Monday, 30 October 2017


For what seems like the first time in months that bright thing in the sky has made an appearance recently. But afternoons are short, especially since the clocks went back. On Friday I only had three hours of light left by the time I was free to set out so I headed for the marsh. There were now sheep on both sides of the fence meaning I could walk round and get an angle where they were either side or front lit instead of the backlighting I'm usually faced with. The results were uninspiring but one frame illustrates the nature of the landscape.

It's not just sheep that I'm trying to photograph but their traces. So any remains of expired sheep are added to the archive in case they might add up to something eventually.

On my way home I noticed some sheep in a field of what looked like shallow water. With all teh rain there's been lately a flooded field was a possibility, but I'd have expected sheep to have been moved out of it. I wasn't going to stop to take any photographs because the lane is pretty much a single tracked but there was a pull-in by the field gate. The back lighting was making the field glisten and the sheep where silhouetted against this with that rimlight their fleeces give in such situations. All very picturesque. I pulled over and got the camera out. It wasn't water at all creating the effect. It was spider silk. Not only was it cloaking the grass it was in the hedges too.

With the sun setting fast the effect was soon lost but I managed two or three frames which are okay. Sheep never graze where you want them to for the composition you have in mind. Often the bleaters will be heading in the right direction and then turn round!

Sunday was predicted to be sunny all day, but I still didn't manage to get out until eleven intending to have another poke around in the area I have in mind for a project.

Quite what the project will be about if it happens I am trying to find out by taking photographs. Something sheep related, maybe a series of sheepscapes, is a possibility. Finding cooperative sheep being the biggest hurdle to overcome.

It would be an easier option to make a series of pictures of trees. All you have to concern yourself with there is the weather and the light. But looking through a book of photographs about a year in this area I realised there were next to no pictures of people in it. The great fall-back of photography is to photograph landscape and 'stuff'. Which was what I ended up doing.

One thing that a low winter sun does is make me look at light and colour more than I usually do. Good in some ways, but it all too easily becomes the subject. Which I find less than satisfying. There's no message intended in these sorts of pictures. The picture below is just a semi-abstract of a tree against a moorland backdrop. It's decorative.

This isn't as nicely lit, but as well as being a semi-abstract picture of a wall, fence and saplings, it is also about enclosure and land use. The land, originally walled to retain sheep, has fencing topping it off to keep deer out of an area now planted with trees for environmental reasons. To me that is a more satisfying picture to make.

But ideas don't have to be what might thought of as politically motivated, or 'heavy'. They can make a comment on an aspect of life in a more light-hearted way. As when I started taking pictures of abandoned balls I have lately started taking pictures of the farmer's friend - baler twine. The places I see it and the uses it gets put to.

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