It ‘s not often I give a nod towards celebrating Valentine’s Day …. the commercialisation that has developed around it is not to my taste. But this year we all seem to be feeling the fragility of life, and the importance of our close relationships. So I’ve been shooting some heart-shaped images. Here using the miniature bench I found recently.
There’s something haunting about this image that appeals to me. The bench, sitting in the sunshine surrounded by nothing but shadows is poignant. And my mind made a link with the current major news event – a massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The complete devastation of entire towns and cities – and the plight of those homeless ‘lucky’ survivors lost in a world of rubble.
February began here with wild storms, which brought back memories of last year, when we were recovering from Storm Arwen, and counting the cost in every way, especially health. Six days with no power left a long legacy – it took many months to recover, and feel warm again. This year we have got more emergency supplies in store, but are apprehensive about a bad winter.
The other thread that runs through everything is the run-away inflation. Managing the running costs of our home, keeping warm and properly fed – these were not things we expected to be concerned about in the 21st century. But I find myself recalling my early childhood when rationing was a major part of daily life, and the everyday budget was always to the forefront of my mother’s mind!
13 years of Tory ‘austerity’ have cut the UK to the bone – there is no excess meat on the bone! Add in Brexit, and we were on our knees as a nation before Russia invaded Ukraine.
The best we can do is to keep a close eye on the finances, and try to keep a healthy and optimistic frame of mind! Plenty of rest, plenty of binge watching using our smart TV, and as much photography as possible!
Using my favourite old Helios 44-2 lens, shooting one of my newest miniature vases from Yuta Segawa with just a few wisps of last year’s hydrangeas. Set in the cool winter sunshine.
One of my fun ways to enjoy indoor (winter) shooting is to play with everyday things such as cutlery, and enjoy experimenting with their bright surfaces!
One thing that is a direct consequence of the pandemic is that I have lost touch with all my assorted cameras and lenses! I have collected so many lenses, and several makes of camera too over the 11+ years of photography. Lenses for all kinds of subjects, all kinds of weather, and all manner of optical effects.
As 2020 began we suddenly found ourselves in lockdown and ‘shielding’ too. Suddenly the extent of my photographic ‘canvas’ shrank to indoors. As the warmer weather came our favourite places to walk and shoot were closed. Activity, exercise, and photographic opportunities were virtually nil!
And over those 3+ years I have had cameras and lenses that have never (or only rarely) seen the light of day. I have begun to consciously choose a couple of ‘unused’ lenses to work with, but I am finding that it takes more than a week or two to re-familiarise with a lens! I need longer to be able to effortlessly get the kind of results I could pre-pandemic!
So my current lenses are Lensbaby optics (several optics on 2 NEX-6 bodies) and Helios 44-2 and 44-M on NEX-6 and NEX-7 bodies.
This is a Lensbaby Sweet 40 with added 8mm macro ring. Usually the Sweet 50 would be a ‘go to’ lens for walking around Leith Hall gardens or Fyvie Castle.
And this is my oldest Helios lens, a 44-2 that is frozen at F2. Here catching ice droplets on the Japanese plum tree by our gate. No buds yet, but I am beginning to get the lens outdoors once again!
The 3 cameras I have kept using all through the pandemic are my main macro camera, A Sony 77m2 with the 100mm tele-macro lens – an original Sony RX100 – a Sony RX10m3.
Yes – I am a Sony camera lover!
So the addition of the two specialised lenses has kept me busy since last Christmas. I’ve still got a lot more to explore, with the lenses and additional macro rings. But I feel I am making a start!
Here using the Lensbaby double glass optic for a landscape shot across the howe. The typical lensbaby focus and fly-away blur. Just walking along to the Kirk. Rendered in B+W.
And my ‘go to’ lens for shooting across the howe – the Sony RX10m3. Usually much used to shoot during trips up the coast, or at Leith Hall, where there are good distance shots to be had.
And my main way of recording the landscape as we drive along (mainly going shopping!) The RX100. In all kinds of weather, travelling at speed, it can capture such amazing images!
And so February has passed, with me trying to keep warm, cheerful and active. Avoiding the news is a significant positive step! There is little I can do to effect what goes on in the country or in the wider world. Luckily we have had no power cuts, so both Sky Box and smart TV streaming channels have kept us both entertained!
Flickr holds Elisa’s online Photo Gallery
© 2023 Elisa Liddell