Any artist worth his salt has to evolve. His work has to improve, and it has to demonstrate
some kind of opinion, skill and style, whilst at the same time having some quality
that makes people want to look closely at it. Hopefully an image will offer something
to think about to those prepared to do so. It is tricky indeed, make no mistake about
that, and the most important thing for me is that somebody should look and appreciate
what it is that makes an image that I have taken, interesting. We all live in hope
that others see and appreciate the same things as we do. The alternative is too lonely
and depressing to contemplate.
So we went back to Wales as we always do in the spring. We go to photograph redstarts
and pied flycatchers and this year was no exception. It was no exception in that
I never took a single worthwhile picture of either but the wonder of spring and the
welsh hills was all around. How could I not catch the details in the landscape that
Life is all about spring. New life strains at its protective buds and bursts free,
in a riot of pale, fresh greens and yellows. The contrasting colours in this landscape
are a mesmerising sight. Out in the open, there was a more pastel feel to everything,
whether it was those pale new leaves or the washed out grasses left over from the
soon to be forgotten winter. Out here the bracken was dry and rusty, but down near
the river in among the old twisted oaks and alders, like everything else, its colour
was saturated by darkness and damp.
Wherever there is water, there is moss and the rich greens, browns and yellows of
this simple plant are the background to everything. Trees and rocks cloaked in thick
spongy cushions of it, offer a purchase to tree seedlings and primroses alike, not
to mention other ancient vegetation such as ferns, lichens and liverworts.
Everywhere I look in these mountains and valleys, I see something that fills me with
wonder. There is nothing more beautiful than nature doing its own thing and up here
in the hills, there is endless variety. By the time we left, I really couldn’t have
worried that once more, I had failed with the redstarts, or that my flycatcher images
just looked like everybody else’s.
Once more I find that back at home when I open the camera’s files, it is a selections
of localised vignettes that catch my eye. A fountain of tiny lime green leaves pouring
from a tall tree by a gate, half an acre of soft feathery faded grasses hanging like
a mist in the bottom of the valley. Thick mosses sporting elegant and pretty primroses
at the water’s edge and the billowing, voluptuous new clothes of trees in varying
stages of dress.
It is the foreshortening effect of a long, wide aperture lens that gives all of these
a painted feel. It is fast becoming my style and my preferred way to work. One day
my redstart will come along but I’m no longer in the hurry that I once was. Maybe
I am getting old, but wandering through this landscape snapping away at the things
that caught my eye with a good and like-minded friend for company felt like true