Peace, tranquillity and punk rock



And so another tardy blog post for which I can only apologise. The main reason is that I have been ploughing through all the photographs that I took recently in the Lakes. Over 7 days (four of which saw pretty much persistent rain) I took more than 500 images. An initial cull got the number of ones I am pleased with down to approximately 150 and I am now methodically and laboriously working through these. So far I have done around 40 of which this image was one of them. As I have improved as a photographer I have taken more and more images and these all need to be appraised and processed before I can share them with you. At my current rate of about 20-30 a night I should have finished by early next week but I don’t want to rush things; equally, I don’t want to neglect the blog so I will be posting the odd image as I progress through them. Please bear with me. Of course, the only time I have available for looking at my images is the late evening (it’s currently 11.15 in the evening). I really do believe that these pictures I have taken in the Lake District are another step up, albeit a small one. I’m really pleased with them and there is one image in particular (that I want to save for a later blog once I have had a play with it). Not to spoil things but this is a picture that my wife (never one to damn with faint praise) has described as ‘the best picture you have taken’. I can sense your anticipation already 🙂

So, on to this picture. This was taken on our second day of holiday in the very early morning. My house is quite near a main road and so I am used to some traffic noise (especially living near to the local hospital’s A&E department) and, somewhat surprisingly, I found it very difficult to sleep in the total silence and total darkness of our lakeside retreat. This resulted in me waking up very early (around 6.30) so I decided to walk down to the lake with my camera. One thing a proper landscape photographer will tell you is that the best pictures are achieved the hour before sunrise or sunset (the magic hour) which is when the light is at its best and there is no harsh sunlight to bleach things out.. I was on the jetty near the cottage and this swan was just there, treading water, ripples spreading out around it. Every now and then it would plunge its head into the water to feed, which would create marvellous ripples on the glassy surface of the lake. This picture, one of many, captures the moment just after the swan had returned to the surface. I think it’s the ripples that make it; that and the clouds reflected on a body of water that was as still as a mill pond. I spent a couple of hours taking photographs in total silence. And it was marvellous. This swan seemed to follow me wherever I went so you will probably be seeing it again.

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that I have stated adding a copyright watermark to my images. Now, I am not kidding myself that this would ever stop anyone from using my image but I do feel that I need to assert my rights as the owner of my photography, especially if I am going to start taking it more seriously. I was hastened to a decision thanks to the government’s digital economy bill, which was criminally passed without proper debate via a parliamentary wash-up session last night. The original version of the bill included a clause that basically stated that if you post your photographs on-line then anyone can use them providing they had made an effort to locate the copyright holder; thereby giving anybody the right to steal your photograph and, if found out, claim that they had made every effort to contact you. Basically, it stank (and the rest of the bill still does, what with its proposal to cut off internet supply and block websites that the government feels are ‘illegal’) and I wrote to my MP about it. Thankfully, the one clause from the bill that was removed and not passed last night was the one relating to photography and ‘orphan works’ (i.e. photographs whose author cannot be traced). So a minor victory in a greater defeat but good news none the less. Still this is the reason for the watermark and I hope it doesn’t detract. I would hope that if any of my regular readers see any of my photos used elsewhere then they would tell me…

The UK is in the grip of election fever at the moment and given the state of the economy and the recent parliamentary expenses scandal they are going to have to go some  to rally an apathetic public who have heard it all before. That said, my recent experiences of writing to my MP about the above were extremely positive (but that is probably tinted by the fact that my voice appeared to be heard).

In other news Malcolm McClaren, svengali-like manager of The Sex Pistols has died, which makes me feel incredibly old. A controversial figure to say the least you cannot deny that he had verve, chutzpah and the drive to make something like the punk movement happen and there can be no doubt that it wouldn’t have happened without him. I’m not a religious man but I would like to thank him for giving the establishment the kick up the ass it needed at a vital time in the UK’s political, musical and social history. He will be missed. Even those who hated him will have to concede that.

So, in a bit of a reflective mood tonight, which brings me back to this image and the memory of when I took it – a moment of perfect calm, captured forever. Photography’s bloody wonderful isn’t it…

Comments as always are positively encouraged

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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

One response to “Peace, tranquillity and punk rock

  • Thea

    A reflective post indeed – and an enjoyable one. Although the hairs on the back of my neck are bristling about this new digital economy bill. Regardless of experience, adding a copyright to your work should be par for the course. Plagiarism is rife on the internet and this new bill has just made it that much easier. Damn them.

    Beautiful image too – contemplative and dreamlike. (Captures the overall essence of your post.)

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