D4D

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Archive for the category “Photography”

2017 Inspirations – Photography

As things change for me in 2017 – well, as I do new stuff, or restart old stuff – I’m hoping/intending/planning to write more about it here on D4D as well, along with things about what’s driving those choices.  So there’s a new subject/category to cover it all.  And this is where it all starts.

As long-term readers know, I was into photography for a long time, did pretty well at it, and even ended up taking a course while I was in Norfolk in order to better understand what the hell I was trying to do.

But since Norfolk and Suffolk, I’ve been doing a lot less photography. Some of that is due to my mobile phone, where the pixel count is higher than the SLR I still have. It’s also about faff – lugging an SLR around for the day (particularly when doing anything else, like one of my idiotically long walks) is a hefty job anyway, and it’s simply never ready for a quick photo. Using the SLR is a much bigger commitment in many ways, and over the last four years, I really haven’t been making that commitment.

This year, I want to change that, and do more where I actually go out with the SLR, with the intention of taking photos.

The first real inspiration for that has been this story on the BBC, of Dean Saunderson’s photos of a deserted Nottingham on Christmas morning. It’s something that works for me, having been to many places at ungodly-o’clock, and seeing them with very few people around. Oxford, for example, is beautiful at 5am on a summer Sunday morning – and the same applies for many other cities. So this is a theme/topic/idea I could get into, and will probably have a few goes at over this year.

We’ll see at the end of the year how I do on these inspirations. It’s going to be a year where I (hopefully) figure out more about the things I want to continue doing, and which ones I’ll be happier to leave by the wayside in order to do other things.

Inspiration

I’m just leaving this here as a remind to myself, on occasion…

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.
All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

(C) Chuck Close

This came from Zack Arias’ DexPxl blog, a piece entitled “Get the F*ck To Work” (his asterisk, not mine!) which also included the clip below of David Bowie’s advice to musicians…

A transcript of that is :

When asked if he had advice for musicians, Bowie replied: “Yes, never play at a gallery. [Laughs] I think. But you never learn that until much later on. But never work for other people at what you do. Always… always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society. And I — I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations; I think they produce — they generally produce their worst work when they do that. And if — the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in, go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Again, just a reminder for me, more than anything else – but if anyone else finds it useful, that’s grand.

Sunrise

One of the few good things about the way the days are getting shorter right now is that I get to see sunrise, which is always one of my favourite times of day.

This week has had a couple of stunners – Monday was beautiful (if bloody chilly) as I was driving to my current client’s office. As I was on the road, I couldn’t stop to take a photo. But sunrise through mist and clouds, silhouetting trees on the hill-ridge, that was a thing of beauty – and one of the few times I wished I’d got either a dashcam to save the image, or a camera linked to my field of view.

Today I was in my own office as the sun came up, and it was another stunner…

Sunrise_clouds

Hell, it even made Milton Keynes look pretty…

Durham Lumiere 2015

Two years ago, I went with friends to see the Lumiere exhibition in Durham – which was ace.

This year, it was back, and so were we.

While it’s organised by the same people, and has some of the same artists, it was utterly different – and still brilliant. The weather this time was absolutely rotten – my coat still isn’t dry – but still it was great. The theme (if there really is one) was more about science and maths this time round, with the main ‘showpiece’ projection onto Durham Cathedral this time, “The World Machine” being more about the birth of modern cosmology from the 12th century until the present day.

One of the big draws this year was Mysticete, a projection of a whale on the river Wear, visible from the bridge above. Done by the same people as the Elephant last year, it was ace – and so clever, being projected onto a water-spray. (although with the heavy rain they could probably have just done the same onto the rain)  Sadly, because of that weather it got cancelled on the Sunday, but it was well worth seeing. (we were there on the Saturday)

Image (c) Durham Chronicle

Image (c) Durham Chronicle

We got to see a good portion of the exhibits – although not all, by any means – and really enjoyed it. Some of the stuff was really magic and fun, other bits were ‘just’ excellent.

As per the last one, I will definitely be going again when it’s next on.   I may also visit the one they’re doing in London in January 2016 – I hope that’s as clever and fun as the Durham ones are.

Creatively Becalmed

This year so far – and probably for a bit longer than that, if I’m honest – I’ve not been getting all that much done on a creative front, and I don’t really know why.  It’s more a feeling of being bogged down, uninspired, and just not in the mood.

Writing is going better than anything else – lots of ideas, but nothing is particularly gelling at the moment. I’ve got a couple of things started, but it’s still bogging down, and not flowing.

Photography-wise, I haven’t even taken my camera out in ages. Really it’s been since I did the NCFE course, which is a bloody long time now. I don’t know why that seemed to flick the ‘can’t be arsed’ switch, but it has.  I’ve tried a few things and ideas, but it’s just all a bit “meh”, with no real desire to take the photos.

In some ways, the day-trips over the last few months have helped on that – I’ve taken photos, even if ‘only’ with the phone (although that’s a surprise, considering how good they’ve come out) but still can’t really bring myself to take the actual camera out for a day. A lot of that is also because I can’t be arsed with lugging it around and faffing about, but mainly it’s just the faff of it all at the moment.

I’m sure things will change again – I certainly hope so – and that the changes will be positive for once. The rest of this year to date has been positive, so I’m hoping that once I have some headspace and time, I’ll be more prompted.

(And I’m sure I’ve written about this a couple of times this year already, so forgive the repetition. It’s just something that’s bugging me at the moment)

What Kind Of Year Will It Be?

As regular readers know, I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. It’s partly my knee-jerk response to the whole “Everyone else is doing it” ethos, which means I won’t. But also New Year is just an arbitrary day for making plans – and I tend to do it from birthday to birthday, for no better reason than that it’s an easy day to remember as a start/finish date.

Anyway, with that said I do have plans for 2015. Sometimes plans work better on a calendar year instead of birthday-to-birthday – although there’s also a couple of ideas and plans this time that would also work better to a fiscal year, April to March. But for the sake of argument I’ll stick (for now) to my usual resolution/plan structure, while also acknowledging the whole 2015 thing.

What I won’t do is go into reams of details – I know what I want to do, and I’ve got most of it written down in to-do lists and the like – but it can all be summed up in four key points, which can be summarised as:

  • Create More – includes writing, photography, and web-based work/business plans
  • Do More – includes activities, day trips, longer weekends, and perhaps even a holiday or two.
  • Save More – working to rebuild finances, build up some backup savings, and restore the credit score.
  • Weigh Less – the goal is to lose another two stone in 2015, which is what I also lost in 2014. So it’s feasible.

And that’s “it”. Obviously there’s details, sub-plans and sub-goals in there as well, but they’re the key points. They’ll do me for now.

I’m hoping that 2015 will continue in the positive direction that started in the last quarter of 2014.  I’m quite sure there’ll be some hiccoughs and roadbumps along the way – that’s realism rather than cynicism, my life is never a truly smooth process – but with any luck at all it’ll be a positive year, and lots will get done.

And if not, if things go wrong, then I’ll just do what I can, and keep on in the same way as I had to with 2014.

But I do hope that 2015 is positive and constructive. That’s the intention, at least. But we’ll see.

Bath DayTrip

Continuing on from the last couple of day trips, this weekend I decided to go cross-country, and head to Bath. Still a two-hour drive (although the trip from Park&Ride to city centre was another twenty or so) but no coast. I lived in Bath for a period back before D4D™, but haven’t been back there since, so it was interesting to see what’d changed and so on.

I’d also decided, as part of the Solo Dining project I wrote about yesterday, to go and visit Grillstock in Bath and have one of the burgers that I’ve been interested in, but not got round to trying (because they’re only in Bath and Bristol)  So that was part of the plan, but really it was more about visiting Bath in general.

The drive was pretty rotten – it started with fine weather, but got progressively wetter as I went on, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

I got there early – indeed, the first bus in from the Park and Ride – and wandered around most of the city centre, which turned out to be really pleasant.

bath_weir_landscapeDue to the time of year, it got pretty busy, but I spent most of my time avoiding the majority of people – I wasn’t interested in shopping, so didn’t have to hit those bits too hard, thankfully.

edward_the_peacemakerEven better, I got to wander around bits of the city I hadn’t seen before – in my previous time there, I’d more been focussed on getting from train station to home, and didn’t really get to explore the place that much. It wasn’t a great time in life, but there we go, I could’ve done more.

bath_church

And as for that burger from Grillstock, oh hell yes, it was worth it…

The Lockjaw burger from Grillstock

The Lockjaw burger from Grillstock

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