Monday, 7 December 2020


A lack of free time at the right time continues. If it's not waiting for parcels to arrive or be collected it's weather keeping me indoors. When I do get out there's usually only an hour or two of day light left. I've had to revert to getting my photo-fix when visiting the post office or even the pillar box!

That said I have still managed a few longer walks round the moss. Not with great expectations. I have recorded some recent changes. The drier weather has seen tractors able to get on the land in places.


The same view a day later.


 The Zwartbles continued to be friendly and I was looking forward to getting some more pictures of them after a second close encounter. Two days later they'd gone...


Not to worry. They were only a distraction and were unlikely to provide me with a body of work, or even add to my sheep folders which I would prefer to be about native breeds rather than immigrants.

While some land is drying, slowly, other places are continuing to hold water. there have been efforts made to clear it in a few fields.

Feeling like I needed a change of scenery I went in search of leeks. No matter how I try I can't get to grips with making pictures of leeks. That doesn't stop me getting drawn back to them time and again.




 As the week ended temperatures dropped and there was enough of a frost one morning to solidify the standing water. When the sun started to break through I headed out and a light mist began to rise. Once more it wasn't enough to make for really dramatic pictures, and there is little out on the moss to make for foreground interest in any case, but there was a chance for a hint of the atmosphere created.

Also a chance to get some icy pictures. Quite why I'm not sure.

This continual photographing of the land and 'stuff' is getting me down a bit. I've even watched a few landscape Youtubers recently, admittedly for entertainment rather than education, and all that has done has made me question the taking of photographs without people in them. 

My intention might not be to make standalone 'frameable' pictures of the land, but even though I am trying to show how it changes and is changed the pictures themselves don't engage me much. The one which comes closest of the recent lot is the one with the tractor in.

And there's the nub of it. Even the sheep around the mineral bucket is engaging in that there is stuff happening. Not only is it a picture of something, it's also about something - and there's depth to it with foreground sheep and the more distant ones clearly walking towards them. There's action. The sheep are quite graphic, the red bucket also works in the way Constable included a splash of red in many of his landscape paintings to add vibrancy, life. But the main reason I find it more engaging is that there are creatures in it.

In my hierarchy of subjects people interacting with each other or with animals is at the top. People on their own come next, closely followed by animals interacting and then animals on their own. Things and landscapes are somewhere below all those. This is why I'm tiring of looking at the sort of pictures I have liked for a while, the deadpan pictures of places. I've made enough of them myself, but they are starting to merge into one another. That's why my most satisfying picture for some time is the snap I grabbed of one of the mossland farmers when he stopped for a natter. It might not be the best picture I've ever taken, but it was a real boost to take it. The sooner social distancing can be kicked into touch the better!


The new lens continues to be my mainstay as I work out if I can live with it. The focal length range hasn't limited me so far. In fact the more I use it the less I find myself wanting anything wider. Although I have taken to carrying my fancy compact with me just in case I need the 28mm angle of view. So far that has only been on a couple of occasions. It's still had me wondering if a 24-120 might have been a more versatile choice than the 35-150. The colour rendition of the 35-150 is still nagging at me. However, when the sun shines it seems to do a better job. Maybe on these cooler, duller days I should go back to a Nikon lens to see if that makes any difference to the colours. Most likely nobody else would notice the colours.There's also the possibility it's all in my imagination anyway!

The short daylight hours not only restrict my time outdoors, they make me spend to much time reading or listening to nonsense on t'internet. One subject which has got me thinking is focal length choices. There are a couple of people (influencers?) who have an aversion to the 35mm angle of view. One even railed against it, and anything wider, in a blog post. While I suspected a tongue in a cheek I thought his reasoning was a bit off. He did make one valid point in that wide angle lenses are becoming the de facto recommendation for street photography. This is all well and good in the right hands, but as the disgruntled blogger said, they can result in messy pictures with too much distraction in them.

Now I don't have a problem with pictures that contain more than one point of interest. In fact I like them. They are not easy to make well though. Which is why it's worth trying to rise to the challenge. I wonder if the reason some people prefer longer lenses is a reluctance to get close to their subjects and maybe an inability to take in a scene as a whole. It's much easier to use a longer (50mm or more) lens to isolate a subject from a scene than to make the subject a part of the scene. I reckon it makes for 'one liner' pictures too. I prefer shaggy dog stories!

Out in the countryside, however, I find longer focal lengths easier to use as there can be way too much space for wide angles lenses. This might be why the 35-150 interested me with my foray into landscapery? I'm sure that when I'm able to get back to the marts and shows I'll be digging out the 28mm or 24-70mm again, getting in closer and putting subjects in context. Which is what it's all about for me.

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