NEW Project 33 Image - in honour of St.Davids Day

Being very remotely Welsh myself (My mothers grandma was born there) I feel duty bound to 'release' this new image on March 1st 2015 - St. Davids Day!

The image was actually made on a January trip to the Gower peninsula...Against all the photography rules it was made near to midday (usually a poor time for interesting light) but due to the soft overcast sky with just subtle light glancing the sea I decided to make this long exposure image.

I really wish I could have taken a picture of my predicament, I was perching on a slightly precarious looking ledge looking down across the rocks at Southgate. The wind was hammering into me and I was lying down with my legs dangling over the edge trying to provide a windbreak to protect my camera and tripod from being 'buffeted' during the 139 second exposure. 

This was very much the look I was going for, contrasting the dark craggy rocks with the relentless ebb and flow of the incoming sea...well worth lying sideways on a cliff edge for, and well worth celebrating the wonders of Wales on St.Davids Day!

To see all the #Project 33 images please click here

No.3 & 4 in the #Project 33 series...

I've had the time to let these images 'settle' and it's something I've enjoyed; having the chance to re-visit the images and assess their strengths and/or weaknesses. In the past I've been quite quick to upload images and then later looked book and wondered if I was really happy with them. With the pressure of hitting a certain number removed this year it's allowed me to 'digest' all the images from a certain trip and make sure they reflect my feelings about the atmosphere and mood I'm trying to capture.

No.3 is a another shot from Mewslade Bay, it was just as I was preparing to leave. Wet, cold and being blustered by the wind I looked back over my shoulder as I scrambled up the rocky path off the beach and saw this wonderful shape in the trenches of water that scythed through the beach. Using a 2 minute exposure I wanted to reduce the scene to it's core elements of shape and colour and highlight the pattern of the water as it links up with the shoreline and also soften the sea and sky to merge the elements into a mix of blues. I stood side on to the camera trying to protect it from the wind as I didn't want it moving during the long exposure. With fumbling freezing fingers I eventually packed up and headed back to the car in the encroaching twilight...

Mewlsade Bay No.3 - #Project 33

During my Gower trip I spent time researching and exploring new areas of the coastline for my to make images in the future. I spent sometime around the cliffs of Southgate, initially I was walking the top path and looking down trying some experimental shots of the sea meeting the cliffs using a telephoto lens, whilst there was promise in these angles it was increasingly difficult against the high winds that were smashing into me and my tripod! This was the weekend when the forecasters warned everyone on the west coast of Britain that winds of 70mph+ were incoming, that might explain why there weren't many people out!

So, I decided to try and get down off the tops and to the shoreline. The peculiar rock formations of the Gower peninsula are quite eye catching, sharp angular rocks that look like they should make up some far off planetary system protrude from the ceaseless crashing of waves off the west coast. I'd like to say I gracefully made my way over them but looking from afar I probably cut a pretty shabby and high risk figure as I teetered my way through the sharp spikes trying desperately not to impale myself.

Crouched over a smattering of these sharp protrusions (that were menacingly close to areas that wouldn't appreciate being stabbed by a sharp rock!) I made the image below, again using a longer shutter speed to soften the water and highlight the contrast between the fluidity of the sea and the resolute firmness of the rocks.

Rocks at Southgate - #Project 33

To see all the current #Project 33 images please click here


The first #Project 33 images & video...

What better way to start than on the coastline of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. I'd been to Mewslade Bay before, in fact the memory will stay with me as I ended up hiding behind a rock trying to avoid getting soaked and battered by the wind. This time I planned more strategically for low tide and the Welsh weather held out in terms of no rain and less(!) wind but it was still bitingly cold!

I knew there were some unusual rock formations that are exposed at low tide so I made my way down the slightly precarious boulder strewn approach to the beach and headed towards the high rock walls. I arrived just before low tide peaked (around 3pm) and there was still some freak waves coming in that forced a couple of quick tripod retreats (see the video below images!). There were a couple of walkers out with dogs but thankfully I remained undisturbed and focussed on trying to capture the essence of this remote bay and the brooding sky as it closed in. 

I'm really happy with these first two images, they both were produced using a neutral density filter on the lens which is basically a very dark piece of glass. This allows for a much longer exposure and streaks the water and sky nicely. I find these particularly effective when trying to convey the sense of movement and impermenance that a coastline portrays.

In the second (square crop) image I had to be very careful with the composition and cropping of the sky. There was a bank of darker cloud that the sun was penetrating with a lighter sky above. For me the top of the image needed the buffer of the darker sky to stop the eye from being drawn out to the lighter sky above, this 'frames' the scene below better in my opinion, this is an image I'm really happy with.


Introducing #Project 33 (2015)

So, after the successful completion of #Project 32 the only logical next step was #Project 33. However, I wanted to change the overall goal, otherwise if I carried on in the same way my output would need to keep increasing as the years go by, and quantity is no measure of quality.

Whilst the need to fulfil the quota for #Project 32 did 'keep me honest' in terms of motivating me, to get out and make images as the year ticked by, I've come to the conclusion that on occasion the need for numbers forced me to accept lower quality images for the collection. So, for this years Project I've taken away the need for it to be 33 images, in fact I've gone a bit looser with the interpretation of 33...

I mused on this for some time, and have tried to work 3 into the plan somewhere, after all I'm never going to be all the 3's again as the chances of living to 333 are slim...to none. So, I've decided to focus on 3 geographic locations and get the most I can out of them throughout the year. If that yields 10 or 100 images it doesn't matter the idea is to create a portfolio (small or large) from each area that I can be proud of at the end of the year. Like it? I hope so!

So, where are these 3 locations going to be and why:

1. South Wales

I've chosen South Wales because last year I really enjoyed the time I spent there. Although it's a fair drive from St Albans it's not a bad drive and there is an abundance of interesting coastline and countryside. From rocky outcrops, long swathes of sandy beaches, waterfalls galore and the impressive Brecon Beacons...there should be plenty of opportunity here for good images.

2. Berks, Bucks & Herts

I can't always be galavanting around the UK and so it was important that consideration was given to my local area. Despite there being a rather disappointing lack of coastline, mountains, waterfalls, lakes etc there is something to be said for local knowledge. I've found that the better you know the location the higher the chance of a good photographic reward. Plus, the local aspect ensures I can stay 'shooting' throughout the year.

3. Yorkshire

I've chosen Yorkshire for a couple of reasons; it's packed full of photogenic locations including countryside, coast, waterfalls, forests, and much more. Plus, I've already got a trip planned up there in March on a coastal workshop with a photographer whose work I admire and it seemed like a great way to kick start my Yorkshire explorations.

So, the hope is that with more time in a smaller number of places I can really learn to 'see' the areas better and not be forced to produce quantity but rather concentrate on quality...

To see the first images and a time lapse video of where and how they were captured please CLICK HERE

Wish me luck! Stay tuned to the newsletter and my NEW Facebook page for all the latest details, images, videos and much more.