I have been a heavy consumer of Youtube photography channels for some time, but during October, rather than the typical gear, composition and location reviews/tutorials, I began to focus more on exploring the philosophies of photography. As a consequence, I’ve spent most of my spare time in the last month learning an inordinate amount about other photographers, reassessing my photographic journey and discovering new ways of seeing my photographs. All told, it was a good month.
With autumn and winter approaching I began the migration away from my predominant focus on macro photography towards landscape and environmental photography. I make no secret of my love of autumn and the fall. It’s by far my favourite season. It isn’t just because of the colours (though they are undeniably the primary reason) it’s also because of the atmospheric conditions, because of the light and the times of the day. I love mist and fog, I love golden hour and I love the blue hour too.
Though it’s fair to say that I prefer the Vitamin D benefits of long and warm days, I’m not averse to sleeping in a little later and still catching sunrise, and at this time of the year golden hour takes up a noticeably larger part of the daylight hours. The longer shadows created by the sun’s lower elevation in the sky are helpful to me in landscape photography too.
Autumn in the UK, though, often comes and goes with barely a shadow cast and we can go a very long time without directly seeing the sun. While my favourite photos in autumn show off the vibrant colours of the season, it generally requires a clear sky and direct sunlight to truly ignite those shades. Consequently, it can be quite disheartening to see the little cloud icons on the Met Office’s forecast stretch all the way through the coming week.
There have been quite a few missed opportunities this autumn, where the sun broke out despite an overcast forecast, and I am certain to regret those over the coming months. Winter conditions, which can easily stretch four months or more in these parts, is usually a much quieter period of photography for me. The bare branches of the woods carry less appeal and even when the snows come, my rear-wheel-drive car with automatic gearbox is less than best suited for venturing out and exploring the landscape. Add to that, the affliction of diabetes doesn’t lend well to my extremities in the colder months.
However, with all that said, I intend to apply some of what I’ve learned so far about the philosophies of photography to explore different genres in this time and to continue to learn more, to study other photographers and their motivations and the ways in which they express themselves. I have gained something of a fresh perspective and called into question my own historical photography philosophy and I anticipate that this will ultimately result in a net gain in my output. Whether that will be quality or quantity I can’t be sure yet but I have already begun a new black and white photography project which I’m quite excited about, and which I will hopefully be publishing in the next few weeks. I’m taking a significantly different approach to this project, from the last.