A new year, yet another new start

When I first started this blog, back in April 2012, I had a particular reason.  An injury meant that I was not able to get out with my camera to make new images.  Blogging gave me an outlet for my frustrated creativity and a new lease of life for images I had already taken.  Nearly 4 years later and the injury is still troublesome, but I have learned to live with it.  The brain is amazingly good at learning to live with things, even pain. The problem no longer stops me doing what I want and what I want hasn’t changed – I still love (am obsessed with) photography.

misty minimal picture from Venice

‘Five’: Venice

As I slowly returned to making new images, this blog became more and more sporadic. In the end, I will always choose to go out with my camera rather than spend time at the computer.  That is not going to change, but I would like to see if I can combine the two more effectively.  So I have signed up for Blogging 101 with good intentions.

Norwegian landsape

Still morning, Hamnøya, Lofoten Islands

Perhaps paradoxically, since starting a photography blog, I have obtained a Masters Degree in Victorian Literature and Art from the University of London. Yes, I like to read and write! Accordingly, I never intended Focused Moments to be a picture-of-the-day kind of blog. (Nothing wrong with those, by the way, just not what I intended.) Looking back at the early days, I see the posts that were most enthusiastically received usually had plenty of words as well as images.  A good example is my article about the relationship between photography and mindfulness.  So I plan to make time for more posts like that. I am also interested in exploring how the literature I enjoy and have studied may influence the images I make.

seascape

Tempest

Standard blogging advice is to write about oneself, to ‘make it personal’. I am not so sure about that. I am quite a private person and this is a public blog. The images will always be the heart of Focused Moments; I hope they are more interesting than me! Nonetheless, there are aspects of my photographic life that might merit more exploration. I enjoy exhibiting and have already written about some of my experiences in that area. Some readers want to know more about other things, my role as a camera club judge, for example, or what it is like to lead photography workshops. More on those, and other ‘stories’, will follow.

wey navigation

Frost on the Wey

2015 was an epic year for me photographically. I hope that 2016 will be equally exciting and, if any of you share at least part of the adventure with me here at Focused Moments, this blog will have succeeded. It is up to me, now, to make it worth your time.

norway

Aurora over Skagsanden

 

Turbulence

surf

200mm, f4.5, 0.6″

I am currently working on a presentation that I have agreed to give at a group exhibition in Lyme Regis later this month.  The topic is the coast.  I thought I might share ideas here as I go. I have always had an ambivalent relationship with the sea.  I was brought up in a seafaring family and a large chunk of the first eleven years of my life was spent at sea.   Unfortunately, I never got over my chronic sea sickness.  Without wanting to labour the point, this meant that I spent quite a lot of time staring over the side of the boat!  I have found the sea’s motion fascinating ever since (but I still prefer to observe it from the shore).

waves crashing on rocks

200mm, f/16, 1/40

‘Dark-heaving – boundless, endless, and sublime,

The image of eternity.’

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

 

Stepping off the path

stepping off a path

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

If there is a path it is someone else’s path and you are not on the adventure.

– Joseph Campbell 

 

Road to no-where

The Watcher

silhouette

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
John Keats, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Celebrating Autumn

Jersey

St. Aubin, Jersey

But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September. It stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
― Stephen KingSalem’s Lot

Windsor, England

Windsor, England

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. –Edwin Teale

Bonfire

Clandon, Surrey

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
― Robert Frost

Windsor Great Park

Windsor Great Park

Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.
― Jane Austen, Persuasion

The Cobb

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Our summer holiday this year will be spent at Lyme Regis, a lovely little town on the coast of Dorset. It is steeped in history and features in Jane Austen’s Persuasion:

the principal street almost hurrying into the water, the Walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing machines and company…are what the stranger’s eye will seek

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The Cobb is Lyme Regis’s famous harbour wall. In Persuasion, one of the characters takes a tumble off the Cobb. In a later novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles immortalised “quite simply the most beautiful sea rampart on the south coast of England”.

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Lyme Regis is on The Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site for its wealth of fossils from the Jurassic period. It was here that Mary Anning (1799-1847) discovered, at the tender age of twelve, the first complete ichthyosaur. She went on to become a renowned palaeontologist when the science was in its infancy. Lyme Regis Museum, a fascinating place to visit in its own right, is built on the site of Mary’s home.

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For so work the honey bees

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For so work the honey bees,
Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king, and officers of sorts,
Where some like magistrates correct at home;
Others like merchants venture trade abroad;
Others like soldiers, armed in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer’s velvet buds,
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor;
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold,
The civil citizens kneading up the honey,
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate,
The sad-ey’d justice, with his surly hum,
Delivering o’er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone.

William Shakespeare, Henry V, I.ii

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