Winter, apart from the occasional photo opportunity, has also given me the opportunity to catch up on some housekeeping and have a rethink of what I want to do with my photography over the coming year.
I've started with a new look to the website. Ingleborough in WinterIngleborough in winter, from Twisleton Scar, Yorkshire Dales National Park, near Ingleton, North Yorkshire, England.
(Has anyone noticed?)
I've done the usual chopping and changing, looking at different colours, styles, themes, fonts, layouts, trying one, then another. Going around in every decreasing circles only to end up back where I started. Finally, after a number of false starts, I found something that looked more of what I had in mind, so made the changes, bit the bullet and published it online.
I hope it is an improvement on the old look.
In between times I've been out with the camera in the surrounding dales. Landscape photography has, and always will be, a favourite subject of mine. I like being out doors, particularly in wild empty places. Sometimes it is a real struggle to get up and out, but it is usually worth it even if I come home empty handed photographically speaking. I suppose, in a way, photography is a little like fishing. You can spend all day and 'catch' nothing, or perhaps a few that don't quite measure up so you throw them back. Occasionally you catch something that is worth keeping.
Unfortunately, here in the UK, photography seems to be really under valued as an art form, which is a real shame. We have such a diverse range of different landscapes to choose from in such a small country, and there are some really skilled photographers who are able to capture it at its best.
As well as continuing to document the surrounding hills and valleys, what I hope to do more of this year is to put people into the wonderful landscape we are lucky to have here in the Yorkshire Dales. To capture them enjoying their surroundings, the way they interact with it and each other and compile those images into something for them to keep and treasure for the future. A selection of prints for the wall, or an album of images to keep on their coffee table or book case to share with visitors, something tangible and real.
So often in today's digital world we take photography for granted. Million of photographs are posted online each and every day to sites such as Flickr or Twitter or Facebook, to name but a few, but how many of those photographs actually get printed. Many more probably don't even make it that far, languishing on the computer drive or phone memory.
In the decades to come with these transient arrangements of electrical signals still be around? Will we still be able to access them on the computers of the future or will they be some archaic form of prehistoric computer language no longer used? Will we be able to access precious images secured in private online accounts once the owner has passed away?
The oldest picture I possess a copy of is of my great, great grandfather. It must have been taken in the early 1900's if not earlier. How many of todays digital files will still be in existence 100 years from now?
I'm not advocating that every digital picture taken should be printed, if that was to be the case the world would be stripped bare of trees to make all the photo paper required within a couple of days. Digital files are great to share online with family and friends. The internet is here to stay and many of us would struggle without it.
However, I think special images should be printed and kept. They should be annotated as to when they were taken, where, who is in the photographs, why it was taken. How many times have you rifled through a box of old photographs finding pictures of unknown individuals in unknown locations.
If a picture is worth keeping, then it should be worth printing, otherwise in generations to come there will be no photographic record, just a jumble of digital images lost in an ocean of billions of other digital files out there in the ether.