In autumn last year I posted a blog about always carrying a compact camera of some description while travelling to and from work during the week.
Through the autumn months, I took plenty of images of the changing colours as I walked through local parks and public gardens, from mid November the Christmas markets, were easy fodder, food stalls, vibrant displays of Christmas decorations adorning the many and varied stalls.
January will always be more of a challenge, often grey wet days do their best to deter my short impromptu photography walks but today I was determined to buck the trend and attempt to keep the habit going.
My bus journey from work takes me to St, David’s station, from there my walk home takes around 15 minutes, it is this area of my home city that I decide to capture a few frames of what to me is familiar ground but trying to capture the grey bleakness of a January afternoon.
The images were taken with my Canon s95, one of my bargain purchases last year but a camera I often reach for on my daily commute and a camera that is just fun to use.
Since delving into the world of almost forgotten camera gear, I am pleasantly surprised at how much fun I am having using small sensor compact cameras, so much so that my Canon S95 has found a spot on a regular basis in my take to work rucksack.
Knowing I have a camera with me at all times on my travels, means that I have developed a habit of walking a more circuitous route back home from work, in the hope of taking a few shots on an almost daily basis,keeping the photographic eye and mind in good shape for my lengthier weekend outings.
My preference for early morning sunrises have become my comfort zone, to the extent that I rarely seem to shoot later in the day but it is time to shed that skin and develop new habits, however short these more spontaneous photo outings are.
I managed about twenty or so shots on my way back home today, I have picked six that show the everyday things that catch my eye.
When I first acquired the Canon S95 camera as part of my ‘older camera’ theme, I never thought that it would be the first camera that went into my bag on my weekend outings, neither did I think for one moment that It would find its way into my everyday rucksack on my commute to and from work, for those ‘just in case scenarios’ that always seem to happen when you never have a camera with you.
Yes, I have a mobile phone but this dinosaur likes the right tool for the job, to me using a mobile phone for photography is like using a screwdriver for tightening a nut!
Saturday’s trip finds me at Budleigh Salterton, a seaside town in East Devon, where finally we may just see a little welcome rain, after what has been a fabulous summer.
A strong breeze is giving an autumnal edge to the temperature today, as I watch the grey skies beginning to darken with more menacing clouds, perfect for some monochrome edits later in the day.
Just as I am taking a minimalist shot of the clouds rolling in, a pair of herring gulls enter the frame, courtesy of a particularly strong gust of wind as they quickly regain control and hold a steady height in the wind.
Would I have had this shot with my bigger camera? perhaps, but the smaller camera is always in my hand as it has so little weight and the fact that I enjoy using it so much.
With my week long excursion to Wales all but a memory, it was time to tread more familiar territory once more, with a visit to Torcross and Start point.
I have happy memories of visiting both venues occasionally on Sunday afternoons, the one special day reserved for ‘family time’ in the 1970’s, the post Sunday roast outing.
A few years later on, I would work as as a chef in the nearby town of Dartmouth and become more acquainted with the coast paths around the area, it would be some years later again before any sort of camera would become a part of these walks.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoy revisiting a place as much as I do seeing somewhere for the first time, making up for those days when I did not do photography… enough rambling what about today’s walk?
Arriving at just before 10am, being a Saturday, it’s ‘change over day’, those that have enjoyed their week here are getting ready to leave their holiday lets, making space for those arriving later today, I chat with one couple packing up their car, they say they have simply loved watching the sea views from the upper balcony of their holiday rental, it has been their most relaxing holiday ever!
It’s comments such as these that make me appreciate all the more, the fact these views are just an hour’s drive away and just how beautiful the county of Devon is.
After an hour or so capturing a few images around Torcross, it’s time to head out towards Start point, famous for it’s lighthouse and another beautiful part of the South west coast path.
The path towards the lighthouse is a winding route, the views are simply beautiful looking back once more towards Torcross and towards Dartmouth, I am only distracted from these views by a sighting of a pair of yellowhammers and stonechats in the hedges below the footpath wall, no chance of a photo of either species with my 50mm lens, I do not fancy carrying a lens the size of a small ship in my camera bag, I will leave that to the dedicated wildlife photographers.
As I come to the lighthouse itself, the gate is firmly closed, not open for visitors today, this is a trip for another day and a wider lens, something to look forward to on another day.
As 2021 makes its way out of the door to make room for 2022, the first blog of the new year is an easy one, a bit like an established band making a ‘greatest hits’ album, it will be a brief review of my last year in photography and my aspirations for the year ahead.
Picking a selection of my favourite photographs was not easy, yet most of them have come from the final quarter of this year, where I have thoroughly enjoyed capturing the essence of autumn in local woodlands and of course on my beloved Dartmoor.
In terms of gear, I have given up on the notion of feeling the need to buy the most up to date equipment, my current gear consists of a Canon 5d mkII and Canon 7d mk1, with both of these photographic veterans, I am enjoying my days out as much as ever.
In terms of projects for the year ahead, the ‘older camera’ project continues but I have ideas for something different for 2022.
It was a no brainer for me to purchase a ‘nifty fifty’ in the form of Canon’s 50mm F1.8, the more I use this lens, the more I am enjoying it, so I will be starting the ‘Fifty days of fifty mm’ in the coming days, fifty outings using just this one lens, of course the blog will help document the progress of this project.
Are you starting a new photo project this year? if so, I would be happy to follow your progress as it unfolds, knowing that others are interested in such creative ideas are one one of the drivers that sees it through to completion, encouragement is contagious!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those people who have followed and commented on my blog over the last year, your kind words and encouragement are very much appreciated and help sow the seeds of creativity in both word and picture format.
It is fair to say that I look forward to my weekend outings with my camera, the process begins around the middle of my working week, looking for my next destination, according to whatever the weather may bring.
Without a shadow of doubt, the best part of photography is being out in the great outdoors, camera in hand, capturing whatever the landscape has to offer and even if do not take as many images as I had hoped, I have still had a good walk.
There are a good few photographers I have watched on various social media outlets, who say that they prefer to wait a few days, weeks or even months before even looking at that day’s shoot but I look forward to seeing my day’s endeavors on the computer monitor at the earliest opportunity.
With a fresh cup of tea made, I browse through the images, and flag the images I am keen to edit, these being the favourite of the day, the ones that I am keenest to share online.
On a Sunday, I will often go through the images a second time, flagging and posting once more, while sub consciously picking out images for the next stage of my process, which is this blog.
By mid week, I browse through my images once more, these are what I term as the ‘also ran’ images, yet they can sometimes be the hidden gems.
It was this mid week browse that made me look more closely at four images I had taken around the local Xmas market and High street, edited in monochrome for that documentary feel.
More often than not, I will ask for photos, I enjoy the interaction, yet I also like to take those candid shots of an every day scene around my home town.
I will post the four images below for your perusal, and finish this blog entry here, as I have a few ideas for this weekends outing!
Since my very first foray into digital photography, I have bought, sold and repurchased too many cameras, caught up in the trap of feeling that the newest and latest gear will be ‘the camera’ I need to take this passion/obsession to the next level.
I have enjoyed every moment of this not inexpensive journey, but in the last year or so, I have become less interested in the latest offerings from the usual protagonists, not because I do not want them, more because I do not NEED them.
Where this sudden seed of sensibility has come from, I am unsure, I am blaming it on recently reaching my mid fifties and beginning to grow up!
Joking aside, with all that today’s camera technology offers, I have no use for video capability, I do not need 50 plus megapixels files, as I so rarely print anything, I am not a sports photographer requiring blazingly fast autofocus and huge, 500mm plus lenses, nor do I need WIFI to instantly transfer photos to a mobile phone or tablet, as I enjoy the process of looking through my day’s shoot on a bigger screen and editing in my own time.
I do not need the above but there are those that clearly DO need or want the latest and fastest, often trading their ‘out of date’ gear as a way of softening the financial blow the new system will bring.
So I see myself as something of a camera ‘womble’, making use of old tech that the future proofing folks leave behind, where I am able to acquire the cameras I coveted a decade ago but the price was out of my budget.
Enter the used Canon 5D mk 2 DSLR that has recently made its way into my camera bag, yes, its bulky, it ‘only’ has a dozen or so focus points but it is built like a tank and will serve me well for some time to come.
The lenses for these older cameras too are more affordable, good glass will always be good glass in much the same way that a good camera from a decade ago will still be a good camera.
So this weekend has been my first outing with my ‘rescue’ camera, the old dog has found a new forever home and I have a new project to get my teeth into.
The above photos were all taken with either the Canon 50mm F1.8 STM II or Canon 28-105mm lenses, needless to say that I am looking forward to my next days off….