A guest blog kindly written by Jayne Johnson whose company I’ve enjoyed on my workshops, most recently my ‘Macro Magic’ day in autumn.
I was born in Lancashire but have lived in different parts of the country, from the Southern regions of Kent to the North Eastern hills of Yorkshire. I have come full circle and now live back in Lancashire.
Holcombe Hill was one of the places I used to go as a teenager and sit when life felt challenging and I’d let the hills and wind soothe my soul for a while, with a bird’s eye view taking in the images of towns below and the Tower behind, which are vivid in my mind even today.
I’d take snap shots and store them away in the deep recesses of my mind and they’d then be brought to life by a smell or memory. My first ever in built camera of the human kind perhaps?
The 1st ‘real’ SLR camera I ever had was a gift back in the 1980’s, non digital of course, which I still have stored away somewhere and never seen or used for years. I had thought one day it might restored and brought back to life although I’m enjoying my Cannon D400 too much to think about that just now.
I’m pretty new to the functioning and technicalities of my camera but I’m very open to learning, especially from Jason, who is not only highly skilled and an experienced photographer but a wise and truly authentic teacher. He speaks my language of a ‘resonance with nature’, meets me where I am and can relate to me at my own level. You don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to do the workshops and even though I’m such a beginner I’ve never been made to feel as if I am! And best of all the workshops I’ve been on have been full of fun and laughter as well as the serious business of setting up a shot!
Workshops give me the freedom to spend a whole guilt free day of connecting not only with nature but with like minded people. I like being guided to a particular place and/or aspect that I may not have found on my own. Also with Jason’s patience and wealth of knowledge I’m beginning to understand what goes on inside the mysterious box called a camera!
My early inspiration for photography came from visiting my family who used to have a canal boat and for a time they lived on the water, so my visits to them would bring me into contact with nature, wildness and the wonders of canal life. My 1st shots of the bridges and canals, with my old SLR camera were motivated by a desire to join in with and capture the love and feelings, we all shared as a family, for life amongst a living, breathing environment.
Photography, for me, is about getting out in nature and connecting with the Earth’s life force energy, which I experience as palpable and emanating deeply from trees, plants, water, animals and even rocks. I feel myself to be part of them and kind of merge with their essence, whether I’ve got my camera with me or not! Taking shots then becomes just a continuation of this process and any gifts offered by nature come from the inter connectedness I experience, rather than a desire to ‘take a good photo’.
I spend a lot of time out in nature without my camera! Keeping the connection is the most important aspect for me and just being and feeling without ‘taking’ is just as important as capturing it’s essence. For me there needs to be a balance, the same balance mirrored in Nature’s own complex web of giving and receiving.
As an example of this inter connectedness, on the last workshop I did with Jason (Macro Magic) I fell in love with a Beech tree and although this photo maybe not be the greatest technically, it does give you a glimpse of the gift ‘Beech’ gave me in return for the open hearted connection I developed with this beautiful tree.
This particular day was a gorgeous sunny day, bright blue skies with crisp frosty undergrowth, perfect for long Winter shadows and natural spot lights highlighting hidden magic. I also love capturing soft shades of dusk and twilight. I enjoy sunsets and stormy weather both, with the contrasts, subtleties and rich definition they all bring in their unique ways. My favourite environments are the more natural and wild places, where humankind’s impact has not destroyed the energy flow of the land spirits. I love seascapes and woodlands best of all.
On wet, grey days when getting outside is less enjoyable I really enjoy playing around with digital images and I love the ease with which they can be downloaded within hours of shooting and the speed at which they can be shared. I’m using a very simple windows programme just now but I do have ‘Lightroom 3’ installed and one day I might venture into this more professional world of photographic wizardry!
I share my photos mostly on Facebook, sometimes through email via dropbox. I very rarely print photos out but I would like to find a purpose for doing this in the future – perhaps making my own cards, bookmarks, etc.
I intend to continue and deepen my connections with nature and to breathe in the joys and wonders of the natural world and I hope to continue to receive any gifts ‘she’ would like to share with us all, in the form of images, through the lens of ‘her’ own making. I hope to share the wonder and miracle of the life and soul of our Earth with anyone who feels moved, touched and awakened by ‘her’ self portraits.
My next step is to begin the long journey of trying to integrate the love and connection I have with nature into the more skilful and technical aspects of photography.
To learn more about Jayne and her work ‘like‘ her facebook page here.