Saturday, 26 October 2019

Endless rain

At long last I think I might have exorcised all ideas of doing 'landscape photography' from my brain. Certainly the practice of going places I like with the intention of looking for 'landscape photographs'.

Last Saturday had been so wet and my motivation so reduced that a drive to find a sheepdog trial was abandoned and I didn't even call in at either of the auctions I passed. On Sunday the rain eventually stopped and I headed for the forest in bright sunshine. Naturally that light disappeared as soon as I got out of my car armed with a map intent on exploring. The looking around didn't work out as on the ground things were less interesting than on the map. I did go a little off the beaten track, however, to look at what was marked as a rain gauge. A galvanised can in a field! I guess searching out and photographing more of these could become a landscape project if it wasn't for the treks over rough ground it would involve.Not at my age, with my knees!

There were a few sheep about and I tried to make some sheepscapes. This was the most successful.
At this time of year the afternoons are short and where there are hills can be even shorter. Taking a step too far into a bog was what curtailed my afternoon. I headed home to dry my boot off.

Amazingly thhe early part of the week which followed was warm and dry for a change. On Tuesday I put my dry boots on and went for a look around the wood with a plan in mind. That didn't work but I tried a few shots of the recently harvested maize fields on my way back. There's something to work on there, but I'm not sure I can be bothered looking for it. I can't help thinking that pictures without people in them have little value on their own. Perhaps in series they would work better?

Still having a feeling of disinterest about photography I made the effort to get out early for yesterday's big sale, not really expecting to do much more than tread familiar ground. The early arrival did get me some views of empty pens, and an increased entry form last year meant there were additional pens set up outside. Nothing startling, but 'paragraphs' added to the visual story.

Another step in the right direction was getting a picture of the electronic tag scanner lit up. Perhaps not as good as it could be, but it's been recorded now.

I tried a few eye detail shots but the light was dim and the sheep never stop still. The best way to take these sort of shots would be in full daylight with someone holding the sheep. Maybe at next summer's shows.

Once the sale started I divided my time between the main ring where groups of breeding ewes were being sold and the temporary tup ring. The main ring I have photographed often and there's not much new ground to be covered.

I was trying to get a picture from behind sheep as they entered the ring but timed them all wrong. The accidental 'sheep's eye view' of the open gate, on the other hand, seemed to work quite well for some reason.

Other than that it was low-level pictures of sheep and people, or wide views from up the steps to the café - as usual.

The temporary ring was different. The layout changed from last year for one thing, but mostly it's more intimate and busier. With that in mind I tried to make chaotic pictures. Some were OK, but none were outstanding.

After four hours my brain begins to fade and as I had to get to the Post Office in order to catch the last collection I left around two with the sale still having a long way to go. The rain had already returned long before then. More pics here.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Still photographing the same old stuff

The weather pattern appears pretty settled now. No two consecutive days the same. that said it does seem to be the case that a wet morning has a good chance of turning into a dry afternoon. On one such I set off with no plan other than to restrict myself to a 35mm focal length. Quite why I have bonded with the replacement for my fungus infected old lens is difficult to understand. But I have.

I thought the sandplant had undergone all it's transformations, meaning I was surprised to find the old opening to the road out to the sea which had been blocked had been even more blocked when I turned up. The evidence is more striking form the outside but less interesting to make a picture of being an infilling of the steep sided part of the path. There was more that had been done, notably the erection of even more fencing attempting to keep people off the marsh

That afternoon didn't stay dry and before dusk it was raining again. the next day was another one of rain so it was two days later when it faired up I went in search of more watery landscapes for my collection. Again I pressed the 35mm into action with no safety net. What the point of these two collections of pictures I keep adding to is as big a mystery as the weather.

The following day was warm and dry. hardly surprising as I spent it indoors photographing poultry and poultry people at the auction mart. Although I started out with the two 'pro' zoom approach, because I needed the faster apertures to cope with the dimly lit shed, I ended up swapping the 24-70mm for the 35mm and made a similar number of 'keepers' with both. The hated 70-200mm accounted for a few as well.

I was up against the old repetition problem again, but by dropping anchor in one spot and letting the throng and the sale come to me, shooting back towards the auctioneer, I was able to get faces in the frame. Faces make much more engaging pictures, and tell more of a story, than the backs of people's heads.

Two days later I was back at the mart, similarly equipped, photographing sheep. This time the zooms stayed attached all the time. The light in the main shed was as grim as it had been for the poultry sale, but in the other shed where the sheep were to be judged before being auctioned the light was much better. The nasty lights in there had been replaced with LEDs like in the sale ring.

All the sheep were penned in the main shed where they were first tarted up by their sellers and their lot numbers attached, then inspected by potential buyers.

From the pens they were guided to the next door shed where the show ring had been set up.

An indoor sheep show made a change, even though the procedure was the same as ever. It being a single breed show the classes, although fewer, were larger.

Following the show I had time to grab a plate of chips and gravy before the sale commenced under the lovely new LEDs.

I think another thing that photography has in common with fishing is that some people are happy to keep on doing the same thing, year in year out, and getting the same results, while others are always looking for a new challenge to keep their interest up. I'm certainly in the latter camp. In the past I have often got fed up of fishing a particular water after three years, sometimes four, regardless of whether I've got the best out of it or not. I've been photographing sheep for three years now.

One thing that used to keep my going ion fishing was finding new methods to catch fish on. That way there was always a challenge. That's why I bugger about using different lenses, to keep me thinking. What I need now, photographically, is a new challenge. Either a change of subject, or approach. Finding that is much harder than taking photographs.