The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

A bit of snow

Although much of the rest of the country has had a fair bit of snow over the past few weeks (I use the term ‘fair bit’ in relation to typical British winters, not Canadian), in Castle Douglas it’s only been teasing. It snows, but doesn’t settle; or it snows and settles just enough to get your hopes up, but by the time you’ve had breakfast, donned a woolly hat and scarf and a 2nd pair of socks, it’s raining and the white stuff on the ground is already turning to slush.

This morning, however, there was a good inch or two lying on top of the car so I thought I should head out with the camera. Maggie suggested woodland and trees might be a good option, but then I spent another 10 minutes trying to decide whether I should go with a wide-angle lens (good for landscapes) or my 70-200mm zoom lens (good for getting in close). Eventually I headed off for Dalbeattie Woods with my zoom lens, hoping I might see some ducks on the wee loch there.

As I walked through the woods, the soft snow crunching underfoot, I looked at this magical landscape and utterly failed to find a way to capture it on camera.

I’m a faces man; a portrait photographer. I can make anyone look cool and interesting. But when it comes to landscapes, it’s entirely hit or miss (mostly miss) – I don’t understand the language in the way landscape photographers do. So I carried on walking, partly trying to just enjoy the walk, and partly trying to fend off feelings of inadequacy.

I reached the edge of the loch, which was half covered in semi-melted ice and snowy slush, but there wasn’t a duck to be seen. But I did quite like the way a branch was jutting out over the slushy water.

Further along my walk I saw a bench with snow on it and decided to make a wee snowman (only about 9 or 10 inches high)

I then gave him a nose and stuck him on top of a post to glare accusingly at unwary travellers…

Finally, about 150 yards or so from the car I realised I was at the place I took the abstract photo of the birch trees last month (which I posted at the end of my Favourite Photos of 2012 post), so though I would try the same effect of motion blur – deliberately moving the camera as you click the shutter. And that did, finally, give me a photo I was really pleased with

As always, feel free to click on any of the images for a larger version.

And let me know in the comments what kind of photography you like doing the most


Fiona said...

Excellent post, brill photos. Might you share them on the website for Dalbeattie? Just a thought to share your excellent work to a wider audience.

Jonathan Chant said...

Nice post. I like all of the photos, but the abstract is especially beautiful.

Pat said...

A fruitful walk. Like them all but the top one is quite magical.
You should accept the fact that you are capable of doing any kind of photography to the highest standard. You just like people better.
Enjoy your haggis!

mapstew said...

Nice! I love the tree ones, but you know that! :¬)

Eryl said...

I am totally going to have to try that motion blur thing, it's scrumptious.

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful photos, very interesting motion blur shot.
I must say I love the wee snowman the best !

cheers, parsnip

a small player in God's plan. said...

This is just my thought, and I'm no official landscape photographer, or a photographer at all for that matter, but in my experience taking photos of nature centers much more on composition than on subject matter, if that makes sense. it's about capturing a bit of everything that gives you the feelings you have when you're walking around outside, all captured within one frame. the other thing that's interesting is that there isn't one particular thing you need to photograph

Kim Ayres said...

Fiona - thank you - I'll take a look :)

Jonathan - thank you :)

Pat - very kind of you to say, Pat, but as I know some truly superb landscape photographers, I'm very aware of my limitations

Mapstew - I do, and thanks for posting that image on my FB page :)

Eryl - the trick is to jerk the camera in the same direction as the strong lines in the image. In this case I was moving the camera vertically, but I've seen some lovely ones done horizontally at the sides of lochs or the sea :)

Parsnip - wee snowmen have a cute factor that always add in a few bonus points :)

Small Player - it's easy enough to take snaps, which will remind you of the place you were in. What is considerably more difficult is to create photographs which convey a depth of mood or emotion to someone who wasn't there, and didn't experience what you did.

When you look at a photo you took, you also recall what you were thinking and feeling at the time. Others don't have those extra dimensions. It's why you always want to show other people your holiday photos (so they can share your wonderful experiences), but other people's holiday photos are usually so boring (so what if you are standing in front of that object with those people I don't know?).

And one of the problems about being a professional photographer, is if I put up poor quality photos, even if it's in a genre I don't usually do, then it can taint my reputation.

In essence, once you turn professional, you can't share your snaps any more, unless they are really good... ;)

debra said...

You kind of take portraits of the outdoors, I think. : )

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oooh, that abstract photo is magical. I enjoyed reading about the snow, the crunchy sound, the slushy water, and best of all, the wee snowman. I hope the wee snowman gives someone an idea to go around making lots of them all over the place. tee hee.

hope said...

LOVE that snowman's profile!

Hindsfeet said...

um, so, I'm gonna be shallow and say I *love* the wee snowman....mainly cuz it made me laugh out loud and smile big involuntarily, and I've been a little short of endorphins lately.... thanks for the loveliness, Kim.....and the nice little chemical cocktail bubbling around in my noggin now ; )

warmest always,

Kim Ayres said...

Debra - I think you might be right - it's the way I look at things :)

Guyana-Gyal - unfortunately the rain came in an everything was washed away, so no series of snowmen marching across the woods this time :)

Hope - :^)

Liz - nothing shallow about something that puts a smile on your face :)

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