The Dune Fascination. A way of life.

When I first got into taking photographs, about 20 plus years ago, I was fascinated by the work of Bill Brandt. His Wuthering Heights photographs especially had an impact. Grass! Wild, Gothic, unsettling, bleak.

I was very naive when I got my first SLR and threw myself into how the Pentax LX actually worked. My photography before this was sparse. An old Brownie and a Kodak Instamatic I think. Definitely a Brownie. 50p from a charity shop! I took photos of an old Austin car I owned with it.

After my first excursion to the beach, I realised my wonderful SLR camera had a ‘sticky mirror’. It was a real problem to focus too. The camera was sent away to be sorted and about a month later I got it back.

The first intention was to go to the Ynyslas Dunes and snap away. A themed ‘subject’ project. Black and White was my Mantra. No colour film consideration at all. I’d obtained an old early 1900’s Wetzler enlarger with an Ernst Leitz lens. Bought a load of old photography paper from a recycling centre. Set up the darkroom out back and suddenly it was full steam ahead.

Hard contrast to create a Gothic style, influenced by Bill Brandt, became the focus. Either #4 or #5 single paper choice or multi grade paper with high contrast filter choice became the regime. The Dunes became less of a ‘Theme Project’ and more of a way of life. Whilst out on the Dunes the time spent there was so therapeutic. So it was a fair few years of being on the sands in the VeeDub Bus and 5 or 6 hours of taking time to relax. VeeDub, Guitar, Camera, Books and Cooking. Nirvana.

If anyone out there is invested in walking with their camera, you can’t go wrong taking a Dunes visit and then stopping/sitting amongst the grasses to watch them dance in the breeze. Feel the energy and take some captures. It is a beautiful experience to spend a few hours in this environment.

Below are a few of my favourites of the ones that are expanses of grass.

Please tap on each individual photograph to enlarge.

6 thoughts on “The Dune Fascination. A way of life.”

    1. Thanks Danny. They make a fine subject. The light is really important and when the grass moves the light catches and brings to life the subtle tones. Black and white film benefits from filters over the camera lens at times. I use a yellow filter on the lens most of the time. Have used a red filter too at times to really create contrast between sky and clouds. Cheers.

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      1. I always used a red filter regularly for the contrast. Never tried a yellow filter. Then at night I have a crisscross filter to capture the light. Used that for color and B&W film. All the best

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      2. Accessories for the Pentax LX have reached absolute Bonkers money nowadays. They have a lot of interchangeable options too. Focus screens with different designs, different viewfinders, handles to add, motor drives to attach for faster shooting opportunities, etc. I have a few bits and bobs around like that. Never use them as I love basic stuff. The little velvet deep burgundy Pentax bag I photographed the Jinhao on? I have seen it for about £70. It’s a bit of cloth! Some particular vintage cameras are like vintage fountain pens. Very sought after. I have a small ‘positive slide’ box full of various lens attachments somewhere. It has all sorts of those little quirky screw over the lens additions for improving or changing the resulting image of the photograph. Popular in the 1970s/80s period. Now we have all those options in computer and pads programmes. Cheers.

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