Sunday, 9 May 2021

Desert Island Photo Books - 7

Almost done. In case anyone hasn't sussed it, I'm primarily interested in photographs of British people in Britain. Where the landscape is involved I like to see people, or at least animals, in it. The mania among landscape photographers for showing it as unpopulated really frustrates me. Perhaps in far flung corners of the world the landscape hasn't been populated or manipulated, but in Britain it has - for millennia.

The British have a special relationship with the countryside, part nostalgic reverence and part a desire to make it like the indoors, or at least utilise it as they would an urban space.

This is why Simon Roberts's book We English is on my list. Taken on a journey round England Roberts used social media to have places to visit suggested to him, which is an interesting idea and helps the book reflect how the English see their outdoors as a place to enjoy in a peculiarly English way.

The large format photographs, taken from a high viewpoint, contain lots of detail and probably work even better as large prints, but the book format is fine by me.

My next 'Desert Island' post will not be my number one choice, but a quick mention of some books which didn't quite make it. Just to keep heighten the suspense!

Saturday, 8 May 2021

500 up!

The weather and work have again kept me from venturing forth. if the day was dry I was tied up with work, if I had spare hours the rain arrived. I'm typing this when I'd rather be out and about while the rain lashes down again.

This said I have had some fruitful outings. This field being drained had been spotted on a day I had no time to stop the carp. Luckily work hadn't carried on a couple of days later when I was free to go for a look. It's yet another of my centrally aligned near-symmetrical compositions which are building into a substantial collection.

The fields of fleece and bags make regular appearances in this collection.

On one late afternoon walk when the sun shone I passed by some pigeon shooters and their decoys. If I hadn't been on a mission, which proved fruitless as my missions usually do, I would have lingered and taken more pictures. As it was by the time I returned they had left.

Setting out late in the day has been a feature thanks to the tedium of waiting in for deliveries. This means that by the time I hit the moss work is coming to an end for the day. So it was the day onions were being planted. The last rows going in as I arrived on the scene.

The new month didn't start off much different. When I did manage an hour or two earlier in the day my daft idea of taking just two single focal length lenses backfired on me with plenty of work taking place but too far away for the lenses I had with me. I guess I need to decided if I'm working on a project or just playing around. Maybe play around away from the moss? Still, I have improved slightly on my search for a photo of the Private Land sign and the yard beyond.

When there's a ditch between you and the subject you want to photograph having a zoom lens can help you get the best angle. That's why this picture isn't framed the way I'd have preferred...

It might have been cool and breezy but the sun was at least shining and the morning looking set fair when I started out. Rounding the corner on to the moss itself the distant sky looked ominous. Great as a backdrop when the sun illuminated the foreground making the colours sing. Not so great as a prospect to be walking towards when the clouds were heading my way.

Not onions being planted, but still going the wrong way - like the weather. By the time I'd walked another fifty yards it hit. Not just rain but hail too. I was lucky to take shelter by the greenhouses, the wind strong enough to blow most of the precipitation past me. Planting was called off and an early lunch taken while I waited out the passing of the shower. Ten minutes of standing around and it was dry again. April showers in May.

The moss project, such as it is, has therefore made little progress. The Lost Balls Found project, on the other hand, has reached it's conclusion. I spotted ball number 500 and managed to get a sharp photograph of it! It's a bit of a mish-mash of a series as far as artistic merit goes, but it was something I wanted to get out of my system. Now it's done I can stop looking out for lonely balls!


The zine swap is in full swing. Fifteen of us involved this time and already six have dropped through my letterbox. Mine is still in the pipeline but expected to arrive on Monday. I can't wait to find out how appalled the other fourteen are with it! When they are all complete and received I might have something to say about the swap and zines in general.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Plodding along the same track

There's a lot more to see on the moss at the moment with ground being worked and crops planted. The sun has been shining and I've been out as often as possible taking mostly the same old pictures. Sometimes trying to improve on ones which I haven't quite got a 'best' version of. Always showing up how a directionless 'project' will always end up without a conclusion unless circumstances enforce one.

The glint of light on the Mylar strip lifted this a little above my previous pictures of the subject, as did being able to get closer and include some crop in teh frame

The blue fleece holding pegs were something new.

A trailer of dressed seed was another subject I hadn't photographed before.

But fleece held down by bags wasn't. It still makes me want to photograph it though. I suppose there's an outside chance I'll get 'the' picture one day.

Engine power and muscle power.

A sunny evening meant even I couldn't resist some sunset pictures. I tried to put some story into them rather than just being empty landscapes.

In an effort to make me look afresh I took out a wide angle lens. It came in useful when I couldn't go any further back without falling in a ditch to photograph yet another trailer laden with trays of seedling salad crops. I always try to avoid pointing the camera too far up or down when using a wide angle lens so as to keep the distortion effect to a minimum. At 20mm this is not too difficult to achieve, and is why I prefer not to go wider unless space makes it essential.
Summer is on its way. The cricket pitches are now in fine fettle. There's a project there, I'm sure, but it'll probably never get started beyond my random snaps as I cross the playing field to get to the moss. 

At long last I've got a picture of the egg sales with a chicken in the frame!

On the evening wander I'd spotted a tree trunk which had been dragged out of the earth and resolved to return and photograph it in close up at a later date. That turned out to be the following afternoon. It was one of those theoretically good ideas which, in my hands, turned out to be a waste of time.


 I was much happier with the photograph I took of two road cones!

In another attempt to shake things up, visually, I went to the other extreme and took my long zoom out. This isn't all that different to my usual mid-range zoom if I'm honest. Not outdoors with plenty of space at any rate. If there's room to step back there's not all that much difference between 35mm and 70mm. The extra between 150mm and 200mm at the other end isn't all that different either. Certainly not now I'm more willing to crop a little.

But when forced back against a hedge the shorter focal length would have given me more framing options. But maybe it was good to be restricted?

In my head I wanted more focal length to close in on the stacks of trays. I also thought I wanted more in focus but the stopped down version of the picture below lacked the sense of space the out of focus areas provided.

I've taken lots of photographs, quite a few I'm content with, but don't feel like they, or the project, are going anywhere. Which is a bit dispiriting. Probably going to have to be another case of  'working through' the stagnation.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Desert Island Photo Books - 6

Sea Coal by the late Chris Killip. I've nothing to say about this other than it's bloody brilliant.Another one that would be number one if I was making this a ranked list!

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Desert Island Photo Books - 5

Ken Grant is usually associated with square format black and white photographs of Merseysiders, but Flock is a colour work recording the last days of Hereford's auction mart, the place, the auctions and the people, plus a little documentation of the new build, out of town, mart.
I first came across this work on Grant's website where it was under the heading 'The Bird House' when I was embarking on my poultry photography. It was a bit of a downer to find someone else had photographed poultry auctions, but I soon accepted that as inevitable and that I was photographing a different mart in a different way.
The book expands on the poultry auctions and shows the range of other sales which took place. Having expanded into photographing sheep sales myself I now wish there were more sheep pictures in the book!
From a point of view of this book as an object it strikes the right balance for me in terms of size at rough;y A4. Not too big to make holding it a pain in the arse, but not so small that detailed photographs don't reveal all.

A book of straightforward pictures recording something the recent end of a long era. Pictures which stand revisiting to see little things missed in previous perusals. And it fits in my theme for these desert island books, and my photobook collection in general.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Nothing much

I've not got much to say about photography at the moment. I will have soon, but that's all I'll say for now.

Things are changing on the moss so there has been new things to photograph and variations on old things.