February 2021 – The Difficult Second Album…

As we headed into February, I could sense that there would be headwinds this month. Another month of not really going anywhere new, treading old ground both physically and metaphorically.

January gets a lot of flack for where it sits in the calendar. It’s yet another dark month straight after the trials of Christmas are over with. The trimmings are down, the credit card bill is a mile long, but there’s something about the promise of another year ahead. January is a time for reflection and planning, which is something I can get behind.

February on the other hand…it’s still just more winter. It’s still dark, but many of our grand plans from New Year may have already fallen by the wayside. February is the month you have to endure to reach March.

A niche…

Meteorological winter in Wales… Short days, invariably murky, usually raining, but every now and again the sun would break through and give us a glimpse of spring.

Sometimes you step out of the house wondering what to shoot, but lately I’ve been having great fun standing in streams, with a camera balanced on my feet. I sold my tripod in the great purge of 2018 and I’ve been improvising with a sturdy pair of boots ever since.

The making of 054/365

It doesn’t always work, particularly if you find yourself on uneven ground, but every now and again it does.

054/365 - Dam that river...

I do wonder if shooting parts of the various streams around here became a bit of a crutch after a while –I did take a lot of watery photos this month rather than try to come up with something original. Fortunately, these are images from this month I’d be quite happy to add to the store when this project is over –although probably before, to be honest.

I’m hopeful that as the year progresses we’ll start getting out of the neighbourhood a little more, until then…

046/365 - After the rain

History…

One bonus of living where I do is the number of relics that can be found here. There are old mine shafts, ventilation tunnels and all sorts here. I started delving into the local history back in the summer, curious as to what various ruins were that I’d see on my lockdown walks.

Some of the tunnels are blocked off, for obvious reasons, but there’s one that is still completely open, although I’ve not crawled that far into it. I don’t really have the nerve for confined spaces…

052/365 - Further into the mine
Garth Iron Mine
035/365 - The rules...

So, it’s already March and I’m a bit tardy putting this up. I’m hopeful that there will be a vaccination in my near future and I can start heading further afield. It would be nice to leave the village, if only for a short time.

Is it spring yet?

The Best of January 2021

As months go, January has never been a favourite. We may see the year in with grand plans for what we are going to achieve in the coming year, but that seems to get quietly forgotten once a few more weeks of darkness and murk seep into our pores.

However, as the first month on this current 365 project draws to a close, I can at least be pleased that I’m still in the hunt and that I do have some reasonable photos to add to the store.

Water, water…

The photo up top was particularly pleasing. I’m lucky enough to live near a large hill with forestry around it. As it rained a lot this January there has been plenty of fast-moving streams to splash about in.

029/365 - Cascade

On the subject of water, we did have a worrying spell where the river nearby came perilously close to bursting its banks…again. Fortunately, within a few days the water starting to take on a fluffier texture.

024/365 - Obligatory Snowman Shot

We don’t get a lot of snow around here, but when we do, it’s always makes life interesting…less so now that many of us are working from home and no longer have to fret about getting stuck on the commute.

Finally, a surprise hit was this pile of wet logs.

019/365 - SOGGY

Signs of Spring

It may only be January, but the daffodils are already starting to appear and the sunset has made its way out to 5pm already. It won’t be long before I’ll have a whole hour of daylight after work.

Something to look forward to, eh. Onto February then…

Why you might want to try a 365 project…

We’ve all done it. You pick up a camera one day and suddenly you’re all in. You want to spend your time shooting, learning and scratching that itch until it goes away.

But then you have a run of lousy, uninspiring weather and the camera goes away for a few weeks. You feel uninspired and the skills you’ve been slowly building during those inspired days start to slowly ebb away.

What if you weren’t allowed those off days? What if you had to shoot no matter what?

Sometimes it is better to try and fail than it is to wait for a perfect time that may never come…

Those people who know me well may know that I live with depression. I’ve come to realise over time that many of us walk that fine line between OK and really blinkin’ awful. Me, I’ll have periods of heightened activity and focus, followed by days where I can’t face anyone or do anything.

However, those good days are an opportunity to put structures in place to keep me going through the bad days. Getting outside and walking regardless of the weather is one great way of keeping things going, but if you are going out for a walk, you might as well take your camera and look for things to shoot, right?

With a 365 project you need to produce something, anything, each and every day, rain or shine. Yes, some days you may come home with nothing particularly special, but you may get more, learn more and feel more than you would if you had never started.

Gradually you’ll start to spot opportunities, or see the mundane in new and interesting ways.

I’ve done a couple of 365 projects now. I remember the days of those years far more vividly than all the others, for better or worse. I can look at any one photo and transport myself back to that day. Best of all, shooting every day taught me a great deal about myself, my photography and I even came away with some photographs that are still in my list of favourites.

My latest 365 project you can follow along here:

001/365 - So long, coeden fach

This year I’m doing the whole year with one camera and one lens, a 50mm f1.8 prime. Limitations help to focus the mind –but that’s a topic for another day.

Hello again, world…

A couple of years ago I had a photo blog to my name, but then something happened that forced me to take a long hard look inside in the hope of finding a way forward.

I got rid of a heck of a lot of stuff, physically and virtually, including the photo site. Now it is back.

Here we’re going to talk photos, living intentionally, whilst shining a light on works of art and fiction that ask us the pressing questions of our day.

Oh, that sounds quite heavy. It’ll be fun, I promise…