The Yorkshire Wolds lie immediately on my doorstep so I feel lucky to call this place home. The Wolds are the 'bread basket' of the country and large scale agriculture is evident. Yet this is a tranquil landscape, largely untouched by modern infrastructure. There are no major cities, for example. It is cycling and walking heaven if it is solitude that you seek. I've explored the Wolds for over thirty years on my bicycle (a scary thought!) and have come to know the place quite well, but there is always something new to discover.
If you've been fortunate enough to see the David Hockney exhibitions at Salts Mill (highly recommended!) you might be aware of a road on the Wolds that runs from Bridlington to Kilham, called Woldgate. The video installation there, filmed in glorious winter conditions, was shot on Woldgate. I decided to have a wander around the area when the fog rolled in at the weekend.
It was the middle of the day when I headed out and I was half expecting the fog to lift. Luckily it didn't; to my surprise, thick frost was still clinging to tree branches creating a really mystical landscape. I had two cameras with me on this particular afternoon. A little palm-sized but powerful Sony RX100IV and a recently acquired (stolen from my Dad) Instax 100, which I thought would be a bit of fun.
Ok, I admit it, I was like an excited kid with the toy-like Instax in my hands! We are used to instant photography these days with our smartphones but this is an altogether different and wonderful form of instant photography. Watching the images develop in our hands, one is filled with a sense of anticipation as to how the thing will turn out! I wasn't expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised with these lo-fi pictures as they unveiled themselves before me. The Instax film rendering the muted scenes really well, evoking a moody gothic air. I found the whole experience with the Instax to be fun and the pictures serve as a really personal visual diary. None of them are going to make it into my portfolio but my plan is to use them as photographic 'sketches' which I'm placing into a scrapbook.
Before you know it however you've very quickly rattled through the film which provides a mere 10 shots, working out at about £1 a go - so not exactly cheap by this Yorkshireman's standards!
With the film in the Instax all used up it was time to pull out the little Sony RX100IV. I've had this little beast for a couple of years now and I can highly recommend it as a go-anywhere camera for hikers and cyclists, or indeed any outdoor activities. It really is palm-sized with a great 24-70mm Zeiss lens and impressive dynamic range. It also has about a billion features that I'll never use including impressive video. I'd go so far as to say that images from this could most definitely make it into a professional portfolio. This is a great little camera for anyone from beginner to experienced pro wanting a pocket size camera to have at all times.
From the workshops I've run and the messages I often receive it seems folk do worry rather a lot about kit, which is partly the reason for this blog post. A few people have also asked recently what kit they'd need to attend one of my workshops. Well I have to say that it really doesn't matter. A great option would be an entry level DSLR and tripod, but to be honest you could turn up with a phone camera or a bag full of the latest kit with a myriad of lenses. You will still hopefully learn how to make impactful images and compose scenes of an interesting nature. There is definitely no kit snobbery here! So dig out your polaroid, old film camera, high end medium format digital, etc, etc... it really isn't about kit. The aim of workshops is to improve your skills, perhaps technically, or to help with composition and, importantly, connecting with the subject to portray your own thoughts about it.
I hope you enjoyed this little blog post. I had a lot of fun making these images and writing this piece.
Speaking of workshops I have one place left for my Spurn Point Coastal Visions workshop on 6th March. It would be great to see you there at this truly wild peninsula. You can book here.
I also have availability for my Saltwick Bay workshop on 20th March, and in Autumn for my Wastwater workshop - book here.
Lastly, thanks so much for the great feedback on my Winter Solitude photo boxsets. I've really loved putting these together and the first one to be ordered is making it's way to Alberta, Canada! A very wintry place indeed where I'm told that it's currently -40!
That's all for now!