Solstice

Snowflake

Just a quick note to say Happy Solstice! The daylight will start getting longer from 4:28 pm today, assuming you are in the Northern Hemisphere. 

January and February are usually the coldest months in the Northern hemisphere which will hopefully bring a ton of snow in the Alps for Snowboarding on :-)

If you're feeling blue about that idea here is a link to 17 ways to celebrate the winter solstice from Rhythms of Play.

Socks

Stance

Something for all those that have teased me about buying expensive Stance socks for the past couple of years, said so well by The Brooks Review:

"Shitty socks are fucking annoying. Spend $30 on a pair, and your socks will go from being annoying to being something you love, because $30 merino wool socks are magic."

It also worth reading the rest of the article. Needless to say my last visit to The Hague involved selecting several pairs of Stance socks.

December

I'll start by explaining the photograph, it is the entrance to the harbour (haven in Dutch) at Scheveningen, The Hague. It has taken me what can only be described as a ridiculous amount of time to learn Port (left)  and Starboard (right). Even now I laugh at myself about how very simple things can trip me up. As a geographer probably the most embarrassing thing to admit is that I still sometimes use NESW (never eat shredded wheat) when I think about east and west. 

So back to the point of this post, apart from the pretty photo of a storm brewing.


All my living in the moment went straight out the window when I realised that December is here and good lord where the hell did the rest of the year go? No seriously, where the hell did the rest of the year go? I have stuff to finish and do, December is not a productive month. To many mince pies to eat and sweet tea to drink. :-)

I reflect once again on achievements made over the year, the new people I have met, reconnecting with those that I had lost touch with and personal achievements that I feel good about. It's easy to look and find the things that I feel good about, so I have been trying to deconstruct the parts of the year that I don't feel good about or that went wrong.

I was once taught to remove my emotions from criticism and to try to look at criticism objectively and rationally. It's amazing how useful this has been throughout my life. It has allowed me to think about any problems or criticism and not react "all guns blazing". It has provided a useful technique in thinking about what I could have done better and how this could have been achieved and can be avoided in the future.

In every December I look forward to the winter solstice. I have always felt that this is a much more significant day in the calendar than any other, the general thought of our planet spinning through a vast universe in almost perfect balance makes me laugh at how insignificant we are. So spare some time on the 21st December at 16:28 for the point where the day starts getting longer again.

Thanks for reading!

Mojo

Austin Powers

The word Mojo is a noun originally used to mean a magic charm or spell or an amulet, often in the form of a small bag containing magic items worn by adherents of hoodoo or voodoo, or it could mean a quality or some ability that brings good luck or helps you be good at something. I feel like I left my amulet somewhere and I haven't found it or felt it's effect for a some time.

It's weird how you can be mentally high and be happy with a days photography and come back and just hate everything that was shot. I am sure that we have all had those days when we aren't 'feeling it', not just with photography, but life, work and generally everything. Unfortunately, most of us, don't have the luxury of being able to sack everything off and spend the day with Netflix and a bottle of whisky.

I have had this feeling before and although I can't remember anything that I did to climb out of this 'funk' I know it will eventually dissipate and something will click again and the concrete wall blocking my creativity and self esteem will be broken through.

It's amazing how much 'self help' that you can find on the internet, and after net-surfing for a while the most helpful and most frequent piece of advice was:

"Start with one small win."

Apparently starting with one small win can help restore confidence and if you repeat these small wins you will be able to complete project that seemed impossible. My feeling is that this is probably a good way to start, complete a small task to the best of my ability. But then this advice is more for work, than creativity. More to the point what is a creative win?

November

Image courtesy of @alycoste

November, for me, marks the start of dark nights and frosty mornings, usually still pleasant frosty mornings. The most exciting thing about the dark nights is the start of Light Trail Season again... I am sure that my Instagram account is going to start filling up with them, and I'll give some more attention to the @lighttraillovers account this month as well. 

I always take a little time at the start of each month to evaluate what I have achieved in the previous month and it would seem that October is past too fast and some of the tasks that I planned have been pushed back a little.

I didn't manage to get a webmap into this site of the locations of my photographs, primarily due to the platform I am using. I did do a lot of research on different webmaps that I could use and at this point I am just trying my hardest to avoid using a google map, I think there are more creative ways to provide a point map from a database.

I was able to visit a few locations that were new to me last month; Incholm Abbey & Island, The Birks o' Aberfeldy a more in depth visit of the Hermitage near Dunkeld and was able to photograph the Tay Rail Bridge for the first time. It was a good month for photography, I learnt a lot and re-discovered some forgotten techniques and developed a taste for apocalyptic processing.

I also have a trip planned back to The Hague for a long weekend in Novemeber, make sure the apartment is still where I left it and catch up with friends and see what opportunities can be taken in The Netherlands. The winter lights will be up by now and the city always looks great at this time of the year, I am very much looking forward to going back. 

I only include one photograph in this post, which is of me, courtesy of the talented @alycoste, taken during our recent trip to the Birks o' Aberfeldy (of which I'll be posting photographs of soon).