Driving around Manchester and finding places such as this, off Rochdale Road, reminded me of boyhood. Walking to school, shops, on idle Saturdays, I would find quiet places where I could retreat to. There was an abandoned area near home dense with brambles and small twisted trees. I waded into it once and saw the tiniest bird I’d ever seen which I think was a wren. My brother and I found a place amongst trees where we built a camp. We found a small piece of carpet and I made a shelf from a piece of wood wedged into the base of a tree. We found clay too. I don’t know why it was there. I made a little model head and left it on the shelf. When I returned everything had been smashed up. Why, I thought. I think exactly the same now. The feeling is unchanged. What has changed is my understanding. Last week I read a report of a family grieving the loss of a still born baby. Mum, Dad and child had buried the baby then gone to a park. They released some red balloons for ritual, healing, and remembrance. A pack of young teenagers burst the balloons and a fight ensued in which the family were injured. I know all about that. The police and the judge will say why. The boys will say I don’t know why. It’s not rational but has something to do with seeing tenderness in others whereby something is important to them, and a kind of jealousy ensues because you have nothing. So you destroy it. I remember thinking you could have enjoyed our camp too. I wouldn’t have minded. There’s a tremendous growth of flowers here. In the road, on the pavement, thrusting through cracks, the other side of this fence. It’s disruptive but beautiful. No one cares about this place so wild flowers grow. The yellow line won’t stop them. The other side of the fence there’s a large raked over area where there must have been a building. No one wants it. “In the mountains, there you feel free. I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.”

 

Manchester Wild Flowers: Abandoned

Sunday August 10, 2014

 
Art Discussion: The Duration of Photography

The article Chris Townsend refers to below takes a valid point but twists it into hyperbole. I agree that photographs in a gallery don’t work as effectively as paintings. Photography is my real love but for different reasons to those underlying the pursuit and accomplishments of a photograph. They don’t compete; they are fundamentally different. It is therefore, I acknowledge, an interesting topic to consider them as both make an appearance in a gallery. townsendoutdoor</a> &quot;Paintings…


 
Pyrenees Mountains, Navigation, Ton Joosten's HRP Book

If you want the highest paths, the best Pyrenees views, the High Level Route is for you. That doesn’t mean you should adhere to it and at times I prefer the GR11 and occasionally use the GR10. I suspect the book which is most used for walking the Pyrenees mountains is the one by Ton Joosten about the Haute Route, or High Level Route. It was my first purchase. I then bought a few more…


 
Notes From The Mountains: Male And Female

A few years ago I read an article discussing ‘immersion’ in the hills and how women have the feeling but men don’t. It became silly with talk about the moon, water, and the ladies educating us chaps. Watch a lady swimming in the sea, one person said, and see and learn how she is emotionally enveloped. I’m going to talk about gender and the hills, not the moon and the sea. There is some truth that…


 
Pyrenees Advice: Travel, Towns, and Food

My first trip to the Pyrenees mountains was in 2007. I returned there backpacking in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. This summer I might go there for the seventh time. I’m considering a series of books, with photographs and notes from all my trips, and it seems I know something about the Pyrenees. Here’s a few notes about travel and towns. Travel There are various ways of getting to the Pyrenees. I can only talk about…


 
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…