Phew its a scorcher!

Kids in dunes 2, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

It’s the hottest day of the year so far and to be honest it’s pretty uncomfortable, especially when you work in an office with no air conditioning. I wanted to take a break from Glastonbury pictures today as I don’t want to bore you, but at the same time wanted a nice sunny picture to mirror the weather outside. Believe it or not this picture was taken over Easter this year (ie in April) on the beach in Harlech, North Wales. April is not traditionally known for its blistering sunshine but maybe this year April was a sign of things to come. It’s a picture of my two kids heading into the dunes; Harlech has miles of rolling sand dunes that you can get lost in – great for children but you have to keep an eye on them. They spent all day climbing to the top and running down again at breakneck speed. Anyhow, Summer’s here and enjoy it while it lasts. I hope you like the picture too.

To be honest I am having a bit of a crisis of confidence today and I am not really sure why. Since I took up photography lots of nice things have happened including winning a local competition and getting an image on a greetings card; only yesterday, one of my images was chosen by The Guardian for a feature on British wildlife and was voted second best out of 10. So why do I feel so dispirited?

Sometimes I think that perhaps I have little or neglible talent for this. This is usually brought on by viewing other people’s photographs. Also, I am depressed about not being able to get out more with the camera – its difficult with a full time job and a 2-hour commute each day and at weekends I want to spend time with the family. I would like to buy more equipment but my salary and household commitments preclude this. I have made attempts to licence my images and although the response has been positive (we like your work, keep in touch, etc) I haven’t really got anywhere.

God, this is turning into a bit of a downer and I don’t want it to be (think sunshine!) but I am not really sure what to do next and whether I will ever have the time/money to do it. I am beginning to realise that photography is an expensive hobby and that to get stunning pictures you need to have the best lenses, the ability to get up early in the morning and just go, and the time to do it. Oh and a great location helps – leafy Cheshire is nice but flat as a pancake.

So am I wasting my time? Answers on a postcard please. I hope not and I am certainly going to carry on with the blog. Maybe I am expecting too much and need a dose of harsh reality. Maybe it’s enough just to share my pictures with you… Any comments are welcome as always

I promise to cheer up tomorrow…

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About Mark

I am a 43-year-old amateur photographer from Chester, Cheshire UK. I took up digital photograpy a couple of years ago after hitting 40. See it as my mid-life crisis. Unfortunately, unlike, say, forming a band, having a tattoo or buying a motorcycle I have come to realise that the particular hobby I have chosen as a means to escape the drudgery of the day job is probably one of the most expensive. On May 12th 2009 I spent a marvellous informative day with professional photographer Stewart Randall. This has prompted me to take my photography more seriously and, although I don't expect it to lead to a career change, maybe sell or license some of my images so that I can fund my hobby. I hope you like the images I post and please feel free to comment. All constructive criticism is welcomed. This blog will document my attempts to get to grips with the digital medium and see if I can get some wider recognition for my images. View all posts by Mark

3 responses to “Phew its a scorcher!

  • Adam Christopher

    Interesting post, and I think you are just striking that hump that all people involved with creative endeavours do. I’d go so far to say that if you DIDN’T feel like this at some point, then something is wrong!

    It’s the same with creative writing. Every day I have to find time to write 2000 words, and do the day job, and spend time with family, and do chores/shopping/necessary jobs. And then every day, having got up at 6am to write, and then finishing the day’s wordcount at 10pm, I’m convinced that everything I typed was the worst kind of tripe imaginable. Worse than that, actually typing out those 2000 words was the sheer hell and torture, sweating blood and convincing myself that I really need to stop fooling myself and do something else, because every other writer is better than me, more talented than me, has better ideas than me, has better style than me, has an easier life than me, has more time than me.

    The thing to remember is that this is completely normal. Every writer feels this way, most of time. Even New York Times best-selling authors can be convinced that the chapter they just bashed out was pure garbage, and have stayed awake all night, staring at the ceiling and wondering if the local McDonalds was still hiring.

    It seems photography is exactly the same. Everyone else has more talent than you, a better eye than you, more time than you, better equipment than you. But look at the results – your photographs are on a greetings card. You won a prize from the mayor of Chester. You came second in a major newspaper competition.

    And licencing your images – you’ve already got that greetings card. How many other places have you tried? Twenty? Fifty? Try another twenty, fifty, and then when they reject your images, try the next twenty, fifty. Keep going. And while you are waiting to hear back from places, keep taking new photos.

    You may say the key difference between you and me is equipment – you need bags of gear and lenses and things, I could get by with a pencil and paper. This is true, to a certain extent, except the very best photographs I have ever, ever seen were taken with a $50 polaroid instant camera.

    Pep talk over. Get back behind the camera!

  • Lisa

    I’ve only just discovered your blog so will not comment on your post – I just wanted to say hi and that I really like the sand-dune picture. Your children got all grown up!

  • Jane H

    Don’t be disheartened – all of the previous comment holds true. I guess it depends what your dream is? Do you want to become a better amateur, winning competitions to help buy bigger and better gear and get better by increments, or do you dream of making a living out of it and being able to pack in the day job? There’s no denying that the latter route is a tough one but you have to believe it is do-able. I’ve been fortunate to work with some extremely talented photographers over the years (sadly when I had no interest in their craft, apart from making sure they’d got a landscape and a portrait and that it was in focus – and where’s the bloody caption…). A former colleague, Matt Ashton, was one of the best I worked with and he now runs his own sports and pic agency (www.matthewashton.com – check out his sports stuff particularly) which has taken him all over the world and to some of the greatest sporting events in the world (World Cup Final, European Cups, Japan, Dubai, etc). Despite this he still has to do the “bread-and-butter” jobs for local businesses, and weddings and the like. If this was a route you wanted to go down, and I don’t know how you would fit this in, but have you considered doing a photojournalism degree or similar, not just to improve your skills but also to increase your employability or ability to sell yourself as a freelance? Have you tried contacting reputable agencies to see if you can do some work experience/a week’s shadowing – there will be several based in Manchester/Liverpool and Cheshire?
    Just a couple of thoughts – but don’t give up! You are good – the only trouble is that, yes, there are other people out there that are good too, damn them!

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