I have only – yikes! – three to six weeks to get my course assessment material together and send it off, and as usual I’m doing everything at the last minute. One of the mini projects we had to do was to take the same view in all four seasons, using the same framing and showing the different seasons clearly. I agonised a bit over which view to choose – there was nowhere close enough to where I was living (when I was in Kent) that I felt would give me a clear indication of all four seasons as well as being near enough to nip out whenever the light/weather looked promising. After a bit of thought, I reckoned the view from my study window might do the job pretty well and would also pander to my tendency to be lazy. I may have mentioned before that I’m not one of those photographers who trek miles over water-logged moors and up mountains carrying shedloads of equipment.
I’d been taking shots out of this window for ages before that – when I got a bit bored with sitting at my computer I’d wander over to the window and start snapping. What intrigued me was the variety of shots I could get from a fairly unprepossessing view, and how the light constantly changed. At the time, I was still trying to decide what counted as a landscape shot, and so I checked with my tutor that this view would be OK – he said yes, and now that my originally narrow idea of landscape has expanded itself into whole new areas, I’m not sure why I ever doubted it.
So far so good, but there have been problems. The main one is that I went into photography because it made me feel free and spontaneous, so setting things up in a very organised and meticulous manner doesn’t really sit well with me. The sequence of four shots were meant to be framed in exactly the same way and taken from exactly the same viewpoint – in other words, you need to put your tripod in the same dents each time and shoot with the same focal length and so on – and this requires the kind of planning to which I have a strong aversion. It also requires the use of a tripod. I’m afraid I eschewed all this for handholding and guessing how I took the previous shots – well, it was a small window and there was only one obvious place to stand.
I was also having massive computer problems at the time, with my ancient computer recognising my external hard-drives (or not) in a very erratic way that meant my shots ended up being stashed all over the place. My old computer was too slow to enable me to use the Organiser in Elements, and kept crashing if I tried, so the photos weren’t tagged and the window images were mixed in with photos of entirely different things. I did mean to take some more shots in a much more organised and systematic fashion, but then of course we moved house……..
Several hours of my day today were spent tracking down all the shots I’d taken and getting them into one place, and then hoping desperately that I’d have four that all went together. Nobody is more relieved than me that it’s more or less worked. The seasons all look quite distinctive except perhaps for spring, but that was how spring looked out of that particular window – there wasn’t much to see of it. (Spring mostly happened on the ground around there, with bulbs poking up through the bare earth.) A little bit of judicious cropping solved the problem of the slightly erratic framing – there are some small differences in the angles of the shots and they’re certainly not identical, but to the casual eye they look pretty much the same. It’s some small comfort that the assessors have to get through a large amount of material in a short time – I can only hope they don’t look too closely. Anyway, I’ve done it now, even if it’s all been a bit haphazard.