Taking Time to Stand and Stare – and Shoot

Now and then when I’m in a Wordsworthian “pensive mood”, I think of something my uncle once said: “Today you might do something for the last time.” It’s one of those arresting, sobering thoughts – a truism to remember often.

Sometimes while hiking and scrambling through the mountains and countryside I’m guilty of pushing myself along rather than slowing down to see what’s around me. And I mean properly seeing by making the most of it while I’m there. In the context of poetry again, I would do well to adapt W. H. Davis’ famous words: “What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” It’s worth taking a long look with that photographic eye that occasionally takes us beyond the cliché.

One of the outstanding joys of photography in the landscape is being able to capture what uniquely gets our attention. We may get stuck in a rut in our quest for pretty pictures. I don’t know about you, but as an enthusiast I need to think more about what appeals to me specially rather than skewing my creativity to suit the expectations of everyone else. Chances are if you truly serve your individualistic fancies you’ll shoot images that may well bomb in competitions or on your favourite photography forum. No loss there!

Of course it’s not an excuse for remiss amateurs to use lousy technique and shoot any old rubbish that grabs them. Rather it’s an opportunity to compose visual keepsakes that connect with us personally. Hopefully in the months and years that lie ahead we can look at them again and send our minds back to where we were, perhaps reliving the emotion and spirit of that time and place. We may not get another chance.

British Soldier lichen thriving in the clean bitterly cold air of County Galway.
On a Donegal beach it looks as if 100 pints of porter have lost their frothy heads.






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