It’s been a while since I posted a pub lunch self-portrait but I managed to snap this one at the Vale Inn, Bollington.
Bollington ales are possibly my favourite – though I am spoilt for choice, with the Buxton and Thornbridge breweries on my doorstep. Which is possibly what brought the smile to my face. That, or the lure of an afternoon spent on the moors that followed straight afterwards.
In March this year I was invited to join a group of like-minded photographers, who shoot film and agreed to help pass a little 35mm camera around the world. This is why I still love flickr – the community that casual users never find their way to is still very much alive and doing very well thank you very much!
So in April, the camera headed south from Scotland to me.
I took it out on a run.
And I spent a rainy Sunday messing about and taking pictures through my window
I used it to take a self portrait to post to the group pool.
And finally I took my 52 weeks self-portrait of me and Little Ricoh as a keepsake before I sent it on its way.
It’s a pretty strange experience, knowing that you only get one week to play with it – I only shot one roll, but others have shot two. And it’s so interesting to see what other people do with it, with their eyes and their unique style. I enjoyed it so much that I toyed with the idea of getting one of my own – but though the camera was so much fun to use, it’s not really about the camera. It’s about passing the camera, about the community of people who may never meet but whose hands are holding the same lens, pressing the same shutter and whose names are filling up the travel log as Little Ricoh continues his world tour.
What do you do when you plan a spring trip to the mountains and when you get there the conditions are decidedly wintry? And worse than that, when you go to unpack you realise you left your winter climbing gear at home.
You do three things:
Put another log on the fire
You get warm – only our cosy looking house never seemed to get warm no matter how much wood we threw on the fire. Thankfully our local pub had a roaring fire and some warming locally brewed ales.
Snowdon in the pink
You get up and check the sky for signs of a decent sunrise every morning until you get one. We struck lucky with two great sunrises over Snowdon. It’s important to get your timing right, the TPE helps, and y’know – keeping a track of time is also a good thing.
In these conditions forget diamonds – ice-spikes are a girl’s best friend
You buy yourself a set of ice spikes and head out in the snow. They weren’t really enough to go anywhere high but fun for a walk around the lake at Llyn Idwal and great for climbing up the Roman steps and over snowy mountain passes in the Rhinogs.
But most of all, what you do when you are away and find the conditions are more Himalayan than European — you take plenty of photos.
Another of them there sunrises with some pink fluffy cloud.
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.