Coalescing circumstances, seeing possibilities

In learning to see more clearly we can come to recognise opportunities when they arise and look creatively at what can be achieved.  This image of a frog snapped on my mobile phone is the result of one such set of events.  In the harsh weather we experienced in the winter of 2010 and early 2011 I lost a number of well-established shrubs from my garden.  This created some spaces to be filled, but I was in no rush to choose new plants until the weather improved considerably.

As it turned out, this project went onto the back burner and by 2012 these spaces were still there, by this point screaming at me to do something about them.  In the throes of a spring clear-out, I decided it was high time to dispose of two dustbins which I been using to make compost and leaf mould but now no longer needed.  Anxious to avoid sending them to landfill, I was about to list them on Ebay (another new venture for 2012!) but then put the listing on hold as I was about to take a short holiday.  Totally unrelated to this, I had spotted frogs in my garden on a number of occasions that spring and had been wondering how I might create a more amphibian-friendly area for them.  Suddenly all these factors coalesced and I saw the possibility that they combined to present; I could turn one of the unwanted dustbins into a small pond on the site of one of my ex-shrubs and Hey Presto! space filled, no bin to dispose of, frogs homed and photo opportunity looming!

The bottom half of the bin was soon installed and over the summer several frogs took up residence.   I saw up to five at once and was soon able to distinguish between my visitors.  I soon discovered that frogs make an excellent photographic subject as when you approach them they adopt an unblinking stillness, presumably to convince advancing predators that they do not exist.  Needless to say, I spent much of last summer crouched beside my makeshift pond aiming my Canon 100mm f2.8 at assorted willing models busy sunbathing on a convenient nearby stone.  Oh, and I still have the other dustbin, having finally turned it into a storage bin for bark chips.

Lessons from a folding camera

I have been interested in photography in one form or another since childhood, when the unforgettable smells of black and white film processing emanated from my father’s makeshift darkroom in our spare bedroom.   I enjoy digital photography but I’m a technophobe at heart, preferring to create images in camera rather than spend hours at the computer.  I have a growing collection of film cameras and love the simplicity of old folding cameras.  Modern digital equipment has such complexity that it can take over the whole experience of capturing images.  Working with an old film camera really is  like going back to basics as there is so little to do.  Instead of a whole menu to control 61 autofocus points my Bessa has 3 options; ‘people’, ‘groups’ or ‘landscapes’.  There are 2 shutter speeds (unless you want bulb or timer) and 4 apertures.  And as for ISOs expanding to 126,800, your choice is fixed when you load the film.  Simplifying the choices for how to operate the camera leaves far more mental space to be dedicated to my subject and creating my image.  And if you dont like the results, the camera itself makes a great photographic subject in itself! 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolour painting and photography inspired by nature