Published on: 13th December 2016
By F11 Magazine
I awake in the gloom before dawn, and as always I play over in my mind what the day holds. Publishing schedules are crowding in, as ever, plus I’ve the Video Blog to edit, always a time-consuming task, so an early start at the coalface in the office is a given. As for time behind the lens, that will just have to wait, for now – deadlines are deadlines. Then I glance out of the window.
At 6am on a winter’s morning it’s still dark, but even so I can see that the world outside is covered in a thick layer of hoar frost; the trees in our garden are hanging with it. I struggle with my dilemma: ignore the conditions yet again and plug on dealing with life’s commitments, or go for it. But today there’s no choice really; conditions like this only happen a few times each winter, so I can’t let the opportunity pass. A brief dither over coffee about where to head, then I’m out of the door, all thermal-layered up as if I’m in Iceland, battered Lowepro on my back, new Gitzo on my shoulder, heading upstream from our house. If in doubt, work what lies on your doorstep; that’s the mantra I’m following today.
As soon as I’m trudging through the fields, the frosty grass crunching underfoot, relief floods over me. The prevarication is banished; I’ve just got to do what I do now. Almost immediately I spot a willow tree etched in ice beside the babbling brook of the Gascoigne. I walk past here virtually every day and I have rarely given this particular scene a second glance, yet this morning all is transformed. The sculpting of the frost transforms every branch and blade of grass into an art form, while the all-enveloping fog conceals much of life’s confusion. This looks like a good place to start; get on with it, Noton.
You can read all about how that frosty shoot came together in the December edition (Issue 59) of the Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine, and see the aforementioned Video Blog about The Lake in northern Ontario with its accompanying Behind the Lens feature, not to mention a Field Trial of the very lens I used, the usual two Post-Production Video Tutorials, Bas Meelker reporting from Norway, Ben Pipe from Mumbai, Domenico Innocenzi from Tuscany, and your f11 Member’s Gallery. To cap it all, f11 regular Ross Hoddinott ruminates in his monthly column on the very same photographer’s angst that almost had me heading into the office rather than out into the fields. Clearly I’m not alone.
It’s all there for our f11 Members. If you’re not yet an f11 Member, you can now see what you are missing every month in a FREE sample issue with the usual monthly mix of features, tutorials, field trials, columnists and a guest feature that we’ve pulled together for you to peruse. Photography spanning the globe to inspire and inform: that’s us; so with a certain festive period rapidly approaching, an f11 Membership Gift Certificate really does make a special Christmas present for a special person.
I must admit, I am intensely proud that our whole f11 project incorporating the Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine is five years old in January 2017. Just to recap, this magazine is published exclusively for our registered f11 Members who pay an annual subscription of £39.00. f11 Members get full access to all 59 back issues plus free downloads of my three ebooks, along with the option of winning tasty prizes and kudos by entering our annual f11 Member’s Your Vision Competition. If you’re still not sure what it’s all about, there’s a video explaining it all.
A few days later I’m back in the office, again. The December issue of the Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine has just gone live, but there’s still a pile of stuff to wade through; there always is, particularly after spending so much of the months since summer on the road. The joy of my frosty session behind the lens just days ago is fading as I plough on, momentarily exasperated by a shaft of low winter sunlight that shines through the window and onto my screen, curtailing my activities in Lightroom. This is madness; there’s only one thing for it – enough of the office, I’m heading for Dancing Ledge.
For a few hours, as the winter light fades, it feels like I have the whole of the Jurassic Coast to myself. Incredibly, I have never photographed at Dancing Ledge before. And I thought I knew this coast like the back of my hand! Clearly not. Just as I did on that frosty morning on the banks of the Gascoigne, the stream that runs right past our house, I feel inspired and motivated to keep exploring, not just on the far side of the world, but also just down the road. That in a nutshell is what the f11 project is all about – inspiration and motivation. Join us.
Keep exposing, and from all of us at David Noton Photography, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.