I was at the National Botanic Garden of Wales a couple of weeks ago and as the weather was so poor I was forced in doors, not a bad option as the place has the largest single span glasshouse in the world.
Whatever your environmental concerns, and mine are many, it’s awe inspiring to sail through Milford Haven and wonder at the engineering feet that confronts you at every turn. On our trip out to the Smalls from Neyland we passed a whole array of tankers and three monsters in particular stood out.
Wales has the highest density of sheep in the world, some nine million, so it’s probably not surprising that many landscape images in my collection are dotted with small white specks, and at times I’ve been cloning out these specks not realising they were sheep at all!
There is a lot written about the rules of thirds on the Internet as an aid to photographic composition, much of it giving sound advice with regard to applying the rule, its origins and the fact that it must not be seen as the ‘holy grail’ for the creation of fine images.
This week ‘Around Every Corner’ is published. It’s very much a visual book and looks at the landscape and wildlife of the County Borough of Caerphilly in a slightly different way than most of traditional landscape books might do. It’s a publication that very much celebrates the landscape and wildlife of an area that is often overlooked in favour of its near neighbour, the Brecon Beacons. It also shows what the Landscape Services within Caerphilly County Council are protecting and promoting, often via the grant system available through the European Community.
I am currently reading Mark Cocker’s beautifully written book ‘Crow Country’ in which he goes in search of the Rooks and Jackdaws that he first encounters in the Yare Valley in Norfolk. There is a small paragraph towards the beginning of chapter six that should be read and digested by anyone who wants to look a little harder to find the extraordinary in the everyday. Although he is concerned with nature watching what he says can be applied to all aspects of looking.
‘… every time you pin a label on a living creature it reaffirms a sense of mastery over it. The naming of the thing gives you the wonderfully reassuring illusion that you know it. You don’t. Sometimes all you have is a single datum. The name. In a bizarre way, the process of recognition can actually be a barrier rather than a doorway to genuine appreciation’