The Screaming Woods

Dering Woods (c)Stewart Weir 2016

Otherwise known as the Screaming Woods, on the morning of November 1, 1948, twenty people from the Maltman’s area were found dead, eleven of whom were children. Many reported seeing strange lights coming from the forest on the night of Halloween, when the massacre took place. The autopsies couldn’t determine the cause of death and after a few weeks the local authorities quickly ended the investigation, stating that the cause was carbon monoxide poisoning. In 1964, private investigator Robert Collins conducted in-depth witness interviews designed to uncover hints about the alleged activity of an unknown religious cult in the village of Smarden. His research stopped after he died in a tragic car accident the following year. In October 1998, on the same night as fifty years before, four college students who were visiting the forest went missing after people from Pluckley reported seeing “figures of light similar to spider webs” in the sky. Their bodies were never found and after three weeks, the police investigation stopped.

Great Art Was Born Of .. …

Heart Balance © Stewart Weir 2014

You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. – The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947

Bangkok Night #1

First days in Bangkok and the first time out shooting in colour for sometime. Shooting available light has always been a passion of mine which is just as well because I dont even own a flashgun. One thing is for sure.. Bangkok is a shooters paradise and even though there is a ‘State Of Emergency’ for now everyone Ive met is relaxed and really doesnt care if you point a camera at them. As in every city.. it takes time to get into the rhythm and really understand a place and country but Thailand I doubt I will ever truly understand. Language is my barrier but a smile goes a very long way here so lets see. Images shot using a Canon 5Dmk2 and a 35mm f1.4 mostly at ISO 1250 at 1/30th second hand held.

Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014
Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014
Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014
Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014
Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014
Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014
Bangkok © Stewart Weir 2014

And The Winner Is (Part 2) ..

Misty Morning © Stewart Weir 2013

The above image was shot using the iPhone 5s initially edited with Photoshop Express in camera and then post processed using DxO Filmpack 3. I must say the more I use the iPhone the less Im using anything else which is a concern for all the other photo gear I own but use less now. The image below is a shot in a hallway with late afternoon light coming through and again pre processed using Photoshop Express in camera and then post processed on the laptop using DxO. The only reason I can think that Im getting rather to attached to shooting with the iPhone is because its always with me, I love the square format option and the simplicity of shooting and editing in camera. I reckon I can happily print iPhone images up to 7.5 inches square at 275ppi which is just fine for me. Watch this space!

Hallway © Stewart Weir 2013

Story behind the image – Plaça de la Universitat, Barcelona

Plaça de la Universitat, Barcelona late in the evening. Just because it’s raining means nothing of your shooting a travel feature. You land in your destination and only have a few days or maybe a week to get what’s needed so time is your enemy and so should tiredness. I would work from before dawn through to late in the evening every day. Your maybe working with a writer or maybe your on your own and maybe a location that isn’t tourist friendly so you may need a ‘fixer’ (someone you hire to interpret and who knows the region well). As with all things preparation and research is the key. As with all things photographic expect the unexpected and plan for every eventuality you can think of.

I had walked through Plaça de la Universitat many times but never seen an image worth taking. The rain changed everything that night and turned a rather bland lump of pavement into something special. For me its the lighting and the reflections of the wet pavements and of course the walker with his red bag that creates a focal point. Red umbrellas are out and red bags are in! Does this work as a travel shot? For some magazines yes and some no. Understanding the flavor of who your shooting for is absolutely essential and shooting to their brief in your style is the key to success.

Story behind the image – La Manche

Last light on a cross channel ferry from Calais to Dover. Using a Leica X1 with the ISO rated at 1600, aperture at f2.8 and shutter at 1/30th second. Its an image I didn’t think would work because it was windy so not easy to keep a small camera steady. For me this image works because of the contrast between the water and sky with the faint warm glow of a light in the distance. This image has just been sharpened with no other Photoshop tweaks.