On slow progress.

Posted by on Jun 3, 2018 in Blog | 4 comments

On slow progress.

A couple of days ago Facebook popped up one of those ‘Happy Memories’ images on my timeline. The photograph, taken from near the summit of Cadair Idris fifty three weeks ago served to remind me that yet another year had gone by with little forward progress on most of my personal projects.

Sunlight and heavy rain, Craigellachie Forest

 

May 2017 saw my last wild camp in Wales although I had planned to do at least ten last year. What happened in the end was that my Mother had to move in with us while she searched for a new home having had a sale fall through. The original plan had been to stay only two weeks but this ended up being twenty six which took us through to mid September and a time when our eldest son was heading off to his first year at University. I didn’t travel away to do any photography during this six month period as it simply wasn’t the right thing to do with a guest in the house.

 

Dawn light, Skye from Camusteel

It’s very easy to get into a negative frame of mind when best made plans aren’t working out and apparently ( according to facebook) everyone else’s are but stepping back from that negativity and taking stock of the last twelve months I think it has perhaps been the most productive photographically that I can remember. It has certainly proven to me that I don’t need to be out all the time to produce a decent body of new work although for my own sense of wellbeing I would like more than the measly eighteen days out ( excluding tours and tuition) that I managed in the last year. Of course we often need the benefit of distance and time to realise that things weren’t as bad as they seemed. As example being the initial frustration of being cut off in Bridgnorth last December when we had three days of heavy snow. I wasn’t able to get off our drive and out of town with the roads being left untreated and I knew the the Shropshire hills and Welsh mountains would have looked amazing if only I could have got there. In the end of course being trapped in a picturesque English market town with it’s own steam railway wasn’t a bad thing at all and I got to head out for three consecutive afternoons because I couldn’t get to my gallery and either would any potential customers.

Steam, Smoke and Snow, Bridgnorth

 

In October and November I lead two thoroughly enjoyable workshops back to back in Scotland. The first in Glencoe was co-lead by my good friend Tim Parkin who is now fortunate to live in midge central. The emphasis was on Large Format cameras and of course shooting film. In the end this turned out to be my last week with my Chamonix 5×4 camera as I decided to fully commit to shooting digitally ( see previous post) using a Sony/Cambo combo which I acquired back in December. This move took lots of consideration but has proven very positive in giving me a lot more motivation particularly when I’m tight for time and only have an hour or two to investigate a location. For example when we had our second Winter blast ( The Beast from the East) in late February I was climb a few local hills before or after work at the gallery and make images in extremely windy conditions on the exposed ridge lines, something that would have been pretty much impossible with my Chamonix.

The Beast from the East arrives, Brown Clee Hill

Following on immediately from Glencoe I travelled up to Aviemore for a couple of day’s photography prior to heading out West to Applecross which, despite being on the ‘Northwest 500′ route, thankfully remains relatively unspoilt and retains a truly remote feel. Personally, Landscape Photography offers the chance to disconnect from what is increasingly a chaotic world and to reconnect with nature and myself. That’s very much the experience I hope to share with the clients on my tours. Last year, with so much to juggle I had made the decision to run just 1-2 tours per year. After all, how many busy tour leaders also own and run their own gallery where they print, mount and frame their own work and that of other artists? However, with more time passing I have decided to shift the balance a little back from the gallery and add another couple of workshops per year into the schedule. These will mostly be in Scotland and mostly be to the quieter corners, places that I came to know and love for their peace and tranquility ( and stunning scenery) during my eight years up there.

Tree and Blizzard, Hope Bowdler.

January to March found me mostly focussing on Shropshire on the few days I did manage to escape the gallery but I did get to head into Wales too and took my good friend Gari back to a few of his old haunts; places he hasn’t visited in over twenty years. We even managed to get snowed in for a morning at Pen-y-Pass youth hostel which meant that we had to change our plans because the road was too dangerous. Instead of heading back into Dinorwic where the previous day we had been absolutely soaked through for three hours we had a cooked breakfast and walked up the Miner’s Track to find this view and light.

Moel Siabod

This last six months has also afforded me the opportunity to finally realise a couple of long held dreams of travelling to Iceland and The Faroe Islands. Both trips were sensational, made all the better by sharing the experience with friends. I won’t add too much more here as I will be writing specific articles on these in the coming weeks but I’ve included an image or two from each of the weeks and absolutely have to return for more ( plans are already being made).

Colour of light, Snaefellsnes

South to Koltur, Streymoy coastline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what of my Welsh Mountains project? I guess by now I should have learned that life often gets in the way of well made plans. I count myself extremely lucky that I don’t have any commercial deadlines to meet with regard to my image making and that I get to choose what I take and ( mostly) when I get to take it. My projects don’t really have deadlines other than those I set and maybe it would be wise for me to keep these to myself to avoid the strain of any perceived disappointment having broadcast my intentions. I would be better taking more time to produce something that truly satisfies me both in the creation and completion of a project. I will produce a Welsh Mountains book but it will not be this year or next and it will hopefully be something I can be proud of.

Tryfan. March evening.

For now there is ‘Dark Light’ but don’t hold your breath

4 Comments

  1. Hi Richard I’ve just spent a great 20 mins looking at your superb images, atmospheric, beautiful light and superb compositions. You say little progress on your personal projects but they’ve inspired me to move on with mine. I have something to aim towards by looking at your images. For the last few years I’ve neglected my photography out of necessity (family reasons) and struggled to re-enrage with photography fully but I’ve found inspiration in your images. Thanks for sharing them. Tony

    • Many thanks Tony. Life does often feel like plate spinning and photography has always been the antidote for me. I’ve clearly reached an age where I need higher doses to stay on the level. It really is good to know that my efforts are appreciated and provide some inspiration.

  2. Lovely article Richard , a very interesting read and stunning images as usual , pitty I didn’t get a mention
    In the Applecross bit , you probably just ran out of room in the blog !
    Andrew

    • Thanks Andrew. Applecross is a special place. Apologies for not mentioning you, I’ll do it on my next item about Iceland even though you weren’t there ;)

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