Long exposure by Jeff Vyse

I’m based on the north east coast of England and I spend a lot of my spare time outdoors as that’s what I enjoy. I’m lucky enough to live in an area with remote sandy beaches and big sand dunes where you can find space and tranquillity.

Photography has become an extension of the outdoor experience and my way of expressing what I see around me. I’ve lived by the coast most of my life so it’s natural for me to have a strong desire to capture this environment and create images reflecting that experience.

Another subject I find myself drawn to is anything with an industrial feel, possibly because I studied chemical engineering at University and that interest has stayed with me. I still enjoy getting close to industrial sites. The shapes, forms and textures of industrial structures have always had a fascination for me and the smoke and steam they often belch brings them alive. I quite like the bleak atmosphere that often pervades such places, it’s so removed from the everyday experience of working in the hustle and bustle of a city. I like to stop and take in the atmosphere of the surroundings whether I have a camera with me or not. Days without the camera can be just as productive for ideas as you’re not sidetracked by the process.

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I have worked in black and white for an number of years which rather than being restrictive I find liberating because it helps you visualise images more clearly and feeds the imagination. I find the beauty of black and white photography very compelling. Over a number of years searching for the photographic self expression I was happy with I gravitated to a minimal style, seeking ways of showing an interesting subject devoid of clutter, reduced to the essence of what attracted me in the first place. Discovering long exposure photography was a revelation and it just clicked with what I was searching for. The blending of minutes of time into a single image creates a surreal and appealing look. Water and clouds become key components in an image and you can use them to balance your subject. The actual process of waiting for a long exposure to finish is a great time to stand back and take in the surrounding. There’s also that anticipation of what you’ll have on the screen when it’s done which I think is a great bonus with digital photography. I usually take a number of long exposures of the same scene, one after the other trying to optimise the interaction of clouds and get the best possible look. You need to be patient with this type of photography. Often I will visit a place a number of times to get the conditions I’m looking for, be it overcast skies, mist or the fading light at sunset. As a black and white photographer capturing the image is only part of the story. It’s often said that you can roughly divide the process as one third vision, one third capture and one third post-processing. Much of the impact of an image and the look you want to create is achieved by altering tonal relationships. In black and white there is great latitude to take this where you want to go as by removing colour you’ve already moved a step away from the image being a representation of reality. The image is even further removed from reality if it’s also a long exposure. In fact I’m not looking to represent reality at all, but rather creating an image that matches my vision as closely as possible. This aspect of photography is very different to being out in the wind and rain but equally enjoyable as you’re getting to be creative and working towards the finished image. [Official Website]

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