My name is Alan Campbell and I’m a 70’s kid, born and bred in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland. I started my journey in photography in 2006 and was inspired by the images I captured at the Portrush Air Show. My passion for photography grew from here and has developed into a love for monochrome and vibrant colour images of local scenes in Ireland. In today’s world where mobile camera technology means everyone can take good quality pictures I like to think that my images are “more than a snapshot” as I use my eyes to spot changing weather conditions, textures, contrast and hopefully come up with compositions that present a different perspective. I then go back to my digital darkroom to perfect a print that can be used to decorate your home.
Black & White
I love high contrast black and white imagery utilizing photography techniques such as long exposure and infrared to further enhance the composition. You might very well wonder what is high contrast. Basically contrast in an image is just the difference between the brightest brights, the whitest whites, the darkest blacks and the blackest blacks. If there are more visible details in these zones then that’s considered a low contrast image but if there are less visible details then that is considered high contrast.
I use Sepia toning to try and replicate the look of 35mm film silver prints and for certain images this toning adds another dimension to the black & white image. So what is sepia toning and when should you use it? Sepia is a burnt color tone filter that is now widely available in photography editing software like Adobe Lightroom. The goal of sepia toning is to take standard black and white photos and turn them into something a little more eye-pleasing. I tend to use sepia or selenium toning sparingly and I find it works best when you want a bit of romance, warmth and nostalgia in the image. I also find that sepia toning helps enhance moody weather conditions and also provides a bit of longevity to any Fine Art Prints resulting in a more timless feel.
I also enjoy capturing vibrant colour pictures of Ireland’s countryside particularly in County Antrim where I live but also when I travel to other parts of Ireland on my holidays. So why not just turn all of my colour images into black and white? That’s a question every photographer who loves monochrome asks themselves. Well the simple answer is that saturated colour images tend to look pretty boring when converted unless they have the ingredients for a strong black & white image. When I’m out I tend to make a decision based on my surroundings whether I’m going to see in monochrome or colour and to help me I will change the settings on my camera so that my live view is mono. For me I tend to look for different things once I see in monochrome e.g. textures, strong contrast, symmetry etc. Colour photography on the other hand is making those saturated colours work in your composition.