N O R M A N S B A Y | N O V E M B E R
Autumn has given us nothing but rain, and whilst it’s a bit tricky to work out more sheltered locations, the better light and the most efficient way to take photographs in this challenging light, I admit that I love the winter months and the low and atmospheric light it offers us. After months and seasons of shooting beautiful moments for wonderful clients, sometimes, we have to pack our bag, fill up a flask with some hot tea and some chocolate bourbons and be on our way with our camera and simply no objective but to shoot what we see and most importantly, what we feel.
I can only shoot in this way for what feels like once in a blue moon, but when I do, I know its going to be good. It makes perfect sense to me, to see an artist manically painting a piece, or relate to a friend who is up all night working on their craft..I get it. BUT, (and there’s the big but) when you run a business you simply cannot up and leave your current project to just go and saunter about and take photographs. We have to find the elusive balance, maybe jot some ideas down for another day; this has its benefits too – sometimes in writing things down you can manifest all of your creative energy into something bigger and special. Sometimes however, the stars align and you have the time to take a minute, and explore your craft in a softer, relaxed manner. On another dark morning where I dropped my son to school, I was tired, which meant that I was more of a daydreamer than usual and my eyes were wide open to our visual word. I loved the reflections on the roads from the headlights, the low mist on the horizon over the sea, and the soft soft light that the heavy clouds bring and I thought to myself that this was the morning that I was able to take the photographs and spend some time fine-tuning my style again out in the open.
I left the car and I put my hood up, excited to see what this bleak day had to offer. Immediately, I spotted hundreds of small raindrops on the fishing wire in a big bucket, and I noted to take that photograph later on, when I was able to change lenses somewhere more sheltered. Walking across the stones fighting the wind was so refreshing, sea spray everywhere. I can’t tell you of the simple joy I find in huge waves, wind and rain. The movement it offers is what I really love – simply all natural. There’s nothing contrived about the wind and how it is a force to reckon with, waves crashing, the birds diving down to meet the sea. I have a technique when i take photographs and that is to look first. You have to be able to see the image first, without a camera obscuring your view.. so I walked, I took in the view, the sounds. It’s only when you can immerse yourself into something that you can portray it properly. Only then do I decide what I’m going to shoot and lift my camera up to take a photograph.
Normans Bay is a small little hamlet on the coast. I didn’t walk far but I wanted to do it justice. I did something else I do on shoots and I looked behind me. I saw the train pass on by, I loved the lights from the crossing. They were so bright and fluorescent on a dark day and this worked so beautifully with the dark grey, rain soaked road. Already, I had three shots: the train, the lights and the tiny little raindrops on the fishing nets that I was going to later. I turned my direction to the roadside and photographed a feather with my macro lens. As I shot the edge of the feather I noticed that the smaller feathers at the bottom of the feather is almost that of a fish tail – the same as how I noted that the curve of the dried seaweed looked like a crashing wave. Looking through the photographs, you’ll see that there is a muted pallet of browns, greys blacks and greens from the macro images through to the wide photographs of the seascape. I have a way of connecting the dots and this is one of my strengths as I relate this visual storytelling in my work.
What really struck me visually, is how when the sea trailed back into the water, it left a trail of lines that look like our nervous system, just as the empty branches do on trees. It’s simple then, that this is what art does, it connects all of the dots and brings us back home to nature.
It’s this reason that we have to find the time to go outside and walk on the earth. We can take our weapon of choice, our cameras, our paintbrushes, our pens, our minds.. and we can find a mindful approach to our lives. Thankful for the time I had this morning, I realised that this trip brought me time, fresh air, balance, cohesion.
We are all busy, we are all trying our best, but if you ever have a moment, please do pack a bag with a hot flask, brace the outdoors and see what it brings you.