Snowdrops covering the ground like a blanket of fresh snow, at Welford Park, Berkshire.
Spring has finally started to show signs of life here in the North Wessex Downs and it seems to have been a slow start for many of the garden plants. Last year, by now, I would have been busy capturing those early spring shows for a number of my clients who are garden designers and creators. Yet, this year we’ve had to wait a little longer for the snowdrops and quince to really start doing their thing!
However, that’s not to say there aren’t dramatic statements of spring to be found and photographed – a couple of weekends ago whilst out cycling with a mate of mine we happened across a wood with a bed of snowdrops so large and dense, it literally looked like it had snowed beneath the trees and covered the ground in a blanket of white. Excited by our ‘discovery’, I took the first opportunity I could to return with my camera, a bag of lenses and a few visualised photographs in my head.
The discovery, however, is clearly no secret to those who live locally – as it turned out. Welford Park happens to be a large manor house gardens which once a year are opened to the public in order to allow access to the stunning snowdrop display and raise funds for a selection of local charities. This of course created a few challenges when coming to make photographs that look natural and absent from crowds of tourists like me!
Apart from the delicious tea and cakes, it was a truly rewarding trip… two new photographs worthy of my landscape photography portfolio which will also be added to a growing collection of woodland photographs I have been creating. These will eventually make up a follow up to last years ‘The Downs’ landscape exhibition.
As I sit here writing this, my printer is sat behind me working overtime to get the final 3 prints completed in time for hanging my latest exhibition and third, of a very busy 2014.
I say, ‘working overtime’ as if my printer has got a mind of its own and needs the extra cash or is simply dedicated and passionate about its job – the truth is, it’s an inanimate object with no true feelings or capacity to think and therefore it’s really all zeros and ones being forced down the line in the form of commands. When thought of like that, today’s digital darkroom is no where near as romantic as the days of wet processing prints. The days when waiting 16 minutes for a test strip to pop out – enough time for a smoke and a few more pages of a good (hopefully) book! In the days I was printing using enlargers, blacked out rooms and feeding paper blind into the rollers of a colour processor I smoked and read… a lot. I may hope to achieve a handful of satisfactory prints in a full day – if I was lucky.
The exhibition opens on Monday 11th August 2014 and runs until the 23rd August 2014 at the Vale & Downland Museum, Wantage. It’s a wonderful and intimate space with a great cafe for a welcome bite or drink. Set in Wantage town centre, it’s the perfect venue to show my latest collection of landscape photography, all of which are taken in and around the North Wessex Downs, in which Wantage nestles. The work itself took 3 years to pull together with the latest photographs from as recent as the end of July this year, and was driven by a desire to create a series of photographs that focus on this stunning, precious and mesmerising part of Britain that I feel very fortunate to live and work in.
Please do take the time to drop in and have a look at my latest exhibition – I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed and got pleasure and inspiration from creating the individual pieces.
I’m sure after the long, cold and wet winter we had, most of us were longing for a good summer, particularly after the last couple of years. Thankfully we’ve been blessed with an amazing few months of warm dry and sunny weather which has also been great for us photographers. It’s raining and a bit cool as I sit in my office and write this but I’m confident that yesterday wasn’t the last of the great weather (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), and with the autumn comes some wonderful new opportunities for photographers of all disciplines.
I can’t believe it’s a month since my last blog. I’m not sure where the time has gone but I know that I’ve done a lot of photography in August and that it’s been extremely productive. Aside from my commercial photography work, I’ve been busy putting proposals together for a couple of exciting exhibitions in 2014 – one for my Farrier project (which still requires a few more photos to bring it together and add context, but which can’t be taken until the winter to ensure I have continuity) and one of local Landscapes. I’ve spent much of the last few months adding to my collection for this project but there is still much work to be done – there’s always a different part of the downs I want to visit and take photographs of. Lately, I’ve been rising with the sun to take landscape photographs, returning to my commercial work and then heading back out at dusk to catch the evening light. In addition to all this, I’ve also been working on ideas for a longer project relating to the definition of the map.
Today for me is a little different though, as well as editing last weeks photographs I’m waiting for a load of logs to turn up, so they are reasonably seasoned in time for the cold weather ahead and will keep me warm during those chilly days when I’m in the office.