Flower of Scotland

I’m sure that I am being stereotypically Scottish by saying that Thistles are one of my favourite flowers, but it’s true they are. These in particular are quite special as they are home grown. We have been growing Thistles in our garden for a few years now and they never fail to disappoint. Apart from being beautiful flowers to photograph they attract insects such as bees and butterflies (doing our bit for the pollinators), I’m not one to waste a photographic opportunity when these insect visitors come calling.

I love the colour of these Thistles, the radiant purple spikey flower heads that always look bright come rain or shine. As well as helping bring wildlife into our garden and giving me another source of photographic inspiration, growing these Thistles is like having a little bit of Scotland in our Yorkshire garden.

Dark Frost

As we say goodbye to Winter and welcome back Spring I thought I would share a last glimpse of Winter for another year. Dark Frost is a set that I actually created last Winter (2019). After these photographs sat dormant in my archive it felt the right time to share them now.

I wanted to try something a little different with these shots, which resulted in a more heavily edited set than my usual work. I normally prefer to apply soft editing techniques such as tweaking histogram levels, saturation, etc. Trying to leave the captured image as natural as possible. This time though I felt the urge to be a little more creative, a little more artistic. So after playing around creating various different effects I finally came up with “Dark Frost”, which in my opinion really brings out the feeling of how cold it was when I first took these shots. I wanted to create something darker than my normal work, which I think it’s safe to say I have achieved that. Sometimes it’s good to go dark, as long as you come back to the light.

Little Robin

On a nature walk a couple of weekends ago we spotted this little chap. Robins can be so tricky to photograph as they rarely sit still long enough to capture the perfect shot. Thankfully on this occasion this little Robin posed quite contently as I photographed him.

As the weather is starting to warm up slightly I’m trying to find the motivation to go out for walks, which I’m not finding easy at the moment. But when I do find the motivation to venture out with my camera for nature walks and you spot sights such as this it makes it all the more worthwhile. It reminds you how important it is to try and connect with nature on some level.

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.

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

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

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