Sunday 13 November 2022

Adapting with photography this year

 So this year over all I have managed less than half of what I would normally manage photography wise, simply due to reduced strength, stamina, increased M.E symptoms, brain fog, etc. Its not just that I have struggle to physically take photos, but brain fog has been severe most of the year - meaning I often cant remember simple things that I know fine well how to do, such as settings, composition, correct lenses and approaches/techniques. Its very frustrating. Then when I do manage very limited short, minimal energy use photography - I suffer for days afterwards. So I have had little choice but to cut back and be strict, look after myself and pace all of my activities to try to reduce my M.E symptoms and improve my health. Even editing has been a struggle, also made worse as my eye sight seems to be worse - so Im planning a new eye test to see if I need new glasses.

So I have not focused so much on taking photos for awards this year, although I have managed a few simply sat in our dining room. 

I have had some good news this year, winning NPS photographer of the year for last year, which is a huge honour and I am amazed to do so - I look at other entrants images and always see work that is much better than mine, but think maybe its down to the volume of entries and consistency that helped me to win.

So I tried some abstract ICM ( Intentional camera movement) images using materials laid out on the floor whilst I sat in a chair, I quite enjoyed doing this and was able to produce some that appeared like ICM landscape images with careful arrangement of fabrics. Its a lot of trial and error but fun to do, I even won a couple of awards with these. 

I particularly love this one below which feels very much like a beach scene with grasses - I placed some faux fur where I wanted to grass look and a see through voile in layers for the "hills". 

I have also played around with creating abstract images from ICM shots I had already taken outdoors, producing several layers for multiple exposure editing. This one below was an ICM of some Silver Birches at a local park, where I duplicated the image plus another from the set and distorted it to use as extra layers with different blending modes. I shared this one with the lovely Molly Hollman ( wonderful floral photographer Molly Hollman photography) and she advised me on a tweak, which I tried out and it improved the image massively, it was just awarded Gold by the  NPS, so it just goes to show what you can produce despite being unwell. Ive added to original ICM of Silver birches as well for comparison.

Molly and I both enter a few of the same competitions ( IGPOTY, SWPP, APOTY etc) and its been lovely to have a friendship grow as a result, where we can help encourage and advise each other.  I adore her work - do check it out in the link above. Recently we managed placements in APOY close up round, with Molly coming first and me second.  Check the results  out here APOY close up results

I had hoped to photograph lots of still life photos this year, and whilst I did manage a few, I did not complete any of the specific projects that I have started - which I intended to use as portfolios entries in IGPOTY etc, so I will simply continue with this when I am able. I was truly astounded to be awarded first place in the IGPOTY still life category this year, as well as two commended, I cant believe that I have won this competition for two years in a row - bonkers. Funnily enough the winning image and commended ones where ones that I really did not feel would do well - just shows what I know !
 Here is a link to the winning images, I particularly love Marion Buccellas images.
 Below are some of my favourite still life images Ive produced this year, I went through a spell of creating images with shadows lighting using home made gobos. 

I also had some success with the IGPOTY macro category, coming third with the image below, which really blew my mind as Peter Sabol ( Peter Sabols website  was first place and he is one of my favourite macro wildlife photographers, and Tony North ( Tony Norths website ) came second, someone whose work I really admire, especially as he excels in many genres. Do check out the results and look these photographers up. IGPOTY macro project winners

I was thrilled to get a gold award for a macro image taken at my dining table - focus stacked using Michaels Z6 - with both the SWPP and NPS. Im hoping to take more like this - although the dining table is currently set up for jewellery making :D, so it will have to wait.

Ive really missed getting out taking photos of mushrooms this year, Ive tried 3-4 times but simply wasnt managing. Finding fungi whilst exploring on a mobility scooter isnt easy, terrain  is super bumpy and difficult on a scooter and it takes every scrap of my energy just getting round many woodland trails. so by the time I find a good specimen, trying to set up with lights, get good composition and settings right - despite lying down, was absolutely exhausting and each time Ive attempted it I was beyond exhausted extremely quickly. It takes a lot of effort and concentration getting things spot on and I simply did not manage at all, and had to give up rapidly, still with severe M.E. symptom payback for days afterwards. Its hard not being able to do what you love, and fungi photography is way up with my favourite subjects. I love being out in the woodlands, especially when there is nobody around, I love the trees, moss, fungi, just being in nature. Im sure I will get back to it as my health picks up at some point. My favourite local nature spots with decent paths have been inaccessible since storm Arwen, but they are finally starting to clear the paths now, unfortunately we have to wait until spring before certain paths are properly accessible for mobility scooters - something to look forward to. 
I did find the fungi below and these two are pretty much all Ive managed this year, which is better than nothing. Parrot waxcaps are amongst my favourites. 

So its been a strange year for me photography wise, but as always I will adapt and do what I can whilst my body and brain arent playing ball, and I will be grateful what I have and can do, even if I am restricted, there are always those worse off. I have a new blog now where I will add my creative journeys with art, crafts and jewellery making - hobbies I have turned to that take less energy, stamina and concentration ( sometimes) to occupy myself whilst Im not managing photography. 

Fungi season and the challenges of doing photography when having M.E.

 Well Fungi season really kicked off early in the north east (UK) with July giving us mushrooms we often would not see until September/Octob...