Saturday, 27 February 2021

Sunlight brings some progress

As March approaches I'm staying ahead on my New Year resolution to make prints and put them in albums. I've made three sets so far, However I'm struggling to think what to select for set number four. I've got all next month to think of something though.

I have settled on a design style though, which makes things easier and using a sheet of overhead projector acetate at the front of the prints works well as protection for the print which shows through the window of the Easybook. Cutting the acetate with a knife was tricky, but when I used my rotary trimmer (like I should have done in the first place) it was a doddle.

Last week after playing around with the design of my upcoming swap zine I picked a forecast sunny morning to have a try at taking some photos for an upcoming zine swap project. I got sidetracked by the light on the old Rams Head which is in a poor state of repair having stood empty since 2007.

By the time I arrived where I was headed the sun had disappeared and the light was flat. On the way, though, I did see something which gave me an idea for a new series of pictures. One that's been in the back of my mind for quite a while. These travel restricted times seem like the perfect opportunity to get it done. More on this later. The zine pics were taken and although not as bright as I'd have liked they were a start. With plenty of time I'd get another chance to take some more in brighter light.

Four days later I went back, again in an overcast, and re-shot with different framing to better fit the layout I'd devised for the zine. I slotted the pics into the layout when I got home and they worked better. I'll possibly do a post on the development of this zine after the swap has been completed. Until then I'm keeping the pictures under embargo!

Fired up by this unexpected success I went for a roam around the moss in the afternoon. There wasn't much to see as fieldwork hasn't really started yet. There has been a fair bit of ditch and drain maintenance going on. The regularity of the deposits by the side of one ditch struck me as worth a photograph.


The sign I'd managed to get my picture of the other week had suffered some kind of mishap. As I approached it another walker propped it back up, which annoyed me a little as I'd wanted to get a picture of the empty frame. I took a shot anyway.

The benefit of treading familiar ground is that you get the chance to record these changes. I trod that ground again today and once more the sign had fallen over. I got my empty frame picture!

Another instance of repeatedly visiting the same place and recording change also occurred out on the moss this week when I changed my route on a whim and went down the path leading to the pump and sump area I have often photographed. This time the pump house was no longer standing. All that remained of it was a pile of rubble.

This sort of picture might not be great art, but it can be a valuable record. Perhaps not when it's of something as mundane as a pumphouse or a road sign, but who's to say? 

With the sunshine holding I've made the most of it, even though I find it problematic for taking the kind of pictures I like taking. It's not so much the brightness as the low angle at this time of year. It can make for dramatic or atmospheric pictures, but equally it can hide detail by creating hard, dark shadows.

Chancing upon some recently 'hatched' lambs by the side of the road on Thursday I was thwarted by the sluggish focusing of my camera in liveview. I was using the screen to save my knees as I wanted to photograph the sheep at lamb-level. By the time the sheep had had enough of me I'd only managed a few in-focus pictures, and they were to poorest of the lot. The better framed and composed shots were all out of focus where it mattered. The light was nice on a couple of sharp pictures, but that's not enough for a picture. the light really isn't what it's all about.

This next one is probably my favourite because of the odd framing. A bit more of the eye in shot would have been better though.

While I've been out on my wanderings I've been scouting for what I'm provisionally calling 'ghost gates'. Unused field entrances where the gates and/or gatepost are standing but either overgrown or obviously unused. At this stage I've not committed to a methodology. Some are a bit close to busy roads so a reasonably wide angle lens will be required, which I'll use for all the pictures (if I progress with this) for consistency.
What I can't decide on is how to frame the pictures. At gate level, or eye level. Whichever it will be I'll be avoiding sunny days as they result in too many shadows making the hidden gateways even more difficult to decipher than they are in real life, and producing pictures which have too much contrast of sky and subject making processing tricky. If this does come to fruition it will have to be done in the next month or so before the leaves are fully on the hedges and obscuring the gateways completely.

More meanygate meanderings have resulted in little of note. At times the light has helped me out. Mainly where architecture has been involved as this is a subject which can benefit from contrasty light. I'm a sucker for things arranged in vaguely grid-like ways photographed head on. These pallets by the green houses on the moss were fated to be photographed by me!

This chance encounter was another case of the light helping out. The shadow on the wheel adds a little extra visual interest to what's going on.

Ever since starting to photograph the local veg growing I've been after a picture of either a potato or a carrot, or a few of either, on a road surface. It's always been a regular sight round here at harvest time. But not since I've been looking out for it... that's why I snapped this carrot today!

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