I returned from my UK trip on Tuesday and almost immediately started working on some of the photographs I had taken while I was away. My main preoccupation has been with some images of Koi Carp.
Studies in Koi Carp
What are Koi Carp
Koi Carp (known as nishikigoi) are descendants from common carp and bred for their colour and ornamental value. There are several different varieties which are classified by their colour, patterns and their scales; you can read more about them here. Who hasn’t seen wonderful images of ponds and lakes with large Koi Carp cruising the surface? For those of you who haven’t, here is a short video of a duckling feeding Koi Carp by way of a cute introduction!
Capturing images of Koi Carp
Overcoming light and surroundings
I was very excited to see the Koi Carp and immediately whipped out my camera to take some shots. But it was a very bright day and a lot of reflections. There was a net over the water that showed clearly but I decided to incorporate that into my work rather than avoid it. I have to say I also showed up clearly in a few shots until my brain kicked in and I realised I was standing in the wrong place dohhh!. Rookie errors after all this time!
Koi Carp don’t stand and smile for the camera
It was not so easy to get shots of the fish. They were very active and I wanted to get the fish rather than the surroundings. I took quite a few shots that ended up just being the tails of fish as they swam away. However, perseverance paid off and I got some shots I could work with. I quite like this image ‘Majestic Koi Carp’ as it shows the range of fish, the beautiful colours and some interesting angles for them.
Not just surface shots
There are so many images of Koi Carp on the surface I wanted to try and get something a bit different. After a while the fish got tired of me looking down on them. I think they realised there was no food. So they went below the surface. At that point I got the photograph that was the basis for this image ‘Koi Carp Swimming Deep‘. It enabled me to explore their relationship with the water a bit more. In fact the water is as much a part of this image as the shapes of the fish.
Koi Carp are more than their colour
A bit later I had the opportunity to look at Koi Carp from a different angle, though a viewing window. This enabled me to have yet more arguments with reflections and lighting of course. But I was able to get a sideways shot of some of the fish. I thought it would be fun to view them without their colour, so that we could appreciate their form and how they blend together tonally. That led to ‘Koi Carp Tonal Study’ which I think is one of my favourite of the images I have produced.
All four of these images are available as a striking collage.
While I was away Scrappy’s kittens grew and are now running around in the cat garden. We put up some Buddhist prayer flags in various places in a bid to stop magpies and owls coming down into the garden. Hopefully the fluttering of the flags will do the trick. I have managed to handle all but one of them but he or she will succumb to my charms soon. They have started waiting at the front door as they have already figured out the good stuff comes from inside the house. I leave you with an image I created from a photo I took of the four babies. So cute! The one laying on its side is called ‘Moon Boots’. I bet they would love to play with a pond full of Koi Carp!
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!