12 for 2019

2019 – a year of many changes and new chances. It was sometimes as difficult to pick one photo per month as it was for my grandson to select the best reed. That at least suggests I’m improving with photography though still a long way to go but that is no bad thing – so here’s to 2020! And a Happy New Year to all.

February: Revisiting old haunts in the East of England
You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass

Seamus Heaney

April ~ Surprises in the new garden
If you were here,
I’d pluck this trembling globe to show
how beautiful a thing can be
a breath will tear away.

Jean Nordhaus

June ~ London a high speed train ride away & some delightful visitors
It is better to be a young June-bug than an old bird of paradise
–  Mark Twain “

August ~ everything in the garden is rosy
I love the hay grass when the flower head swings
To summer winds and insects happy wings
” John Clare

October ~ nothing better than Jim to cheer me on a sad anniversary
“yet still I know
how senseless this sense of absence
since spirit is a boundless thing”

December ~ sunset on the village duck pond
  How like a winter hath my absence been
       From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!

W. Shakespeare

Tracing the year through some of my best captures and joining the lens artists photo challenge for Fave Photos of 2019

Two take on a quote

Life on flat land is too easy for a lazy heart.
Charley Lyman ~ Life in Portofino ~ made this comment on my blog which inspired us to write these poems in response

Adventures with a lazy heart ~ Laura Bloomsbury

Blind at first, in a haze of love laziness
sweetly swooning and prone to the horizontal
taking tumbles into a Midsummer night’s dream*
a spellbound fairy queen, lovely fool
of the sylvan scene, more ass head
than the well-beloved – those donkeys
braying balefully for fresher blood

Then full haste to a heterotopian haven
past the headland of hiatus, headlong into frothing
tossing seas, taking up arms with plundering pirates
and sea-legged as sailors in every Northern port of call
my body keel-hauled, I walked the plank and sank
through a tangled duct of valves and ventricles

Inside the chamber of the heart, in a pulsing play
the well-met by moonlight* joined head
and hands with mine, for an every day scramble
months of mountaineering and the uphill, years-long
struggle at the crossroads, decisions of direction
and riddles as prompt from an existential Sphinx
– until the beating stopped

*converse of Oberon’s speech to Titania in Shakespeare’s’ Midsummer Nights Dream

One of the More Unsettling Aspects of Human Geography -Charley Lyman

Oh, God, save me from the topography of ease!
How can love grow on straightaways? Accelerating
only. Never braking, upshifting, taking the corners —
never, never, never climbing the grade, reaching
a summit to fly recklessly down. Slight, rolling,
almost imperceptible undulations of emotional
entanglement; yet not tangled for you and I travel
in the same, unimaginably predictable direction,
and we become complacent, secure in our love.

Life on flat land is too easy for a lazy heart.

with thanks to Charley @ Life in Portofino for the inspirational quote and the pleasant surprise at seeing how differently we see things

Cropping with aspect ratio

Now is a good time to review the 2019 photo archive. The ever-ready delete button helps separate ‘the wheat from the chaff’ but before I do so, I like to review and examine why the photo did not work (aside from the obvious technical fails of light & clarity which even post editing never quite puts right).

  • What was I after in taking this photo?
  • Is the focus there but too distant/blurred/uninteresting?
  • Is there a way of cropping in the subject matter?
    – can I crop without losing clarity
    – should I change the aspect ratio with a crop

Cropping is not just about removing blemishes but also offers a re-framing opportunity which may give better focus. I tend to capture images on a 4:3 ratio and as is evident from the following, this is not always the best frame.

January 2019 ~ 4:3 uncropped
[Reflections look good without the 2/3rd rule – wide and deep]
February 2019 ~ 16:10 crop
narrower view emphasises the cosy corner of the quay
March 2019 ~ 11:8.5 crop
always a challenge keeping the heights where the focus includes low horizontals
April 2019: 16:10 crop
greater feeling of intimacy along the bluebell path
May 2019 ~ 16:10 crop
reducing water and sky to focus on the London skyline
June 2019 ~ 16:9 crop
emphasises vastness of wheat field and keeps focus on distant re-vegetated slag heap
July 2019 ~ crop 5:4
a softer focused crop than the square
August 2019 ~ 6:4 crop
narrowing the landscape to bring viewer in closer
September 2019 ~ 16:10 crop
dispensed with unnecessary surrounds which gave an empty, distant feel for this quay
September 2019 4:3 uncropped
perfect ratio for the eyeline of this more abstract shot with colour cross-prcessing
October 2019 ~ 7:5 crop
keeping the vastness of the scene but hemming the subject into view
November 2019 ~ 16:9 crop
almost managing a panorama of Plymouth
December 2019 ~ 11:8.5 crop
getting in on the detail of the Christmas pot-pourri

Conclusion: To a great extent, the subject/scene determines aspect ratio for visual satisfaction but were I to want to print images then 4:3 or 3:2 are the best fit for standard paper sizes. My camera has 4 aspect ratio settings: 3:2; 4:3: 16:9; 1:1 – I should try using these variations more often, rather than cropping later.

Note: For those who like 1:1 ratio, Becky is Squaring the ‘-light’ in 2 weeks

How to know which aspect ratio to use in your photography

Introspectives:  thinking out loud with an aim to improve and learn more about photography. Hence the images are not always for show – feedback is welcome.