About a year ago – on a very cold bank holiday weekend I took a trip to the Yorkshire Dales. On rainy day we took a walk to find a waterfall. We clambered over stiles, crossed bridges over a meandering stream, trod paths in the forests with the stream far below.The path led to a point where all you could see was trees. But down below by the river bed there were patches of ransoms with flowers that glowed in the overcast light filtering through the trees.
I sat and breathed in, and then took this shot so that you could too.
Sometimes you can’t help going back to things, photographing them again until you get them the way you want them to be – the way you saw the shot in your mind’s eye. What Ansel Adams called pre-visualisation.
I’ve walked past this bridge many times, and thought about the shot I wanted to take. This was my first try, taken 5 years ago. Even though the film back had a light leak and the light shining on the bridge was too strong, I liked the bridge. It was more or less how I wanted it to be. But the steps in the background disappointed me – they were too dark. I could have played around in Photoshop, masked and dodged and burned and all that but I didn’t.
At the end of last year I went back along that path and I stopped to look through Vlad’s waist level finder. I don’t remember much about the weather, it was December, low light at the best of times, most likely overcast. Or maybe the sun went in by the time I was ready to take the shot. I remember putting my camera away, crossing the bridge and climbing the steps. I remember the flat trail we walked almost all the way back to the car. I remember crossing back over the river – if I thought hard I could even tell you what we chatted about along the way. I remember getting my camera out and taking the shot and I remember forgetting about it, abandoning hope that the shot would be anything like the scene I’d pictured in my mind’s eye.
But then I developed the film and I saw that it was more or less what I’d seen in my mind’s eye.
Self-portraiture is probably the only decent excuse I could find as an adult to pluck a metre long icicle from a length of guttering and use it as a light sabre.
And it turned out to be quite a tricky task – handling a ice-sabre without it slipping through your fingers or freezing your hands off is no mean feat. And it’s important to keep both hands on the sabre at all times as any self-respecting Jedi will tell you, so I got help in pressing the shutter on this shot.
It also turns out that photographing an icicle against a snowy background is not the easiest of things, but though the negative turned out reasonably well, it was devilishly hard to scan and the contact print wasn’t much help either.
I will have a go in the darkroom when I get some time, but recently my time has been taken up with some heavy duty admiration of our NHS service and a refresher course of ‘A’ Level biology.
On the 10th of March it seemed like a good idea to jump out of the car on the way from here to there and take this shot of the snow. A week later | couldn’t get anywhere near for the next dump of snow that closed all the high level routes, which are the only real way to get from here to there.
When I finally got back this way the snow was piled high at the sides of the roads where it had drifted from the fields in gale force winds. I probably didn’t have my camera, but it didn’t matter – the only place to stop is the lay-by and that was under 10 foot of snow.