I started a new photography project in the summer which was to try and work within a mile of my house. It is easy to overlook what is right on your doorstep in favour of bigger gardens and more obvious landscapes.
It’s not my intention to shoot exclusively within a mile of my house, but to put additional effort in to doing so.
My first trips out were not as successful as I had hoped but there is lots of potential and I find making images with restrictions can be a real catalyst for creativity. In this case, it is location based but you could challenge yourself to only use a particular lens or only take a handful of images per day.
On one trip, out, the sunset was good but I struggled to find the view I needed to get the most from it. Instead, I started to concentrate on abstract images and clouds and often excluded the landscape all together.
This is the first image from the series and I will continue to work and add to it over the seasons until next summer.
The flowers are bursting out now after a long winter and pretty mixed spring.
Alliums are one of my favourites and are just coming in to bloom. They make for great subjects, especially in close up but also as a focal point in a wider image. They stand up in a flower bed or long border, providing plenty of interest.
I’m lucky to have a few in my bulb bed at home, so I’ve been able to capture a range of images as they slowly come in to flower. They are also well in flower in most of the gardens that I visit.
Their strong, structural shape, makes for interesting images and, because they are quite a solid plant, you can shoot them when the wind it too strong for other plants. Keep an eye out on the backgrounds and try to eliminate any distracting spots of bright light or clashing colours, if you can.
I don’t think there is much better light to shoot in than an autumn afternoon. Ideally in Yorkshire but obviously, I am biased.
The quality of light can be fantastic for a number hours and with a little wind pushing clouds across the sky, the landscape is painted and repainted in golden hues.
I was lucky to get out for a couple of hours last weekend to capture some of those moments.
I am guilty of falling in to the trap of using my wide lens almost exclusively for landscape and most garden work. The long lens doesn’t get many outings but I decided to challenge myself a bit more and try to use it to capture the landscape instead of wildlife.
I am happy with the results. It allows for compositions that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to make by compressing the distance between features of the landscape and pulling all those far away details today.
It is always good to challenge yourself to work in a different way.
We had a lovely afternoon out at Scampston and whilst we didn’t quite get the perfect light that we all hope for, we did get a few fleeting glimpses along the way.
I set out with David and Geoff and we really explored the garden, the palladian bridge and the parkland.
I think the most important advice that came from the day was how to keep working a location until you feel you have got the best shot you can. We spent quite a bit of time in each place, which gave us the opportunity to explore all of it’s photographic possibilities.
I don’t think you can every quite get a perfect photograph. It is so subjective and, as photographers, we are always hoping to do better and always wish for better light, better weather or some other improvement. Instead, I think you can strive for the best image at that moment in whatever conditions you have. That requires a lot of thinking and a mix of creativity and technical skill. You only really develop those skills by taking lots and lots of images and, more importantly, reviewing those images and seeing where improvements can be made.
The weather was against us on Saturday for the last Castle Howard event of the year. A beautiful morning gave way to a rainy afternoon. Given the choice I think most people would have stayed inside but we carry on, no matter what.
Ray wood was fantastic in the rain. The water helped saturate the autumn colours which are really coming through strongly now.
The Temple of the Four Winds provided lots of good shots which will work really well in black and white later on.
The lesson from the day I think is to go out anyway. Working in challenging conditions will only improve your photography skills. If we waited inside for the perfect light and weather combinations, we would get very little done indeed.