Yep, after yesterday’s histrionics I am back. The fact that I am is down to several factors. First, I must thank the many people who commented and gave advice via blog comments and Facebook; the comments fell into two camps i) You can’t give up when you have come this far or ii) Have a break, no-one will think the worse of you and sanity is more important. I have taken all comments on board and I would like anyone to think that I had ignored them. I was particularly indebted to a long and detailed comment on yesterday’s blog (which was in category ii and was one of the most constructive and positive comments I have received). Yet here I am, blogging again…
I have also received a few offers from people willing to do a guest blog post and I think that this is something that should be positively encouraged. However, I am pretty certain that I won’t be entering the post a day challenge in 2012. A more sedate pace may be in order.
Which brings me onto my second thank you – friend and professional photographer Pete Corcoran – who has enable me to see the wood from the trees re the wedding photos and provided some wonderful advice on technique, software and workflow that should help me process the wedding photos with much less stress to myself. Plus I have got a little bit more time to complete them in! I think last night’s post was borne out of frustration and the enormity of the task; this has now receded somewhat. It has also been pointed out to me that a) I have been at the point of giving up before and b) that I said at the start of the year that I was doomed to heroic failure (thanks Catherine and Roy). Therefore the stubbornness has kicked in again. Yesterday, I couldn’t see the wood for the trees but today there is light at the end of the tunnel (and who could argue with metaphors as mixed as that). Whether the light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train, as Half Man Half Biscuit would have it, remains to be seen but a crisis has been averted for now.
And the photo? It’s Buttermere in the Lake District but the village rather than the lake itself. This is the stream/river that flows through the centre of the village. It’s another old photo that has gained something from the black and white treatment.
Apologies for the shortness of this blog post and for old photograph. I am running some batch processing on the wedding photos from Friday and it looks as if it could take a while; therefore the computer is tied up and I don’t dare stop it mid flow. In other words I am posting this from Flickr. I have neglected my Flickr photo stream of late and to be honest I’m not sure if I will be going back to it. There are several reasons for this. First, I am finding Society6 a far more user friendly interface. Second, Flickr is very arbitrary; the feedback you receive is only as good as the groups you join. Whilst Flickr is great for sharing pictures with friends I am not sure of it’s value once you enter the lower slopes of ‘proper’ photography. I am not for one minute suggesting that this is where I am, far from it, but I have found Society6 to be far more supportive, unjudgemental and it also helps to have sold some prints, which does wonders for the self confidence.
Good day to day in terms of family fun. My daughter had a joint birthday party with a friend at a climbing wall just over the border into North Wales. Everyone seemed to have a good time and I can easily seeing us going back. That said I ache all over from both climbing and holding the rope as various children showed their complete lack of fear. It’s nice to be trusted but at the same time when you have someone else’s child on dangling on the end of a rope several metres above you, with only you to save them from death it tends to sharpen the mind.
Normal service will resume tomorrow but it shows yet again how little I know – it’s obvious that Photoshop would allow you to batch process images but lord knows why I haven’t thought to learn how to do it until now. I think I’ll still process most images manually but with 700+ wedding photos to get through, this should lessen the pain a little.
So I have backed up all the wedding photos and it totals 706 images and suddenly the enormity of the task stretches ahead of me. OK’ I‘ve got 3 weeks to sort through them all and the number will be whittled down to something a lot more manageable but that still means looking at all of them and making decisions on what to cut. There are a fair few multiples (i.e. pictures taken in continuous shooting mode, so it should be a case of picking the best from a selection . I have decided to wait a few days before starting though so that I can approach them fresh. Besides, this weekend is really busy with three parties to go to (one 40th, one 50th and one 9th).
As a reminder there are now 6 days to go before the ‘Your Britain’ photo competition closes and I have entered three of my images. You can vote for them EVERY DAY here, here and here up to including the 15th July or even more often if you are the type of person that uses multiple browsers or cleans their cache regularly. Here endeth the shameless plug…
And the picture? Rain falling on Wales viewed from the English side of the Dee estuary at dusk. Hope you are having a good weekend. Words are failing me today (you may have noticed).
… so sang the Super Furry Animals, who are from Wales where this picture was taken. I am not sure what it means but I do like it as a phrase. I assume its because rocks endure whilst all around them changes much more quickly. The black and white version of this is in my Society6 studio so I thought I’d share the colour version here.Taken with a tripod in fading light at f-22 the picture captures the movement of the water with that wonderful silky effect but its really about the rocks. Slow life. I like it.
As a follow on from yesterday’s post where I counterpointed the madness of my triathlete friends against my own personal brand of madness (i.e. standing knee deep in a Welsh lake as it goes dark) I thought I should post one of the photographs that I took. I have not been through them all yet, and I took a lot, but this is one that looked promising. You can never tell how your images are going to turn out by viewing them on the camera screen; it’s only when you get them home and look at them full size that you realize how good/bad they have turned out. This one seems to be OK though. Other photographs from the weekend just gone will no doubt materialise on the blog over the coming weeks, once I have had a chance to go through them all.
I can guarantee that the pain I went through to take this photograph was nothing compared to the pain of doing the triathlon, but I did get my boots wet and stand on my glasses.
Ok, so I am back and posting in real time again. I can see that my automated posts actually appeared so that is good thing to know going forward. We have actually been camping in Wales this weekend on the shores of Lyn Tegid near Bala, the largest lake in Wales. And the reason? Two friends (and not me I should hasten to add) were taking part in the Bala triathlon which, I am reliably informed is also a ‘half Iron Man’. This is basically a 3-mile swim, followed by a 50-mile bike ride, followed by a 13-mile run. My friends, we can call them Steve and Simon for this blog, which also happens to be their real names, do this sort of thing quite regularly. I take photographs, they do triathlons; it’s a middle-aged thing.
On Friday night then three families (six adults, seven children) all headed into Wales for a weekend’s gentle camping before the race today. All things considered, the weather was not too bad on Friday and Saturday (when this picture was taken) but today was a different matter. I took this picture of Steve heading into the lake yesterday for a practice swim. It almost looks inviting. Yet today, for the race, he will have headed into it in driving rain and gale conditions. They started at 10 am and were hoping to finish by 3 pm. Five hours! Of exercise! In the pouring rain! I was going to call this blog post ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen’ but there was no midday sun involved, just driving, relentless rain.
Spare a thought also for their families too, standing in the rain, cheering them on. Safe in the knowledge that we were home, showered and snuggled on the sofa watching telly as we had no reason to stick around. Also, since my daughter had left her waterproof outside all night there was no way we could have spectated, even if we’d wanted too. And the blog title? This is how my daughter pronounces ‘triathlon’. I thought it sounded suitably Welsh. If things have gone badly, they could still be running as I type. I have asked ‘why’ but there is no reason other than the vague ‘because it’s there’ excuse that you always get from people that are far healthier and fitter than you are. I maintain though that putting yourself through that hell, in those conditions, must take its toll mentally as well as physically.
I salute them, even though I don’t understand. They may have felt the same yesterday when I disappeared with camera and tripod to go and stand in the lake as it went dark. Mad dogs and Englishmen indeed.
This is a photograph that I unsuccessfully entered in the recent ‘Capture Liverpool’ competition, which was part of Look 11, the on-going Liverpool photographic festival. You were only allowed one entry and I chose this one purely because I thought it offered something unusual in that I was attempting to capture the WHOLE city (plus Birkenhead on the other side of the water). Since I have got the ‘thanks but no thanks’ email re the prize winners I thought I might as well blog it. Liverpool is a city that means a lot to me as it is my alma mater (see I’m right posh me) and the place where I first lived away from the family home. Admittedly it is a very ‘unique’ city, a city that tends to look outwards towards Ireland and America rather than inland to its neighbours. But that is no bad thing. My love of water and seascapes can probably be traced back to the years I spent in this city and it’s a place I visit often, being only 35 minutes away. With hindsight its probably not that great a photograph but its emotional resonance holds; also it was taken from a very precarious position at the end of one of the breakwaters in New Brighton and I’d like to think as a result it’s pretty unique (although I’m probably wrong).
You may have noticed from this blog that I have a thing for reflections or water in general. More often that not I find the reflection of the subject that I’m photographing more interesting than the subject itself. This seems to be borne out by the fact that of all the pictures I have sold via Society6 it is the picture of a tree reflected in water that has outsold everything else. Water is a brilliant thing to play with when taking photographs and as I seem to drawn to pictures of the sea or lakes or canals I am wondering whether it’s the reflectiveness of the surface that makes the difference; certainly my pictures of Crosby, which I am still struggling to match, came about through perfect winter light and the fact that the tide had just gone out to leave wet sand like glass.
I am hoping that this pictures is a case in point. It’s nettles and cowslips reflected in a water trough in a farmer’s field. Not the most interesting of subjects but the water gives it a little something that a picture of the plants themselves just wouldn’t have. The black and white helps as well, rendering the reflection as a silhouette. Some of best pictures have come about by shooting reflections, even in puddles, and although rain is generally not the photographer’s friend the period after heavy rain can be magical.
I am very much at a loose end today. My children have gone to their grandparents for A WHOLE WEEK due to the way the school holidays have fallen. Whilst this is quite an exciting prospect, I also know I will miss them terribly. It could be an interesting week…
OK, OK I admit it. Too much on tonight and when you are attempting to blog every day for a year then sometimes corners must be cut. This is a black and white version of the picture from earlier in the week because YOU the reader demanded; well at least two people said that they would like to see it in monochrome. Is it better? I’m not sure. It’s certainly more dramatic but I don’t think it has the colour version’s sense of early morning optimism. It is now almost a picture about working rather than pleasure. I like both versions but it does goes to show the difference feeling that a black and white picture can convey compared with colour. Although I prefer the colour version it’s probably this one that I will upload to my Society6 store. Experience so far shows me that everyone would rather have a black and white image on their wall than colour. Is it because it’s more dramatic or is it a perception of being more ‘arty’? I’ll leave that for you to ponder as my dinner’s ready…
Back out into the outdoors for today’s picture and I must admit to really liking this one, despite its simplicity. It’s a very English picture – witness the overalls and the cloth cap – and one that I think captures life on the canals. This was taken very early morning as the boats were leaving the marina. I took it from the footbridge that crosses the canal, under which the swan from previous blogs was nesting. When I took it I was looking for some depth of field between the two boats, which I think I have got; however, it was only when I looked at the picture full screen that I realised the focus should be elsewhere. The undoubted star of this image is the cat perched in the doorway, which I didn’t even know was there when I took the picture. Another happy accident.
I find this picture very calming and really quite romantic. I’d like to know where the man and his cat are off to next; it seems like a very restful way to spend your days. The smoke adds to the effect. It seems to me that this picture is all about the little details, the ripples on the water, the oily rag in the man’s hand, the flat cap and that cat. Lovely