I’ve recently spent a week on a family holiday, staying just outside Embleton in Northumberland. The last time I visited the area was around 4 years ago and you can see the images from that trip in a previous blog post here.
That previous visit had a mix of fairly traditional landscape images and more abstract impressions which was a reasonable reflection of my style at the time. I had some specific evenings taking the camera out for photography and was treated to decent weather with some nice evening light.
Since then I think my approach has certainly changed, I’ve gone back to favouring a slightly darker aesthetic and am shooting a lot of mono squares as well as less ICM. I’m also in a bit of a lull at the moment with limited enthusiasm or inspiration for photography. The last proper trip out with my camera was back in November, 6 months ago.
The first image I took on this trip was with my phone, I was down on the beach with the family and the weather started coming in. I loved the look of some of the old chalets on the dunes and this one sat perfectly against the dramatic sky. Not long after this we left the beach, freezing kids in tow, before the heavens opened.
I’ve stopped taking my proper camera on trips out with the family as I just find it too much to juggle with young kids and difficult to concentrate on being creative. So this was very much a case of the best camera being the one that you have with you. It’s very rare that I try to take any ‘serious’ photos with my phone, mostly just record shots, but I enjoyed the process of this, editing it in Lightroom Mobile and then finishing off on the laptop.
In the rest of the week I only had one evening when I went down to the beach by myself and spent some proper time out with the camera. The weather was very flat with pretty dull skies and what light there is in the evenings was in the wrong direction to hit the dunes.
I decided to try and take a series of cohesively styled images, a couple including the landmark of Dunstanburgh castle, but more focusing on the dunes and chalets building off the phone image from a couple of days before. You can see the results below, including a black and white conversion of the phone image above to fit in with the set.
It’s been a quiet spell on the photography front for me, motivation has been pretty low in general for a year or so now. In March I had a week on a workshop up in Ardnamurchan which was fantastic to get the mojo going again, but we came back home pretty much right when the UK was going into lockdown, not the best time to keep the creativity up.
Having spent a lot of time photographing Sherwood Forest, for my yearlong project and beyond, I was delighted to be contacted by the RSPB at the start of this year about their project to restore the old visitor centre area within the forest.
For those who aren’t aware, the RSPB took over management of Sherwood last year, and part of the changeover was working alongside Natural England to relocate the visitor centre, as the old one built in the 1970s was within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with the buildings, car parks and footfall all having an impact on the ancient oaks nearby.
On Friday I was at Kew Gardens for the launch of the IGPOTY exhibition, more on that in a future blog, but I decided to take my little Fuji X-M1 with the fantastic 27mm 2.8 pancake lens along to take a few snaps of the exhibition, plus I’d left myself a couple of hours extra before my train in case there were any photo opportunities.
A lot of photographers would relish the opportunity to have a couple of hours in London with a camera, but I couldn’t be more uncomfortable at the thought of street photography, architecture isn’t my bag either and flat midday light plus a wide angle lens isn’t what I’d usually choose for photographing trees.
My local Nottinghamshire landscape isn’t the most exciting for a photographer, especially when you’re seeing epic vistas posted on social media every week from people who can travel a lot, or live with the Highlands on their doorstep. It’s easy to get jealous and blame your surroundings for lack of inspiration. We have plenty of good forests and woodland which I love to shoot, but I wanted to create something different.
Having tried some more abstract techniques including multiple exposures and intentional camera movement over the past year or so I had been playing with the idea of trying to make an alternate landscape from my local area. I’ve done a couple of small projects recently and put some focus into the idea of creating something from nothing, but I wanted to do something bigger this time, I wanted to transport the viewer to one of those epic mountain vistas.
I recently had a well earned break in Keswick in the Lake District, it was a family occasion to celebrate me turning 30 and our 8 month old daughter’s first holiday so photography wasn’t top of the agenda, but I knew I could squeeze in a couple of outings with the camera and was hoping to make the most of this to bank a few shots with the amazing scenery that we don’t have here in Nottingham.
We stopped with my parents in Yorkshire on the way there and back and on the first of these I suggested a drive to West Burton as I wanted to check out the well known waterfall there. The weather wasn’t brilliant but there was still good potential and I spent a while trying some different angles, it was also my first use of the new Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod in the field which did a great job. I’ve seen some beautiful autumnal shots of these falls so tried something different with a dark black and white take on the scene.
Most people get excited at the prospect of snow round here, especially photographers as it transforms the landscape and opens up lots of different shots which wouldn’t normally work. We only seem to get one day with a decent covering each year recently so you have to make the most of the opportunity!
It wasn’t exactly a blizzard but we woke up this morning to a light dusting, enough that out in the countryside it had settled well, so I set off at 7:30 to catch first light and spend a couple of hours walking round a local spot near Calverton, Nottingham where there’s an area of woodland and the old colliery spoil heap to get some views from.
Some of you may know that this year has been my first actually trying to get my photography out there, it’s been a hobby for a good few years now but past sharing on a few sites like Flickr and 500px I hadn’t taken it any further.
A lot has changed in the last year so I thought it was worthy of a quick round up!
Towards the end of 2014 a few people made comments on my photos which gave me the confidence that they might be popular outside family & friends, so I made a New Year’s resolution to try and sell a print to someone I didn’t know.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be making some photography resolutions for the New Year, one that will definitely be on there is to take my camera out more, take more photos and experiment. More on that in a later post, but for now I’ve started early during a short family walk in a local patch of woodland this morning.
Often I wouldn’t even take my camera on a trip like that or I’d come away without taking any photos I was happy with, so today I made a conscious effort to try something new, to take photos and come away with something that was worth sharing. This led to some fun with longer exposures, panning the camera up through the trees as the shutter was open. I’ve seen these techniques referred to recently as ICM or Intentional Camera Movement but it’s a great way of trying something more abstract.