A couple of lovely books to consider

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Alex Nail’s ‘Northwest’ and Norman McCloskey’s ‘Beara’

 

So these two gentlemen are responsible for breaking my no more books (at the moment) rule and quite frankly I’m glad they did.

I’m not going to go into great detail about the books, I’m just going to say that the underlying theme is ‘passion’, passion for an area, passion for the landscape and passion for landscape photography.

Recently there’s been a little too many moments of chest beating from those that mock and question  landscape photographers who go out into the landscape and make, shall we say,  for want of a better phrase, regular images. The images and words in these books don’t carry a hidden message or are asking you to think deeply about life the universe and everything, they are celebrating the landscape, for some of us, that is enough, a beautiful landscape or a part of that landscape.

Both of these books are self-published and in this day and age that’s a hell of a risk, as well as an awful lot of work. Alex and Norman really must be commended for this as both books are not only aesthetically pleasing from the moment you view their understated covers but once you open them up and explore the images you are rewarded with some very fine landscape photography of quite stunning countryside.

Over the past few years I have come to love the part of the country that Alex has photographed for ‘Northwest’, it truly pains me that the area is so far away from me and when I see pictures of this quality of an area I love, well,  I’m sure I get something in the corner of my eye!!! I cannot give the book a better compliment than that.

Norman’s book simply makes me want to visit the area he photographs so well, again, it’s a simple compliment but I’m a man of simple words, it’s a lovely book.

I’m not going to put lots of examples of pictures from the books on here as I think they should be discovered for one’s self.

Alex, Norman, well done, and to whoever looks at this, please consider a purchase of these books, you will not be disappointed. Links below to Alex and Norman’s websites:

Alex’s website

Norman’s website

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from ‘Northwest’

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from ‘Beara’

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Kicking Mr Gibbs up the arse

Sometimes we all need a kick back into photographic action, after having to cancel a trip to Wester Ross recently I had settled on the idea of getting to grips with what to do next after the gallery closure. Before me were days on the computer thinking about this and that and ‘can I afford this?’ and ‘I’m gonna have to learn that?’.

And then I got a text from my friend Katie who suggested a meet up on a Sunday morning with another good pal, John, this was what I needed, I had to get up and get out to meet them. It can be so easy to be a slave to the computer especially when  you’re trying to simply get your name around a bit more but getting out was what I needed, to re-connect with the outside world and feel the wind in my hair (ahem) and to bloody well remember that this is what started everything off, being out there.

Unfortunately it is true to say that as soon as you become full time you tend to get out less but you really do have to keep getting out as much as possible and I’ve been guilty of being quite lazy or not having the fire in my belly to get out and at least try. It is also true that you do get sloppy, the little things that your hand does instinctively on the camera body as you set this or that on the camera tend to get forgotten, especially as the years advance, so even if its a small trip into your back garden just try and keep the creative and photographic juices flowing and if you do have some photo pals, give them a shout. ‘let’s have a meet up?’, it’s amazing what just talking with fellow photographers can do, it can be really inspiring, seeing Katie and John on that morning inspired me, it really did and we all need that kick up the arse occasionally.

Some pics below from recent days out in east Norfolk :DSC_9161DSC_9193DSC_9273DSC_9252DSC_9318DSC_9472

You never catch up

DSC_1282One of the problems with being a photographer is that there never seems to be a time when you can go ‘right, I’m up to date with my processing’, frankly I would have more chance of being the next Pope.

This is a real shame as images get passed over so quickly when you initially put them on to the computer. Yes, you select the few that may get you a ‘that’s great, please look at my profile’ on Instagram and only then, a few months or years later you have time for an edit or two and there they are, perfectly good photographs that you missed.

Digital gives us the option to get many different versions, those subtle changes of light , the wave that breaks in a pleasing shape, and for that I am truly thankful but it’s also a damn headache, I’ll readily admit there are times when the sheer numbers of images sitting on my hard drives stresses me out.

Over the last couple of days I have had a real heavy edit and damn, that feels good, you simply have to say, ‘Am I ever going to process that’, if not, get rid of it, chances are you may not get time to edit for another couple of years and by then you’ve probably go back to the image and go ‘what the bloody hell was i thinking?’, I’ve done that a few times over the last couple of days.

What an edit or just a simple review does do is help you to re-evaluate, it became quite apparent to me that over the last couple of years some of my work hasn’t been up to scratch, it’s just one of those things, we all go through periods like this, bands make a crap album, authors publish a sub-standard story, accept it, get out there, relax and do your best.

Below are just a few images from a wonderful lakeland winter day that I just hadn’t got around to processing:

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Sometimes you gotta shake it!!!!

I recently had a day in London trundling the streets, it wasn’t a photography day, though I had the Nikon and the 50mm 1.4 with me. My daughter was attending a gig (Pixies) at the wonderful Camden Roundhouse (great venue) and I thought I’d go up and wander around and look at music shops, guitar shops and book shops and then do my usual wander along the South bank which I always enjoy.

During the day I didn’t make many images but when it came to twilight I suddenly became inspired for a little ICM, in all honesty I’m not a big fan of this style of photography but that is what I went for in this instance. To tell you the truth I didn’t shake it all about, I merely moved the camera around a short distance, a sort of staggered effect, oh well, it passed the time!

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Assynt – missing you already

Every time I go back here I fall more in love with this landscape. I’m not long back from a visit to run my annual workshop in the area (incidentally only one place left for next year!) and it didn’t disappoint. The weather and the autumnal colour were superb but in all honesty, without those factors to take into consideration, it is still simply an amazing area to visit and photograph.

Unfortunately on this occasion I didn’t get too much time for some personal photography. As cars tend to do,  they often throw a spanner in the works at the wrong time and the silver surfer decided to part company with the interior fan motor. Now at this time of year you bloody well need one of those and it was touch and go to get one that worked in the car in time, but we got there . The downside, I left later than planned and therefore there was less time to explore some new areas up there, a pity but that’s life. To make things worse, the weather for the drive up was awful, Storm Whatever was raging through the north west of England and it certainly made the drive interesting.

Anyway, a week or so later and the workshop was over and the participants, Helen, Angela and Tim (I hate the word clients in terms of workshops, doesn’t sit well with me) saw some of the most wonderful weather. We certainly maximised our time out in the field. Computer stuff etc etc can wait until really bad weather days, landscape photography is about being out there and having a go whatever the weather . Luckily Assynt has plenty of options for more inclement weather too. The guys got some lovely images and the joy of this workshop was their differing approaches to landscape photography, very refreshing.

Some of the most beautifully shaped mountains you could wish for dominate the skyline here and they all have their own space to say ‘hey, look at me, ignore that one over there’. One of the joys of the area is that the mountains have their own space, so to speak,  you can easily appreciate their different aspects, some of those aspects work well photographically, some not so, some aspects make the mountain appear huge, some diminish it to a small insignificant lump of rock. Quite bizarre.

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One of Cul Beag’s dramatic aspects.

Aside from the obvious attraction of those shapely mountains there is a fine coastline, enough gnarly trees and areas of woodland to get lost in and then there’s the superb views of and from the lochs in the area, it’s just a landscape photographer’s paradise. In all honesty I regret not spending a lot of time here earlier but I’m making up for it now, hopefully I’ll get a chance for some personal photography there soon.

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Loch Culag, lazy photography!!!!, this is taken from the grounds of the house we stayed in.

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The Coigach hills from Stac Pollaidh

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Loch Sionosgaig, Suilven and Quinag

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Long exposure, Cam Loch.

 

Winterton wonderland

If I didn’t have Winterton just down the road from me I’d go mad, I swear it. Though I must now get to the grips with the idea of shooting a lot more locally I’ve got to resist visiting my favourite local location so often. Instead I must now visit some places that I haven’t visited for years or pick a spot on an OS landranger and just go for it.

A couple of years ago I may have been horrified at that thought, I do like my local landscape but I don’t love it, I love the Norfolk coast, that’s a given, but inland has always been a tough one for me but it’s now time to try and I must admit with autumn here and winter looming I’m looking forward to it. To be out of my North Norfolk coastal comfort zone (try saying that after a few drambuies) will be good for me though as I mentioned in a previous entry, I was having a tough time photographing the north Norfolk coast this year.

This morning I was hoping for a little mist but after a short drive out of town it was  apparent that was not going to happen so I decided to head to Winterton to see how the autumnal colours were developing in the trees and grasses. It’s all looking rather nice at the moment, I do prefer the more subtle colours of Autumn, just as the colours are turning, don’t get me wrong the intense autumn colours at their richest are simply stunning but I always think it’s a bit too ott , that does sound daft coming from a landscape photographer but hey, I was a provia user, not a velvia user back in the day 😉 .

Anyway, here’s a few shots from this morning’s outing, please note I dragged myself away from the sea relatively quickly!!!

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