November has been one of those transitional months for me. The best tree colour had departed and the weather was neither cold or mild, wet or dry. A bit hum drum really. The month was broken up for me with a sparkling trip to Paris so landscape wise I don’t seem to have got out quite so much as I might have ordinarily planned.
Only a few weeks ago I featured one of Mark Littlejohn’s wonderful atmospheric photographs on this very blog, with his image Woodland Wanders. I’ve followed Mark’s work for a very long time indeed and so it came as no surprise to me when he was announced as Take-A-View’s choice as Landscape Photographer Of The Year for 2014 with what I think is a quite wonderful photograph, aptly titled A Beginning And An End…
Following up the initial success of last month’s guest photographer feature, I can see a lot of people were interested in what I find as inspirational so I feel sure this will become embedded as a regular feature on this blog. A few hundred people stopped by to give the page a read while some went to the extra length of writing a few paragraphs on what they saw for themselves in the images I selected.
Wow what a month! One of the most enjoyable periods of photography I’ve enjoyed for a long time and picking out a single image from October seems almost impossible. The colour riot of autumn has of course been in full flow and while others might have been waiting for the ‘optimum’ moment (whenever that is meant to be), I know from experience that this time of year is an ever changing conundrum so getting out there as many times as possible through the month would probably pay dividends. A mis-timed storm or prolonged period of rain can soon put pay to any plans you might have to capturing some trees with leaves on and sure enough a single significant storm came along right at the moment when the trees were reaching full colour.
Here’s another new feature that I’m going to be running on my blog, something which I’ve been meaning to get around to for some time…
September is one of those months when it’s neither one season or another. This year in the UK, it stayed exceptionally warm, but while summer was still obviously over, autumn really hadn’t entirely begun. I find months like this very frustrating so I chose to use the early part of the month checking out some possible autumnal locations without having the desire of going out with real purpose to shoot, and with that having a low expectation of getting very much.
August turned out to be a surprisingly good month for photography. When I committed to converting my D800 into a full time 720nm infrared option, I envisaged that the long summer days of July and August would provide all of necessary ingredients to produce some great mono opportunities. Indeed, when I decided to head up to the Peak District during the latter part of August it was to take a closer look at Bolehill Quarry and the potential afforded by the Silver Birch woodland there. Birch makes for spectacular black and white subject matter and I was hoping to find a mix of my favourite trees perhaps with some long dry grasses for good measure. But what really started out as nothing more than a autumnal reconnaissance mission turned into an unexpected full colour landscape quest. I was told that there would be ‘some heather’ but what greeted me was an incredible purple display covering every one of the hills in the whole of the Hathersage area, a very special sight, the likes of which I genuinely hadn’t witnessed before.
July turned out to be a month with some new gear. I invested in a Fuji X-E2 and 18-55mm f/2.8-f/4 because I wanted something lighter for what I call ‘occasional’ shooting. It certainly has its strengths and weaknesses like any other camera and I’ll put together a separate blog post on this soon enough.
So, further to Part 1 of this piece and the elation of getting six images shortlisted in Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2014, many will probably think it fairly unforgivable of me to even consider writing a single word about the pain of rejection and deflation after achieving something like that. And I have to admit I agree to a point – it sits slightly awkwardly with me. But I can’t help it. Those nagging deep rooted doubts that your photography isn’t as worthy as you think it is and feeling once again some of your best images were passed over and cast aside in a few moments, not considered to be interesting enough, presented nothing new, lacked subtlety, story telling, or worst of all was just an ‘also ran’ others have done better before. Of course the judges don’t approach things quite in those terms, but personally I can’t help that emotional bond with some of my images that means I want to scream “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!!”.