Day 7 – October 16, 2010
I left the hostel this morning thinking I’d go on one of the many short walks around the area to take in the beauty of the landscape. Instead I ended up wandering around the small village of Ballachulish, and then driving around the circumference of Loch Leven. Nothing terribly exciting, although both of these places are pretty, as is every other place in Scotland I’ve seen so far. Came back to the hostel early today to see if I could start with some image management, but I don’t think I’m going to end up doing it yet. My cold is taking hold over my actions completely, what with the permanently runny-nose today along with the never-ending sneeze-fest.
Not sure what I should do tomorrow. My knee has been acting up again and I don’t really fancy the idea of going on any walks that may keep pushing it. I need it to be better by the time I start with the workshop next Friday. I’m considering heading to Torridon, but it’s more than 120 miles away, and I’m uncertain whether I should drive that much in a single day. I need to start scheduling my travel such that I can be back in Glasgow on the evening of the 21st, no later than 6-7pm. Reading the Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands & Islands by Rough Guides (which I bought at Stansted airport) might help me figuring this out.
I’ve been shooting continuously for the last week, and despite the number of good photographs I think I’ve taken so far, there is still this sense of hollowness about it all. They might all be good photographs, both individually and as a representation of the land that I am visiting, but it that all it is supposed to be? Is landscape photography only supposed to be about the grand shots and the detail shots, standing alone and working together to give a picture of the place being photographed, or should there be more to it? Am I overcomplicating this, or am I relalizing something that never occurred to me earlier? Is there some way landscape/nature photography can play a kind of documentary role in the sort of the travels I’m undertaking? Maybe not, but probably the scope of images being shot might need to be expanded to include people, rather than just the landscapes. After all, people do form a part of the whole landscape of a country, so it only makes sense that including them should add another dimension to the story, if this can be called as such. Only, I’m not very comfortable making images of people, and to do it now in such an unfamiliar setting is going to be a challenge. Let’s see how it goes.
On photography –
I think photographers, especially those who have been really into the entire process of imaging, and have devoted a significant amount of time to their craft, have a tendency to reach for their camera every time they see something interesting. I’ve found myself doing this repeatedly over the last few days, and I’m sure it’s quite common among others of my breed. It’s almost a reflex action – seeing something and reaching for the camera. I think it has the potential to be debilitating, and possibly even have negative effects on leisure time. After all, if all we’re trying to do is look at composition and light all the time, rather than just sitting and soaking in the place, the atmosphere, there has to be something wrong. I noticed this first when I stopped at all these different parking slots on the side of the road in order to get out and take pictures of the surrounding area.
Most other people around me were happy to jump out of their vehicles and roam around, maybe take a picture or two, laugh and joke, and just stroll around taking in the scene. I, on the other hand, looked ready to go into battle. Backpack on, fully geared up from head to toe in rainproof gear, gloves, beanie, with the camera in one hand and the tripod in the other. I probably looked like a walking comic book to everyone else. Not that I mind being considered a comic, but it made me think about the difference in how they were enjoying their time there, and how I was running around, like I had targets to achieve (images to make), and deadlines to meet. Kinda’ made me feel a little silly. I am on holiday, after all, even if the holiday comes with a purpose. Maybe I should slow down a bit and try to soak up things a little more. Or maybe I’m just over-thinking stuff, as I’m predisposed to most of the time.