…so have not made enough time to write proper blog posts.

Mostly I have been doing this…

hello, world!

hello, world!

But I’ve also been trying out the excellent Maptia project. I’ve been writing short diaries about adventures in Morocco and Paris. Revisiting old photos has more than made up for not getting out and taking new ones.

The Best Camera…

1-Sep-2013 @ 17:32

…Is the one that’s with you

After a slight hiatus, I am returning to post on my much neglected blog!

25 minutes from Leeds City Centre

25 minutes from Leeds City Centre

The reason for my terrible treatment of the Weekend Photographer has been a competing hobby. I bought a new bike in April and have been making the most of summer weather exploring the countryside rather than taking photos. However, on a recent ride I decided to combine these two pursuits and resume writing and photographing to record my adventures.

Leeds Country Way

Leeds Country Way

Of course I wasn’t going to lug around my giant DSLR around the Yorkshire hills. So I had to get more creative with my photographic equipment. I tried a couple of old compact cameras, but they were just embarrassing. So I settled on using something I carry everywhere: my smart phone! Yes, the thing that makes calls, sends messages, emails and checks the entire internet for me might also be able to replace a big fancy camera in the right situation.

More scenic countryside

More scenic countryside

Now I know that these photos aren’t going to win the Pulitzer prize, or even get printed. But as a proof on concept, and for sharing on Instagram, they are more than good enough for me.

Warning, ducks!

Warning, ducks!

The ride I went on was from the Vertebrate Publishing West Yorkshire (South Pennine Trails) and took me from city centre Leeds out into the countryside in search of that most hallowed of byway: singletrack. You can check out the exact route I took here on Strava and observe the number of times I foolishly followed my own sense of direction rather than the GPS track I’d drawn using the excellent BikeRouteToaster site.

Phoebe and Bunty the Westies

I also met Phoebe and Bunty the Westies

Now I’m perfectly able to admit to still feeling like a beginner mountain biker, so its not the most extreme route. I did however, get to ford a stream and ride over some exciting tree roots in some woods. In fact the scariest moment was when I encountered a horse (and rider) on some narrow bridleway, fortunately this horse had a reverse gear so I was able to slowly pass it without falling off in panic!

Evidence of Leeds Festival

Evidence of Leeds Festival

The bits I didn’t enjoy were mainly the couple of kilometres I travelled along the A64 which delivered the wrong kind of adrenaline hit. Sadly this is probably part and parcel of ex-urban biking.

I was wearing trainer socks.

I was wearing trainer socks.

I did the route in just over two hours covering 41km and climbing 400m. This can and will be quicker next time I do it, now I understand when my GPS says turn left, it means “do it now” not “check in case its the next left”.

A muddy bike is a happy bike!

A muddy bike is a happy bike!

As I eluded to in the title of this post (artfully stolen from the excellent Chase Jarvis) I really did appreciate being able to stop whip out my phone and grab a good enough shot using auto rather than faff around with the big camera, changing settings and worrying about doing it properly because you feel you have to when you carry a DSLR.

In fact, once I got home I decided to go one better and edit the photos on my phone (using SnapSeed) just to prove I could do the whole thing without touching an actual computer. And while the shots aren’t going to make it into my portfolio I’m actually very surprised at how well they’ve come out and survived being edited on something with such a tiny sensor and screen.

 

Telling stories

21-Jun-2013 @ 11:35
DSC_4602.jpg

Toffee Dog

Everyone loves a good story. On the GoodReads Best Books of 2013 list there are no less than 25,140 items listed, when I checked earlier today. The new Superman film opened a week ago. In the UK alone over £11 Million has been spent by people watching the film (according to boxofficemojo).

Suffice to say, lots of people like stories.

I’ve been relatively uninspired/unmotivated with my photography recently. Its difficult to explain why, but it feels like trying to play a sport you played at school once you’re an adult. The familiarity is there, but the execution is lacking.

I think I’ve been missing out on stories in my photos. Taking my camera places and not really capturing anything of note is perfectly normal, but I think the best way to get out of the rut, is to focus on something relatively simple like telling the smallest story possible with a single image.

We’ve been fostering trainee guide dogs since March of this year, which has been a busy but awesome experience. A few weeks ago our first dog left to go to her forever home, so we went for a walk during golden hour across the cricket pitch and down through the common. I had my camera and took the image you see at the top of this post. The story is that this is a happy dog. And I really like the image.

What stories are you telling with your photos?