Initially I struggled to come up with an idea for this challenge. I ended up scrolling through some of the folders of photos on this tablet looking for inspiration. At that point I quickly came up with a couple of photos showing before and after.
The full frame, unedited version of the European Robin standing on my 600mm lens. The camera isn’t square or centred in the frame and has tape on it. There’s also a light band running at an angle across the top of the frame.
The edited version. I squared and centred the camera, cropped the top of the frame and took a little off the bottom. I then converted the camera to monochrome to hide the tape as much as possible. I have been using a variety of edited versions of this image as my online avatar for years.
An old post box in a sandstone wall at Bickerton Hill in southern Cheshire, England. A film shot from the mid 1980s. I have scanned the original with two different scanners and copied the slide with two different cameras. All the digital versions have a strange colour balance. If I get the grass and red post box looking right the sandstone and sky look wrong.
A selective colour treatment converting the image to monochrome while leaving the post box red.
I had quite a few ideas for the challenge, none of which I could build a theme around. In the end I decided to simply pick one favourite nature or landscape image from each decade I have been taking photos. Because landscapes and nature have been constant subjects during my photographic journey.
As a result it’s also partly a journey around some of the places I have lived over the years.
1970s. Trees in snow covered farmland in Hatherton, Cheshire, England. I was still in secondary (high) school when this shot was taken. Taken a mile down the side road from my parents house at the time. It was part of the portfolio that got me a place at art school. Despite having been online for nearly a quarter of a century this is the first time I have posted the full frame, uncropped version. I have always cropped to a panoramic format in the past.
1980s. Storm clouds and light beams over Loch Arkaig, Scotland. Memorable because I had spent three days shooting landscapes in almost constant rain. The rain stopped early evening of the third day and the sun started breaking through the storm clouds. This shot was published worldwide by Olympus Japan and won a national photo contest in the U.K.
1990s. An American White Pelican on Last Mountain Lake. Probably the hardest decade to pick a favourite. I moved from the U.K. to Canada and was doing a lot of nature and landscape photography. One of the most memorable moments was sitting in the water at Last Mountain Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada while a flock of American White Pelicans swam and fished around me.
2000s. Osprey with a White Sucker over Lake Huron. This decade saw me living in Ontario, Canada. For the first 8 years I lived in Southampton on the Lake Huron shoreline. I would frequently head down to the lake shore for sunrise and sunset. If I was down there for the sunrise I would often hang around looking for birds. One morning I watched this Osprey catch the fish and immediately start getting harassed by a couple of Herring Gulls. The Osprey is looking at one of them while the water still drips off the bird and the fish. This was my second year shooting digital.
2010s. A juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbird in late summer. I was now living on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario and in 2018 did a 52 week photo project which is how this blog started. This shot didn’t make it as a weekly pick for the project but it was published in a bird calendar the following year.
2020s. A portrait of a Coneflower. One year into the 2020s and a surprisingly difficult pick. I had a few nice sunrises from the local bay and a nearby lake last summer and autumn. Which meant that I couldn’t pick a favourite because they were all too fresh in my mind. However, I spent part of the first Covid-19 lockdown photographing flowers and plants with various unusual lenses. For this Coneflower I used a fast portrait lens wide open. It’s been a favourite since I took it.
This is my contribution to Ann-Christine’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Striped and Checked prompt.
As is frequently the case with me, I started of with a couple of ideas for the challenge and shot off at a tangent when I started selecting images.
I quickly realised that I was picking mostly striped images. That realisation was followed by my noticing that quite a few of the photos had something to do with trees.
Motion blurred trees. Taken by panning the camera upwards during exposure.
Tree shadows on the snow. Although the image is as much about the fallen branch sticking out of the snow as the shadows.
Tree branches as a window display. I rather like the way the corrugated metal siding on the building echoes the pattern of the Paper Birch branches in the windows.
A maze of tree trunks. Taken on a walk around the neighborhood in autumn a couple of years ago. I was thinking of going back at different times of the year but I can’t find the spot despite knowing which trail I was on.
This is my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This week Patti gave us the prompt Emotions.
After some thought I decided to look back at 2020. A very strange year that saw me not make it back to the U.K., hospitalised in the spring and then there was the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mid January and I had postponed plans to visit the U.K. due to the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was going for walks around the neighborhood little realising that in a couple of months that would be all I would be allowed to do.
By the end of May I was going a little stir crazy being stuck at home. I set up in the yard in the biggest gap in the trees and tried to photograph the clouds at sunset. When that didn’t work out I started playing around with the Live Composite setting on the Olympus camera I was using. Live Composite recorded the clouds streaking across the sky at dusk.
July saw some of the Covid-19 restrictions eased and I could visit one of my sunrise locations on Colpoy’s Bay. Things seemed to be settling down into the new normal.
The end of December and Ontario was putting some Covid-19 restrictions back in place and I was going for walks around the neighborhood again. Less than two weeks into 2021 and Ontario has declared a provincial emergency with a stay-at-home order in place.
Once I started selecting some favourites I realised that they were far to random to build a theme around. So I decided to go with a small selection of photos of various skies, one from each season.
Early January saw me down on a snow and ice covered section of the Colpoy’s Bay shoreline for my first dawn photos of 2020.
Late March saw Ontario in lockdown and I was restricted to walks around the neighborhood. Paper Birch trees against a blue sky made bluer by the lack of aircraft flying at the time.
July saw some of the lockdown restrictions eased and Comet Neowise in the sky. As a result I headed down to Colpoy’s Bay to photograph star trails while missing the comet on every attempt.
November saw me down on the Government Dock in the village of Colpoy’s Bay on the South Bruce Peninsula for the sunrise. The light and clouds were so widespread I used my fisheye lens to include as much of the sky as possible.