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.
It has to be said, April was a pretty hot month for me, certainly not in terms of weather but in photography prospects. I find it goes like that quite a lot, I have an off month and just as I’m starting to lose a bit of mojo some top conditions play into my hands at the right time. That’s the landscape photographer’s lot at the end of the day and if you can’t take weeks of flat grey skies and be ready when it counts then this game isn’t for you…
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.
In January Practical Photography Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in completing a video shoot which would be used on the magazine’s cover disc and website. It’s not something I’d done before so I thought it might be a genuinely interesting experience and I agreed. Having run my own workshops previously, you can’t be a shrinking violet in these situations so I figured it would probably be OK.
The story of the British winter in 2014 was a series of storms and more water in the south of England than The Amazon River would have been able to supply. It certainly wasn’t what you’d call a traditional or classic winter in any respect. We didn’t see any snow last year in the Midlands so this year I think many photographers were pinning their hopes on a higher proliferation of icy opportunities. Sure enough winter finally showed its hand in the north and across higher ground but once again barely a flake south of the Peak District has been seen. I give Jack Frost 3 out of 10 for effort this year…
December started like a winter month really should with a few sharp frosts and low temperatures, though as always the British weather usually has other ideas up its sleeve and this soon turned into a cloudy, wet, dull and windy spell bringing an end to the sort of conditions most landscape photographers revel in. A single and very short-lived small amount of snow in the latter part of the month wasn’t enough to re-create those magical conditions for me either. I’ve since been enjoying the low light/high ISO capability of the Nikon Df and this signals new possibilities for me as we turn towards 2015 but in truth I’d much rather be out in an icy dawn landscape with the Warwickshire countryside for company.
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.
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.