Saturday, 26 November 2016


At last I've had some time away from work forced on me and managed to make use of it with the camera. Friday saw me having to go into the market town of Ormskirk for an unspecified period while Vauxhall attended to my car on its second recall. The first recall saw me wandering around the place all day, so I didn't know what to expect. Thankfully it was all over before lunchtime. The place grows more like a ghost town each time I visit it.

That means there's not much to photograph, especially on a non-market day when the streets are all but deserted. Without the market there are few places to buy anything that isn't a coffee or junk from a charity shop. Shops which have been there years, as far back as I can remember when I was on work experience in the town, are closing down. The record shop where I bought Never Mind the Bollocks went long ago, but the greengrocer's which I photographed back in 2013 with it's wares displayed on the pavement as ever, is also appeared to be no more. Maybe it was shut for the day, but it didn't look like it. Photograph things when you have the chance because they might be gone before you realise it.

Whether it would be worth recording the closed down shops, the charity shops and coffee houses, I'm not sure. It feels a bit obvious, the sort of thing you expect someone is already doing. But is it being done?

I was in half a mind to go an have a more serious look around today but I let things slide and had some shopping I wanted to do. That meant a trip to the seaside. With the shopping a failure I headed to teh park and ride for some cheap, time unlimited, parking. The bloody council had put the charge up by 50p, so I parked in a two hour free parking zone and used the park and ride toilets anyway. Tight? Me?

I left the car in bright sunshine, and almost immediately began to see pictures to add to Sandgrounding. But barely had I got to the sea front than a heavy mist rolled in.

I've written about mist and fog before. They are transformative and simplify what can be seen. Not one does background clutter get hidden, but colours become softened and can almost disappear completely. Fog is a sort of monochromatic filter. I don't know what it is about the go-kart track that attracts me, but it has done ever since I picked up a camera and walked past it.

Add a wintry sun to fog and it becomes easy to see pictures. It's hard to stop snapping away.

Every now and then the sun would strengthen and add light to a subject.

Then it would fade and a little help might be required to add some 'spot colour'. To heighten it I used the photography enthusiast's hated tool - the pop-up flash of my camera. I actually like the effect the pop-up flash gives. The drawback is that when I'm wearing a cap the peak gets in the way and half closes the flash which then refuses to fire.

Soon the fog was really closing in. All I could do was get increasingly minimal.

Maybe it was the fog, maybe it was having a break away from any serious photographing. In just under an hour I'd rattled off a load of frames and come away with some I like and some that have got me thinking. Why it is that some days you get in the zone is a mystery. One thing I do know is that being there doesn't last long. As in anything, when you are in the zone your brain is working overtime. It can't last before the intuitive thinking starts to get sluggish and you slip back into trying to make things work. Which they rarely do when you desperately want them to. far better to stop. Chill. Start again and hope you can get back in the same frame of mind.

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