There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
This quote, delivered by Brutus in Act 4 of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar crops up regularly in fiction, from Agatha Christie to PG Wodehouse. Paraphrasing wildly, I take it to mean that we should seize opportunities and not be afraid to go with the flow. So this week I did just that.
For weeks, nay months, now I’ve rarely got out with a camera. Something always got in the way be it domestic chores, (grand)child care or, inexcusably, that the weather wasn’t that good. So last week I determined that on the three days when I didn’t “have” to be at home all day I would go out with the cameras for the morning and see what I could come up with.
Bright, sunny, cloudless blue sky. Undaunted, at 7:15am I threw camera and drone in the car and headed for Ringstone Edge Reservoir, not far from where I live in West Yorkshire.. The aim was to scout the location and identify possibilities for future shoots. My thought was that if I went and explored the access, ascertained parking opportunities, sized up the likely compositions and with the help of The Photographers Ephemeris identified where the sun set and rose I would be better placed when the light was “right” to take advantage of conditions. I produced a short video for the blog detailing my mornings work.
The outcome? There definitely is potential for both still and aerial photography at the reservoir and I have identified several key vantage points from which to shoot in the future and also noted what conditions are likely to be best at each. It was far too windy for the Mavic to be too far away from me so I contented myself with some aerial landscapes with the drone reasonably close to me, albeit ninety feet above me at times. I found the drone really effective for taking landscapes from around twenty feet up which gives a different perspective compared to a tripod-mounted shot. I will definitely return with both a stills camera and the drone when the opportunity arise.
Harden Beck is a stream that flows from Hewenden Reservoir to the River Aire in Bingley, West Yorkshire. The beck flows through Goit Stock Wood, which is known for being a good example of broadleaf woodland and cascades over Goit Stock waterfall which is 20 ft high. The waterfall was known as Hallas Lumb until the early 1820s when its name was changed to Goit Stock.
Tuesday dawned bright and sunny with another cloudless blue sky. Yet, at 7:10am I was bounding out of the door with camera bag in hand and heading for the door. I had been to this location previously but had never approached it from the south before so was accessing the falls from a different angle. In the end I shot mainly video footage on the Fuji X-T20 and produced a short video for this blog but I also managed a few reasonably decent monochromes which were a bonus. So another successful outcome.
Would the impetus see me through the week for the final planned excursion on the Friday? Or would the necessity of being at home Wednesday and Thursday return me to my normal lethargy?
7am. Grey skies, heavy drizzle and a 10% chance of it raining at any given point of the day. What is a photographer to do when the house is warm and he’s half way through an excellent novel? Why jump in the car of course!
Stopping briefly at a well-known fast food outlet for a breakfast wrap I headed for Ogden Water Country Park & Nature Reserve, also in West Yorkshire. There are lots of paths to explore as you walk round the reservoir going well up into the woods and beyond but I chose a short circular walk through the first area of woodland and along one side of the reservoir. It was still drizzling steadily when I arrived but I walked to the top of the picnic area which gives a great view over the reserve and happily ate my breakfast and supped black coffee from the flask I had brought with me.
Whereas Monday had been mainly about stills photography and endeavouring to grab some drone footage this trip turned out to be mostly a test of my videography skills. It was a very productive three hours as I concentrated for the first time on simply shooting for video rather than trying to think about stills and moving imagery. I’ve yet to edit the footage together but I had a quick look this morning and am hopeful that I’ve got the material for another in my “Recce” series of blog posts and associated videos.
Oh and that 10% chance of rain? Make it 90% and it would be nearer the mark!
So, I really made the effort this week. Identifying three days when I had the opportunity to get out of the house with my cameras and making sure I did just that. It’s too easy to take the easy option and sometimes we do need to seize the day as it were. It’s Saturday as I write this and I am already looking at the weather forecast for next week. Once again I am going to be free to wander Monday, Tuesday and Friday next week and Brutus’ words are already ringing in my ears.