Saturday, 8 August 2015

A Path Not Far

Good evening everyone,

I hope your summer is treating you well, despite the weather misery, and you're atleast getting to spend some time with your families.

I thought that I would write - or type - some thoughts down on a project that I've been working on since 2013.  This project is my local woodland project, named A Path Not Far.

So what is the project? The project, or series of photographs are from the local area where I live, West Lothian.  West Lothian itself is quite a small county, geographically, in the central belt of Scotland.  It's not my home county - that is County Antrim in Northern Ireland - however its somewhere I know well, have met alot of wonderful people, and where I have chosen for my children to settle.

Scotland itself is well known for the drama it conveys through its stunningly beautiful landscape and the diverse weather.  It doesn't really have seasons, it just has 'weather.'  However the terrain of West Lothian is less eye-catching and one has to look more carefully for their images.

So why did I start this project? Well, to be honest, it was almost forced upon me.  Before its creation, I very much enjoyed chasing the larger scenes in the northern territories of the Scottish Trossachs and Highlands - the escapism and hugely obvious drama that greeted you every time you entered these areas created an excitement in me that was almost infection.  In fact, it was infectious... massively so.

However with increased workload at work, family and young children and the ever increasing fuel costs, I was almost driven to find work closer to home.  I'll be honest... I resented this greatly at the beginning.  I didn't want to drive or walk a mile from the house to see what I pass 10 times a day in the car.  I wanted to chase the light in areas I'm so lucky to live near to........ but I had to stick to the new plan.

Although the immediate grab wasnt there from the low key terrain, I began to notice that West Lothian had a number of little woodland areas, owned largely by the Woodland Trust and other conservation agencies.  I also began to notice that they offered their own little exploration and their habitats changed as the seasons, sorry weather, changed.  And within myself I felt at ease and increasingly absorbed with the subtle views that were so close to my front door.  And over the next two years, my whole mindset changed towards my natural landscape photography.

And so, here we are, two years down the line.  I have a real body of work created, consisting of approximately 35 images I am truly happy with.  All the images have been taken within approximately 10 miles of the house and have been taken in short outings to the woodland, often before or after work.  The support I have had for the work has been so wonderful, especially from ones that are masters in the field of woodland photography.  Without this continual support, would the series still be ongoing? Doubtful, as external 'drive' was greatly needed in the early days.

Will the project ever be finished? Maybe if I move house! However I very much doubt it.  Even when I visit a familiar scene, it is never truly the same as the previous time I set foot in the area.  Over the next 12 months, the plan is to create a small book to see if there is any interest on making a few more.. however lets see how that goes.  In the meantime, you'll catch me in some woodland, enjoying walking a path not far from here.

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