A Frozen Pool

Just about a year ago I stumbled upon a frozen pool on a very frosty and foggy day. It was not too far from home and only a stones throw from a road. Even though close to road it had sense of isolation and gloom. For me a pleasant surprise, the location and prevailing weather conditions presented some useful opportunities and I made as good a use of them while they existed. I am particularly attracted to winter colour, very muted.

It has taken me a year to decide whether or not the images would be worthy of displaying as a standalone gallery within my web site. I was pleased with the images but unsure as to whether or not they would appeal to non-photographers. By chance I posted one on Twitter and was pleasantly surprised by the positive responses to that image. So I decided to take the plunge.

It would be useful if I can go back there when similar conditions occur to see if I can improve on the images I captured last year.

I hope you will have a look but in the meantime here are a couple of those images.......

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Decisions, decisions......

We all make them, constantly, many subconsciously but some are more necessary than others, so let me tell you about some recent ones of mine and what they led to.

Circumstances beyond my control this year have restricted my landscape activities but I was determined to try and find time to get some Autumn light and colour but I wanted the right conditions. The easy decision was where; Epping Forest, the when dependent on circumstances and the weather forecast.

Ideal weather at dawn, frost and mist with some nice low sun. So far so good. As luck would have it a couple of weeks ago the first hard frost was forecast although no mention of mist, it was worth a punt and I had a free day so decision taken, alarm set, flask ready and waiting I went to bed full of hope……mist is not unusual on frosty mornings, especially around wooded areas, the sky was clear, the wind barely perceptible.

Now a slight flaw in my decision making process brought about by my increasing years; I admit it getting up early in a morning is getting harder, warm, cosy, comfy. So about an hour before my alarm I made another decision and turned the alarm off. Then I could not get back to sleep because I was castigating myself, the mind knew what would be the correct decision but the body was not in agreement. I suppose the thought of driving along A127 and M25 on a Monday morning might just have crept in to my thinking.

Anyway after a guilt-ridden doze I reasoned that if I decided not to go I might just regret it so 20 minutes later than planned I was up and out of the house a short time later. I was not wrong about the drive, even at that early hour more stop than go. I was encouraged though to see patches of mist over the fields. My indecision meant the traffic was just heavier than it would have been so by the time I got to my chosen location the sun was up but well below the tree-line.

There is no point in going somewhere particularly as early as this without having made a concrete decision as to exactly where to be and what type of composition I was thinking about. Whilst there is still leaves on the trees it would be unusual to expect to see frost on the ground so ideally an open area on the edge of the forest was where I wanted to be and I had decided the day before where I was aiming for.

Just about everything came together, frost, low sun and even a hint of mist; I was able to get the images I wanted before the frost lifted. Conditions almost perfect. I had to work quickly given that I had wasted time through indecision. This is where familiarity with equipment and technique is so important, it enables me to work quickly and effectively when the situation demands and of course knowing precisely where I wanted to be at a given time of equal importance. A good decision.

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Frosty shots captured I moved in to the forest and enjoyed what I think was one of my most productive couple of hours for a long time. The wonderful side-lighting piercing the trees and mist and helping to create some memorable sights.

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That was not the end of the decision making process; in fact on balance the next decisions were the most difficult. Which images to print in readiness for my final event of the year namely The Made in Essex Show at RHS Gardens Hyde Hall on 2nd and 3rd of December.

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Probably the best show of its kind in Essex, never to be missed. Lovely gardens as well!

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I said difficult; it was. So many worthy images but I had to decide which might be the most saleable. Of course if I knew the secret to that I might be a millionaire, well not really but you get the idea I think. The number of times I have been asked ‘what is your best seller’ or ‘what sells’. Photographers look at images from a different perspective than non-photographers so I have to try and decide what combination of colour and composition might attract attention. Would I have this picture on my wall has to be a consideration. After that it really is out of my hands, I must hope I have made the right decision or should that be decisions!!??

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As ever I am really grateful to those who take the time to read the ramblings of an ageing photographer!!

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017 Competition

Its that time of year again, in fact it is the 11th year results of the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition have been announced, along with publication of the book containing all the winners, highly commended and commended. It is always a joyous collection of some of the best landscape photographs from amateurs and professionals. That does come with a caveat; not everyone agrees with those chosen and surprisingly to say even at the short-listing phase in early August much hubris was spouted across various social media outlets. Probably best if I keep my thoughts to myself.

All forms of art are judged subjectively once those with technical flaws are discounted; what one person may think is fabulous another may not. I know of one successful image this year which had been discounted last year: different judges, different perspective. In any case how many people run in the London Marathon? Hundreds of thousands yet there are few winners, (male, female and para) but I bet the rest are thrilled just to have taken part and crossed the line. This is how I think one should react to photo competitions. From my perspective I have had far more rejects than successes but it just spurs me on.

This year I was lucky enough to have two entries short-listed but it was only two days that I received the good news that ‘Frost & Fog’ had been commended and would be in the annual book, published yesterday. So pleased. So pleased to be amongst outstanding work from many fabulous photographers.

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A cold, foggy and frosty morning back in January found me wandering Danbury Common in Essex looking for suitable compositions in conditions heaven sent for the likes of me. I was spoilt for choice. What attracted me to this composition? The first element I noticed was the finely frosted grasses, from there the rich colour of the bracken in the foreground helped the grasses stand out. My gaze worked through the composition with the fog-shrouded trees in the background seeming to continue drawing my vision up and through the image. It was just then about ensuring I had composed correctly. I did have in mind at the time outputting the image as a square, one of my favourite formats.

A fellow photographer whose work and opinion I greatly admire did observe earlier today that ‘Frost & Fog’ had ‘compositional echoes to my previous LPOTY success’, ‘Winter’ in 2014. Quite correct, although at the time of shooting it is fair to say this was achieved more by accident than design. Perhaps though a recognisable style is emerging. That would be good.

I will have ‘Frost & Fog’ in print at my only remaining 2017 event, namely The Made in Essex Show as part of RHS Garden Hyde Hall Christmas Show on 2nd and 3rd of December. Of course you do not have to wait until then. If you interested in acquiring a print of ‘Frost & Fog’ please do not hesitate to get in touch and let me know your requirement; size, media and so forth. Print, mounted or framed, Acrylic or even a canvas. If you would like to have a print available to collect at Hyde hall in December please also let me know.

Finally the exhibition of winning images will start at Waterloo Station on 20th November and run until 4th February 2018. I am sure you will not be disappointed and of course having seen a number of the winning entries I can safely say that the book will be well worth acquiring. Some stunning work deserves as wide an audience as possible.

a new web site

 

Why on earth have I put myself through the rigours of finding a new supplier and then tiptoeing through the minefield of options to reach a point where I am happy with the outcome? Well I tend not to accept the status quo for too long and I really was looking for a site which would show my images off to better effect. At the same time I decided to reduce the number of images as well as the number of pages. Simplification plus better projection.

So here we are. Getting here though was a struggle. I think these layouts, templates and instructions, are designed by people who were probably presented with a laptop or PC as a gift at birth with not too much consideration for those of us born in the 1950's. Well the easy option would have been for me to do nothing but I do not really like shirking a challenge. For me it is akin to wading through waist high water. I think I have reached dry land.

The proof will be in the pudding. What is the purpose of a website? To display my work and hopefully be attractive enough to encourage print purchase or for anyone, individual or company, to think my work good enough to attract an enquiry about a commission. Does it work? Well I remember having a conversation some years ago with a highly renowned and respected photographer who surprised me by saying he did not sell much direct from his site but that it was essential as his shop window. Importantly he added that he ensured it was kept up to date with new work added. There is nothing worse than someone having a look one month, returning a month later only to see the same images. I review my content on a frequent basis. The more I can get out the greater the opportunity to add new work worthy of promotion. Trouble is I am not very good at promoting my work, a common trap photographers and artists fall in to. We seem to believe that our work will sell itself. True to a point. In a previous life I was a director selling contracts worth millions but do it for myself? Oh dear.

Anyway when in one of my galleries, hovering over an image will display the title; to look at any single image just click on the image to open it on a new page. When you have finished just click on the 'x' in top right hand corner to return to the gallery page. No doubt I will continue to tinker with the site until I am completely happy, for a while!

I have also acquired a new Domain Name www.timothysmith.photography......no .com....no co.uk, just .photography

September was really all taken up with a geographically large commission, planned and executed to time. I have always considered it important to communicate with clients during such work and keeping them updated of progress. Whatever I have done in my working life has been determined by giving of my best; now when I am behind the camera that remains the objective and it is no different in front of my PC and final delivery of a commission. I like to think clients can be assured of my wholehearted attention.

I do hope you approve of the change and enjoy looking at my work, who knows it might encourage a sale or enquiry!! Now I must put the finishing touches to my site. I would welcome comments or observations about the new look. You can use the Contact page to send a message.

Thank you.