New Year, and the first magazine feature of 2016 in Amateur Photographer Magazine on 16th January…
In Part 2 of this series, I’m going to cover off what most people would call ‘standard’ focal lengths…
I recently completed a small What’s In The Bag magazine feature for Amateur Photographer which is due for release shortly. Ordinarily I wouldn’t usually start the year with a post about hardware but I get so many emailed questions from budding photographers, students, former workshop attendees and via Twitter that I thought I would set out some insight as to what I shoot with and why. The Amateur Photographer piece I’ve illustrated reminds me of the level of interest people have in kit and although the best photography is absolutely made by great composition, use of light and most of all imagination, without having the right kit some of that just isn’t possible.
As I look outside at an autumnal rain shower hammering at my window this morning, I’m reflecting on the fact that somehow I managed to create something in each month during the summer that I was actually happy with. Looking back now I’m not even sure how I managed that given that I set out with purpose to take some images on no more than three or four occasions if that. However after a hopeful weather forecast I decided to get myself up to the Peak District to visit some views while the heather was in bloom and what I got was an additional unexpected treat at sunrise. I timed my arrival almost a little too optimistically and pulled my car over at the side of the road somewhere on the hills above Hathersage. The light was pretty spectacular by anyone’s account, the low layers of mist giving way to a full on pink and purple sunrise. The problem with the Peak District (or should I say the value of the Peak District?) is that it can be pretty featureless across certain views, a landscape stripped of most defining objects, a tundra with a handful of trees dotted around at best.
Although late spring was finished off beautifully with a trip to the Brecon Beacons, June fell somewhat flat for me with the conditions somehow sapping my enthusiasm. This is often the case for many landscape photographers in the summer months of course and even a trip to the Kent coast did little to lift my mood. Inevitably I find landscape photography is linked to my general state of mind and ever earlier starts become wearing ensuring it all feels a lot less enticing.
Those of you who follow this blog and my various social media posts will know that I declared 2015 to be my year of print. I was very serious about this objective – I’ve already completed a significant slip-cased A3 sized general portfolio of work with a fabulous high-end product from Hartnack & Co (see the mini-series which STARTS HERE) and I always had in mind to produce something a little more intimate to contain a project series like Backwater.
Once again I find myself way behind on these blog commitments! Writing my May pick of the month towards the end of June really needs to improve, though hopefully you’ll have got something out of my three part Building A Print Legacy mini series which took priority instead. The final product is fantastic but once again the learning journey was significant.
I always get into my head that March is a spring month, but the truth is it can feel like a full extension of winter. The expectation that snow and ice has passed and cold short days are replaced by some warmth in the sun are somewhat optimistic and misplaced. As such, March can feel like one of those lean months, it’s neither winter or spring in truth, like the transition from summer to autumn in September, it can be a frustrating “waiting” month for photographers. It was for me again this year.
It turns out February was the best month for me for as long as I can remember, photographically speaking. So much so, it’s incredibly difficult to pick out just one photograph – I have at least six in mind which deliver so I’m going have to go with the one which tells the most story. Stark comparison to a year ago where February was utterly flat – I remember feeling like I’d been shrouded in a dark cloak of depression, waiting for winter to lift. Not this time.