Relearning

This blog started off a few years ago as a place to talk about and showcase some of my photographs. Over the years, I’ve found it’s wandered a bit and has become a place where I write about anything I feel like. That’s okay by me (and judging by the hits, likes and comments, it’s okay by you, too). But over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about things in general, and perhaps starting up another blog dedicated to travel, and one dedicated to photography. Plans within plans.

Anyway, that line of thought made me realise that over the last year or so, my photography has become little more than snap-shooting. I know what that is; the preparation of the Kilimanjaro trek meant that every spare moment was taken up with training and I didn’t have the luxury of going out, making time and taking photographs. Almost all the photos I took during the preparation time were little more than snapshots. On the trek itself, a similar situation occurred. There were so many things going on that I had very little time to look and contemplate a scene before taking a picture. Perhaps the only time I was able to do this was at night when I was taking long exposures of the night sky. And that’s the nature of the Kilimanjaro trek; time on the mountain is expensive and trekkers are whisked between camps with little spare time. The time you do get to yourself is mostly taken up with preparing kit of the next day and resting.

What to do? I have to rekindle my interest in photography and make time to get out and do one of the things I love the most. I re-read two influential books that I bought years ago when I was using film. “The Making of Landscape Photographs” by Charlie Waite is a great inspiration. In it, Waite displays and talks about around 150 of his photographs. He explains the thought processes behind the pictures, and discusses why they work or, in some cases, what could have been done to make them better. I like that approach as I find learning in the actions and experiences of others.

The second book is “Light in the Landscape” by Peter Watson. Another book of examples and discussion, this one follows an calendar year and explores the effect on the landscape of the seasons. Both tomes have fantastic photographs and buckets of thought provoking comment.

You never forget how to take photographs, and with today’s technology, you are almost guaranteed good results. But for consistent images that you can be proud of, it takes time and thought and patience. These things I need to relearn, and I’m working on it.

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Some Days

Some days I go out with the camera and I am inspired. Some days I am inspired and then go out with the camera. Some days I go out with the camera seeking inspiration, but inspiration does not want to be found. On Saturday, no matter how hard I searched, inspiration stayed hidden.

Rufus and I had a great time playing in the river. I snapped some snaps and even went to the effort of taking bracketed shots for later processing as HDR images. But no matter how hard I tried, nothing really jumped out at me. I visit this location frequently and maybe that is part of the problem – over familiarity.

Right at the end of the session, as we were returning to the car, the sun came out and lit up the hillsides. I tried a few shots of the sunlight areas against a dark sky and I thin of all the images I shot that day, those were the ones that worked the best. But I’m not happy with them, they lack sharpness because I was hand holding, and the sky could have been a bit darker. Nevertheless, they have helped me visualise a picture I’d like to capture and I’ll be on the lookout for those conditions again.

As usual, I wasn’t quick enough in throwing stones for Rufus and I got a few barks and yaps as a result.

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