Crionna Photography: Blog en-us (C) Crionna Photography (Crionna Photography) Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:32:00 GMT Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:32:00 GMT Crionna Photography: Blog 96 120 April Snow, The Quiraing The Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands


April Snow, The QuiraingApril Snow, The Quiraing

Yesterday we had snow again and some pretty dramatic lighting, it's hard to imagine sometimes that we are at the end of April. Took this just after sunrise when the light was filtering through the clouds, the 20 second exposure and a bit of a breeze gave me some drifting cloud and added to the mood. An hour later and the sleet heading past my window was horizontal!


]]> (Crionna Photography) April Highlands Quiraing Scotland Skye landscape mountains photograph snow Wed, 29 Apr 2015 05:03:21 GMT
Going out on a Photo Shoot? Plan ahead! Recently I spent my day in the car driving to Oban then travelling down to the little port of Tarbert before getting the ferry back home (6 hours in total!). It was a pleasant drive and Pip loved playing with the ball on the beach but the tide was in instead of out, the light was too strong  and when I checked my bag I had only packed one half used battery. In the end I came back empty handed in terms of photos.  


On Location - Iceland - JokulsarlonOn Location - Iceland - JokulsarlonOn location at the southern end of Iceland in mid Winter. Temperatures got down to -10C and we had a lot of deep snow. From this position close to the shore I was shooting images of the turquoise blue icebergs on the black volcanic beach. As time went on I ventured a lot closer to the icy water which surges up the beach sucking everything in it's path as it returns. Not somewhere to put down a lens, or filter box, you had to keep one eye on the incoming waves as you shot the image otherwise risk having boots filled with ice cold water!
The trip to Iceland required a lot of planning and careful attention to equipment. I had with my my Lowepro camera bag, my Canon 5D Mark II and my 40D just in case of accidents. I took several lenses as well as my Gitzo tripod and my all important Lee Neutral Density filter set. The Rab down jacket, boot and hand warmers ensured that despite the cold I was able to keep warm. The most difficult part is keeping your fingers warm enough to make the tiny movements needed to ensure you are in focus and I found that products from HEAT Company in Germany work really well.


Photography is all about the light. You can't control light but you can give yourself a better chance of getting a decent shot if you make sure you are in the right place at the right time with the right gear!

Here are a few mistakes I have made over the years that led to disappointment and frustration. 

  •              Slept too late so the light was too bright by the time I reached my spot
  •              Forgot to check the fuel level in the car the night before - no petrol stations in the countryside! 
  •              Forgot to charge the spare battery so ran out in the middle of the shoot
  •              Forgot the tripod/the filter set or a spare memory card
  •              Didn't check the route so got lost - spent 4 hours round trip and got nada!
  •              Forgot to check the time of the tide - either in or out it was not what I hoped for
  •              Forgot to pack something warm to drink and something small to eat so got cold and hungry
  •              Didn't pack a headtorch so stumbled around in the dark and stepped in the bog - wet feet ugh!


These things always seem to happen just when the light is perfect and you miss out so here are a few tips on how to get yourself organised and avoid disappointment. 

  • In the days beforehand, do a check of your kit and make sure you have everything you need for the terrain. There are the obvious and the not so obvious things on the list. Here are some of the less obvious - head torch, gaiters, midge repellant, spare socks, waterproof trousers (especially if like me, you like kneeling on the beach), lens wipes and hankies (especially for the beach), a towel in the car to dry off your camera

  • Check the weather forecast - you can shoot in a lot of weather if you are well prepared but sometimes it is as well to abandon the plan if it is going to be just too wet and windy

  • Organise your bag the night before so that all you do is pick it up and walk out the door

  • Stay warm! I use some great hand and foot warmers from The Heat Company in Germany. They also do great fingerless mitts which are great in really wet windy conditions

  • Check the route and how long it takes to get there and make sure you leave enough time and have enough fuel - plan to be there about an hour before you need to so you have time to set up and find the best spot before the light gets really nice. 

  • Clean your kit and replace what is needed as soon as you get back from a trip rather than just before you want to go out. This is especially important if you have been to the beach as sand lying around in your bag will scratch lenses and filters. I often use the vacuum to get the sand off my straps and out of the creases inside the bag

  • Take at least one spare battery and photocard - batteries run out pretty fast in cold weather and there is nothing worse than having to delete photos on your photocard if they are not backed up elsewhere.

  • Check the time of dawn or sunset for the time and day you plan to be there. There is a really handy tool called the Photographer's Ephemeris which comes as an App. This tells you the time of sunrise and sunset but it also gives you the direction of the light which means you can choose your location ahead of time. 

  • Also, if going to a beach check tide times. You need to stay safe so if you are arriving in the dark you have to know whether the tide is coming in or going out before you select your position. Always know how you are getting off the beach in case you need to move quickly. 

  • Pick your location and try to stick to it - sometimes it is tempting to move around a lot but good light doesn't last long so if you do that you risk losing the best of the light. 


  • ​And lastly, LOOK BEHIND YOU! Don't get into a situation where you can't step back!


Last time they saw Bill........















]]> (Crionna Photography) Landscape Photographers Photoshoot photography photography equipment photography trip planning photo trip planning photoshoot tips for photographers Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:30:00 GMT
Lyrical Abstractions - The Poetry of Flowers Here are some of my favourite quotes by Georgia O'Keeffe to take you through a few of my lyrical abstract prints - these look amazing in the enormous 40 x 60 inch sizes when you can fill a whole room with colour! 

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way... things I had no words for.” 
― Georgia O'Keeffe


Flower and tree art prints for sale. Oversized wall art prints of flowers, dandelions and trees.PoemeLIMITED EDITION Fine Art Print / Canvas EDITION OF 250 in mixed sizes. SHOP FOR THIS PRINT or BROWSE THE CRIONNA ONLINE SHOP Printed on fabulous, museum quality, Canson fine art papers and canvases using Epson Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks to produce a print of exceptional quality which will last a lifetime without fading.

"If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment.” 
― Georgia O'Keeffe


Flower and tree art prints for sale. Oversized wall art prints of flowers, dandelions and trees.CaresseLIMITED EDITION Fine Art Print / Canvas EDITION OF 250 in mixed sizes. SHOP FOR THIS PRINT or BROWSE THE CRIONNA ONLINE SHOP Printed on fabulous, museum quality, Canson fine art papers and canvases using Epson Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks to produce a print of exceptional quality which will last a lifetime without fading.

“Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.” 
― Georgia O'Keeffe


Oversized photography print of a pink flower in the lyrical abstract style inspired by Georgia O'KeeffePlieFine art print available on canvas or high quality fine art papers.

“I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.” 
― Georgia O'Keeffe




]]> (Crionna Photography) abstract abstraction abstracts art colourful contemporary expressionist flower lyrical macro nature oversized photography pink prints wall Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:28:36 GMT
Rare Species? - Alternative Realities of the Female Artist  

The Amazing, Inspirational Georgia O'Keeffe

Photography and Painting - The Alternative Realities of the Female Artist

I just finished reading the story of Georgia O'Keeffe (How Georgia became O'Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living by Karen Karbo). What a fascinating story! What a life! I was amazed to see so many parallels to the world of female photographers. I would love to know your thoughts on this topic so do feel free to comment. 

Georgia was strongly motivated by colour as many female artists and photographers seem to be, myself included. She was also influenced by modern photography as can be seen from some of her close up flower details and the unusual perspectives she takes in her work. But most interesting to me, is that she broke away from the traditional ideas in art of her male educators to achieve a uniquely female perspective of Nature.

O'Keeffe took a view that focussed on colour, line and harmony, that took in the beauty of landscapes, flowers, shells, skulls and crosses and sometimes combined them in one painting. Why was that unusual you might ask? Because at the time when she was developing her style most painters were painting in the style of the old masters i.e exactly what they saw as accurately as they could. 

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 Idealism and Beauty 

Everything Georgia O'Keeffe made was idealised and beautiful, even tough subjects like skulls from her later years in the New Mexican desert are depicted with delicacy and beauty. If you watch the videos of interviews with Georgia below you will hear her explain how she uses colour to draw them together.   

So how did she get there? How did she create such innovative art at a time when women did a bit of watercolour painting as a pastime? Nearly all the art educators in the early 20th century were men and you can only imagine how easy it would be for Georgia to stick to what she was taught - imitate rather than create. But Georgia O'Keeffe was used to thinking for herself; both her mother and her grandmother had painted despite having a heavy family workload. Georgia knew from the age of twelve that she wanted to be an artist and she had that drive and relentless urge to create that saw her reinvent herself several times over her long career. 

O'Keeffe was born into a society where being a female artist, never mind a landscape artist was highly unusual. She was born in 1887 and started out with abstracts in charcoal. Her black and white 'Specials' were seen by Alfred Stieglitz who recognised her talent and became her lifelong advocate. She mentions how, in early work, she used the shapes of favourite belongings as inspiration, see below, this seems to be like the top of a violin. 


Her relationship and eventually marriage to Stieglitz, himself a revolutionary photographer, exposed her to the world of photography and propelled her to the world of fine art. She met and became friends with Ansel Adams from 1929 all the way to his death in 1985 and they shared a passion for landscapes and wild places.

Interestingly, Georgia felt she had to break away from all these influences by men to create her own vision, a female perspective of what she saw around her and her work is dramatically different from the highly detailed photography work of Adams and Stieglitz. 

"Before I put brush to canvas, I question, 'Is this mine? ...Is it influenced by some idea which I have acquired from some man? ...I am trying with all my skill to do a painting that is all of women, as well as all of me."

One of my favourite Georgia flowers.....



Georgia herself had a rather unique style, she wore black most of the time and 'tramped' around in flat, men's shoes, not for her the glamour of the 1920s flapper. In her latter years she became a bit of a loner, living out in New Mexico where she was drawn to the landscape. She was incredibly witty, intelligent and had a great sense of humour. 

Georgia young 2Georgia young 2 Georgia TEACHERGeorgia TEACHER
Gerogia MuseGerogia Muse imagesimages


Landscape or Flowers or Abstracts? Or can we have it all? 

I love photographing flowers, their intense colour is so attractive as are the simple or sometimes complex shapes. I also love working with abstracts, camera movement and extreme close ups. But, I have always had the impression that in photography one is expected to stick to one genre or the other. You can either work on botanics OR you can do landscapes but not both? I love all these genres but confess that until recently I have devalued everything other than landscapes. Why is that? Peer pressure! Take any photography magazine on the shelf in your local store and you will rarely see a flower on the cover. You will see strong, dramatic landscapes - the pages are filled with long exposures of sunsets and crashing waves, mountain-top views and sometimes wonderfully detailed, well executed macros of insects. You will rarely see a beautiful photography abstract or flower gracing the cover of a magazine and very few 'artistic interpretations' of a subject. Perhaps this is why I find the work of Georgia O'Keeffe so astounding; in a similar environment, surrounded by artists and photographers obsessed with detail, she succeeded in breaking wildly from tradition. She experimented in abstracts, flowers, shells, landscapes - sometimes combining them almost as if she had envisaged the power of layers in Photoshop. 

She started her art exploration in abstracts but her work was not well understood. Whether that is why she took to more recognisable subjects like flowers I have yet to understand but personally I am glad she did. When I discovered her wonderful flower paintings I was entranced, they are so vivid and luxurious. Luscious greens, vibrant purples and pinks all painted on huge canvases, they are simply breathtaking. As Georgia said at one point, "..nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - and we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend, takes time". She loved to paint really big canvases "I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it - I'll make even busy New Yorkers  take time to see what I see of flowers". I have to admit I love big canvases myself and I get enormous satisfaction from printing off a really large image in bright colours. 

These are some of my personal favourites of Georgia O'Keeffe flowers but do search out more....


Influences - Notan, Stieglitz and Ansel Adams

Interestingly, Georgia had strong influences in her work from Arthur Wesley Dow whose ideas were rooted in the Japanese art theories of Noton - light and dark, harmony and balance in composition. His teachings, radical at the time were that art should not be an imitation of nature but an expression of the artist, that the creation of art is all about emotion.  Japanese prints and woodcuts had a strong  influence on European painters as did Photography at the end of the 19th century and I think we can see some of those influences in the work of O'Keeffe. She was married to the most influential photographer of his day, Alfred Stieglitz, himself an innovator and pioneer who did much to raise Photography into the realms of Art. Although Georgia was the subject of many of Stieglitz' photographs I do wonder if she ever used a camera. It seems reasonable to imagine that she would have had a shot or two looking through a lens. On her trips with Ansel one can imagine them sitting round a campfire discussing their personal philosophies on light and landscape, Art and Photography. I am sure they found many parallels and they surely influenced each other. 

O'Keeffe Interviews  - A Rare Insight into the Mind of an Artist

Georgia had always been drawn to the desert since her early days teaching and after her divorce from Stieglitz she moved to New Mexico. In the clips below she gives us a marvellous insight into those early days which seem to have been difficult as there were no flowers and Georgia had to look for other subjects. The place was filled with skulls, crosses and dramatic mountains - she made the most of it.  

I recommend watching these one after the other so grab a cup of something, sit back and enjoy! 






Georgia and Landscapes - Emotion, Line and Colour

So what has the painting of landscapes, abstracts and flowers by Georgia O'Keeffe to do with my Rare Species topic? 

Well, there are so many parallels. For a start Georgia had to fight her way to the top. She did have a patron which was a big help but there were very few women in Art at that time never mind Photography. She was never interested in painting people, she preferred to paint emotionally charged images of nature; she used paint to express herself. She was bold, she went out into the landscape on her own, she climbed the hillside and suffered the intense heat of the desert in order to make her art. Sound familiar? She tells how she had to rest under the car to get out of the sun. More familiar to me is her story of how windy it could be and she was worried her easel would blow away. Who among us has not been out on a fabulously windy day trying desperately to keep the tripod steady. It doesn't matter if your hands are numb with cold and your face stinging all you can think about is getting the shot that is in your head. 

Georgia saw the landscape in blocks of colours, lines and textures. Her images are not full of detail and (unlike the focus of a lot of photography nowadays) she was not obsessed with giving us a copy of nature, she was interested in giving us her emotional reaction to the subject. She was a pioneer in this way of thinking, she led the way for the post war modern styles coming into vogue in the mid 20th century. Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field painting, Neo-Expressionism, Lyrical Abstraction, Minimalism - all artists seeking to provoke and express emotions. 

Another point O'Keeffe makes that resonates with me is that the landscape is so beautiful with all it's colours that it almost looks as if it is painted for you until you try to put it on the canvas. Wonderful words of wisdom here from Georgia that you can only paint or photograph what you see not what others see. No one can teach you how to see your image. This really is the key point. For any creation to become a successful piece of art and not just a technical masterpiece it has to stimulate emotional reactions, it has to have the personal 'touch' of the artist.  It's not so much about pinpoint sharpness and masses of detail but the emotional connection to the subject. 

Here are a few of the landscapes I have come across so far which show how the colours combinations, shapes and lines of Georgia O'Keeffe's work strikes a chord. Whether it is the minimal styled scenes she painted of Lake George or the striking colours of the desert they are all the result of simplification and abstraction of the details of a landscape into colours and flowing lines. In some cases, the shapes and colours of the desert are painted in combination with flowers and skulls but everything is tied together in perfect harmony. 




Hollyhock Pink With Pedernal 1937Hollyhock Pink With Pedernal 1937


Words of Wisdom 

Finally, I would just like to offer you all a few of Georgia O'Keeffe's words of wisdom that I found particularly inspiring.....they apply to women in photography as much as art or anywhere else.

"I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore."

"Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they may say something."

"Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know. I do know the flower is painted large to convey my experience with the flower - and what is my experience if it is not the color?"

"I know I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning, but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time." 

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do."

"One day seven years ago I found myself saying to myself - I can't live where I want to - I can't go where I want to go - I can't do what I want to - I can't even say what I want to... I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to."
So, take courage all you women artists and photographers! 
Let's do something different, break out of tradition and look at things with an individual perspective.
Thanks Georgia, although I only just discovered your work I feel as if I have found someone truly inspirational; I will seek out more to inspire me and keep me going! 
You can read more in my Rare Species in other blog posts, please drop me an email and give me your perspective on the topic of women in art. 
]]> (Crionna Photography) O'keeffe Rare Species female artists female photographers women in art women landscape photographers" "abstract art" "flower art" Sun, 22 Jun 2014 05:52:33 GMT
Personal Vision in Photography What makes a good photo Art? 

Every morning when not out shooting somewhere, I sit down with my morning coffee and one of my favourite photography books. I love the stillness of the early morning; I enjoy bathing in dawn light and enjoying the colours as they develop and evaporate as the sun rises. Here in Scotland in June it is hardly dark at night and by 3.30am the light glows on the horizon. At around five or so the light is soft and gentle with hints of pink and peach in among the pale grey and misty blue tones, it's like a watercolour painting. Nothing harsh or contrasting, just harmony and peace. 

Oversized wall art print of Scottish landscape. Argyll in Scotland. Extra large square print by female landscape photographer Lynne DouglasPastel Dawn on the ClydeLIMITED EDITION Fine Art Print
EDITION OF 250 in mixed sizes

For these special prints of my work I use the fabulous, museum quality, Canson Photographique Rag Paper (310gsm) and Epson Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks to produce a print of exceptional quality which will last a lifetime without fading. Canson have been making paper for artists such as Ingres, Miro, Chagal and Picasso since 1557. You can read more about Canson paper and my printing techniques in the ABOUT CRIONNA PRINT SECTION.

These prints are limited in edition so only a very few will ever be sold around the world, a Certificate of Authenticity is provided with the print. The size stated is the image size and is quoted in inches.

By five this morning I was sitting in my favourite spot on the front doorstep, with a copy of Mountain Light by Galen Rowell, my treasured possession. All I could hear as I browsed the images was the sound of the waves lapping on the shore across the road and the oyster catchers overhead.  

Of all the inspirational photographers out there I believe Rowell's images remain visionary even now, many years after his untimely death in 2002. He transports you to the Himalayas, Yosemite or wherever is to be there with him as he takes each shot.  The shot below,  Clearing Storm over El Capitan, Yosesmite, California is a perfect example of how Rowell raised the game in photography from standard duplication of nature to an artwork full of expression and emotion.

Clearing storm over El Caitan, Yoesemite, California

Rowell focusses the eye on the clearing mist  and the shape of the mountain using the vertical straight trees underneath to give the "visual sea level". Other photographers would shy away from converging trees but Rowell embraces them and uses them as part of the framing for the central subject. It makes this image visually stunning. 

Rowell echoes my own feelings about photography, that it is not about technique or how big a set of lenses you have but about personal vision. As artists we have to trust our personal vision otherwise our photography will not create that magical connection with the viewer. 'Seeing' the image as you stand there with you camera and having the proficiency in technique to capture it are only two of the three components required for a successful image, the third is expression, how you convey the emotional response you had when taking the shot to your viewer. The translation and distillation of the various components into a final image is what makes the image a success. Several photographers can stand in the same place shooting the same scene but what distinguishes them is that mysterious and often elusive combination of elements and personal style that make one shot different from the others. Creativity and artistic vision rather than the nuts and bolts of the process are the key.

As Rowell says, "Each time I pick up a camera I'm trying to say something. I'm trying to communicate my view of the world and to share those high moments when what I see and what I feel are a single experience. Mechanical competence with a camera is just half of the equation. The best images come from a  blend of technical discipline and creative thought, a meld of left-brain/right-brain action. Only then can a photographer merge, for an instant, his camera's way of seeing the world with his own". 

To the point Rowell was making, when I started out in landscape photography I lacked confidence and I was strongly influenced by those around me as to what to shoot and how to shoot but no one could tell me why shoot it, that was down to me. My early photographic expeditions had a strong focus on technique and proficiency with lenses, trying to get the tripod up, down etc and most of my work used traditional compositional rules - often involving big rocks! I rarely found much time to consider harmony and composing using the colours of the light. Those trips were incredibly valuable to me and I would strongly recommend anyone starting out in photography to go on workshops and learn how to use the tools. Everyone needs a thorough grounding in the basics, after all, you have to know what the rules are before you can use them or break them.

I realise now as I look back at some of my early images made that only a few were the result of my personal emotional response to what I saw. In many of them I was concentrating so much on the technique and the compositional elements that the vision simply did not come across. However, when I look at some of the images that I discarded at the time, I remember what captured my attention, what it was about the scene that I wanted to convey. Many of those early images are not technically very good but they did capture the emotion of the moment. The image below is a good example. For a long time I have loved this image, it was taken on my first amazing photography workshop with talented photographer Bruce Percy (thanks Bruce!). It was the first time with my Canon 5D Mark II, it was the first time I had ever used a tripod, it was one of my earliest long exposures at 25 seconds and the first time I ever used Lee Filters. I had no expertise whatsoever at that stage yet this image is very popular with my viewers. I have until recently dismissed this image as a little short of the mark but the more I look at it the more I feel it is actually more of it an indicator for where I am heading than many of my other images. Some of my most recent successes (Foggy Day on the Clyde) are in the same vein so I seem to have gone full circle. 

Michelle Richmond & Jordan Lamb Wedding


"At the heart of all photography is an urge to express our deepest personal feelings, to reveal our inner, hidden selves, to unlock the artist." Galen Rowell, Still Vision, Mountain Light

We cannot ever hope to duplicate Nature in a photograph so why try? When looking at Rowell's book I am reminded to keep developing my own personal style, not to be distracted by the work of others and to strive to create something new and fresh.

As Rowell says "If we limit our vision to the real world, we will forever be fighting on the minus side of things, working only to make our photographs equal to what we see out there, but no better". 

Happy to hear any thoughts on this topic, particularly from aspiring photographers!

Mountain Light is published by Sierra Club Books



You can read about other photographers and artists in my blog series Rare Species? The Female Landscape Photographer in the Wild!







]]> (Crionna Photography) Art Bruce Galen Harris Isle Light Mountain Percy Photographic Rowell abstract blog emotion famous in landscape landscapes learning lessons new of personal photographers photography style vision Tue, 17 Jun 2014 16:15:00 GMT
Rare Species : Famous Women in Photography The world of Photography is gradually changing as more and more women get involved; barriers to success are being broken down and social networking bringing a new gender balance. In times past the few women who gained recognition were innovators who broke the mould often in spectacular fashion; people like Julia Margaret Cameron, Diane Arbus, Dorothea Lange, Mary Ellen Mark and Margaret Bourke-White (to name but a few) brought to society something new and different, something sensational.  These women overcame setbacks and prejudice to succeed in a male dominated society, but they also went a step further, pushing boundaries both in terms of subject matter and technique; they helped take Photography into the realm of Art.


Margaret Julia Cameron 1815 - 1879 Margaret Bourke-White Mary Ellen Mark   Diane-Arbus-1949Diane-Arbus-1949 Dorothea_Lange_1936Dorothea_Lange_1936    
Julia Margaret Cameron Margaret Bourke White Mary Ellen Mark   Diane Arbus  Dorothea Lange    











In this post, and in others to come, I hope to give you a glimpse back in time, to look at a few of these remarkable women, how and why they succeeded, and to find out what they added to the world of photography that was so special.


I recently visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and was eager to see their collection of magnificent prints by Julia Margaret Cameron. Being a self-taught artist who took up the camera later in life I was intrigued by this woman who fought against tradition to become one of the pioneers of photography in an age when women did not have careers, especially not in the world of science and technology. In doing some research into her background I have found parallels with my own experience and I hope many women coming into photography nowadays will find her story inspirational.


6a0120a5343d23970b0120a5f4ad53970b-800wi6a0120a5343d23970b0120a5f4ad53970b-800wi Julia CameronJulia Cameron



Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 -1879) was an innovative and imaginative photographer who put emotion and sentiment before accuracy and technical prowess; she has become renowned for her evocative and insightful images of the poets, scientists and scholars of 19th century England. Using unorthodox techniques she developed a unique style and in a relatively short time created a vast portfolio of dreamy, emotionally charged images quite distinctive from work of other photographers of her time.


Cameron has a fascinating, colourful background; she was born in Calcutta, fourth in a family of seven sisters renowned for their beauty, all that is apart from Margaret, who was considered ‘talented’. Her mother was descended from French aristocracy (indeed her grandfather was supposedly lover to Marie Antoinette) and her father was a British official in the East India Company. The family lived in India and Cameron was educated in India and France; she lived in Calcutta well into her twenties until she married Charles Hay Cameron, an important figure in law reform and education in India and twenty years her senior. In 1836 while still in India she met and became lifelong friends with Sir John Herschel, a prestigious scientist and mathematician who introduced Cameron to photography. Indeed, Herschel discovered and developed the cyanotype, a process leading to the invention of blue prints; over the years he and Cameron shared a passion for the rapidly advancing techniques of photography and it is no wonder that he became a favourite subject in her later portfolio. When the family finally returned to England their home quickly became a gathering place for the intelligentsia of Victorian age bringing Cameron into the social circles of the superstars of her day. Familiar names such as Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Lewis Carroll and Robert Browning sat for Cameron contributing some of the most fascinating, insightful images to her a vast collection of portraits. 


Charles_Darwin_photograph_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron,_1968Charles_Darwin_photograph_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron,_1968 512px-Alfred_Tennyson_with_book,_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron512px-Alfred_Tennyson_with_book,_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron





Despite raising six children and running a busy household Cameron still found time to get involved behind the scenes in many aspects of her favourite pastime of photography for many years before having a camera herself. Her first camera was a present from her daughter and son-in-law for her forty eighth birthday; with all the children grown, mother obviously needed something to pass the time, they wrote, “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude at Freshwater,” referring to her Isle of Wight home.


Annie_my_first_success,_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron_(restored)Annie_my_first_success,_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron_(restored)                                                                                    Annie


Only a month after receiving the camera and experimenting “with no knowledge of the art” Cameron produced her first notable image. The image of Annie Philpot was very important to her as she describes “My very first success in photography, January 1864”. “  "I was in a transport of delight. I ran all over the house to search for gifts for the child. I felt as if she entirely had made the picture. I printed, toned, fixed and framed it, and presented it to her father that same day: size 11 by 9 inches. Sweet, sunny haired Annie! No later prize has effaced the memory of this joy." As early photographers became more fascinated with the meticulous detail and faster shutter speeds of documentary and landscape, Cameron went in the opposite direction, using deliberate shallow depth of field, soft focus and long exposures to suggest a far more intimate and emotional connection with the subject. In the decade that followed the gift, the camera became far more than an amusement to her: "From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour," she wrote, "and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour." "I began with no knowledge of the art," she wrote. "I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass." As a photographer myself this passage of her has particular resonance, having the image in your head is one thing but putting it into substance is quite another.



                                                                            Dame Ellen Terry the famous Shakespearean Actress        

                                                                           Photographed by Cameron when she was only sixteen.


Cameron’s work created quite a stir when it was first introduced; detail-oriented photographers and artists were split in their opinions. Reviewing her submissions to the annual exhibition of the Photographic Society of Scotland in 1865, The Photographic Journal pronounced, "Mrs. Cameron exhibits her series of out-of-focus portraits of celebrities. We must give this lady credit for daring originality, but at the expense of all other photographic qualities. A true artist would employ all the resources at his disposal, in whatever branch of art he might practise. In these pictures, all that is good in photography has been neglected and the shortcomings of the art are prominently exhibited. We are sorry to have to speak thus severely on the works of a lady, but we feel compelled to do so in the interest of the art."  Artists on the other hand greatly appreciated the work and nothing people said was to stop Cameron from taking a different path. As she wrote to Herschel, "I believe in other than mere conventional topographic photography—map-making and skeleton rendering of feature and form." "My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art," she declared.



                                                                            Sir John Herschel


A particularly good example of how she broke with tradition is the series of portraits she made of Sir John Herschel, these are exhibited side by side in the MoMA collection and give one the rather eerie sensation that he is floating in the air like an apparition. Instead of the stiff, formal pose expected for such a revered academic, Herschel was asked to pose with dark drapes around him and sit with freshly washed, tousled hair. The soft side lighting illuminates his hair and features like a ghost. The resulting image is powerful and intense not in depicting him as a scholar but instead it allows the viewer a very personal insight into the minds of both photographer and subject in a way that no amount of detail could portray, recording she hoped “ the greatness of the inner as well as the features of the outer man”.  


The Kiss of Peace 1869The Kiss of Peace 1869 The Rosebud Garden of Girls-June 1868The Rosebud Garden of Girls-June 1868
freddie-gould-10freddie-gould-10 256px-Cameron_Lancelot_und_Guinevere_1874256px-Cameron_Lancelot_und_Guinevere_1874


Cameron was a prolific artist, producing over 1200 pieces in her short career; many of these were staged tableaux depicting scenes from the bible. She involved everyone around her, her vast social circle, her housekeeper, nieces and nephews, the tired rather bored face of some of her ‘angels’ exposes the discomfort and tediousness involved for her sitters. Laura Gurney Troubridge, Julia Margaret Cameron’s niece and frequent photographic subject described her as '…a terrifying elderly woman, short and squat, with none of the Pattle grace and beauty about her, though more than her share of their passionate energy and wilfulness. Dressed in dark clothes, stained with chemicals from her photography (and smelling of them too), with a plump, eager face and piercing eyes and a voice husky, and a little harsh, yet in some way compelling, and even charming…'.


Other than her portraits, Cameron was well known for her staged Pre-Raphaelite styled scenes from the bible and her illustrations for the work of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Idylls of the Kings published between 1859 and 1885 consisted of 12 narrative poems retelling the tales of King Arthur and Guinevere, Merlin and the knights Lancelot and Galahad. In 1875  Cameron published Illustrations to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and Other Poems, she had produced over 200 large format prints of the various scenes. Looking at the prints of some of these in the MoMA collection I was reminded of black and white silent movies where the drama of the scene is depicted with soft lighting, fabulous costumes and melodramatic poses. The image below may be my personal favourite.


"I wait""I wait"

                                                                                   "I wait"

In 1875 Cameron moved back to India where she continued to work until her death in 1879 due to a short illness. Her unfinished autobiography Annals of my Glasshouse written in 1874 was published ten years after her death in 1889. A short career maybe but there is no doubt in my mind that this remarkable woman succeeded in elevating a very technical science to the realm of Art.


There are hundreds of images by Julia Margaret Cameron on the web and I encourage everyone to take a look at them. I also found the below youtube video which is really enjoyable.








]]> (Crionna Photography) Arbus""women Diane Dorothea Lange Landscape Photographers Margaret Julia cameron Rare Species Tennyson famous famous photographers female female landscape photographers photographers" Mon, 09 Dec 2013 20:56:27 GMT

Crionna prints now available directly from my facebook page!

]]> (Crionna Photography) Fine Art America FAA facebook Wed, 27 Nov 2013 04:09:43 GMT
Saatchi Features Crionna Art! "Lost in the Mist" featured on the Saatchi homepage by Saatchi Director Rebecca Wilson.


]]> (Crionna Photography) Saatchi Scottish landscape artist" featured online art gallery" Tue, 19 Nov 2013 19:04:24 GMT
New York Exhibition - Illumination

Crionna Photography in New York

Exhibition - Illumination: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography

The long awaited exhibition finally took place at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea, New York. Great fun as was the whole trip. Below are a few of the snaps taken along the way from iphones and small cameras as well as the youtube video made by the gallery.

Met some wonderful artists from Spain, the US and France and hoping I can add them to my blog some time soon.


photo 2[1]photo 2[1]          photo 5[1]photo 5[1]         photo 1[2]photo 1[2] Oversized wall art print of Scottish landscape. Argyll in Scotland. Extra large square print by female landscape photographer Lynne DouglasFoggy Day on the Clyde.

LIMITED EDITION Fine Art Print / Canvas
EDITION OF 250 in mixed sizes

Printed on fabulous, museum quality, Canson fine art papers and canvases using Epson Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks to produce a print of exceptional quality which will last a lifetime without fading.
Oversized wall art print of Scottish landscape. Argyll in Scotland. Extra large square print by female landscape photographer Lynne DouglasHomecoming (Loch Eck).

LIMITED EDITION Fine Art Print / Canvas
EDITION OF 250 in mixed sizes

Printed on fabulous, museum quality, Canson fine art papers and canvases using Epson Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks to produce a print of exceptional quality which will last a lifetime without fading.
Extra large wall art canvas of Scottish landscape photography by Lynne Douglas of Crionna PhotographyThe Black Cuillin, Isle of SkyeOn the ancient island of Skye there stands an impressive mountainous ridge, The Black Cuillin. The last Scottish clan battle on Skye was fought on the slopes of these mountains in 1601 between the Clan MacDonald and the Clan MacLeod. This remote place is idyllic in Summer but in Winter becomes a place of stormy seas and crashing waves. This image was made after a long drive down single track roads on this distant and sparsely populated island to reach a small beach only a hundred yards long where the Cuillin Ridge looks dark and mysterious.Local myths tell of how the Black Cuillin were created by the sun god, who burned the ground with so much heat that great blisters arose, and to this day they have never cooled enough to allow thick snow to settle.

LIMITED EDITION Fine Art Print / Canvas
EDITION OF 250 in mixed sizes



Printed on fabulous, museum quality, Canson fine art papers and canvases using Epson Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta inks to produce a print of exceptional quality which will last a lifetime without fading.
_1010844_1010844 _1010393_1010393 _1010588_1010588 _1010582_1010582 _1010849_1010849 _1010439_1010439 _1010417_1010417


]]> (Crionna Photography) Agora Gallery Illumination Scottish fine art photography Scottish photography Sun, 17 Nov 2013 17:47:48 GMT
Rare Species: The Female Photographer NOT SO RARE AFTER ALL?


I must start with a big thank you for the marvelous response I had to my blog ‘Rare Species: The Female Landscape Photographer in the Wild’. I am pleased to say that we don’t seem to be as rare as I speculated!


You can read the original post here

So I thought I would first take a look at your thoughts on the topic of gender imbalance in photography and tell you a bit about my early experiences getting started and my trip to the Hebrides on a workshop with 6 MEN!

Your responses were interesting. No one disagreed that there was an imbalance (thank goodness I am not the only one…!), although several said they had not noticed it until they read my blog. At least we can say for sure that this is not just a perception of people with an axe to grind. We don’t have a big enough set of responses to make this any kind of scientific study but I think the graphics below reflect the general feeling of those that got in touch.

So, the question was, what do you think are the main reasons for there being a gender imbalance in landscape photography.  In the responses it was hard to separate landscape from other forms of photography so for this graph the responses relate to Photography as a whole.



So, there seems to be a pretty even spread across several areas with many of you citing several reasons. For me the predominant feature is the fact that the word ‘less’ is used so often. Apparently we think we are less techy, less competitive, less pushy, less adventurous, less wealthy, less able to market our work as well as men. Do we need to get out more!

What is very clear from the responses is that women tend to prefer social activities and perhaps one of the reasons for a surge in women doing portrait/baby/wedding photography is that it satisfies that need for social interaction better than landscape photography which can be a bit solitary at times.


Many women seem to be running hectic family lives AND a photography business at the same time! As a working mother myself I can safely vouch for the fact that when bringing up the kids it was difficult to go off travelling,  spend time on image management or developing a business (second business that is) and my brain was usually far to tired to be bothered trying to learn the technical aspects of setting up a website etc. Tech stuff has never been my strong point.


Let me tell you a story…….


I have always painted and was drawing since before I could do much else. I took photos of everyone in my family. I didn’t at that point take pictures of anything other than people and even at that my focus was my two kids. As someone said in their reply to me, if there is a landscape in front then they are trying to figure out where to position someone – that was me. My kids were my world of photography.....

But you know what, the girls grew up and one day I was sitting with my brand new digital Canon 40D not knowing how to work all those buttons but knowing I wanted to get out there and make art. Switching from film to digital, from standard SLR to digital SLR and getting into Photoshop was a bit of a nightmare for me. So, one night sitting in bed browsing the Internet I came across someone nearby who gave ‘photography lessons’. A wonderful, inspirational photographer called Bruce Percy. Great, he was going to show me how to use the camera, right? Wrong!


Bruce took me out on a beach late at night (my two teenage daughters were having a canary about me and the safety issue…) and he showed me long exposure photography. We were lucky enough to see one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. I was hooked! All of a sudden I was reading up on RAW, AV and BULB mode, manual focusing, hyperfocal distances, layers and all that stuff. I think I kept the magazine industry in a job for about four years and spent as much time teaching myself as I would have spent in going for a degree in Photography. All of a sudden I wanted to become a Techy!!!

Here is a photo from that first night down at a beach on the outskirts of Edinburgh. This is the Bass Rock, a wildlife haven, you can just about see the lighthouse out there on the rock.



Then, I found out that Bruce had a workshop in the Outer Hebrides, one of my all time favourite places in the entire world (I include all the places I have never been as I cannot imagine anywhere more romantic than Harris).

See the Hebrides here on Google Maps

So, I booked up – Me and 6 MEN! Bruce warned me on the phone, no more than three lenses Lynne. What, I said? I only have one. Tripod? Nope, have to buy it. Filters? Nope, have to get some….(Lee Filters... of course) So, off I went. Kitted up with enough gear to go to the North Pole – it was November after all……long johns and woolly vests….


The first night there was a kind of kit inspection – you know like in the Girl Guides - where you find out you have only half what everyone else has….…. I came downstairs in the hotel sitting room with my one camera with my one lens, the tripod that I had never put up before (a bit like the tent I had never put up when I went to Greece, but that’s another story) and my brand new filter set with the plastic wrapper still on.


The guys…all 6 of them…. turned up with backpacks twice the size of mine. They opened up these enormous tripods to full height and there were enough lenses to do Fashion Week in Paris. The kit was amazing. There were lenses longer than my arm. I was thoroughly daunted. After suffering an hour of tech talk that I didn’t understand I sloped off to bed wondering what I had done and why I had ever thought I was good enough to go there.



On Location - Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides

Next morning, we were out on Luskentyre Beach on Harris. (If you have never been there look it up on Google Images and put it on your bucket list, you can see some of my images here It is the most amazing long white beach with turquoise water that looks like a scene from a movie set in Hawaii. The sun was coming up and the whole place went pink. I was fumbling with my kit, the legs of the tripod wouldn’t stay up and I had no idea about the filters so was feeling completely out of my depth. Then one of the guys sidled over to me and remarked that he couldn’t see why we were there….low voice so as not to hurt Bruce’s feelings….. ‘After all’, he said, ‘there is nothing here to take a photo of’!

See below my image of Luskentyre......

Beach Blues, Isle of Harris


That’s when I realized, it’s not about the kit, it’s not about big lenses and tech talk, it’s about seeing the picture. It’s about the colours, the emotion, and the composition. And it’s not about men versus women either, it’s men and women. Understanding the techy stuff is just something that we have to do in order to use the camera as our medium. I am pretty sure Michelangelo, Raphael, Turner and all my heroes had to learn the techy stuff of their day but did anyone ever care what brush the painter used when they had finished the masterpiece?  Perhaps as women we tend to enjoy technical things less and we are more easily put off trying to learn it unless we have a pretty strong motivation. I do know that all of us reading this blog have conquered this aspect so we can enjoy our passion for Photography so it is not a lack of ability.

Here is an interview with Bela West, an amazing portrait and wedding photographer. Mike Browne starts the interview on the point that there are fewer women in photography and he chats to Bela about her experiences in getting started.  One point she mentions that I totally agree with is that it is possible often to distinguish photos taken by a man versus a women, sometimes more sensitivity for the subject in female work. Bela's work is inspiring, maybe I should switch to portrait photography, it looks such fun!


So, what I say is this, if women need some assistance to get over the technical bit then we need to lend a hand. If we feel that being on their own out there is a bit daunting then we just need to get out with a group – mixed or otherwise. If we are not pushy enough in marketing then we need to stick together to make our voice heard.  Men and women are different but equal so why not look to all the open avenues women can exploit those differences – look at the world from a different perspective. One friend remarked that she has found it an advantage to being a women in the portrait and baby business kids so there is an avenue we may well push into more easily than into landscape photography. And I should say I have noticed men in magazines and in business are beginning to notice us.

Before I finish, I would like to say that in doing this blog I found a photography group Landscapes by Women started by two wonderful photographers, Beata and Vanda (Hi Ladies!). They encourage women in photography and have members from all over the world contacting their website. Do check out their site and join in on Facebook and Flickr too. http://landscapesbywomen

Help with technical stuff, company on trips and support in marketing is all there because that is something women do better, we socialize better than men and what is the biggest marketing tool out there? SOCIAL NETWORKING – So, let’s take advantage of our greatest skill and get out and market ourselves……this is just what we have been waiting for!

Well thanks for reading, come back soon! Likes on Facebook and +Google much appreciated :-)

Future topics will be - Do Women and Men See the World Differently?, Top Tips for Artistic Photography,  Selling Prints - How do I do that? and many other techy things for all the non techy people like me!



]]> (Crionna Photography) Bela West Female Landscape photography Outer Hebrides Rare Species famous women photographers female photography photographers" Wed, 24 Jul 2013 16:00:00 GMT
Steve Jobs : An Inspiration  



I just found this amazing short clip of a very young Steve Jobs. He has summed up in only a few sentences what we all want out of life. Take a look and give yourself a little boost for the day!




]]> (Crionna Photography) Steve Jobs inspiration Wed, 01 May 2013 15:57:59 GMT
Rare Species? : The Female Landscape Photographer in the Wild! I was browsing through my collection of photography books at the weekend and it struck me  - almost all the photographers are men!

Where are all the female photographers?


I have a mixture of books by some of the most famous photographers from the past as well as some from contemporary photographers; I love them all and I feel very inspired each time I open them. Naturally, my collection includes a lot of landscape work but also few other bits of photojournalism or portrait photography. Work by Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna, Galen Rowall, Bruce Barnbaum, William Neill, Alain Briot, Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, Oscar Marzarolli, Thorsten Henn, David Noton, Bruce Percy, Daniel Bergman, Colin Baxter, Eddie Ephraum, Michael Freeman and Robert Maplethorpe all stand proudly on my shelf. The only two books by women that I own are by macro/flower photographer Sue Bishop and a book of landscapes by Fran Halsall. The ratio of male to female is about 8:1 - so what is going on? Is this really representative of the world of photography or do I have some kind of warped outlook on the subject?

So, feeling somewhat guilty about my own rather one-sided sample, I had a look around at lists from various sources on the 'best, famous or master' photographers and guess what, I am not alone in having a very male biased collection!

Starting with the alphabetical list of  'Famous Photographers’ on Wikipedia there are about 65 photographers with names starting with A - of those only 11 are women.

At first I reasoned that this is probably just a reflection of the way things were in the past, when women in art were rather frowned upon and society at large did not recognise women artists. Female art was often regarded as craft and few women reached the heady heights of the male dominated art world. So, I can understand the low ratio of women to men in photography from Victorian times right through to about the fifties but what has amazed me in my search on this topic is that this gender bias still seems to exist today!

A bit more research was required.....

Of the TIME magazine Top 10 Photographs for 2012, only 1 was taken by a woman - Callie Shell (candid photo of Barrack Obama), the rest were all taken by men.

Callie Shell Obama TIME


Here is a short video of Callie discussing her behind the scenes photoshoot with Obama, a very humble lady with a wonderful talent.


Callie Shell talking on her work behind the scenes with Obama

So, as Callie says in the video 'people want to see these images, they want these people to be real, so that's what you have to convince magazines to run'. So how hard is it to get magazines to run female work?

I looked at a lot of websites but they all tell the same story........

Digital Camera World has an article in 2012 entitled  ‘The 55 best photographers of all time. In the history of the world. Ever. Definitely.’ And how many of those are women? Only 6! And who are they?  Annie Liebovitz (contemporary), Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965), Anne Geddes (contemporary), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 -1879), Eve Arnold (1912 – 2012), and Diane Arbus (1923 -1971). All amazing, all photojournalists or portrait specialists and only two are living, working artists. Examples of their wonderful images are shown below.


John Lennon and Yoko Ono Anne Geddes Famous Female Photographers

Annie Liebovitz

Dorothea Lange

Anne Geddes

Julia Margeret Cameron Famous Female Photographers

Julia Margaret Cameron

Diane Arbus

Eve Arnold

Alexandra Hager


Natasha Gudermane


Alexandra Hager

Sarah Cheng De Winne


Here’s another one ‘50 Great Photographers You Should Know’ Hongkiat is a relatively new Asia based website filled with articles and tips for photographers and bloggers, 6.5 million page views per month! So, their list is very contemporary and global, you might therefore expect to see a slightly different focus with a higher proportion of female photographers.... not so. The ratio is still very low only 3 out of 50 represented. Check out the awe-inspiring portfolios of Sarah Cheng de Winne, Natasha Gudermane and Alexandra Hager (shown above). All are either portrait or photojournalistic genre photographers. Their portfolios are stunning but why so few, and why no landscape representation?

Picture Correct Magazine has a score of 2 out of 10 - Dorothea Lange and Annie Leibovitz.

Here is an interesting article from last year in Professional Photographer Magazine ‘19 Most Influential Female Photographers of All Time’. It seems an unusual number to me, everywhere else has a round number like 20…...could they not find a twentieth? Anyway, regardless of why there are only 19, here they are – Diane Arbus, Eve Arnold, Annie Griffiths Belt, Margaret Bourke-White, Julia Margaret Cameron, Rineke Dijkstra, Jill Furmanovsky, Anne Geddes, Jill Greenberg, Roni Horn, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Annie Leibovitz, Sally Mann, Tina Modotti, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Ellen Von Unwerth and Carrie May Weems. Only one, Annie Griffiths Belt, is known for landscape photography all the others are photojournalists or portrait photographers.

Not only are women photographers rarely featured in magazines and on 'famous' lists but the vast majority of them focus on portrait or photojournalistic genres. So,where are all the female landscape photographers? Is there no female equivalent of Ansel Adams? No Eve Adams?

Having been a scientist for many years before I took up photography, my curiosity is piqued at this kind of data output. What factors could be at play in determining the gender imbalance?

Here are a few possible reasons that spring to mind, but please feel free to add or argue the points!

  • This is just a historical left over ie women are still ‘catching up’ in terms of acceptance and recognition – possibly, but really, are we still held back?? By what?

  • It is too technical a subject - unlikely given the number of women now in medicine, science and many engineering faculties. I must admit that for me the technical side of things must be mastered rather than enjoyed and that side of things holds no particular fascination for me (unlike many of the male photographers I know).

  • It requires getting out in nature and being ‘alone’ in the ‘wilderness’ –  are we afraid of this? I did see this kind of topic come up in a recent interview by Bret Edge of Colorado based landscape photographer Sarah Fischler. Would anyone consider talking about this if she had been a man? I wonder.  While it is true that there is sometimes a concern about safety when you are a bit off the beaten track, I would imagine that we have this in common with many men. Maybe they just don’t admit to scaring themselves silly having strayed just a bit too far to get that special shot!  Personally, I remember having nightmares for weeks after I had sat on the edge of a cliff trying to get a shot of the incoming tide – I have a fear of heights but that was completely overcome by my desire to get that picture. Sadly the image did not live up to expectations!

  • Could it be that those editors selecting images for magazines, lists, galleries etc are predominantly male, and unwittingly have a degree of bias built in? What I mean is could it be that this problem is self-perpetuating because the vast majority of photography magazines, photography gear shops, photography websites etc are monopolised by men? At the risk of being provocativeI think this is reasonably possible. I was recently at Focus on Imaging in Birmingham and I can say that there was a very high proportion of male to female visitors at every stand and similarly, the gear stands were mainly being managed by men. So, are we not techy enough?

  • Is it possible that men and women see things differently? By that I mean could it be that women are attracted more to people, faces and socially interactive genres as by default? I know it seems implausible but when you think about it nearly all the famous women photographers seem to concentrate on people. Successful evolution has required some variation in the hardwiring of male and female brains in terms of relevant spatial coordination and social interactions. So men are not still out there with spears and targets and women are not still back in the cave rearing the offspring (at least I hope not!) but is there a subliminal attraction to one photographic genre over the other that we are unaware of? There is some evidence to suggest that male and female vary in terms of their neurological pattern and colour recognition so…… Definitely a topic for another blog!

So, what attracts me to the male bastion of Landscape Photography? Well, it can’t be the clothes! When you are outfitted in about three layers of scruffy outdoor clothes, pockets gaping from constant use in storing bits and bobs and your knees dirty and worn from kneeling you could not feel less glamorous. Least of all on the way home from an early morning photoshoot when you meet neighbours in their Sunday best! No, we have the silly hats, the gloves with the finger-tips cut out and the magnificent walking boots with gaiters! So, if it’s not the clothes then what is it?

I personally think women are missing out if they haven’t tried landscape photography. For me, it is an absolute joy of seeing the fabulous colours and textures as the sun comes up. I look at the Scottish landscape and I see images everywhere I go; I feel an overwhelming desire, verging on obsession, to get out there and document the best of the world for myself and others to enjoy. So, gender inequality or not I intend to claim my place in the world of the landscape photographer!

I am on the lookout for other women like me, whether it be landscape, fashion, portrait of photojournalism. Get in touch and tell me about your experiences with magazines, gear phobias and wilderness experiences - it's a jungle out there and we may be a rare species but we are a pretty resilient bunch so, lookout men, the women are out hunting....!




]]> (Crionna Photography) Anne Geddes Annie Liebovitz Landscape Photographers Rare Species famous famous photographers female female landscape photographers photographers" Tue, 30 Apr 2013 08:08:43 GMT
The Colour Blue

Blue has to be my favourite colour!

File:Lapis lazuli block.jpg I can't explain it in any rational terms but I have always loved it. I used to read (and still sometimes do :-)) historical novels. I always found the stories around ancient colours and stones fascinating; I wanted to see the real Lapis Lazuli, semi-precious stones mined in exotic Mesopotamia. The ancient Egyptians prized this colour, they associated blue with the sky and with divinity; the god Amun could make his skin blue so that he could fly, invisible, across the sky. Lapis was used to make the eyebrows and kohl eyelines on the fabulous death mask of Tutenkhamun. In real life, Lapis Lazuli appears to be made of a myriad of blue hues, ranging from indigo to teal, azure to ultramarine,  no wonder it was prized more highly than gold by the Renaissance painters!

In more recent times, the Parisian painter Yves Klein, painted almost 200 monochromes of blue starting in 1947; this one, IKB 79, hangs in the TATE. IKB stands for International Klein Blue which Klein registered as a trademark. He considered that 'this colour had a quality close to pure space' and he associated it with 'immaterial values beyond what can be seen or touched'. The announcement card for his one-man exhibition at the Galleria Apollinaire, Milan in 1957 described IKB as 'a Blue in itself, disengaged from all functional justification'. 

File:Linear visible spectrum.svg

For me, early mornings and evenings are my favourite time to take photos. At this time the blues are intense and sometimes as the sun goes up or down there are rare seconds when you see unusual hues of blue; those moments are very special to me and capturing these colours in my images is becoming an obssession! Homecoming (Loch Eck) Foggy Day on the Clyde Soft Snow, Jokulsarlon Iceland










Thumbnail for version as of 07:45, 13 March 2007


]]> (Crionna Photography) Assynt Colour Blue argyll blue blue prints gourock iceland klein lapis lapis lazli mountains purple seascapes teal turquoise tutenkhamun Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:15:54 GMT
Crionna On Twitter and Google+ Crionna has now launched a Twitter account @crionnaphotos so get tweeting! All the web pages should have links to Twitter so that you can share your favourite photos with everyone.



]]> (Crionna Photography) @crionnaphotos twitter Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:59:28 GMT
Colours of Winter Isn’t this weather amazing! Scotland has such a changeable climate, unpredictable and exciting! Here we are at the end of March when we should be looking forward to sunshine, daffodils and bursting spring growth. What do we have? Snow, icy winds and freezing fog! Yes, if you are looking for warm climates Scotland is not for you but if, like me, you find the changing colours washing over hills and bouncing off the sea inspirational then there is no better place to be.

The colours at dawn during the chilly months of Winter here often seem to be more intense than at other times. The strange thing is that they are so different each morning. The two images below were both made in February this year of the same scene, just outside my home on the coast. The view is of the Clyde Estuary, which has a proud history of shipbuilding and industry yet when the light of morning touches on the water and the hills, even the cranes and bridges, the place metamorphoses into a place of serenity and beauty.


Clyde Estuary - February Dawn

This first image felt almost surreal. The clouds were like large flying saucers floating through the sky and the colours were just fantastic with every shade of pastel blue, pink, purple, orange and yellow.



On this second morning, later in the month of February the same scene was completely different. The sun rose like a fabulous red ball through a haze of light cloud; the trails of cloud in the sky shone like silvery ribbons and the orange colours seemed to shimmer like polished metal. The beam of light shining vertically down on the distant Erskine Bridge is totally natural but lends the image a mysterious edge. It reminded me of the light in the painting by Turner - The Fighting Temeraire.

View of copper coloured sunrise over Clyde Estuary in Scotland


Despite some dramatic mornings, on other days the landscape is made up of all tones of black, white and grey. Colour seems to have been bleached out leaving thoughts of colour far behind. These simple palettes are just as inspiring as the intense, vivid paintbox of my dawn images but I find on days like these that even images that do have colour sometimes look better in black and white.

The image below was taken a couple of days ago down at the tip of the Cowal Peninsula where the little village of Toward was deep in snow. These two little trees actually have bright yellowish branches and the sky was more turquoise than blue but the colour image seemed out of place with the feel of the wintery morning. In black and white the focus becomes the trees rather than colour itself, not a bad thing when you have such pretty little dancers like these!

Dancing Trees


]]> (Crionna Photography) Scottish WInter photographs" "Clyde Estuary" dawn sunburst Wed, 27 Mar 2013 17:00:00 GMT
Focus on Imaging - Optimism

Well, Focus was a lot of fun, a lot of standing talking about what I love most, photography. It was great to see so many other enthusiasts there and I look forward to keeping in touch with you all to see how things are going.


I met a lot of people who have been struggling with technology just like me; all that complicated stuff just to get your images on the web when all you want to do is take the photos! I hope you are no longer feeling that you are the only one finding it all a bit confusing.


I found this quote by Christian Daa Larson, philosopher and author of the Optimist Creed, I thought quite apt… stay happy!  

(there are some other lines if you care to look them up)


"Promise Yourself

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble."

Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

]]> (Crionna Photography) Focus on Imaging Optimism Thu, 14 Mar 2013 10:06:10 GMT
Crionna at Focus On Imaging The Zenfolio Team loved the photos and website so much they have invited Crionna Photography to showcase their web design at the Focus on Imaging 2013. The event runs from 3 - 6 March in Birmingham so if you happen to be in town why not come round to the Zenfolio stand and have a chat about how I made my website and the kind of images I love to create.

Take a look at the video from 2012 to get a flavour of what is happening at the exciting Focus on Imaging event!




]]> (Crionna Photography) Focus on Imaging showcase Zenfolio web design Wed, 20 Feb 2013 06:58:52 GMT
Impressionist Inspired


I have always had a passion for impressionist painters. The dreamy visions of Monets’ Water Lily Pond, the blue of Renoirs’ water in The Skiff and  Degas' ballet dancers caught my imagination as I grew up.


Reading about the Impressionist movement in France in the mid 19th century I am not surprised to find that they were profoundly influenced by the discoveries of the early photographers. Around the same time photography was advancing rapidly and colour analysis was the subject of intense research. Colour wheels became fashionable with juxtaposition of opposites like blue and orange becoming the vogue as in Renoirs' The Skiff.




We see that paintings change from being precise and detailed to being blurred to convey a sense of movement.  Degas is quoted as saying -  ‘They call me the painter of dancers. They don’t understand that the dancer has been for me a pretext for painting pretty fabrics and for rendering movement."


I have always found this particular style of work attractive and I am currently enthusiastically making ‘impressionist’ style images using a variety of techniques involving movement of the subject, movement of the camera or movement of both in the same or different directions. I love experimenting! I am also enthusiastic about shooting through other materials to create distortion and magnification such as water, ice, rain and gauze.

Below is an example of one of my underwater images taken a couple of months ago when the autumn leaves were at their best.











]]> (Crionna Photography) Blog" Impressionist images Photography colour wheels' blog Fri, 15 Feb 2013 17:19:52 GMT
Colour Perception : As photographers do we deal in optical illusion? I am really fascinated by colour. In this talk by Beau Lotto he shows a lot of optical illusions to demonstrate that our perception of colour is dictated by context and not by the actual wavelength itself.  As photographers I believe we are also working with optical illusions. Our perception of an image at the point of capture is affected by the context of our surroundings, both inside the frame and outside.  The camera, on the other hand, simply sees the wavelength of the light. So, we may be affected by the fact that we know it is Winter, our hands and feet are freezing and so the tonal quality we expect in our image is towards the cooler blue end of the light spectrum. In processing the image the camera 'saw' we often have to work to restore the 'white balance' to our original perception of the in-context image. We sometimes even warm up or cool down an image to strengthen the context and add impact to the visual experience. 

]]> (Crionna Photography) Beau Lotto Colour Perception Optical Illusion Tue, 12 Feb 2013 17:30:00 GMT
Favourite photographers... Here is one of my favourite photographers - I just love Elliott Erwitts' photos.... the dog photos always make me smile....!


]]> (Crionna Photography) Favourite Photographers dog photos funny photos Fri, 08 Feb 2013 04:21:44 GMT