It’s that time of year again. The farmers of the Wheatbelt are burning their fields in preparation for sowing. The smoke hangs thick over the Avon Valley and makes for a quite unpleasant experience for anyone who suffers from respiratory ailments. The upside is that the smoke particles in the air make for rather splendid sunsets. I snapped this one on my phone while cycling home. The next few were all shot while going out to get some beer on my Olympus OMD EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 lens.
While making for some tremendous photos the practice puts a lot of carbon up into the atmosphere. Unfortunately Australian farmers will not stop the practice as this a far cheaper way of clearing fields than tilling. Profit always wins out.
Photography and video are both media that allow the artist to play with the concept of time. Up until recently I primarily worked using still photography. With the advent of good quality video being added to most digital cameras I started playing tentatively with moving images and enjoying the whole idea of capturing movement in another way. Now I’m playing with time-lapse which is a way of using still photos to play with movement that the eye doesn’t normally perceive.
The last couple of weeks have seen me shooting the canola fields around York. I’ve yet to do anything with the resulting video footage, but the pictures illustrating today’s post are still out takes. It is just a matter a shooting hundreds of shots of the same scene over a defined time period. My normal landscape gear and technique are used. I’m also experimenting with adding my own movement in the form of pans, tilts and slider moves. Thankfully my camera has an electronic shutter so I’m not burning through the shutter life.
The thing with experiments is to allow ourselves to make mistakes. This can be difficult if you have, like I have, been practicing in a medium for many years because you tend to develop a certain competence/mastery (pick whichever is the most appropriate) and expect a certain result for your efforts. So when confronted with learning something new and seeing all the mistakes and failures it is tempting to run back to the security of our old established ways of working as it is more ego friendly. In our society the notion of mistakes and failure is seen as a negative, but they really should be embraced. We need to give ourselves freedom to explore and experiment in a nurturing environment so that we can learn and progress. At the moment I’ve got a couple of dozen time-lapse clips sitting on my hard drive, two of them are OK the rest suck big time. Looking at them objectively and looking at the work of people who are considered masters of this art form I can see where I have made my mistakes and so I can now work to avoid repeating them. Who knows in another couple of years I might actually get good at it.
Back in August I posted a blog called Mellow Yellow showing the yellow canola on the hills opposite our house. Well Summer is well and truly here and the crop has been harvested just leaving the sun bleached stubble. When the sun sets the colours are reflected on those hills with quite impressive results.
I was driving home the other night and saw that the local farmers were burning off their fields in preparation for planting their next crop. The smoke and dust combined to give a spectacular sunset. I didn’t have my normal landscape kit with me, all I had was my EP-2 with a Voigtlander Color-Heliar 75mm f2.5. No filters, no tripod.