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In the Making

A journey in creativity

Month

September 2014

52 postcards – week 36, Storm brewing

52 postcards - week 36, Storm brewing

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the weather; I’m British, it’s in my DNA! From opening the curtains in the morning, to checking one of the numerous apps I have on my phone and tablet, I like to know what the weather will or might do. Living on the south coast of England, the weather is heavily influenced by the sea. It’s very often windy here, the prevailing wind whooshes along the south coast from the west. When I used to cycle to work, the westerly was always my friend, as it would blow me into work. The downside of this, was more often than not, the wind would steadily increase during the day, and be blowing a gale into my face by the time it was to cycle home.

Going to a place where the weather is influenced not by the sea, but by the mountains, brings a whole different set of weather patterns. In early September, I spent two weeks in the northern foothills of the French Pyrenées. The gîte where we stayed had a grandstand view of the mountains. At dawn the mountains and clouds were tinged with a cold blue pink as the sun rose; in the evening they are bathed in a warm pink glow as the sun set. Being in the south of France the temperatures were hot. Not a dry heat, but an energy sapping humid heat. The heat and humidity build over the days. Eventually the energy and humidity are released in often spectacular thunderstorms. The weekend we arrived, the storms were building and we watched as the thunderclouds built over the distant mountains. Weather watching on the covered veranda of the gîte with a glass of local wine became a daily routine. A good routine.

The recipients for week 36’s postcard are the owners of the gîte where this image was made. Marianne and Brian made the permanent move to France from the UK a few years ago. The gîte and home they have converted are beautiful as you can see on their website.

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52 postcards – week 34, Summer Saturday

52 postcards - week 34, Summer Saturday

A summer Saturday at the beach; deck chairs, ice cream and candy floss. Being a British summer Saturday it’s quite likely that there will be also be windbreaks, fleece jumpers and a certain amount of stoicism as the weather can often be a little on the cool side to say the least. Most summer weekends, day-trippers, many from London, swell the population of Brighton. More often than not, they stream straight down to the beach from the railway station. It’s as if the beach and sea act like magnets; drawing people to them. I know this feeling, as I find being by the sea one of the most relaxing and invigorating places to be.

This image was made early on one such summer Saturday as I made a quick visit to the city. It was still quite cool and the wind was strong and large clouds were threatening to cover the sun. However, people were sill there, on the beach, sitting, playing, laughing, eating, many wrapped in fleeces, faces set to stoic. Why? Because this is what you do by the sea on a summer Saturday.

Week 34’s postcard was sent on one of this project’s longest journeys to Australia. At the time of writing, I haven’t heard from the recipient, but if I do, I’ll add their details and a link to their wonderful photography here.

Photo Communiqué features 52 postcards

I’m honoured to have had my 52 postcards project featured on Lori Patrick’s website, Photo Communiqué. Both Lori and I have studied with CreativeLive and we ‘met’ via a Facebook comment from one of the hosts, Kenna Klosterman. Creating and ‘releasing’ my images from the hard drive, printing and sharing for this project, has and continues to be a wonderful creative journey.

52 postcards – week 35, Meetings with remarkable trees

52 postcards - week 35, Meetings with remarkable trees I did something for week 35, that I don’t do enough of when making images; slow down. A couple of days before I took this image I’d been to London to see Charlie Waite’s exhibition, Silent Exchange. Charlie Waite is one of my favourite landscape photographers. Many images that landscape photographers create leave me cold. They are technically perfect, taken in stunning locations, often during the ‘magic’ hours of dawn and dusk, but for all that, for me they are soulless. With Charlie’s images, I get a real sense of passion from him about what he was creating, both in the large landscapes and my favourites, his intimate landscapes. If I’m to develop my landscape style, this is the style I’d like to emulate. From looking at the images, it was very obvious, that they’d not been taken in a rush, but had been considered and time taken over them. This is something I need to do more of. Last Sunday I tried to put some slowing down into practice. I went for a wander in Houghton Forest, near Arundel in West Sussex. This mixed woodland has some very old and very majestic trees. The low light in the forest meant I had to use a tripod; a frustrating but excellent tool for slowing down. As there was a reasonable amount of sunlight filtering through the canopy, I needed to use graduated neutral density filters to try to even the exposure; using filters is another excellent way to slow down. In the hour that I was in the wood, I moved no more than a few meters from this tree. I came away feeling so relaxed; I like this Zen-like approach to making images, I just need to remind myself to do it more often! Week 35’s recipients are my neighbours Nick and Hannah. Earlier this year, Nick had an exhibition of his images at Shoreham Airport.

52 postcards – week 33, Leaves

52 postcards - week 33, Leaves

I’ll be honest; this has been one of the more difficult images to write about in this project. I know why. I’m not entirely happy with the outcome and wish I’d paid more attention when creating it in camera.

Many of the postcards in this project have been black and white. This hasn’t been a deliberate on my part (for the most part), the images have just been more pleasing or effective when rendered into black and white. When I was processing this image, I thought that it might work better in monochrome. I was hoping that the main subject, the unfurling canna leaf at the front, would be stronger without the distraction of colour. However and despite sometime fiddling with it, it didn’t work. There are also some compositional elements that don’t work (the distracting vein of the leaf in the background, being just one).

From this image I’ve learnt some of the reasons why and this will help me in the future. On reflection, I like the colours in this image; the contrasting green and purples for me work well. However, I know I could have done better. Rather than beating myself up about it with a metaphorical stick, I’ll take stock, learn and move forward; all part of the creative process.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on learning, failure and the creative process. Why not leave a comment in the section below?

Week 33’s recipient is Ruth Ricks from the USA. Like me, Ruth is taking part in a yearlong postcard exchange.

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