I’ve been getting it wrong all these years…

Posted by on Feb 22, 2019 in Blog | 5 comments

I’ve been getting it wrong all these years…

I’m sitting here at home having just returned from a wonderful three hour walk out over Brown Clee Hill to the Iron Age hill fort at Nordy Bank. The skies were blue, the distant hill bluer still in the haze and the gentle breeze full of bird call. And as I walked it dawned on me that I’ve been getting it wrong (photographically speaking ) for the last fifteen years.

West over Clee Liberty

I find that I can only think clearly to write when I have been out walking. Much of the rest of the time my head is full of the distracting ‘noise’ that comes with my lack of ability to cope with the stresses and strains of running the many strands of my business. It makes sense then that I should get out and walk more often but for years ( since I decided that stormy conditions were my personal favourite to photograph) I have looked out on a sunny day and opted to stay in and work at my computer or in the gallery instead. This has of course become a habit that has been detrimental to my wellbeing over many years. I almost opted for plan B today with so much to finish at the gallery before I head to Wales on Sunday to lead what may well turn out to be my last workshop tour. But fortunately last night before turning the lights out I began to read the book ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, Powerful Lessons In Personal Change’ by Stephen R. Covey and even the foreword offered so many thought provoking concepts that I hope will begin my journey to a life with much less procrastination, self doubt and self defeating negative thinking.

Above Abdon from Nordy Bank

I heard of the book by pure chance while watching an interview of one of my favourite drummers, Benny Greb who recommended it as being significant in helping him find focus in his path to being one of the World’s best players in the current age. A quick look online and the book dropped through my letterbox yesterday.

So, having considered yet another day at my workbench this morning I chose the option of a hill walk and chose to take my camera and tripod if only for the added resistance in the 1000 feet of ascent over the whole walk. But here’s the thing, I used them even though the sky was blue and the mood was cheery. My images may only become records of locations for me to return to when conditions better suit my vision and style but I loved the act of walking and photographing with no conflict created by any need to make an image. It’s how it was when I first started out nearly twenty years ago and used to head into The Peak District, walk over twenty miles in fair weather, return home totally knackered but totally sated.

Ruins, Clee Burf.

I have spent so many years encouraging photographers to head out on grey days and in poor weather to make images when they only went out in the sun but have been missing the point. The point is just to get out no matter what the weather. Take your camera but don’t fret if it doesn’t get used. Relax to the full and you will become receptive and open to all possibilities. Have a plan, don’t have a plan, neither is wrong. Landscape Photography  isn’t about capturing lots of images, it’s about immersing yourself in the subject matter to a point where it inspires you to make that image. The more you go, the more you experience, the better the chance, in any light.

It’s a lesson I should have learned by now and one I shall be practising going forwards.

A twisted fallen Larch to revisit in different light.

Btw, the title image for this page is of Cleat, on the Trotternish Ridge, taken very early on in my large format journey when blue sky days were very much what I went out looking to shoot.

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Thank you. The reason why I started taking photos came flooding back as I read this blog. I may never be the best photographer in the world but that isn’t why I do it. I do it because of the joy nature brings and trying to capture that nature through the lens. I do it for the adventure and the people I get to meet. My perspective has changed back to the where it all began. The point is to get out and explore.

    • Thanks Ann. Discovery and exploration is fundamentally what (landscape) photography is all about. Capturing and amassing images comes second even though in my case I do need to be producing new work for the gallery walls.

  2. Hi Richard , did the same myself today just went for a walk with the camera and one lens , light was harsh and didn’t see anything that made me want to get the camera out but it didn’t matter it was a lovely afternoon in the countryside and then a nice group of pine trees and a stunning cloud came together and I’ve got an image I’m very pleased with . It’s good to just relax and take in the world around you , you have some stunning scenery close to hand so you really should make time to immerse yourself in it , I hope you can find a way to destress maybe you should get your drum kit out and bash those skins !
    All the best

    • Thanks Andrew. Walking really is all the medicine I’ve ever needed. It was what got me into photography. I only get stressed about how little time I get to head out with my camera but this new book is helping me realise that much of it is my fault, I do have a choice and shouldn’t feel guilty doing something that I enjoy so much.

  3. Wholeheartedly agree Richard. Ive been behind the computer a lot these days too but it is -25 with the wind chill so when I do go out for a short walk it’s pretty refreshing for body and mind. It is the best medicine and should be taken often, hope all is well.

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