Changing the format of my Write52 posts for a bit, just an experiment to write about a few topics in a newsletter style way, given the fact we quite like our newsletters! Mind you there is that fantastic award winning pink one of course, plus there are many on platforms such as SubStack, Revue etc... more on those hopefully in a later blog post of mine because they are rather compelling though I am still reluctant about them, preferring to take my own approach to this as opposed to signing up to yet another bundle of services and they aren't as clear cut as they might seem. I shall leave you on a cliff-hanger with that one.
Never mind that, what's been going on - expect a good blend of photography and tech writing from me in the months to come...
The clocks had gone back so it was a good morning to get out early as the sun rose. It is important to find places that are quick to get to in your locality and to go for a bracing cold walk, nothing stirs the senses more. It brings the blood to your cheeks. Breakfast when you return with a hot brew to return the heat to your hands, is the best kind of thing at this time of year.
Around our neck of the woods, literally, there are some great woodland walks! So I headed for Wellesley Woods that straddles part of the Basingstoke Canal between Farnborough and Aldershot in Hampshire. The woods are well mapped out with new clearly marked out pathways and I believe there are maps that you can download via QR codes on the information panels in the car parks. In any case I know it well enough to find my way around and I followed one particular circuit with my camera at the ready.
Reflections on the water at this time of the year are often the best and the reason for this is the angle of the light, as you know when you are out driving the sun gets in your eyes more, well it helps produce better light for photography at least! Calm frosty mornings also help accentuate the effect because that stillness makes a huge difference, especially when it comes to incorporating water in your photography.
Mist above the water is always a treat, especially where the light catches it and creates a backlit effect. You can never predict where mist will occur exactly and I often (should write an article on this as a subject of it's own) find that just planning on going somewhere, following a route on foot with some vantage points in mind is the best way to plan photography outings, the rest is just down to good old serendipity. Just take your chances, those magic moments are always a delight and stir your soul.
Autumn colours are coming fast, falling off the trees even faster this year. I doubt you'll see that many decent autumn images out of me this time round. I think the heavy rain and winds we've had these past couple of weeks will have contributed to this, however there are pockets of vibrant colour here and there, just not all that easy to find. I could do with visiting an aboretum.
I tend not to shoot landscapes quite as much as I once did, preferring to pick up on smaller details along the walks that I take. Subject matter need not be beautiful nor pristine; take these blackberries for example, not fit for human consumption, look rotten but that is nature, I exclude nothing. I need to push these images up to Alamy at some point.
Trees especially Silver Birch make for great black and white shots, sepia or even cyanotypes. One great technique is to desaturate a photo in post-production to the point where nearly all the colour has gone but leaving just a hint of it in place. Be creative, mess about and be playful with editing.
Apart from all of that, it was just nice to get out for a walk after a week being stuck indoors with the atrocious weather we had previously. The "extra" water in the Canal seemed to have given it new vigour. Yet the towpath was surprisingly dry.
There were a few waterfowl around, some resting Canada Geese contemplating the epic voyage ahead of them. An irridescent blue blur rocketed past, skimming the surface of the canal; always a visual treat to see a Kingfisher but in a place where I'd not expect to see one was indeed perplexing.
I vow one day to walk the entire Canal and capture it as a series of photos and videos. A project for the year ahead perhaps?
After moving away from Android around 2014 I have been an iPhone owner for quite some time, I got tired of the bloatware on my Samsung phones and since I had owned an iPod from the moment they were launched, I was more than tempted to give the Apple phones a try. So from the iPhone 5 (I think) I entered the iPhone world and with each new device (except the 7 for some reason) being launched I tend to upgrade when my contract is due to upgrade. This weekend however, for the first time ever I paid an extra £400 to upgrade to the Pro Max 9 months early because the camera system is worth having! Now all I have to do is wait patiently for around the next 3 weeks... has it been dispatched yet? Is it nearly here yet?
This remains to be seen of course but having 3 types of focal length, will be very interesting indeed. I hope it will make street photography easier for example, something I enjoy a lot but always feel a big cagey about, for I feel self concious embarking on urban shoots around my own neighbourhood. The reason for this is probably rooted in the fact that you tend not to see someone walkig around with a camera in Farnborough and may be eyed with a modicum of suspicion or perhaps even pity. Why? Farnborough isn't a touristy place at all, it's an awkward sort of town, struggling with it's identity and lacks in cohesion. So why would anyone want to photograph it or it's people? A crafty photographer with an eye for the human condition, documentary, history, cultural and demographic boundaries of course! However with a phone in hand, you'd think that nobody would take the blindest bit of notice. Interesting. Discuss if you will?
To summarise I would feel more comfortable with capturing reportage of Farnborough using the iPhone rather than my big camera. I could be very candid with it and shoot from the hip, a la Henri Cartier-Bresson find a link! I will challenge myself to doing just that in the months to come.
Film maker Rian Johnson took his iPhone for a tour of Paris and shot this very impressive film:
Can I create anything as good as this? It blew my socks off and I’ve no idea where they landed... I will share my video efforts here as and when.
I have often fancied the idea of travelling light but it's hard because I want to take all of this gear, big camera (sometimes two!), lenses, laptop, spare batteries, tripod, Osmo pocket and a drone. It drives my Wife nuts but she claims that she "understands", she probably does but I'm not convinced myself. If I boarded the aircraft with just a carry on case, with some clothes in it too, that would be an out-and-out revelation. Will it ever happen? It maaaaaaaaaaaaay do, hmmmmmmmm!
I have recently started to pull files into my iPad Pro from iCloud and my Sony A7Riii via a USB-C dongle. So this means I am able to sync it all up across the iPhone and iPad Pro whilst backing up to the cloud at the same time. So if I were to travel lighter, I can definitely now leave the macbook at home. Exciting times lie ahead.
This is of course all very convenient and there may be better options, yes Google photos could be a better choice and I do have an account with them too. It's so easy these days, too easy in fact to sign up to a multitude of online services and forget you've got them. So it is worth comparing them all. Feel free to comment below and indeed on any of these posts, past or future.