Looking for Nuts

A much needed splash of colour after my last few Winter themed posts. Although I took these shots last October they make me think of Spring. Maybe it’s the luscious green grass, or possibly my longing for Spring to be in full swing after what feels like such a long Winter.

I had forgotten that I had taken these shots or at least forgotten that I’d not shared them. They were taken at Peasholm Park, Scarborough during our only holiday last year. Peasholm is probably one of best parks that I know for Squirrel watching and most of them are fairly tame.

Squirrels are definitely one of my favourite woodland creatures and I could spend hours watching them. Although they are usually quite skittish it is always extra special when they trust you enough to come and eat from your hand.

Update & Thank You

I would like to say thank you to my followers & readers, your support is really appreciated. Your likes & kind comments encourage me to continue to share my work & keep blogging.

I count myself as a photographer first and a blogger second. The blogging part does not come easy to me (as you can probably tell from reading my posts). Knowing what to write often has me staring at the screen as if starring in to the abyss, my mind completely blank. I have lost count the amount of times I have written a paragraph then rewrite it several times until I’m happy with how it sounds.

So my posts have been a little sporadic of late. It’s the double edged sword of lockdown & being furloughed, all the time in the world to do whatever you want (well from the comfort of your home) and having none of the motivation to do it. This past couple of months since being furloughed I am really struggling with being motivated. To my kinda followers & readers please bear with me.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve for future posts. I’ve managed to venture outside for a couple of local photo walks, which I plan to share. I am also continuing to work on ideas for my #LivingInLockdown project that I started during the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020.

Over the past few weeks I have made some minor cosmetic tweaks to my website, which hopefully make it easier to navigate. I am also working on a potential new section to my website, which hopefully will go to plan and I will be able to publish soon.

Thank you again to my followers & readers. #StaySafe.

Winter in the Park

Think I may have explored every inch of our local park over the last 12 months. As it has become the source of our exercise, outdoor escape, and photographic inspiration.

The park goes through many changes during the seasons, some subtle and some not so much. From the daffodils in bloom in Spring, the wildflowers in Summer, the grass showered in the golden leaves of Autumn, to the frozen landscapes & stick figure trees in Winter.

In Winter especially when it snows the park becomes a Winter Wonderland. I love how the snow frames the stream that runs along the edge of the park and how the trees look almost like silhouettes against the blankets of snow.

Winter may not be my favourite season, but snow brings me a little flurry of joy amidst the Winter blues. #MomentsOfJoy

Bleak Mid-Winter

Although I’m definitely not a fan of Winter, the recent snowfall has made for some nice photographic opportunities without having to venture out too far.

While out for a Winter’s walk there was quite a dense mist coming in over the fields and intermittent flurries of snow, which created some really atmospheric snow scenes. The weather may have been a bit bleak but the chilly Winter’s air was actually quite refreshing and wasn’t too cold.

As you have probably gathered there was one particular tree that caught my attention. After spending some time and many shots later trying to get the perfect photograph, I think I have achieved what I had hoped for. These particular shots although they may look black & white are in fact in colour.

I almost never go out with an image in mind of what I want to capture, a theme maybe but never a final image. I let the world around me just happen and see what catches my eye and my imagination. This Winter’s walk was no exception.

Working From Home

The ninth instalment of my #LivingInLockdown series: The world that we live in has changed in many ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has touched everyone’s lives in one way or another. One of these many changes was to the way that most people work. The UK Government advised employers to enable their employees to work from home where possible in order to try to curb the spread of the virus. Since March 2020 a high percentage of the UK workforce has now moved to working from home.

Working from home has been a major change for many people, having to adapt to a completely new way of working. Have you joined the ranks of working from home? Some people love it, some people hate it, how have you adapted?

Since this journey began both my wife and I have been working from home, we have made some adjustments along the way to adapt to our new way of working. Mainly the move of our workspace away from the dining room table to one our spare rooms that we have converted into a office. It is important to have a defined workspace that is separate from your living space so although you may be working from home, your home remains home and not your workplace.

This pandemic and lockdowns may have brought many hardships, but for me working from home has not been one of them. I quite enjoy working from home, it allows me to get on with work with less distractions from my team. Maybe it’s because I’m a little socially awkward that I enjoy the space on my own to work, while still being part of a team. The increased frequency of coffee runs, a more relaxed work atmosphere, and more flexible working hours and definitely created a better work / life balance.

#StaySafe

Winter In Lockdown

The eighth instalment of my #LivingInLockdown series. Who could have imagined that 10 months after the first national COVID-19 lockdown that we would find ourselves in yet another national lockdown.

Now we find ourselves in Winter (which inspired this post), a new year (“hello 2021”) and our 3rd national lockdown since this pandemic began 10 months ago.

This selection of lockdown photos was impromptu compared to my earlier #LivingInLockdown posts (sorry for the lack of photos). As since Autumn, due to work commitments and if I’m honest just sheer lack of motivation. I have not spent as much time recording lockdown as I did in the first lockdown back in Spring. So I took a brief moment out from working to capture the beauty of the recent snowfall from our windows.

Although I am not a fan of being cold I was quite pleased to see the snow (helped by the fact that I did not HAVE to go out in it). As it motivated me to go outside for exercise & take photos (socially distanced of course). Some of which I have already shared on a previous post “Snowfall”, I still have a few more to share when I get around to it. Part of me would be happy if it snowed for the duration of this latest lockdown.

It’s safe to say that I have found lockdown during the Autumn & Winter months harder to stay motivated. Is it because the weather is colder? Is it because lockdown/pandemic is wearing me down? Is it a combination of both of these? The colder weather has definitely made me less motivated to go outside for our allowed exercise. So as a result I have not spent as much time on outdoor photo walks as I did during Spring & Summer. I am not complaining though, we have been very lucky compared to some. Thankfully to my knowledge we have not contracted COVID-19 and are healthy, our family and friends are healthy, and we have been able to work consistently thus far during the pandemic, which I think has helped us keep a level of routine and sanity.

#StaySafe

Snowfall

The first snow of 2021 has fallen, just to confirm that Winter is definitely here, in case we didn’t realise that already. So now here in the UK we find ourselves in a frozen COVID lockdown, I guess the snow confirms that we now have had every season during the various COVID pandemic lockdowns.

As of 5th January 2021 here in the UK we find ourselves in our 3rd national COVID lockdown (although in lot of ways it feels like the lockdown has been ongoing since the initial lockdown in March 2020). As you may have seen from my lack of posts recently (due to work commitments and lack of motivation) I’ve not been out much with my camera to take new shots. Autumn pretty much passed me by, then suddenly Winter was here.

Although I hate being cold, weirdly it was the snow that motivated me to get outside for a walk and take some photos of the snow. We are still allowed to go outside for daily exercise (adhering to the COVID guidelines of course). Thankfully these snowy scenes were only just a few meters from our house. So I was able to enjoy the great frozen outdoors without venturing too far.

Instagram & Photography

I have had a mixed experience with social media with regards to sharing my photography. My photography & my initial website was born long before the creation of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) that we know today.

When I first began to use Instagram (October 2010) it appeared to be a platform for photographers & photography lovers (which is what I liked about it), sharing mobile-phone-photography shots. Trying to make creative mobile photography shots. Although I loved this new style of photography I have to admit I was a bit snobbish back then and didn’t deem mobile phone photography as “real photography”, strange how the world & your opinions change.

One of my first shots on Instagram

In my early days of using Instagram I wouldn’t include any of my Insta shots on my website/portfolio. As I’ve mentioned although I liked the medium of mobile phone photography there was a snobbish feeling that if it wasn’t taken by a “proper camera” then it wasn’t “real photography”. I’m sure I was not alone in this mindset. I’m also sure that there are many people who felt the same way about the switch from analogue to digital cameras. As people we are always suspicious of change.

Another early Insta shot (Nov’ 2010)

My generation are probably in a bit of weird time, born in between the analogue & the digital age, but hopefully are able to appreciate both. It’s safe to say I have definitely embraced digital photography and over time I have left behind the idea that mobile photography is not “real photography”. Although I do still prefer my DSLR over my phone camera.

Alcohol Art (Jan 2011)

I tend to save Instagram for my mobile photography, although I have been known from time to share some of my DSLR work on Instagram or even edit them with Instagram filters.

A more recent Instagram shot (2020)

In 2020 it feels as though Instagram has evolved more in to a platform that is open to anyone who wishes to photo-blog their day to day life (which is now a trap that I have fell in to after recently creating a personal account separate from my photography) rather than sharing the art of photography. I do feel it has lost some of the artistic flair as it’s now been diluted by life bloggers photo blogging their day to day.

That being said there are still some amazing photographers who use the service to share their work. I think my biggest bug bear of Instagram is the multitude of accounts that seem to exist purely to share other people’s work. This frustrates me, I want to follow the original creator. Although I guess they have led me to find some amazing creatives, so maybe they have their place and my point is a mute point.

Winter frost (Jan 2021)

I have come to realise that art is in the eye of the beholder, it’s open to interpretation. We can all see the same thing differently, it’s about creating something that we as the creator love, and hopefully others will like as well. How we all share and view art is also changing.

If there are any other photographers reading my post I’d be interested in your views on Instagram? Do you have accounts? If anyone wants to check out my Instagram photography account you can find it at:

www.instagram.com/ryangardenphotography

2021: Year of Hope

No one can deny that 2020 was a challenging for everyone in one way or another due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter 2021 were are still far from seeing the end of this pandemic that has gripped the world. That being said 2021 is being herald as the “Year of Hope”, after the last 10 months I’m sure we could all use a little hope.

With the idea of hope in mind it reminded me of some photos that I had taken back in October, of the “The Leaves of the Trees” a memorial exhibit by sculptor Peter Walker. The exhibit was created to honour those who have passed during the COVID pandemic.

When I heard about Peter Walker’s exhibit, and that it was coming to Sheffield Cathedral I wanted to be able to see it. These may not be not be my best shots but I thought it fitted perfectly with my #LivingInLockdown series. The exhibit was remarkable, I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to make all of the 5000 individual leaves of hope. It’s a simple yet thought provoking and humble memorial.

Related links: Sheffield Cathedral (The Leaves of the Trees) | Peter Walker (The Leaves of the Trees)

Bumblebee

Bees may not bee (pun very much intended) everyone’s favourite insect. However they are very important to the life-cycle of our planet, and how can you not love these little pollinators? They may not be the easiest subject to photograph (patience is definitely required to get the perfect shot) but when you get that perfect clear shot they are interesting subjects. Its not always easy to see them in full detail with the naked eye, but armed with my trusted zoom/macro lens I can capture them in all their glory.

Early Work

Feeling reminiscent so thought I would revisit and republish some of my early work, which dates back to 2005 and 2007.

It is weird revisiting my earlier work as it brings back so many memories of the moments when I first took these photos. A time and place a million miles away from the person that I am today. I think what stands out for me looking back at some of my early photographic work is the change in quality. What I remember being really proud of back then, I now look at, and in some cases cringe at the quality. I guess this is a testament to how far my photography skill has developed over the years. Do all photographers (or artists even) when they look back at earlier pieces of work become more critical of said work?

The 3 posts that I have selected above are nowhere near my standard of work today, I was initially hesitant about republishing these. There’s a phrase that I heard many years ago that has stuck with me “photographers & artists should only publish/display their best work” this has always played on my overly self-critical personality trait. But these are works that at the time I was really proud of and I guess I still am in part.

My early work I focused on skyscapes, sunsets and sunrises were may favourite subjects to photograph. I loved the colours that they created in the sky (I still do), almost surreal scenes. I could sit for what felt like hours watching the sun rise or set, I enjoyed the calm. It’s what in part started my love for photography capturing these beautiful moments above us.

4am Sunrise: One of the few times in my life that I have ever got up so early in the name of photography (or for anything to be honest). I remember waking up, looking at the clock, seeing 4am & not being able to get back to sleep. The hint of the sunrise catching my through my curtains and mustering the energy & motivation to grab my camera and venture outside for an early photographic adventure.


Burning Sunset: Sunsets used to completely captivate me, especially sunsets in Scotland. The deep firey-red summer sunsets were my favourite to photograph. This particular one I remember thinking it was like the sky was set on fire, what I’d expect to see watching the sun set over some tropical savannah not in the the North-East of Scotland.


Storm Brewing: This collection of photographs I took from my then bedroom window in my parents house when I still lived with them. I remember sitting on the windowsill of my bedroom window watching the sun trying to peak through the dark storm clouds as they rolled in. The countless hours I would sit on that windowsill and watch the sky.


It is slightly scary to think that it has been over 17 years since I started my adventures with photography, how my life has changed in that time (for the better) and hopefully my photographic eye and skill has also improved over the years. I still find it hard to tie myself down to a specific genre of photography, I have dabbled with many subjects over the years, from nature, still life, portraits to locations. I do find myself drawn more to photographing the natural world, as it calms me.

To my readers and followers, thank you for taking the time to ready my blog and I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I do.

Lockdown 2.0

So here in the UK (well in England at least) we find ourselves 12 days in to another country wide lockdown. All going well it should only last for a month, ending on the 2nd December 2020. Not to sound pessimistic but we were told that last time, and 3 months later it was still in effect. I’m not going to get all political or get in to my thoughts of what I think will or should happen next on here as its not the place for such ramblings. So moving swiftly on I’m taking each day as it comes and trying my best to look on the bright side of life. You can find the silver lining in most things if you look hard enough.

Although I am working throughout this second lockdown (so my free time will be limited), I want to try to record some of this second lockdown in a similar way to the last one with my #LivingInLockdown project. It will be interesting to see the differences as we’re now in Autumn heading in to Winter instead of Spring in to Summer.

#LivingInLockdown the story so far

As yet I’ve not had the opportunity to get out with my camera, we’ve not really been out for daily exercise like we did during the Spring Lockdown. The colder temperatures & wetter weather hasn’t really been encouraging us to venture out for walks.

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, lets all stay safe.