Dawn S. Black Photography: Blog https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Dawn S. Black 2021 [email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Sun, 25 Oct 2020 08:37:00 GMT Sun, 25 Oct 2020 08:37:00 GMT https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u639771592-o883394600-50.jpg Dawn S. Black Photography: Blog https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog 79 120 River Dee Project Presentation and B&W processing talk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2020/10/river-dee-project-presentation-and-bw-processing-talk On 19th October 2020 I gave a talk to Mearns Camera Club. As with all things these days an in-person presentation was out of the question so we held it by Zoom and the club recorded the session. Here are three videos from that talk:

  • Part 1: The Presentation of my River Dee Project (so far!)
  • Part 2: Q&A
  • Part 3: Black & White processing with Lightroom with Q&A


Part 1

Part 2 

Part 3

You can see the high res images in the Gallery HERE

Let me know what you thought :)

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) black and white blog landscape mono monochrome photography processing project river dee Scotland video vlog https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2020/10/river-dee-project-presentation-and-bw-processing-talk Sat, 24 Oct 2020 22:03:51 GMT
Honorable Mention in the 14th Black and White Spider Awards 2020 https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2019/10/honorable-mention-in-the-14th-black-and-white-spider-awards-2020 Vortex, EuropoortVortex, EuropoortHonourable Mention in Architectural, 14th Black & White Spider Awards, 2020


LOS ANGELES (14 Oct 2019) - Professional photographer DAWN BLACK of UNITED KINGDOM was presented with the 14th Annual Black and White Spider Awards HONORABLE MENTION in the category of ARCHITECTURAL at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow streamed Saturday, October 12, 2019. 

The live online gala was attended by industry leaders and the photography community from around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the world's premier event for black and white photography. 14th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Musee de l'Elysee, Lausanne; The Guardian, London; Contrasto Galleria, Milan; Travel/Discovery Channel, New York; Harper's Bazaar, UK; Portuguese Center of Photography, Porto; Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels; Silvan Faessler Fine Art, Zurich; ADK Creative One Inc., Tokyo; Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna; Conny Dietzschold Galleries, Sydney; and Pereira O'Dell in New York who honored Spider Fellows with 758 coveted title awards and 909 nominees in 32 categories.

"I have been a juror of many photography contests throughout my professional career, this is my first time at Black & White Spider Awards, and I am stunned. The amazing quality of the images in the competition made it very difficult to select the winners. I would like to reinforce the relevance and impact of Black & White Spider Awards as a mobilizing agent in promoting the production and dissemination of excellent photography at an international level." Said juror Bernardino Castro, Director at Portuguese Center of Photography (CPF), Porto. Raquel Duarte, Senior Art Producer at Pereira O'Dell, New York added, "Amateur photographers were as impressive as the professional group. I was emerged and consumed in the quality of the imagery."

"It's an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 6,418 entries we received this year" said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "Dawn Black's "Vortex," an exceptional image entered in the Architectural category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present her with the title of Honorable Mention, Architectural." 

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography. www.thespiderawards.com

The winning photograph, along with others can be viewed in the 2020 Winner's Book Vol.1

Ho# # #

Telephone: +44 7483866568
Email: [email protected]



[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) AWARD BLACK AND WHITE COMPETITION HONORABLE MENTION MONOCHROME PHOTOGRAPHY SPIDER AWARDS VORTEX https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2019/10/honorable-mention-in-the-14th-black-and-white-spider-awards-2020 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 15:09:00 GMT
Nominee in 13th Black & White Spider Awards https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2019/1/nominee-in-13th-black-white-spider-awards Welcome news this morning! 


LOS ANGELES (17.1.2019) - Professional photographer Dawn Black of United Kingdom was presented with the 13th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title in the two categories of Fine Art and Nature at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow.

The live online gala was attended by over 17,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry's most important event for black and white photography. 13th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Penguin Random House, London; Contrasto Galleria, Milan; Young & Rubicam, Lima; Harper's Bazaar, UK; Victoria Film Festival, Canada; Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels; Silvan Faessler Fine Art, Zurich; Time Inc., London; Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna; Conny Dietzschold Galleries, Cologne; and Fratelli Alinari Photography Museum in Florence who honored Spider Fellows with 692 coveted title awards and 952 nominees in 32 categories.

"Once again, another stunning collection of high quality entries both professional and amateur. It's always inspiring to see this classic medium being stretched into new and interesting directions." Said juror Marcel Wijnen, Creative Director at Anthem Worldwide/Marque Branding in Sydney. Cultural Heritage Consultant Andrea de Polo from Fratelli Alinari Photography Museum in Florence added "The quality of work is incredible and for the jury selecting the best images is very hard work."

"It's an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 6,404 entries we received this year" said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. Dawn Black’s “I am a Rock, I am an Island,” entered in the Nature category, and “To infinity and beyond” entered in the Fine Art category represent black and white photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present her with the title of Nominee."

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honouring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honours the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography. www.thespiderawards.com

# # #

Contact: Dawn Black

Telephone: +44 7483866568

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.dawnsblackphotography.com

Bow Fiddle Rock, PortknockieI am a rock, I am an island<br/>Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie

Zeelandbrug I - To Infinity and BeyondTo Infinity and Beyond Zeelandbrug, Netherlands

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) 13th 2018 2019 and award awards black completion nominee spider white winner https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2019/1/nominee-in-13th-black-white-spider-awards Thu, 17 Jan 2019 08:26:47 GMT
From Source To Sea https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2018/11/from-source-to-sea From Source to Sea – My River Dee Project

Spires of Aberdeen – the River Dee snakes into the city beneath the Brig o’ Dee

Spires of Aberdeen – the River Dee snakes into the city beneath the Brig o’ Dee

Early in 2017, I discovered I would be repatriating to the North East of Scotland. A move had always been going to happen once my daughter finished school but the location was an unknown. Moving “home” was not my first choice but needs must and I had to get my head around it. One way to do that was to start thinking about a new project to get me out and about and looking at a very familiar landscape in a new way. The River Dee flows into the North Sea at Aberdeen and I have photographed it, the breakwater and the Brig o’Dee before. This sowed the seed of an idea to expand on these images and explore upstream. Researching the river my interest was further piqued as the 85 miles of landscapes through which it runs vary from mountainous to rural to urban and industrial. 

The Dee has its source deep in the Cairngorm Mountains at the Wells of Dee on the plateau of Breariach, which at 1296m the top is the third highest mountain in Scotland and forms the highest source of any river in the UK I will have to increase my fitness levels somewhat to make it to this high, remote spot – these may well be the last images of the project! The Linn of Dee, beyond Braemar on the Marr Estate is the last point upstream to which you can drive on public roads and I photographed it late last year.  It will take a few trips and long hikes into the Glen of Dee to explore the upper reaches of the river into the mountains. 


“Rush” The  Linn o' Dee (from the Gaelic meaning a pool or cascade of water). 300m long chasm where the Dee suddenly changes from being a broad, gentle river into a raging torrent forcing itself through a gorge just a couple of meters wide.

After the Linn, the river once again winds itself gently though the landscape, past Braemar and into the more rural agricultural lands of Royal Deeside, which I have captured over the winter with snow on the ground.

“Echoes” Creag Bhaig over the River Dee near Braemar


“A river runs through it” Creag Ghiubhais & Creag Nam Ban near Ballater

One of the things the Dee is so well known for is the salmon fishing. People come from around the world to fish here and many of the riverside estates depend on this.            

Fisherman’s Hut, Invercauld

All along the river are bridges – 24 in all and the project will eventually include them all. Two prominent ones are Potarch (which has a wonderful café close by) near Kincardine O’Neill, the oldest village on the banks of the Dee and the Brig o’ Dee in Aberdeen. 

Potarch Bridge - Dating from 1811-13 by Thomas Telford this bridge carried the old Edinburgh to Fochabers military road across the River Dee.

Brig o’ Dee - Dating from 1527 this once was the only access to Aberdeen from the south.

As you approach the tidal end of the river in the city of Aberdeen the river rises and falls with the tides. The banks boast old and new residential housing, a business school, a cemetary, sports fields and industrial buildings as it converges into the busy Aberdeen Harbour before flowing out into the cold North Sea. 

Caledonian Oil  - Despite the downturn, Aberdee harbor is still bustling with the activity of the oil industry.
The Dee meets the sea  -  The contrast of the old Customs house (now the Silver Darling Seafood Restaurant) and the new Shipping Control buildings at the mouth of the Dee with the South Breakwater to the right. 

The project has a long way to go but it spurs me to get out and do photography for my own pleasure as well as learning more about the history of my local area.

To follow the progress of the project you can visit the gallery "River Dee Project" under the Landscapes Gallery tab where I will post images as I create them.


* This blog was first published as an article in the Royal Photographic Society BeNeLux Overseas Chapter E-Magazine. 




[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Aberdeen Aberdeenshire Ballater Banchory black and white blog Braemar breakwater bridge customs house dee Invercauld landscape Linn o'Dee Linn of Dee mono monochrome photographic photography potach project river river dee riverscape Scotland silver darlings water https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2018/11/from-source-to-sea Fri, 09 Nov 2018 15:44:51 GMT
Achievement Attained - ARPS https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/11/achievement-attained-arps Associateship of The Royal Photographic Society (ARPS)

I've got it! After two years of various miss-starts and rejected projects I've done it. At some points along the road to attaining my ARPS I thought I wouldn't make it. Was it worth it? What was I trying to achieve? Reasons to go for recognised distinctions vary from person to person but my main goals were to challenge myself, to attain peer recognition and to be able to tell myself "Yes, I am good enough".  I'll let you judge for yourselves....

Hanging Plan


Statement of Intent


The Images

Melancholy #1

Melancholy #2

Melancholy #3

Melancholy #4

Melancholy #5

Melancholy #6

Melancholy #7

Melancholy #8

Melancholy #9

Melancholy #10

Melancholy #11

Melancholy #12

Melancholy #14

Melancholy #15


Click the links for more information about:

Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris 

Royal Photographic Society (RPS)

RPS Distinctions



[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) ARPS Associate Associateship Black blog Cemetery Dawn distinction Lachaise landmark monument Pere Photographic photography Royal RPS S. Society https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/11/achievement-attained-arps Sat, 05 Nov 2016 10:49:23 GMT
Paris in Winter III https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/3/paris-in-winter-iii Paris Street

And lastly for this short series of blogs from Paris, a little bit of street photography. Street is generally not my thing, taking me well outside of my comfort zone but on occasion, when something speaks to me, I will indulge. 

Soaking up the Winter Sun, La Defense, Paris

Fuji X-T1 / 35mm f/1.4

Sunday Stroll, Sant Ouen, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

Stall Holder, Rue Paul Bert, Sant Ouen, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

Waiting for the Metro, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm




[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Paris black and white blog la defense metro mono monochrome photography sant ouen street https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/3/paris-in-winter-iii Thu, 24 Mar 2016 13:39:59 GMT
Paris in Winter II https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/3/paris-in-winter-ii Paris in Winter II : Landmarks 

When on a very short visit to a city it's hard to decide which landmarks to single out. Do you go for the obvious or the obscure? Do you go from pre-selected point to point or wander and see what you come across? On this trip with PhotographySchool.NL there was a little bit of both. After our walk through the Pere LaChaise Cemetery  we wandered towards Place de la Bastille, taking in the Paris street atmosphere. It's important to keep looking around, up and down, looking for interesting photographic subjects. As usual with me, it was the clouds that kept me looking up and made me want to capture Dumont's gilded Spirit of Liberty perched a-top the July Column.

July Column, Place de la Bastille, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 35mm f/1.4

Encouraged by Paul Sanders who had a picture in his head that needed to be made, the second morning involved an early alarm call to get down to the River Siene to capture the sun rising behind the Ile de la Cite and Pont Neuf. Mother nature played beautifully for us as we savoured the gentle light of the dawn and the quiet of Paris before the bustle. A rare appearance of colour from me to share the experience. 

Dawn at Pont Neuf

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

We returned later when the sun had risen higher for Paul to re-shoot the scene to achieve the ethereally mystical panoramic image he had envisionedMeantime, I shot the Pont des Arts and domed Institut de France.

Pont des Arts & Institut de France, Paris

Pont des Arts & Institut de France, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

Nearby, the Louvre buildings could not be missed out but rather than photographing the obvious pyramids, these arches caught my fancy.

Arches, Louvre, Paris

Arches, Louvre, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 35mm f/1.4

And what visit to Paris is complete without glimpsing the Eiffel Tower? It has to be done - the only question is which viewpoint. We went for the elevated view from the Trocadero then I chose to also go for a long exposure shot of the view through the fountains that flow for a short time each hour. 

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

For my final landmark destination of the weekend, I chose to head to La Defense, eschewing the traditional and seeking the modern. Sadly for me, it was a pure blue sky sunny day so no cloud formations or long exposures with scudding cloud as I had hoped but you have to make the most of what's in front of you when traveling. 

La Grande Arche de La Defense, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

La Grande Arche de La Defense, Paris

Fuji XT-1 / 10-24mm

Point growth - Growth Point by Lim Dong Lak, Voie des Sculpteurs, La Defense, Paris 

Fuji XT-1 / 56mm

Coeur Defense Towers Reflected

Fuji XT-1 / 35mm f/1.4


Coming soon: Paris in Winter III : Street

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Bastille Colour Eiffel Tower Paris Pont Neuf Tour Eiffel black and white city clouds color dawn landmark landmarks mono monochrome photography street sunrise walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/3/paris-in-winter-ii Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:20:22 GMT
Paris in Winter I https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/3/paris-in-winter-i Paris in Winter I : Pere LaChaise Cemetary

What could be better than a weekend trip away to a beautiful, vibrant city with friends? Last weekend saw me doing just that with the PhotographySchool.NL's annual weekend away, this year to Paris. Winter in Paris is something special, with the leafless trees allowing more of an uninterrupted view of the architecture and monuments.

Our first day was spent wandering the expansive Pere LaChaise Cemetery which is the final resting place of so many great cultural icons from through last few centuries. My highlight was seeing the marvellous Jacob Epstein monument to Oscar Wilde, a 20 ton piece of English limestone installed in 1912, carved into the shape of a fantastical art-deco male sphinx, so at odds with the majority of the rest of the 19th century funerary monuments in the cemetery. For an extensive investigation into the history and aesthetics of the monument Ellen Crowell's article "Oscar Wilde's Tomb: Silence and the Aesthetics of Queer Memorial" is worth a read.

Jacob Epstein's monument to Oscar Wilde, Pere LaChaise Cemetery. Fuji XT-1 + 35mm f/1.4

Jacob Epstein's monument to Oscar Wilde, a "winged demon-angel", Pere LaChaise Cemetery. 

Fuji XT-1 + 35mm f/1.4

​That seen, meandering through the seemingly endless rows and sections of monuments I seemed drawn to the angels adorning graves, the mourning and emotional sculptures really speaking to me and dominating the images I then made with my trusty Fuji XT-1 in hand.

Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris
Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris
Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris
Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris
Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris
Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris

(All images taken on Fuji XT-1 + 35mm f/1.4 and processed in Adobe Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2)

I find such places to be affecting and they truly impact my mood, making me contemplative and withdrawn, provoking a mindfulness to make the most of all opportunities that come our way during our short time on this earth. 

Coming soon... Paris in Winter II : some landmarks


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) France Lightroom Paris Pere LaChaise Silver Efex Pro 2 XT-1 art black and white blog fuji fujifilm funerary landmark mono monochrome monument photographic photography sculpture winter https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/3/paris-in-winter-i Sat, 05 Mar 2016 20:34:13 GMT
Dutch Urbex https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/1/dutch-urbex Dutch Urbex

It is rare to find an abandoned building in the Netherlands - and if one does they are usually extremely well secured. Imagine my luck this week on driving locally to notice a mansion recently boarded up on the ground floor but easily accessible. Parking up I took my chances to have a gander through the garden woodland, mounted my Fuji X-T1 with the 10-24mm lens onto the tripod and took some shots of the exterior. Excitement ensued as I rounded the building to find a door not yet boarded up. Venturing inside I could see that some minor work had been done, buckets placed to catch drips (but not overflowing yet so recently installed) so it is likely that accessibility will be a short lived thing. You have to take your chances when they present themselves and it sure beats having to drive to Belgium for an Urbex fix!

All images © Dawn S. Black

All images taken on Fujifilm X-T1 with 10-24mm mounted on Manfrotto tripod.

Post-processed in Adobe Lightroom 6 and Silver Efex Pro 2.

View full image gallery HERE 

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) 2 Dutch Efex Exploring Fuji Fujifilm Holland Nederland Netherlands Pro Silver Urban Urbex X-T1 Zuid Holland abandoned black and white blog building mono monochrome photography https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2016/1/dutch-urbex Thu, 21 Jan 2016 19:57:12 GMT
Belgian Urbex https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2015/11/belgian-urbex In The Netherlands, next to nothing is left abandoned to fall into a derelict state so Urbex (Urban Exploring) or such places are so well secured it's near impossible to get inside. Hence the need to travel further afield, Belgium being the easiest choice. Yesterday I headed south east with a dedicated group of fellow photographers from PhotographySchool.NL's Pathway in search of some dereliction armed only with my Fuji X-T1 with 10-24mm attached and a much needed tripod. 


First stop was Verviers where the old abandoned barracks with its large rooms with colourful peeling paint and fascinating cell block provided us with a fabulous introduction to this genre of photography.

Moving to Liege, the abandoned barracks was a maze of dark and dingy interiors, covered in graffiti and trees growing out of the roofs. 

A long way to travel for a day of image making but so worth it. 


Gallery for Verviers is HERE

Gallery for Liege is HERE

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Belgium Dawn S. Black Dawn S. Black Photography Liege Pathway PhotographySchool.NL Urban Exploring Urbex Verviers black and white buildings color colour decay decaying derelict dereliction interior interiors mono monochrome photography https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2015/11/belgian-urbex Sun, 22 Nov 2015 15:40:22 GMT
Discovering Dartmoor Black Tor https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2015/10/discovering-dartmoor-black-tor  

 Discovering Dartmoor III - Black Tor

Black Tor in Infrared

Fuji X-E2 converted to 720nm Infrared + 14mm

It's been a long while since I visited Devon and I am so glad to be back. After a plentiful full English breakfast to set me up for the day at my favourite B&B in Plymouth, Number One, I find myself standing at Black Tor above the River Avon, listening to the sound of the river, dogs barking in the distance, the sheep bleating and cows lowing nearby.  It is a world apart from my daily life. Bliss. On the drive from Plymouth there were only blue skies and I feared I may be disappointed but this is the moors - the clouds have formed for me. Once set up I wait for a break for the sun to shine on the ancient stone of my chosen tor. I am at peace as I expose long and contemplate the scenery around me. The infrared camera makes what may be it's last outing for the year as the long exposure counts down. The light is utterly beautiful, this place is soulful and replenishing; coming back to this wonderful part of the country was exactly what I needed.

Black Tor, Shipley Bridge

Fuji X-T1 + 10-14mm @ 19mm, 80 seconds

Lee Big Stopper + 0.9 ND + 0.9 Soft Grad filters stacked

Lone Tree, Dartmoor

Fuji X-T1 + 35mm

Shipley Tor over the Avon Valley

Fuji X-T1 + 35mm

River Avon at Shipley Bridge

Fuji X-T1 + 10-24mm @ 24mm

My companion on the moors

Fuji X-T1 + 35mm


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Autumn Avon Black Tor, Dartmoor Devon England Fuji GB Shipley Shipley Bridge UK X-E2 X-T1 black and white fujiholic infrared mono monochrome photography river tor https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2015/10/discovering-dartmoor-black-tor Mon, 26 Oct 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Joining the Crowd https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/8/joiningthecrowd Joining the Crowd


I have a confession; I have succumbed. It's not often that I follow the crowd. In fact, I usually run screaming in the opposite direction. However, I have joined the Fuji fans and invested in (read indulged myself with) the lovely Fujifilm X-T1, 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS and 56mm XF f/1.2 R. Coveting gear is a well know phenomenon with photographers and I have been quietly eyeing up some very attractive Fuji X-series in the hands of fellow togs but what tipped me over the edge was my recent trip to Glasgow. Even though I took only one camera body with one lens I still struggled with lugging around the the weight of it along with the tripod all day. Now I love my full frame Nikon D700 and it has served me well but I have got to the point where I rarely take it out (unless I am working obviously!) and even the thought of it plus a full backpack of lenses, filters and tripod makes my back and shoulders ache. I am only little (5'2", politely known as petite but has been referred to as dwarf) and the sight of me with a Lowepro Pro Trekker 400 bag has reduced some people to tears of laughter and I must admit to struggling to remain upright once I have heaved it on to my back. Until the X-T1 came along I had not been tempted as the quality I get from my full frame kit is fabulous. However, seeing the imagery that fellow photographers are producing has made me realise that graduating to mirrorless may no longer need to be a compromise on quality (check out Paul SandersMatt Hart and the Fujiholics for starters). I held out for quite a while as finances are an issue but as they say life is for living so some of that rainy day money has been indulged on making my everyday life a little easier. My friends at CameraNu had stock (a rarity as these babies are gone as soon as they arrive), so I bit the bullet and pressed the order button. Now I just need to dust off the rarely used gear in the back of the cupboard to sell and recoup some of the cost. One day later I had it in my hands - now that's what I call service!

It's only had one outing so far and it's a learning curve but a gentle one that the intuitive controls on the X-T1 make easy. I enjoyed the handling, made use of the Fuji app to control the camera from a smartphone (now that's cool!) and had a fabulous 90 minutes bonding with this little camera on Thursday evening during a break in the weather. I headed to a nearby windmill, De Salamander to watch some wonderful clouds scudding by and to experiment. I think we did just fine, my camera and me. It is definitely the start of a beautiful relationship!

Fuji X-T1 at work Transferred to iPhone ready for sharing
Fuji X-T1 poised on tripod with Lee Big Stopper stacked with Lee 0.9 ND File transferred from camera directly to iPhone via Fuji App - great if you want to post/send immediately. 
De Salamander Molen, Leidschendam, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands
The final edit with minor adjustments in LR5 and b&w conversion in Silver Efex Pro.


Now if you'll excuse me, I haven't fondled my Fuji yet today. Happy weekend!




[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) De Salamander Holland Lee Big Stopper Leideschendam Nederland Netherlands Zuid Holland black and white blog exposure landscape long long exposure molen mono monochrome photography windmill https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/8/joiningthecrowd Sat, 23 Aug 2014 09:00:07 GMT
Glasgow II - Kelvingrove https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/8/glasgow-ii-kelvingrove Glasgow II


​I had a scout about last Friday in Kelvingrove Park, looking for views of the University buildings and Kelvingrove Art Gallery. I took only the camera and one lens as after lugging all the kit and caboodle on Monday I could't face it again - I'm definitely a victim of camera bag fatigue. Today I went back as the legwork had been done and I knew exactly the two places I needed to go, put up the tripod and expose. The clouds today didn't disappoint either!

University of Glasgow Gilmorehill Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow

University of Glasgow, Gilmorehill

70mm, f/11, 105 secs

Kelvingrove Art Gallery

38mm, f/11, 40 secs


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Gilmorehill Glasgow Glasgow University Kelvingrove black and white exposure long mono monochrome photography square https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/8/glasgow-ii-kelvingrove Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:32:20 GMT
Glasgow I - Clydeside https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/7/Glasgow-I-Clydeside Glasgow - I



Glasgow - city of the Commonwealth Games 2014. The landmarks along the River Clyde will now be  recognised the world over. I'm not here for the Games but to bring my daughter to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Summer School. As she works away with her film making, I get to wander and explore Glasgow. It doesn't disappoint. I decide to soak up the atmosphere and join the crowds Clydeside. The people really do make Glasgow with many coming and chatting as I expose the bridges, Armadillo, Hydro and Finnieston Crane. The regeneration and modernisation of this area whilst recognising it's industrial past is fabulous. It's a warm day with barely any wind so very slow moving clouds. Even my usual long exposures don't produce much movement in the sky.

River Clyde Panorama

Clydeside: Crowne Plaza, The Armadillo, Bell's Bridge & Finnieston Crane

8 shot panorama, 75mm, f/11, 40secs 

The Armadillo reflected in the Crowne Plaza, Glasgow The Armadillo, Glasgow Bells Bridge and The Armadillo, Glasgow
62mm, f/11, 40 secs 48mm, f/11, 105 secs 24mm, f/11, 100secs
Views of The Armadillo
The Armadillo and Hydro, Glasgow

The Armadillo and Hydro      

32mm, f/11, 92 secs

Finnieston Crane and the Clyde Arc (aka The Squinty Bridge), Glasgow

Clydeport: The Finnieston Crane and Clyde Arc (aka The Squinty Bridge)

27mm, f/11, 90 secs


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Armadillo Bell's Bridge Clyde Arc Glasgow Hydro Squinty Bridge black and white exposure long mono monochrome panorama photography https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/7/Glasgow-I-Clydeside Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:53:00 GMT
Keep Going Back - Oostpoort, Delft https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/5/keep-going-back---oostpoort-delft Keep Going Back

Oostpoort, Delft

I've said it before, I'll say it again (and probably not for the last time) that as a landscape photographer it's worth going back to locations repeatedly. Each day will throw up different conditions and as much as I like to work with the conditions as they happen, I find that I often have a particular image and atmosphere in my mind. To create that image more often than not I need to return to locations again and again. This is the benefit of using locations close to home rather than thinking you can only produce worthy work if you have traveled far and wide.

I first came across the Oostpoort on the Delftsche Vliet canal in Delft way back in 2010, not long after moving to The Netherlands and whilst doing the tourist thing with visitors. I captured it mid-summer, with flowers in full bloom and blue sky but despite it only being 30 minutes down the road I have not been back often. In March I led my ViewFinders walk around this lovely historical city but it was a day of blue skies and no cloud and as you know, I am rather Cloud Obsessed. I returned the following week, early morning and was greeted by blanket cloud. Some may say that this image gives a simple backdrop to the historic Oostpoort, the only city gate remaining from 17th Century Delft but it does not have the atmosphere I was trying to create nor the picture I had in my mind's eye. 

Oostpoort, Delft

Summer 2010


Oostpoort, Delft with Bike

ViewFinders March 2014


Oostpoort, Delft

Blanket Cloud April 2014


Skip to this morning. A glimpse out of the window showed me some lovely cloud formations, what a friend once dubbed "Vermeer skies", a term that has stuck with me (and particularly apt as Vermeer hails from Delft).

Oostpoort, Delft

May 2014 

So what to do? Hang curtains or go out with the camera… Needless to say I opted for the latter! Having been there a few times now I knew exactly where I needed to set up my trusty Manfrotto tripod for my chosen composition and even though the canal was busy with Sunday morning rowers, as I listened to the church bells I set up stacking the Lee Big Stopper, 0.9 ND and 0.6 ND soft grad to get a nice long 4 minute exposure time to capture the clouds scudding across the sky and to loose the water detail and any moving elements. Much more satisfying.

The infrared camera had it's first outing of the year too with the willows now in full leaf (a month early) to give a more ethereal feel to the shot.

Oostpoort, Delft

May 2014 Infrared

All in all it was worthwhile morning out (and I even got the curtains hung too!)


If you like please do share.

All images available to purchase HERE

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Blog Delft Delftsche Vliet Holland Lee Big Stopper Nederland Netherlands Nikon Oospoort Zuid Holland black and white infrared landscape locations long exposure mono monochrome photography return https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/5/keep-going-back---oostpoort-delft Sun, 04 May 2014 13:29:53 GMT
Where Has All The Colour Gone? https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/4/where-has-all-the-colour-gone Where Has All The Colour Gone?

It's Spring, the gardens and fields are blooming into a riot of colour and yet when I photograph the gorgeous tulips from my garden it's the monochrome conversions that really speak to me. I have red ones, purple ones, pink ones, delicate cream and green ones but the colours are not connecting with me. Strip that colour away and you are left with the simple form and texture of each bloom and this simple beauty is what shouts out to my emotions right now. A photograph is not only a recording of what is in front of you. The photographer brings every photograph and painting they have ever seen or produced, past experience as well as their present emotions to the table when they create a new image. For an image to work for the artist it has to resonate with their emotions and right now, colour is too much. I need to strip things back to their simplest form. The colour originals may still be "good" photographs but they do not portray my world as I see it today. I'm sure a psychologist would have a field day with this admission! So, join me in savouring the simple beauty of these tulips.

Parrot tulip in black and white
Tulipa "Little Girl" in black and white Tulipa Super Parrot detail in black and white Tulipa 'Greenland" mono
Tulipa Bakerij "Lilac Wonder" in black and white  

All images available for purchase HERE

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) black and white flowers mono monochrome parrot photography tulip tulips https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/4/where-has-all-the-colour-gone Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:10:26 GMT
Bulbs Galore https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/4/bulbs-galore Bulbs Galore

It's that time of year again. The bulbs are in full bloom and the showcase gardens, Keukenhof by Lisse in Zuid Holland are the place to be. Hyacinths, crocus, narcissus and tulips flower continuously over an eight week period putting on an extravagant show of colour and scents to thrill your senses. It's even got the obligatory molen (windmill). 

I have sadly not made it to the gardens as frequently as I would wish so far this season but will definitely be there on Sunday 4th May when I host PhotographySchool.NL's Creative Flower Workshop, so why not join me? book here 

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Keukenhof Lisse Nederland Netherlands Zuid Holland bulbs close up flora flowers hyacinths landmark landscape macro photography tulips windmill https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/4/bulbs-galore Sat, 19 Apr 2014 15:26:14 GMT
Cloud Obsessed https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cloud-obsessed Cloud Obsessed

The last few weeks have seen the skies either cloud-free or with that horrible blanket grey. Not today. Today the lovely blue sky was interspersed with fluffy white clouds scudding across the sky. Perfection.

The ladies that come on my ViewFinders walks know very well how cloud obsessed I am. A recent trip to Delft saw us have beautiful blue skies on a fresh spring morning and my mantra become "if only there was a cloud or two", "just imagine how good that would be with some clouds". One even suggested that I could put some clouds in later - the horror. I'm not quite sure she expected the tirade she received on the virtues of capturing the complete scene in-camera. Nobody there is now under any doubt of my views on the matter. 

Zelden van Passe Poldermolen at Dawn

I digress, back to today. Not wanting to venture too far I decided to head to one of my trusty local spots which I captured in a subtle dawn shot last May. Entitled, "The Old And The New", the Zelden Van Passe Poldermolen and modern turbines offer a rare view of a 16th century pumping windmill alongside two wind turbines. The exposure was entirely dictated by the desire to register the movement of the wind turbines which required a speed of 0.3secs. The location demands the turbines to be to the far left as just out of shot is the 

very busy A4 motorway that runs from Delft to Amsterdam. I went for a square crop as to the right there is a big expanse of… nothing. This shot was all about the windmill, turbines, cloud and the sun just starting to peep over the horizon.  Today's mission was to capture the clouds and the turbine movement for a monochrome image. I think I got it.

But I'm not one to sit back and rest on my laurels so having in mind an image of the old mill with scudding cloud movement I recomposed to eliminate the turbines whose movement would be completely lost, attached the Lee Big Stopper and spent a very happy half an hour capturing  light and movement whilst watching a family of moorhens with chicks swimming near their nest and contemplating life. See what some good clouds can do? That's why I'm obsessed!


To purchase any of the images click here

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Dawn S. Black Holland Nederland Netherlands Zuid Holland black and white blog canal landscape lee big stopper long exposure molen mono monochrome photography water windmill https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/4/cloud-obsessed Sun, 13 Apr 2014 17:48:01 GMT
Working the location - De Drie Molen https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/3/working-the-location Working the Location

De Drie Molen

This week I took a good friend out scouting with me and after a delightful walk we still had some time to spare so I took her to one of my favourite local places - De Drie Molen at Leidschendam near The Hague. I've been coming here since I found it in the summer of 2011. Only 10km from home it's a fail safe and epitomises the Dutch landscape: a canal, boats, polders, the odd horse and, of course, windmills. 

Driemolen, Leidschendam, Zuid-Holland Driemolen, Leidschendam, Zuid-Holland
Summer 2011

The summer was lush, the reed beds a vibrant green and what I call Vermeer skies added some mood to the scene.  However, just because I had those images didn't mean I would not go back. A place changes depending on the time of day, the weather and the season. Once discovered, it pays to return to a good location again and again. 

Dusk at the Drie Molen, Leidschendam, Zuid-Holland; The Netherlands
Twilight, Winter 2013

It was a while until my next visit in January 2013 to try for a twilight shot. I had hoped for a more dramatic sky but there was too little cloud yet I rather like the blue tones of that time just after the sun has disappeared and some pinks are still catching the small wispy clouds. Add the Lee Big Stopper and the water smoothed out to better reflect the sky. 


2013 turned into a year of black and white for me. I have found that the atmosphere captured in the monochrome conversions reflects my current mood and I find myself seeing in black and white more and more. I look for the shape, form, tone and textures of compositions.

Driemolen, Leidschendam, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands
August 2013

I found myself back again in August last year thinking solely in black and white. The clouds were fantastic for what I had visualised. A plain blue sky is not what you need for a good monochrome landscape image - the sky becomes as integral to the composition as the subject matter. I went to my standard view and captured what has become one of my most popular images but I didn't rest there. You cannot get to the other side of the windmills for the opposite view from this location as they are private property but I jumped in the car and went the 3km by road to the other side.

Driemolen with grazing horses, Leidschendam, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands

The mills are quite a distance from this road and it is impossible to walk closer which necessitated a longer lens but this also acted to compress the perspective, helpful for the composition. There is a stables nearby and horses graze the polders. By luck I had two horses wander into the shot, a grey and a dark bay. The mono conversion makes them appear white and black, adding to the rustic scene brilliantly. 

​When I took my friend this week I showed her both these locations then had to drive a little further up the road to turn around and was greeted by yet another view of the mills 

March 2014

I had never seen before. I realised I always drive this road in the summer when the foliage is thick and the view is blocked. I sketched the scene with my iPhone during the week so went back today with my D700 before the leaves start to bud. With the trees bare you can see through the branches and have the windmills framed under the boughs. Although they are far away and the magnificent tree dominates the composition I love this view of one of my favourite places.  

The moral of the story is keep going back, keep looking with fresh eyes as there is always something new and exciting to capture.



All images available for sale HERE


Join my Black and White Photography Workshop on Sun 6 April 2014 at PhotographySchool.nl. For further details click HERE



[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Drie Holland Molen Nederland Netherlands Zuid Holland black and white difference different landscape location locations molen mono monochrome photography return returning seasonal seasons windmill work https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/3/working-the-location Sun, 02 Mar 2014 17:52:09 GMT
Middle Eastern Promise https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/2/middle-eastern-promise  

Middle Eastern Promise - 

Interior Design in The Hague


As an interiors photographer I am privileged to be granted access to some wonderful homes. One such place I photographed this week. On the outside all you see is a standard Dutch semi-detached 1980s house but inside it has been transformed. As you walk in the door you are taken into another world, a world influenced by Middle Eastern Islamic culture and art with a modern twist. The very talented Basma Al-Rawi, architect and interior designer has transformed her house here in Den Haag bringing style and warmth into the heart of her home. 


Basma is available for commissions - contact her directly at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @BasmaNAIRawi

For details of my Interiors Photography services click HERE

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Basma Al-Rawi design fotografie interior interiors middle eastern photography vastgoed https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/2/middle-eastern-promise Sat, 15 Feb 2014 17:59:45 GMT
Leiden - ViewFinders February Walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/2/leiden-viewfinders-february-walk Leiden - Quintessentially Dutch

ViewFinders February Walk


Overcast but mercifully dry, the historic city of Leiden provided a wealth of photographic opportunities on this month's ViewFInders Walk.  Leiden marked the starting point of the pilgrim fathers' journey to the New World, was Rembrandt's birthplace and where he learned to paint, was where the first tulips in Western Europe were planted and boast's Holland's oldest university. This quintessentially Dutch town presents views of old gabled buildings, canals, churches, windmills and, of course, bicycles around every corner.

Molen De Valk, Leiden Almshouses, Leiden
Molen De Valk, one of the few of the original mills that used to sit on top of the city walls. Leiden has 35 groups of almshouses, each a sanctuary of peace and solitude.


The Citadel, Leiden
The 11th century motte Citadel, unique in Holland.
Hooglandse Kerk, Leiden
The 14th century Hooglandse Kerk from the top of the Citadel.
Hooglandse Kerk through the doors of the Citadel, Leiden
The imposing gothic Hooglandse Kerk framed in the doors of the Citadel.




















































All images available for purchase HERE

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Brucht Citadel De Valk Hooglandse Kerk Leiden Nederland Netherlands Pilgrim Fathers ViewFinders Zuid Holland almshouses and bicycle bike black black and white canal city historical history medieval molen mono monochrome motte photography walk white windmill https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/2/leiden-viewfinders-february-walk Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:18:01 GMT
Schoonhoven - Het Zilverstad https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/1/schoonhoven Schoonhoven - Het Zilverstad

Schoonhoven, nestled on the banks of the River Lek is the smallest municipality in The Netherlands. On a chilly but sunny Sunday last week a group of like-minded photographers set about wandering the town on an excursion organised by PhotographySchool.nl with whom I am a guest instructor. The historical town is known for it's silver smiths (it's nickname is "Zilverstad" or "Silver City") and clock makers. 

Potmolen by Pijlmans, Schoonhaven Potmolen by Pijlmans, Schoonhaven


These cheeky chaps, "Potmolen" are on a bridge next to the only remaining medieval city gate, Veerpoort. 

For a while there was a beautiful display of altocumulus stratiformis clouds that begged to be captured.
While everyone else stopped for a well deserved coffee break I snuck off to check out the Bartholomeuschurch and the Water Toren that had been peeping out at me from above the roof tops from various points around the town. A good decision I feel (I certainly was not in need of the extra caffeine hit - the photography was enough for me!)
Bartholomeuschurch, Schoonhaven


      Water Tower, Schoonhaven

19th Century Water Toren

Our hoped for sunset did not arrive as the skies completely clouded over but there was plenty of movement by this point to make it worth while taking the Lee Big Stopper out for my image of the lock between the harbour and Lek river!

De Keersluis, Schoonhaven


Blogging - it's a two way thing! Please do comment and share.

All images available for purchase here


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Bartolomeuschurch Netherlands Potmolen Schoonhoven Toren Water black and white church lek lock mono monochrome photography sculpture tower walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/1/schoonhoven Fri, 10 Jan 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Discovering Dartmoor II - Saddle Tor https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/1/discovering-dartmoor-saddle-tor Discovering Dartmoor II

Saddle Tor

Up and out before the rest of the house stirred, even Smeaton"s Tower, The Hoe, Plymouth, England with the late dawn on this early January morning, I went to try and catch the sunrise on The Hoe. A delicate dawn developed but nothing spectacular. However the weather was moving swiftly along the coast and some threatening clouds came in to help set up the long exposure shot of Smeaton's Tower I'd been trying for all week. Keep coming back and you'll get it eventually! The clouds were so dramatic though that a shot with a fast shutter speed was also called for and it gives you an idea of the rapidly changing conditions that the Southwest of England has been experiencing these last few weeks.


Smeaton's Tower, Plymouth Hoe


After going back and having a hearty breakfast with the others at Number One I needed to consider my photographic options carefully - considering the weather thrashing the coast it was a choice between chancing my luck with the fearsome waves of the English Channel or heading back up to the relative safety of Dartmoor. I chose the safe option and was not disappointed (and also didn't have the problem of all my gear being soaked with salt water!). The undulating landscape of Devon passing by as I drove to my chosen Tor on Dartmoor started to get my creative juices flowing. Winding lanes, brooks, woods, hills, moor and countless Tors to choose from a photographer could get years worth of inspiration here. Saddle Tor was my chosen destination, smaller than the more imposing Saddle Tor, Dartmoor Haytor nearby but that also means less people climbing all over it as I exposed! Unsurprisingly, despite being dry, the wind was howling a gale so my biggest challenge was to protect the tripod and camera from the gusts that might cause camera shake. As always I was very grateful for my Paramo jacket and trousers to keep me cosy. I had a good scout around the Tor and settled for a view looking northwest over Widdicombe-in-the-Moor. I could see the weather changing all around me Rainbow over Saddle Tor, Dartmoor with banks of cloud and rain moving swiftly in front and behind me but amazingly my spot stayed dry. With the sun behind me and rain in front I caught the wonderful sight of a rainbow over Saddle Tor - it was just unfortunate that the sunlight was not hitting the rocks at the same time. The fast movement of the clouds was ideal for my Lee Big Stopper to do it's thing - it's certainly earnt it's keep this trip. The granite outcrop on top of the hill has on this side an appearance of three grumpy men looking out over the moors... what do you think?

Saddle Tor, Dartmoor


Please do comment and share - blogging is a two way thing you know.


All images available to purchase here

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Dartmoor Devon England Hoe Lee Big Stopper Plymouth Saddle Tor Smeaton's Tower black and white clouds exposure granite lighthouse long mono monochrome outcrop photography rainbow tor https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2014/1/discovering-dartmoor-saddle-tor Thu, 02 Jan 2014 20:23:00 GMT
Discovering Dartmoor I - Brentor https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/discovering-dartmoor-brentor Discovering Dartmoor I 


My hardest decision today - coast or moor? After some research and much deliberation it had to be moor (the tide was all wrong for the coast). Having only a few hours to spare it needed to be somewhere I could drive to within an hour and not have more than a 20-30 minute walk in. The weather forecast was changeable and I had visions in my head of mean and moody moors, mist and long exposures. Driving out of Plymouth the clouds were forming nicely but by the time I got to Tavistock they had gone, blown away by the gusty wind. Blue skies, not what I had envisioned! Despite this driving out of the small town and onto the moors the anticipation was growing. Living in The Netherlands I get disproportionately excited by hills, even small ones! Driving through the undulating landscape was pleasure itself then in the distance I could see the Tor I was heading for, with it's 13th century church, St Michael de Rupe standing high above the surrounding countryside. There's a handy carpark just off the road as it is a well visited place - many families came to walk the Tor and see the church in the couple of hours I was there. A short walk saw me up the steep incline to the top of the Tor, and oh my, it was blowy up there! Of course the sheltered side of the Tor was no use forthe views I wanted to capture so after scouting around I set up the tripod in the full force of the wind, perilously close to the edge of

Church of St Michael de Rupe, Brentor, Dartmoor the craggy hill but if that's where the best view point is what else can you do? First up was a view from the south with the light coming over my left shoulder and now it was just a case of waiting for some cloud to blow through from the south. Tourist office images with bright blue skies was not what I had come for! A few fluffy clouds came into the composition but I did not get the kind of movement I needed for the picture in my mind's eye and looking over my shoulder I could see there was no more cloud coming into shot. Time to relocate. Walking back round to the north side of the Tor I took some respite from the wind but again, the best viewpoint was on the edge, buffeted by the wind and my biggest technical issue was protecting the camera from the wind to help prevent camera shake. From here however the cloud in the south was fully visible and the sun was now low enough and to further the side so would no longer cause any  issues. With the clouds scudding across the sky from west to east the Lee Big Stopper had to come out. Now this is why I had come...

Church of St Michael de Rupe, Brentor, Dartmoor


A great location and if only I had enough time to come back. That is the trouble with travelling for short stays, you do not get the time to fully exploit the locations. Dartmoor has so much to offer and I certainly intend to come back to explore and discover more. A good note to end the year on I think. What will 2014 bring I wonder? Happy New Year to everyone, may it be peaceful and fulfilling for each and every one of you. 


Please do comment and share.


All images available to purchase here

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Brentor Dartmoor England St Michael de Rupe Tor black and white church image landscape mono monochrome photograph photography walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/discovering-dartmoor-brentor Tue, 31 Dec 2013 19:45:41 GMT
A Stroll Through Plymouth https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/a-stroll-through-plymouth A Stroll Through Plymouth

The wind and rain lashing against the window as I awoke this morning did not bode well for a day of photography. However, after joining my lovely friends and hosts for the week at Number One for breakfast the rain stopped, the sun broke through the clouds and my fortune had changed. It was time to go exploring. Armed only with the D700 with 24-70mm lens attached I pulled on my boots and headed towards The Hoe, a short five minute walk away. 

Smeaton's Tower I
The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon
Smeaton's Tower II
The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon
Smeaton's Tower III
The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon
Smeaton's Tower is the focal point on The Hoe  
The Esplanade, The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon
The Esplanade
Plymouth Hoe War Memorial and Drake Statue Royal Marines Monument, The Hoe, Plymouth

The Hoe War Memorial and       Drake Monument

Royal Marines Monument

Venturing towards the Barbican I hopped aboard the small boat over to the Mount Batten peninsula to get a different view on the city. I spent some considerable time here simply contemplating the world and watching the waves come rolling in before climbing the steps up to the Mount Batten Tower which sadly cannot be climbed to get a higher viewpoint.

Mount Batten Pier looking towards Plymouth Hoe, Devon Mount Batten Tower, Plymouth, Devon
Mount Batten Pier with The Hoe behind Mount Batten Tower

On returning it was only natural to wander the old cobbled streets of the Barbican area before stopping off at the Strand Tea Room for some well earned sustenance in the form of a local Barbican Crab sandwich. 

The Dolphin, Barbican, Plymouth, Devon
New Street, Barbican, Plymouth
New Street
Strand Tea Rooms, New Street, Barbican, Plymouth, Devon
Waiting at The Dolphin Hotel The Strand Tea Rooms




Thinking of visiting Plymouth? Try Number One for a lovely family run B&B. Email [email protected]


Feel free to comment and share.



[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Barbican Devon England Great Britain Hoe Mount Batten Plymouth Smeaton's Tower UK United Kingdom black and white landmark mono monochrome photography street stroll walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/a-stroll-through-plymouth Mon, 30 Dec 2013 21:52:55 GMT
Boxing Day Walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/boxing-day-walk Boxing Day Walk

Recording the Familiar

Woodland with dog

The thing about having a dog is she needs a good walk every day regardless. The reward for me is that no matter what else is going on there is a time in every day that I can don my boots and walk. It is a time for quiet, a time for contemplation and a time for the simple pleasure of being. Whether we venture out to explore a new patch or tramp the same worn path it gets me away from the trials and tribulations of life and gives me space to think. Some may say that I think too much, and they're probably right. Yet seeing the dog frolic, living in the moment reminds me to mindful and to try and make the most of the now.

Today's walk took us on our standard hour long loop that takes us through the residential streets of the town, up to the railway line and around a wood with canals beyond the secondary school that my two eldest kids attend. Nothing special and oh, so familiar. So familiar that you'd be forgiven for overlooking the details that you pass.  

"Old Faithful" Umbrellas
"Old faithful" Umbrellas
Path to ... Ivy
Path to.... Ivy
Topsy Turvy World
"Old Dutch"


"Old Dutch"


Today I chose to take the D700 with a 50mm attached to record some of those details that I see day in and day out. In the apparently mundane beauty can be found. It pays well to remember that.

Topsy Turvy  


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) bicycle bike black and white dog familiar mindfulness mono monochrome monument reflections trees umbrellas walk woods https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/boxing-day-walk Thu, 26 Dec 2013 17:04:51 GMT
Haarlem - ViewFinders December Walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/haarlem---viewfinders-december-walk Haarlem

ViewFinders December Walk


It was 10C on a positively balmy December Monday morning when the ViewFinders met last week for a walk around the historical town of Haarlem, Noord Holland. Starting in the Grote Martkt the weekly market was setting up which blocked any clean images of the gorgeous old traditional square but did add some character. Circumnavigating the St. Bavochurch the ladies got stuck into photographing details of this medieval church. A wander along the Spaarne river took in the traditional gabled buildings plus the old and new boats moored alongside. Our turning point was the De Adriaane windmill, restored to all it's glory relatively recently it sits proud on a curve in the river just begging to be shot. Definitely a place to revisit to be given the full treatment with tripod and filters!

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) De Adriaane Haarlem Netherlands Spaarne St. Bavochurch ViewFinders meet molen photography walk windmill https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/12/haarlem---viewfinders-december-walk Wed, 18 Dec 2013 11:28:03 GMT
Decisive Moments https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/decisive-moments It's Saturday afternoon, I'm busy organising, planning, doing admin and I look out of the window… the light is developing nicely. The sun is shining, the leaves are glowing. I've got a picture in my head that needs to be created. Forget the computer, the dinner that should be getting made, even the prospect of watching quali for final F1 race of the season. I throw my boots on, wrap up warm and grab my kit and run out of the door with a backwards shout of "The light's coming, I'm going out!" 

Ten minutes later I'm at my location but alas, the sun is too low to make my trees glow - I'm an hour too late. We have to learn from our mistakes so if I'm lucky and the sun shines in the next week before the leaves have all dropped I will try again. Being extremely frustrated with myself I refused Knip Molen in WInter, Voorschten, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands to go home at this point. The clouds were now gathering and there is the distinct promise of something special. I wrack my brain for another location close enough to get to in time. This is were scouting local locations comes into it's own. Having already done the legwork I have a catalogue of places filed away in my mind just waiting for the right moment. Working out where the sun would be setting I headed for a location I photographed in winter last year when the canal was iced over.The sun would be setting to the left of the windmill at this time of year so would not be directly behind creating too difficult lighting conditions. Having parked the car I ran over the bridge to get to my spot along the cycle path (yes ran - those who know me know I don't run). The sky was already looking great as I put the camera on the tripod, mounted the filters, composed and started shooting. Beautiful. Let's just try that with the Lee Big Stopper. Oh yes! The decisive moment is here and the colour in the sky is simply glorious. At this point I am as giddy as my 7 year old twins after a box of Smarties. Cyclists coming by are calling "Heel moie!" as they go past, a couple stop and take a shot on their mobile phones. My frustration of earlier has disappeared. Had I not gone out for my first idea I would never have ended up here, witnessing this amazing sight. I had four decisive moments to get this shot: firstly the decision to go out; secondly the decision not to go home after being in a place at the wrong time; thirdly being able to pluck a different location from my list at the drop of a hat and last but certainly not least, opening the shutter when the light was at it's peak.



Nikon D700, 24-70mm @ mm, Lee 0.9 ND soft grad, Lee Big Stopper, f/11, secs, ISO 100 then delicately processed in LR4 - curves adjustment, brought up the exposure and shadows a smidge, sharpened lightly with masking, dust busting in PS CS5

Nikon D700, 24-70mm 2.8 @ 48mm, f/11, 241secs, ISO 100, tripod, Lee 0.9 ND soft grad, Lee Big Stopper

(Delicately processed in LR4 - curves adjustment, brought up the exposure and shadows a smidge, sharpened lightly with masking, dust busting in PS CS5)



All images available for purchase here

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Knip Molen Nederland Netherlands Voorschoten Zuid Holland long exposure sunset windmill https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/decisive-moments Sat, 23 Nov 2013 17:34:18 GMT
Kasteel De Haar - ViewFinders November Walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/kasteel-de-haar---viewfinders-november-walk Kasteel De Haar

ViewFinders November Walk

Kasteel De Haar


On a cold and rare dry day this week the ViewFinders group visited the delightful Kasteel De Haar near Haazuilens, Utrecht. Designed by the architect Pierre Cuypers (famed for the design of Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum) for the Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt and his wife, Helene de Rothschild at the end of the 19th century, this Neo-Gothic pile was built from the ruins of a medieval 16th century castle. The formal gardens gave us wonderful views of the moated castle. We got some images that are unusual as there has been so much rain recently that the lawn between some of the formal planting is completely saturated, creating reflections where usually there would be none. Sadly we didn't get around the rest of the park with its stately avenues of tall trees, winding paths along the park forest, all the ponds and bridges as they were busy setting up marquees for their annual Christmas markets. However, we took full advantage of the more formal, laid out gardens near the castle. The old trees held a lot of fascination for me, but then, I do love trees!


Horse Chestnut at De Haar

Horse Chestnut










All images available for purchase here





[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Haarzuilens Holland Kasteel De Haar ViewFinders Zuid Holland photography https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/kasteel-de-haar---viewfinders-november-walk Tue, 12 Nov 2013 16:20:00 GMT
South Coast Jaunt https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/south-coast  


South Coast Jaunt

A visit to my mother in South East England comes to an end, my Euro Tunnel train check in is not until 7pm. What to do? Have an afternoon of camera time on the south coast, naturally.


Dungeness Lighthouse, Kent, England

  Nikon D700, 24mm PC-E, ISO 100, f/11, 1/320, tripod
Dungeness Lighthouse, Kent, England

Nikon D700, 24mm PC-E, ISO 100, f/22, 100 sec, tripod, Lee Big Stopper, Lee 0.9ND 

Various places were recommended to me but after an internet recce I settled on Dungeness as my destination of choice. The nuclear power station aside, the lighthouses and abandoned fishing boats make fantastic photographic subjects. I had in my mind images of static objects and scudding clouds but would the weather play ball? The last few days had been temperamental to say the least and I would have to go with whatever mother nature threw at me. 

I headed directly to the end of the road where the Dungeness lighthouses stand. Stepping out of the car was a battle against the winds. With the nuclear power station behind me I easily found my vantage point to photograph the lighthouse. Moody clouds were flying across the sky in the strong winds.  Shortly after this the wind blew all the cloud away and left me with lovely blue skies - not what I had in my mind's eye for the shoot! I can't decide whether I prefer the long exposure or the moody cloud shot better. It changes depending on my mood each day.  A spell in the car to thaw out with my trusty thermos of coffee was definitely required!


With no new cloud coming in my direction I headed back along the beach to the area where there are so many abandoned fishing boats and old huts. I captured a few of these but this is my favourite. I had to wait quite a while after I'd set up for the right type of cloud to come scooting past.


Abandoned Fishing Boat, Dungeness, Kent, England

Nikon D700, 24-70mm @ 48mm, ISO 100, f/20, 120secs, tripod, Lee Big Stopper, Lee 0.9 ND

With Dungeness now basking in glorious sunshine I decided to relocate to Winchelsea, a half hour drive away. I knew from my research the night before that the tide would be turning and due to be going out about that time and I had heard that it has a multitude of groynes - not only going out to sea but also, unusually, parallel to the sea. Definitely something to be seen and explored. Groynes and misty sea created by long exposures may be ten-a-penny but I still find joy in creating them. Finding the right view point, your time limited by the flow of the tide, setting up the camera and filters, working out the ideal exposure time. The entire process engrosses me and takes me away from the daily whirl that usually occupies by mind.

Sea Groynes, Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex, England

70-200mm @ 110mm, ISO 100 f/20, 17sec, tripod, Lee Big Stopper

Sea Groynes, Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex, England

70-200mm @ 200mm, ISO 100 f/14, 105sec, tripod, Lee Big Stopper, Lee 0.9 ND

Sea Groynes, Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex, England

70-200mm @ 95mm, ISO 100 f/14,  120sec, tripod, Lee Big Stopper, Lee 0.9 ND


Time marched on and before I knew it the alarm on my iPhone was ringing to say time to go. However, sunset was developing nicely and I couldn't possibly leave yet. A quick calculation of time, speed and likely traffic and I decided I could risk staying a little longer. I was treated to watching mother nature's show develop into a delicate and beautiful sunset. Once captured I hot-footed it back to the car and managed to make my train check-in with time to spare. It may have meant getting home to Zuid Holland obscenely late but it was a lovely afternoon at a couple of locations I certainly hope to re-visit.

Sunset at Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex, England

Nikon D700, 24-70mm @ 45mm, ISO 100, f/16, 10sec, Lee 0.9 ND


All images available for purchase here


[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Dungeness East Sussex England Kent Winchelsea and beach black boat clouds fine art fishing boat groynes lighthouse long exposure monochrome photograph photography sea sunset water white https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/south-coast Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:30:00 GMT
Japanese Gardens Revisited https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/japanese-gardens-revisited Japanese Gardens Revisited

The light on Monday's walk had been so abysmal I just had to go back when the sun managed to fight it's way through the clouds and rain we'd had all week. Having already been once I knew exactly where I wanted to go, what compositions I wanted to capture. This is the advantage of revisiting your locations time and again. Now the trick was to be able to set up and be patient as a lot of other people had the same idea - especially a fashion photographer and model who were enjoying the moment on the feature red bridges and amongst the autumn foliage. Patience is a virtue!

All images available for purchase here

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Clingendael Den Haag Japanese Gardens The Hague autumn garden public https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/japanese-gardens-revisited Sun, 13 Oct 2013 09:07:00 GMT
Impressions from the Japanese Gardens - ViewFinders October Walk https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/japanese-gardens Impressions from the

Japanese Gardens

ViewFinders October Walk

A dull day saw the ViewFinders gathering at the entrance to the Japanese Gardens in Clingendael Park, Den Haag keen to capture the autumn foliage during its' limited opening time. Due to the delicacy of the landscaping and plants the garden is only open to visitors for 6 weeks in the spring and 2 weeks in autumn. Sculpted trees and shrubs line the paths, water is a dominant feature, as are the red bridges. Going handheld the light was so dim we were pushing the ISO way up to get workable speeds. Some alternative thinking was required so we turned the ISO back down, as low as it would go, dialled in 1-2 second speeds and started moving the cameras on purpose. Impressionistic images became the order of the day as well as playing with panning and zooming the lenses in and out during the exposure to get some dynamic movement.

Fancy trying it yourself? Here's how:

Zoom technique:

  • On speed priority set it to about 2" (you may need to reduce the ISO to lowest level).
  • Set lens to its longest length and focus on your subject.
  • Release shutter and zoom out to wide while the shutter is open.
  • Experiment!

Panning technique:

  • On speed priority set it to about 1" (you may need to reduce the ISO to lowest level).
  • Start at the top of your intended frame.
  • Release shutter and sweep downwards while the shutter is open.
  • Have fun!


All images available for purchase here

[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Clingendael Den Haag Gardens Hague Japanese ViewFinders alternative creative impressionist movement panning photography technique zoom https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/japanese-gardens Sat, 12 Oct 2013 20:12:00 GMT
Why? Where? When? How? https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/why-where-when-how Why? Where? When? How?



Purple Tulips on Black

It's the age old question that I get asked all the time when people find out that I am a photographer. I hope to answer the curiosity of why I started, how I developed my style and where my journey is taking me here in my first blog.

I have been shooting floral portraits and landscapes for the past 5 years but the journey to where I am now, both photographically and emotionally, has been a roller coaster ride. As a mother of 4, including twins, I have the challenge of fitting my photography work in around the school day, children’s activities and family life, which must come first.  Although I have always been taken with image making it was in 2008 that my creativity was brought to the fore once again.  I had an absolute need to be creative, do something for myself, only myself, that would take my mind away from the day to day mental hell I had descended into.

Since 2003 my family has been living away from the UK, taken first to Singapore and then, since 2010 to The Netherlands by my husband’s job. The general view of expat life can be misleading. There is a preconceived notion of expats enjoying a holiday lifestyle with cocktail parties and pools, exotic travel, fast cars and tax havens. Though that may be true for some, the majority of us are simply trying to live our day to day lives exactly like everyone else - we just happen to be in another part of the world. The trials and tribulations of parenthood, balancing work and home life whilst in a new place, struggling with cultural differences (which when on a 2 week vacation may seem charming, 6 months in they can become a source of significant frustration) all whilst away from friends and family is hard. You also learn very quickly to not build good, solid relationships with people as the transient nature of expat life is that people move on all the time and it just hurts too much when they leave to get too close.

In 2008 I had a complete breakdown brought on by a combination of factors, not least exhaustion, personal health problems, serious worries regarding the children’s education and a handful of good friends left.  Irrational was my middle name. Resilient I was not. I could not function as a person, a mother or a wife.  Depression is a cruel beast that plays with and taunts your mind, creeping up on you until you don’t know what’s hit you. Small seemingly insignificant things become huge hurdles, so much so that you feel like you can’t get through the day. Emotionally you become like stone, numb to everything going on around you. Disengaged, you loose all interest in everything that should mean something to you. I was functioning on automatic pilot and somehow managed to put on a brave face to the outside world, keeping my own personal demons hidden away inside. After all, we were expats living the high life weren’t we? What should I have to complain about?

Part of the advice I was given during counseling was to find something to do for myself. Not for the children. Not for my husband. Just for me. Photography has been part of me for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved the feel of a camera in my hands, the sound of the mirror slapping as I press the shutter, the magic of capturing a Heliconia psittacorum Strawberries and Cream moment in time. Until that point my photography had no particular focus. As is probably quite common I was chief family photographer and also took some nice scenic images when on holiday. Earlier in the year, after finally buying a DSLR I had decided to take a weekend workshop with local Singaporean nature and bird photographer, John Arifin to brush up on my camera craft and had a moment of clarity. Part of the workshop took us to the Singapore Botanical Gardens and that was it, I was hooked. I returned to the gardens frequently and haunted florists looking for new flowers to photograph. I found that losing myself in the process of searching for the perfect bloom and composing a compelling image helped to clear my mind. I felt liberated and importantly, more at peace with myself. 

Orchid Dendrobium Memoria Princess Diana on black background Luckily for me Singapore Botanical Gardens is one of the world’s best. Their specialty is orchids and the National Orchid Garden is a sight to behold. Pathways full of stunning exotic flowers that can't fail to inspire. Although initially I photographed every and any flower I soon started to develop the idea of the flower in isolation. I wanted to make the beauty and form of the bloom sing out without distraction. At first I achieved this by using shallow depth of field, creating a bokeh effect behind the main bloom.  On one occasion the background was not far enough away to recreate this effect but was quite dark, so I played with the image in editing, increasing the shadows and blacks to the point that they clipped. The effect made the orchid pop out at me and my style was born.  

Whenever I had the chance I would return to the gardens but started to carry a black cloth and clothes pegs to achieve the same effect in-camera. The sight of me, an Ang Moh (colloquial Singaporean term for Caucasians) with camera, tripod and pegged cloth did elicit quite a lot of odd looks and comments from both locals and the coach loads of tourists that pass through the gardens every day. The effect created by the black background satisfied me far more as I truly feel that the image needs to be believable. I don't want people who view my images to think "how did she photoshop that background in?" The focus of my flower portraits is and should remain Orchidaceae Stanhopea oculata on black background the flower itself. If the background is black it’s because I positioned a black backing cloth there, if it’s white I placed a white board behind. Also by isolating the flowers without having to worry about background distractions I could then increase the depth of field on the flowers themselves to really show off their incredible delicacy and beauty. At this point I was using my first DSLR, a Nikon D40X  with kit lenses although soon I invested in the Nikon 105mm macro lens. The main challenge of working in the botanical gardens was managing to get a good angle on the flower, waiting for the breeze to die down and, being in the hot tropical sun, reducing contrast. Frequently I was juggling remote release, a reflector plus trying to shade the flower. Thank goodness for the clothes pegs holding the background cloth! Overcast, still days with diffuse light are ideal for flower photography but sometimes those days didn't coincide with the days I could get to the gardens. The same is true now.

Fitting in photography around the family became a priority for me. Days when I could not get away I would (and still do) use cut flowers from the florist. In many ways it is easier to create my style of image in a studio type set up. There is no breeze to contend with and the light is easier to control. Having said that I always use natural light in my images finding flash too harsh. My usual set up is close to a large window, front lit and occasionally utilizing a white reflector if necessary. When photographing the detail of flowers with a macro lens to get a sharp image front to back I frequently need to stop down to a very small aperture, creating long exposures which demand everything to be totally still. I often find myself holding my breath whilst making an exposure to make sure I don’t create any movement in the stem.

Merlion Park, Singapore

As my health improved I became more confident with my work and was hearing good noises from friends and family. Along with the floral portraits I was producing landscape images from both Singapore and our travels, not least a trip to the amazing Angkor Wat complex of temples in Cambodia. Then as now I have an affinity with monochrome and love to record the landscape in black and white. Interest increased in my work and I was selling canvases and prints to friends plus I started to exhibit regularly at a local craft fairs and my business has sprung from there. 

Bayon Faces , The Bayon , Angkor Thom , Siem Reap , Cambodia Bayon Face , The Bayon , Angkor Thom , Siem Reap , Cambodia










From Singapore we moved to The Netherlands in spring 2010. The world famous Keukenhof tulip showcase gardens are a half hour drive from my home here.  Since relocating back to Europe I have upgraded my kit twice, firstly to a Nikon D300 (now converted to infrared) then at the end of 2012 I invested in the full frame D700. 

Tulip Field panorama, Lisse, The Netherlands

My favourite flowers have always been tulips. Visiting the bulbs fields in spring and walking through the Keukenhof gardens is heaven to me. The diversity of the forms of the blooms and the variety of colour is astounding. From single to double to frilled there is something for Tulipa "Monarch Parrot" every taste. I can usually be found in the glasshouses along with my trusty tripod, camera and background cloths, photographing Tulipa "Sweet Impression" the show specimens each spring; there are always new varieties as well as the old favourites. Tourists abound at the gardens and I frequently hear the shutters of other photographers clicking away over my shoulder as they sneak a shot of my isolated flower. I also attempt to grow bulbs in the garden at home to photograph in a studio setup as the varieties sold by florists are fairly limited,  though truth be told I don't really have green fingers! I try not to let my work become too formulaic and will experiment with different coloured backgrounds and closer, macro views with shallow depth of field to keep things fresh. Different flowers demand different treatment and I try to be sensitive to this.

Landscape photography has become increasingly important to me. Just like with flower imagery I find myself immersed in the process: the planning, scouting and finally the executing of images as I have imagined them in my mind's eye. It's vital that you do not rest on your laurels and never stop learning and to my delight I have had the benefit of attending landscape photography weekends in Dorset, Provence and Umbria with the imitable David Noton, a true master of landscape photography. Surrounded by magnificant locations with like-minded, inspirational and talented people one cannot help but develop and learn. 

Sunset at Cassis, Provence, France Poppy Field, Il Castello di Campi, Umbria, Italy







Tunnel View, Yosemite Valley, California, USA Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, San Francisco, California, USA







Getting out with my camera and immersing myself in both landscape and floral photography continues to be a great solace to me. I am truly blessed to have been able to grow as a photographer and pursue a new direction in life. Looking back I can now be thankful that I went through such a difficult time as it has opened a new chapter with new opportunities which I am grabbing with both hands.


All images available for purchase here














[email protected] (Dawn S. Black Photography) Netherlands Singapore biography depression flowers how landscapes photography style therapy when where why https://www.dawnsblackphotography.com/blog/2013/10/why-where-when-how Tue, 01 Oct 2013 18:31:00 GMT