Sunday 31 December 2017

two views of the year's end

31st December 2017, Embleton Bay, 8am

2017 is going out with a blast as strong winds sweep across the land and sea.

One photo to show the light and the colour of sunrise, two photos to show the movement induced by the wind.

Ansel Adams (noted American landscape photographer) was very scathing about the vogue for 'pictorial photography' which persisted into the 1930's. It was the fashion to render photographs to be like paintings and this offended some photographers who insisted that photography was a valid art in itself without having to copy painterly styles. The use of a slow shutter speed and 'intentional camera movement' (ICM) to create an impressionistic feel is something I flirt with and enjoy and there are other photographers who do this that I know and admire (see Ted Leeming, Morag Patterson, Andy Gray). In these photographs taken this morning the slow shutter speed is used more to capture the whipping movement of the grasses in today's fierce wind and as such to me it could be categorised as photo journalism.

Saturday 30 December 2017


30th December 2017, Embleton Bay, 8am

An unusual rainbow this morning. Very weak colours and a double 'echo' inside the arc. Not like any double rainbow I've seen before.

Meanwhile it was all quiet out over the sea...

Thursday 28 December 2017

another wavy day

28th December 2017, Embleton Bay, 8am

The big waves have returned and I found myself at a a different angle from the wavy days earlier this month.

The sunrise was delayed by a bank of cloud away over the sea so at first it got light without any direct sunlight.

We sat and watched and waited for the sunlight to reach across the sea

When the light hit the waves the spray was lit up with a beautiful pink light

I was glad to have sought out my lofty perch as from down on the sand the waves looked much flatter.

Saturday 23 December 2017

parallel lines

23rd December 2017, Newton-by-The-Sea, 3pm

A quick look around the sky suggested the sunset would be spectacular.

Daisy hunted for mice in the long grass

I think these parallel lines in the sky are from the low sun casting shadows from the aircraft trail across the clouds

Also we had no money with us to pop in for a pint...

on the sunrise trail again

23rd December 2017, Embleton Bay, 8am

Back on the old sunrise trail again this morning.

I watched an excellent programme last night about the fascinating photographer Vivian Maier (Watch It Here)  She had no recognition as a photographer during her lifetime and seemed not to seek recognition either.  She was an amateur in the best possible sense of that word (from the French 'amour' - to love what you do) and she was a driven photographer from her very soul and made over 100,000 images which she simply stored away - sometimes never even printing the images.

Now her prints sell for thousands of dollars each.  It makes me a bit uneasy that various people (perhaps well-meaning artistic people) are profiting from her art - probably against her will were she still alive.

It struck me how Vivian Maier chose her own path and she stuck to it.  Most days she walked the streets of Chicago photographing what she saw despite having no outlet for her work, no audience and no acclaim.  Noted street photographer Joel Meyerowitz said the following and I found a very moving resonance for myself in these words:
"You’re dealing with a disappearing moment it’s there and it’s gone and the only way that it’s recognised as having happened is you observing it, knowing it, and photographing it so you are the repository. I think that it’s great if you can make prints out of it and share this but at a certain point, if you’ve done it long enough, you don’t really have to. It’s for you. It’s just for you.” 
 So I'm going to carry on photographing the same old beach and the same old castle and the same old sun as it shines across the world on each new day.  I'll carry on building my archive of photographs for no good reason other than I cannot stop.

Friday 22 December 2017

sunset journey

22nd December 2017, from home to Embleton Bay, 3pm

We walked from home across the fields as golden light started to develop in the sky.

Down on the shore and the sea was still and quiet, gently reflecting the sky.

A crescent moon appeared among the sunset clouds

Me and Daisy sat for a while and watched the beach and the colours all around us.

The sunset was at its furthest south at solstice yesterday.  At this time of year the sun pops up over the castle in the SE and sets a few hours later in the SW.

As we headed home the Skaith was reflecting the sky in perfect detail

A flight of geese flew home to roost from their feeding field.

Thursday 21 December 2017

In a heartbeat

21st December 2017, Embleton Bay, 8am

Today is winter solstice, the original winter festival.  The solstice sunrise was undramatic but it's an important date on my calendar as my photography tends to keep me in synchronicity with the sunrise.

There is a grey-blue calmness in the sky.
Only a hint of sunrise reflected on the sea.
I lie back, shut my eyes and listen
To the wind,
To the curlews,
And to my heartbeat.
Above my head a flight of geese pass by.
Their honking calls are both a contrast
And at one with this morning

Wednesday 20 December 2017

long dark walk

20th December 2017, Dunstanburgh/Craster, 8:33am

A fairly long walk in the dark up to the castle at the first light of dawn.

Not much to see there so we pushed onward half way to Craster before we found a wee spot to wait for the sunrise in among the rockpools

By the time we were back past the Castle it was blue daylight.

Monday 18 December 2017

watch the colour change

18th December 2017, Embleton Bay, 8am

Beautiful dark colours on arrival at the beach as we were there well before sunrise.

It was so dark that the camera chose a slow shutter speed which blurred the wings of the seabirds

As dawn came closer the colours mellowed from dark orange to a more pastel shades.

The Sun had already risen from the sea horizon but by walking just a few hundred yards down the beach the sunrise happened all over again behind the crag.

The photographer can use their feet to choose the sunrise alignment they prefer.

18th December 2017, Newton Point, 3pm

At this time of year our 3pm dogwalk catches the best of the changing afternoon/evening light.

I had to stop the car on the way home when I saw the shape of this tree against the sunset clouds...

Wednesday 13 December 2017

a cunning plan

13th December 2017, at home, 1pm

Bessie is Daisy's sister and has come to stay again.  As it was raining outside I took some photos in the house.

 13th December 2017, Beadnell Bay, 2pm

We watched the rain radar and headed out just as the rain stopped.  I love it when a plan comes together and we had a brilliant blue-sky walk with Beadnell Bay all to ourselves.

Bessie again...