Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Catch Up

Once more I find myself wondering why I write this stuff. Bu hey ho, it's something to do on a dreary wet summer's afternoon.

Stuff continues to get in the way of me having enough time, at the right times, to get to grips with anything photographically substantial. Another flying visit to the sandplant revealed that work appears to be almost done there with most of the heavy plant gone and the major bunds removed. What was interesting was the speed with which the recently made piles of sand are being greened over, and how there are traces of the old hardcore surface still below the natural level of the saltmarsh. Even when reclaimed to its full extent there will be archeological traces of the original plant's footprint for centuries to come. More of the same here.

 As it was a lovely evening I called in at a nearby lake for a bit of fish spotting that turned into angler watching. I had my cameras with me, the light was golden. Who could turn down a photo opportunity?

There was a temptation to boost the saturation over to the left of the sky to give that orange which is apparently the norm in sunset photographs, but which isn't how it appears in reality. The ability to manipulate digital files so easily has created a new aesthetic and expectations for what photographs should look like. Bright and contrasty. It's all easy to fall into line. Maybe this is one reason I prefer to take photos on dull days? It stops me making pictures which look like all the ones which get 'liked' on social media!

Last Saturday saw the village Walking Day come round once more. I was in two minds as to taking my camera out, but when I had nothing else to do I went out with a different plan from last year when I had followed the procession using one lens. This time I decided to stick to a few locations and use two cameras. The bad move was the second camera with the longer zoom. For this I chose my fishing DSLR and a lens to suit. It was a bad move because I later found out what is wrong with the lens. I bought it used and didn't think to check that the image stabilisation worked. Turns out it doesn't. As a reuslt most of the pictures taken with it are blurred to some degree. The combination also doesn't lock focus as quickly as a better combination will. So I got a bit frustrated by that. A pity because part of my intention was to take more close-ups of people. On first appraisal I wasn't too happy with my results. comparing them to last year's efforts I realised I'd got a similar hit rate of decent pictures. Around three!

Something the afternoon did bring home to me is how difficult it is to keep up with a fast moving event and get decent pictures. Even though the procession is at walking pace moments worth capturing are still fleeting. Hats off to those who do that sort of thing for a living. Of course, if I had been doing it seriously, instead of as a bit of fun on a Saturday afternoon, I would have used more appropriate equipment and concentrated harder. But that's by the by.

After the walk was over I wandered round the fair. This is not what it was when I was a lad. Where have the air rifle and dart throwing sideshows gone? It's all rides for kids of every age, fast food and a hook-a-duck stall. Set up on tarmac in the village centre car park means the smell of trampled grass is no more and the atmosphere isn't the same. Times change I guess. More photos from the day here.

I wonder if any of the photographs in this post are anything more than snapshots? I'm not sure I care any longer. I'm becoming more and more interested in good photography than good photographs. By that I mean the single picture which is carefully composed and processed interests me far less these days than sets of pictures that provide a record of something, telling a story about it even if the individual pictures are a bit sloppy. The ideal, I suppose, would be sets of carefully crafted images which coalesce to make a unified whole. But there is the fact that a picture which might be somewhat weak on its own can gain strength from being associated with the right accompanying pictures.

This is not to say that every time the shutter is released the intention isn't to make a great picture. My aim is always to try and frame things so they work aesthetically as well as telling the story. Rather than the  usual advice to simplify I try to condense as much information into the frame as possible. I use my time fishing to experiment with making pictures that tell the story, getting all the elements arranged within the frame while providing context with as little wasted space as possible. It's rather like writing conscisely. Which is a good a cue as any to wrap this up!

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