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.
And so the new year begins …. and I have some new things to celebrate. I have finally found the lightest spectacles I have ever seen. So light I hardly know I’m wearing them. Rimless and with thin titanium arms they have revolutionised the seeing experience for this reluctant late-comer to the world of varifocal specs. I just had to photograph them in celebration!
I have added a new ‘small world’ to my photo prop collection. Inspired by a fellow Flickr-ite I discovered Minimum World where they make miniature furniture and more. All hand-made and beautiful.
So I am beginning to explore the ways in which I can combine my love of macro photography with all the possibilities of story telling that these new finds can offer.
In the dark days of winter I have been shooting indoors, and I love to play with prisms, glass and light ….
Add a brightly coloured scarf as a backdrop, and there are so many surprises for the camera lens – and for me too! Not quite an abstract, but it is difficult to discern the elements.
Take the same elements of prisms and glass surfaces and shine LED lights of several colours at them, and more mysterious abstracts appear. Move the lights or the prisms a little and the image changes…
Another way to use the photographic potential of the winter months, is the low winter sun. The sun is late to rise, and never reaches the heights of the Spring or summer months. So catching the moments when the sun does shine, there are long shadows to be captured.
Catching that low winter sun shining through the window. The shadows are not deeply strong and dark … but they can seem to stretch on forever!
Position the subject just right, and at ‘high noon’ the sun has enough intensity to give multiple shadows. There is so much fun to be had with just 2 forks!
But January wouldn’t be complete without recording the latest venture into the world of technology. Yes … time to upgrade the technology we all depend on more and more as so much of daily life moves online. So, a new iPhone was added to our tech. store. I was fortunate enough (if that is the right word) to fall down the rabbit hole into the world of Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome when the first developments of what would become today’s smartphones were happening. And I got into the cutting edge tech of the time back in the 1990s, while running a website called FoxPop. On the website I could follow and review the latest gadgets from Psion and Geofox in the UK. “The Geofox One was a sub-notebook styled PDA that used Psion’s EPOC32 OS in 1997.” And later we added the Blackberry, and other handheld organisers. Developments in miniaturisation led to handheld organisers and small laptops coming closer and closer in size and power… until we have a smartphone today that is many times more sophisticated and powerful than a large laptop of 2000! The years I spent running the FoxPop website gave me a head start in understanding the technological revolution that has swept the 21st century world into the online, connected, digital world it is today. So – despite being in the age-range of those who struggle with modern smartphones – I enjoy the ever changing and ever challenging world of personal technology.
And so 2023 begins. This it the third year of my online Journal, and each year has confounded my thoughts as I sat and looked into the possible shape of the coming months. Maybe weaving plans and expectations for the year ahead is not really a wise move! But it’s a natural, human thing to do … to make shapes of the future, and to make stories of our past. Maybe all journals should be written only in retrospect. I confess that I have fewer ideas about what lies ahead in 2023 – fewer than I expected I’d have. The last 3 years have completely shaken up all our plans and expectations. I guess that is the nature of a pandemic – a global event that reshapes the world. All I can do is describe where I am now, where the UK is now, and where the wider world is now … as seen from this small corner of the Scottish highlands.
Personally we (Mike and I) still treat the pandemic as active, along with ‘flu and several other winter infections. So we live a quiet life of ‘shielding’ and wear masks when shopping etc. This is unusual now, as most people try to act as if the pandemic is over. But cases are still fluctuating, and the advice in Scotland has changed to mask wearing in crowded public places – ventilation and social distancing. There is no functioning NHS. Under-funded and overstretched for 13 years it is collapsing around us. Indeed all public services are collapsing: teachers, local government workers, train drivers, social care workers … so many are striking after 13 years of ‘austerity’ which meant pay freezes all round. The tipping point came in the final months of last year, as rocketing inflation has driven more workers to need Food Banks to even eat minimally. The UK government is doing nothing, waiting for ‘public opinion’ to turn against the strikers, and the strikers to be starved back to work. It sounds Dickensian, doesn’t it …. and it feels Dickensian too, living through it!
January …and the journey begins with some new delights.