21st December, the shortest day of the year so probably not the best day to do some bird shots with the 600mm lens. Started the day with a "Winter" set for project 15. I now have all the seasons shot at Castle Acre and will process them and put them in the journal when I have caught up on some of other projects prior to 15. Also made some very wintery shots with the Wista 5x4 around Castle Acre, using Provia and Delta 100. Then to Cley and Salthouse for some bird shots. I have always wanted to do more with the 600mm lens and while the odd trip to Thetford forest for Dear never quite comes up with that magic moment and "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" I decided to have a look at seabirds and waders again. One reason for choosing them over songbirds in the garden is their size. The 600mm has a closest focus distance that is still 5m or so (cant remember exactly) and makes a finch small in the frame and a gull therefore is easier to fill the frame. Salthouse on the North Norfolk coast is about as cold and windswept a place that you will find. Problem number one was that the pools behind the shingle banks were 98% frozen over and not much prospect of gulls or waders using them. Some birds, havent looked up the names yet and a few images for todays posting, maybe more over Chritmas.
A recent thread on the OCA student site discussed various landscape photographers and their relevance to contemporary photography and how we as students of photography should be influenced (or otherwise) by the current well known names and names from the past. The discussion ranged from Ansel Adams through to modern protagonists such as Charlie Waite and Joe Cornish.
Much of the "National Trust" type, coffee table publications have gorgeous photography and they sell well in shops all around the land. A whole industry has grown up alongside this which teach you "how to" do the same and many enjoy that.
I have, like most others I guess had a go at this type of work and while there is some short term excitement at another 20 sec shot at f16 of a stream or sea with groynes, they are for me imitations of work by others (who have mastered the style) and why go there, is it worthwhile. One could argue that if I take as many rocky outcrops and ferns as say Joe Cornish or Edward Weston then I will be a good photographer.
What is happening here if I am not careful is blatant plagiarism dressed up as becoming educated and instead of looking for my own style and images I might as well just look for the tripod holes in the mud, buy a few books with location details and join the queue to expose my Vevia at Padley Gorge or wherever.
However, in the same way that Weston was influenced by Stieglitz, Beethoven by Mozart and Constable by the Dutch landscape painters of the 17th century it is unreasonable not to think that we are all under the influence of others to some extent.
I am, and his name is Harry Cory Wright. His work is not "typical" of what I have mentioned above and has been described as "banal" by some. Minimalist images that are not forcing themselves upon the viewer I feel have the potential to be longer lasting and while less fashionable in the short term, may have more to offer a viewer over a longer period. I have known of his work for a few years and have visited his gallery, often feeling that I wanted to know more about this work and not daring to enquire, because at that time it seemed "unusual" and I thought that I needed to stick with the mainstream and behave.
I need to make a step change, stop looking over my shoulder wondering who is watching me and be ready for comments that are challenging rather than complementary.
Sometimes I wonder if the anticipation of results from my photography is becoming over optimistic. I recently spent a number of hours along the North Norfolk coast around Cley and Salthouse on a very bright day, albeit very cold and was convinced that there were plenty of good images on the card. Tonight I am looking at them and I cant say there is one that I find inspiring and worthy of inclusion anywhere. At the time I was excited and busy, moving around with all the hints and tips running through my brain, for good composition, dealing with the difficult light but using incident readings and all to no avail. Ive tried a number of rescue remedies, high contrast monochrome, panoramic crop, selenium tone, but they are all poor.
The only bad technique that day was a zoom lens. Technically its very good but in the main I don't like them , and I like to use a single prime lens. The discipline of thinking in one field of view is better for me. Next time, no zoom. Pick say 2 primes and work around it.
For a while I am going to return to the course projects and work on the tasks. Maybe that will focus me on a task rather than the current roaming. Also they need to be completed and some of them are better done during these short days.