very bleak view, perched right on the cliff top. The use of a long telephoto lens has increased the visual bulk of the bunker and made it stand out. A similar picture using a standard lens from the same shot would have given a very small and less impressive image.

Page 9 - Tentsmuir 1
Top - View of the nature reserve with tank blocks – ISO 80, f/7.1, 20.4mm efl, 1/320 sec
            Middle – Steel pillbox – ISO 80, f/5.0, 14.8mm efl, 1/320 sec
            Bottom – Gun platform – ISO 80, f/7.1, 25.2mm efl, 1/320 sec
Here the defences stand out from the landscape of the nature reserve, and are being slowly destroyed by nature. Colour shows the contrast of man-made against nature. The steel pillbox is virtually rusted away. A wide-angle lens was used from close up to both show detail and exaggerate the shape of the gun platform. The same lens was used for the view of the setting, but here it simply allows for a wider angle of view.

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Page 10 – Tentsmuir 2
            Top – Map
            Bottom – Bunker in a sand dune – ISO 100, f7.1, 28mm efl, 1/80 sec.
 The map was taken and altered from Wikipedia, used under a Creative Commons licence,                                                                                            (
I returned to monochrome for the final image to show my emotion when faced with the lack of care given to these monuments of war. This image also has the only human figure, a hardly visible person sitting waiting in army dress.  The lower picture shows the deserted nature of many of the remaining buildings which are like this one, covered in graffiti and half buried in blown sand. The single seated figure gives an idea of scale.

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