Sunday, 11 September 2011

Going back to my roots.....

It's a labourious task looking through the job vacancy listings and not being able to see the wood for the trees, it all seems to merged into a grey splodge on the screen that you can no longer focus on! You eventually find positions you know you can do but are no-longer 'qualified' for; times have moved on, procedures have changed, technology has advanced and you're left up a certain creek without a paddle! Times they are a-changing as the saying goes..... So I'm going back into education, it will cost a small fortune but it's in subjects I've wanted to do for years yet haven't got around to; Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Dreamweaver, AKA the Adobe Creative Suite. I'm not getting any younger either!

All the way through my teens and early 20's I was forever armed with my camera, snapping away all over the dales, forests, fields, towns and cities. I was once part of the Barnard Castle Photography Club and made some great friends there, we also had full access to the awesome Darlington Media Workshop which is still run today by Paul Dillon, an all round good chap. What he and his posse don't know about photography isn't worth knowing! So I learned how to develop and process my own film and photographic prints, one thing lead to another and I ended up at the University of Northumbria studying for a Contemporary Photography Degree. Then I left education, struggled to find full time employment with photography (let's face it I was in the arse-end of the country as far as 'proper' work was concerned) and upped sticks to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Once there I stumbled into the job I'm still (swearing and grudgingly) still doing ten years to the day, argh! Needless to say the cameras had been put down and left to gather dust. I know full well that I have completely and utterly let my family down by doing this, such was their support and encouragement for me over the previous years, and I'm very sorry.

I have found getting back into photography very, very, very intimidating, it's all down to technology you see, I never trained with digital. Ironically it came in just as I was leaving University, damn it! It actually scares me. Well until now, I really MUST do something, I'm bored to tears with the day job, sick of dealing with the same people's shit each and every day!

Being in London there is ample access to photography exhibition upon photography exhibition upon photography exhibition and these have re-ignited the old juices to get back into 'the death of a moment' again. So..... cue: signing up for adult education very soon, currently emailing back and forth to sort out my disability support, alas they can't afford a note-taker but I reckon with my implant assisting my lip-reading it will be fine. I need to reply to their latest email with regards to meeting the head of the course and discussing things face to face, which will be being done as soon as I finish this blog update!

I have been slowly re-arming myself with photography gear, at the moment it's all 35mm based around a Pentax ME Super. These cameras are built like tanks and give great pictures, I can't ever see me using a different type of 35mm camera. Lenses are being picked up for next to nothing now and again off eBay as was a Manfrotto tripod which I got for peanuts. As far as digital goes however the boat will be being pushed out as soon as funds allow for probably a Canon 7D, a rather pricey bit of kit (and again another reason why I am so intimidated by digital).

So this ball is now officially rolling, I've always been a creative, I inherited my father's genes (by the way, he'll deny he's a creative, yet he does carpentry, 'nuff said!). When you're in full time office based employment (or at least it seems in my case) you have your soul completely destroyed and everything goes stale. You need to wake yourself back up, rein yourself back in and take stock, i.e. kick yourself up the arse and tell yourself to stop moping, which is actually easier said than done I add!

On the look out for a good, higher end, Plustek film scanner at the moment, that way I can get my 'back catalogue' of negatives scanned properly ready for digital manipulation, and hoping that they haven't been too damaged over time..... *gulps*. The rest of the creative suite is a natural progression. Have wanted to learn to build websites (Dreamweaver) since goodness knows when, this will all tie in nicely with video editing (Premiere Pro) and graphic illustration (illustrator) ..... so here goes!

Will keep you all in the loop, Lee x

Friday, 2 September 2011

That Sideways Glance.....

That sideways glance that always gets you and triggers the old memory box. Driving around the countryside, sat in the passenger seat of the car and each time when passing a cyclist, wham……..

Suddenly you’re riding out of Barney, up past the Glaxo factory, you know the hills ahead, you count them down. Up towards Egglestone, passing the Moss Mire telecoms mast on Windy Hill keeping the cadence going, back in the days when you were actually fit. Suddenly the sweeping Upper Teesdale panorama opens out in front of you, the meandering River Tees at the bottom of the valley framed by the rugged stonewalled fields. Plunging down Folly Top and taking the right after the garage at the junction below in the shadow of the wooded Stobb Green, you can smell the pine filling the air, you smile. It was a brief respite, past the old houses and The Three Tuns Inn, around the large broad leafed tree and soon climbing again, you can see the Moorcock Inn up on high ahead, hit with more memories of good times spent there with friends. But today it’s just you and the road …..and the sweat. It’s a relief to pass the Inn, the last hill short but steep, out of breath you keep on, down and around the road’s tight hairpin, over the almost Guinness stained beck, climbing slightly again where you’re offered a choice.

Do you lead off through the right side gate taking the fire tracks up over the windswept Egglestone Moor? The long and twisting jagged climb, you know it well. Knowing that the pain in your legs pushing you further on will reward you not only with panoramas of breath taking, literally, natural beauty but also the swooping (and whooping) singletrack through the purple heather before Hamsterley Forest looms up ahead, all dark and foreboding, yet exciting all the same?

Or do you stick to the road ahead knowing that you will soon be up on the windswept Stanhope Road. The open road with rarely a passing car, just you on your pedal-driven machine with Mother Nature for company? The sweeping stonewall-quilted emerald green moorland enveloping you. Pushing ever further upwards knowing that your reward will be riding down the old tin mine track, your old friend, leading on to the fire roads of the forest?

Then the snap, it’s just you in the passenger seat of the car, that sideways glance that triggers the old memory box……