Chorlton Ees: Orange Grass River Walkers

Saturday March 24, 2012

 
Notes From The Mountains: Photographic Composition And Light

Photographic composition is both an art and a science. The science part of it can be taught technically with reference to the Rule of Thirds, leading lines and the psychology of the gaze: what attracts your attention in a shot, where does your eye travel, and why? The art part of composition is more vague and nebulous because it concerns subjective feelings. Ultimately, as in art so with photography, we like what we like and there’s…


 
Notes From The Mountains: Authentic Photography And The Lake District

Difference between entertainment mountain material, and my experience mountain material. I will write about this. pic.twitter.com/WnzqSN6VPg— James Lomax (@james__lomax) February 7, 2014 I was recently struck by the above realisation. There’s a difference between writing, photography and video designed to entertain, and that which expresses something more personal and direct. Are you aiming for an audience or something more intangible? Trying to capture interest or inviting it? Serenity or action – and which is the more…


 
Notes From The Mountains: Photo, Video, Dreams

About fourteen months ago I bought a Sony RX100 for two reasons. I wanted a video tool and preferred the ergonomics of a compact camera rather than a video cam as such. I wanted a back up to my DSLR which would also serve as a useful extension for photographic work. This meant two things: a zoom range beyond my Canon L Series 17-40, and inconspicuous size useful for street photography. Any compact camera gives…


 
Eccentric Hills

Pre-dawn starts are the way to go. I knew it was going to be a good one as soon as I left the trees, the first faint traces of red backlighting gravid cloud. It peaked at 08:30 – and ten minutes later it was over. I’d seen the same thing walking through Inverness the previous morning, shifting layers of pink and red cloud lit up with pinpoint clarity; I could hardly take my eyes…


 
Robert Macfarlane, Nan Shepherd, The Cairngorms

I don’t think there’s enough poetry, philosophy, rapturous appreciation of the hills. Look at the books, and you find overwhelming emphasis on heroic battling and the claiming of summits. Look at the magazines, and you find a constrained format with a particular house style. Look at the big films and you find The White Spider, Touching The Void, Everest assaults and similar. It’s tedious. With my literary background I want a great deal more than the…


 
Cameras For Mountain Photography

I bought my first digital SLR many years ago after waiting for the quality to improve and the price to drop. It was right on the cusp of it, because prior to the Canon 10D reports suggested DSLRs were inferior to film and they were too expensive. The reason why the first sensors were cropped in size is because they were so expensive to manufacture. It was the same with full frame sensors concerning cost. Way…


 
Great Gable Cloud Inversion: A Lake District Walk

Through the summer, the landscape’s most frequent mood had been dim and gloomy. The damp air coming through the window was rich with the fragrance of rot and growth, and to the eye it had much the same shimmering dense quality as looking through a telescope. The burden of moisture in the air worked on perception as optics of poor quality do, distorting, expanding, and diminishing distance and altitude, altering the sense of mass moment…


 
A Walk Through The Alps: Mountain Photography And Manipulation

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit – Edward Abbey Everything’s choreographed now, it’s fucking rubbish – Noel Gallagher We will teach our twisted speech to the young believers – Joe Strummer To conclude my reflections on the topic of photography and manipulation I’ll refer to the work of a former colleague. I’ll consider the term manipulation in more subtle and complex terms which are not confined to photography technique, but I use…


 
Mountain Photography And Manipulation (2)

In a previous article I referred to the aesthetic limits of traditional film photography and how they remain an important part of the digital medium. This is historic if you are interested in the cultural history of photography and pedagogic, aesthetic, and ideological as follows. Many young people have little or no experience of photography beyond an automated compact camera or iPhone. It’s peculiarly difficult teaching such people – and with adults too – for those…


 
Photography Twitter And British Hill Walking

Twitter and the Internet There was a recent internet debate about the authenticity of mountain photography in which I participated. I’m going to comment on what happened addressing the following points: social media, what authenticity means to me, and what it means for photography. It started at Twitter and I’ve since read this perceptive essay by writer Kathryn Schulz whose book Being Wrong is worth reading. She talks about her experience of the internet and “social media”…


 
Mountain Tales: Pyrenees Love

I’ve walked in the Pyrenees six times. The first trip was disappointing. I stayed at a hostel in a village called Lescun located in a stunning area, but with poor weather. I thought a hostel would be too busy in summer and autumn might be beautiful. It can be but the weather is also unreliable and almost every day was misty, sunless, and wet. I had one good day when I set off for Pic d’Anie…


 
Mountain Ideas: Culture And Freedom

I read Robert Macfarlane’s Mountains of the Mind maybe eight years ago. It’s sub-titled A History of a Fascination which I didn’t like. It’s a study, not of the idea of cultural conditioning and what that means, but how in different times and places people have felt and written about mountains differently. This climber did it first and led the way, reporting back and telling everyone he’d enjoyed it. That climber or walker was described…


 
Photography Ideas: Mountains, Representation, And Manipulation

There are no rules to photography and there is no definitive advice. There’s only the photography you like, the photography that sells, and the photography you want to pursue. It is possible however to articulate these parameters and assumptions and thereby give people conceptual tools which are ultimately the basis for every picture you take. Photography is not about the camera: it frankly bores me to state the obvious and often repeated, but the reason…


 
Film Review: Psychogeography And The Great Walk

I’m interested in the process of mountain walking and the reasons why it’s therapeutic: why we enjoy it, what happens when we do it, and what implications this may have for the rest of our lives. I find it fascinating that I feel soothed, calmed, and consoled after romping for a few days, that geographic change instils psychological change. One perspective changes and so does the other. I don’t seek to complicate this or suggest…


 
Pyrenees Walking 2013: First Thoughts

After an extended mountain trip I usually have some observations about society in one form or another. I find this an interesting process because it facilitates connections between the hobby and the rest of my life. On the one hand I have a rat race existence where I am oppressed and controlled by conditions such as those described by Marx, Engels, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, and the ideas of Slavoj Zizek. For several years I’ve been inside…


 
Mountains Of The Mind

Video is an extremely dense medium whereby image, sound and movement are layered together and any one component can spoil the effect. Music in particular, because it is personal and subjective, will appeal or not appeal according to taste. As such, music can make or break a video piece. I originally made this with some aggressive rock music because I liked the softer parts of it but not others, then decided it was wrong. It fitted…


 
Wales Wild Camping: A Rhinog Morning

I spent a week in Wales finishing with a wild camp at Llyn Du in the Rhinogs, then back down to the valley. It’s quite a rough area and not a great favourite accordingly. The evening before I was a little cold and fed up with domestic discomforts. I wanted a kitchen to walk into, some decent food, and a bath. I woke in the morning to this and my mood changed for the better. What…


 
Wales Walking: Cregennen Lakes

I discovered the Cregennen Lakes by accident, driving from Dolgellau to Barmouth. It made quite an impact. I’d never seen an area quite like it, in Wales or anywhere else. Parts of the rock are so singularly sculpted, I thought for a moment it was mining work such as you find – in very ugly form – at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The lakes, two or three of them, sit and splash gently below the strange craggy forms…


 
Helvellyn, Red Tarn, Catsycam

Twitter is a useful internet platform. I’ve made hill walking friends, engaged in conversation either there or at associated blogs, and I’ve started making my photographs available there too. As with music or food you never know what photos other people will like. Nor is there any objective way of understanding this. On occasion, people have liked photos I didn’t think were anything special. Other times I’ve posted images I like very much but didn’t get…


 
Video Art: Green Ethos

“Tt’s lovely!” she said, the pretty girl at the railway station. I was at Lancaster University, it was summer, and I decided spontaneously I had to see the Lake District. On a clear day I could see the beginning of the mountains from my lounge window, across distant Morecambe Bay. My inspiration for the trip was a battered old ten pence book with beautiful photographs. I took my bicycle on the train travelling up the north…