Photographing East Anglia

 Dawn at Halvergate marshes, one of the locations I have come to know well recently.

Dawn at Halvergate marshes, one of the locations I have come to know well recently.

While transferring the content from my old blog to this shiny new one, it brought it home just how much I've neglected this blog in recent months. Actually I'm assuming that if you are reading this then you will have noticed that I have a new website? You didn't? Well what are you waiting for? Go and have a quick look now and let me know what you think.

Building a website is a time consuming affair and building a new website was time I didn't really have to spare but it was a job I couldn't put off.  I won't go into all the boring details about why I felt the need to do that because that isn't what this post is about, but here's the short version. Having happily hosted my website with Zenfolio for several years the company seems to have changed direction, prices kept rising, new gimmicky features aimed at a different clientele to mine were introduced rather than spending time developing essential upgrades - supporting Retina displays for example, so images don't look fuzzy to anyone with a HD screen. The final straw came when the ability to customise certain aspects of my site were removed, meaning that I would have had to re-design the whole site anyway and as my renewal was up I thought I may as well start again elsewhere. Anyway, I digress, so let's just say I am very pleased with how the new site looks (created with www.squarepace.com if you were wondering) and get back to the point.

As I was saying, I've barely written a thing over the last year and although I promise I will do my best to improve that situation, I do however, have a good reason - for the last few months I have been working on a book. A guide to photographing East Anglia to be exact which will be part of the growing collection of photography guide books published by Fotovue.

When I say 'have' been working, I very much still am. From the planning stage all the way through to the writing itself,  putting together a book like this is all consuming, especially while fitting it around a full time job, commissions, workshops and other photography commitments. 

The project began with hours spent poring over maps and websites, selecting a balanced list of around 60-70 locations to show the best of East Anglia. These turned out to be a mix of places that I already knew like the back of my hand and others which were (at the time) unknown to me. The planning continued  by working out the best time(s) of day and year to photograph each place and, the hardest part, putting it all together in a spread sheet. Luckily I have a fairly large library of images, or at least I thought I did, but when you need a selection of photos from so many locations you realise that there are quite a few gaping holes in the collection that need filling. Multiple visits are usually required to capture somewhere as it changes through the year and even for  those places with just the odd gap to fill, the weather often meant several visits were required to get the shot. So for almost a year, pretty much every time I have been out with the camera it has been with the book in mind.

If you are familiar with Fotovue guides you will know that for each location as well as inspirational imagery, a detailed description is included, included practical information like directions and the best place to park etc. A lot of information can be gleaned from maps and internet searches but there's no substitute for being there so, with my list of locations mapped out, I needed to make detailed notes on location at each one, even those I know well, paying particular attention to any no entry signs I may have accidentally missed on previous visits. 

Back in the office, the images need to be edited and processed, captions written, locations written up, weather forecasts checked and plans made for the next shoot and that has been a constant cycle, broken only by moving house (not the best time I know) for the best part of a year. The project has not been without it's ups and downs, there is a lot of pressure, not just with so much work to fit in before the deadline (the guys at Fotovue have been brilliant to keep the pressure off in that respect) but because a book is a permanent thing, it's out there for all the world to see so you want it to be the very best you can make it and it is this element of pressure which seems to deepen the disappointment of a failed shoot or a location and has you questioning your ability to produce the work. I should point out at this point, before this sounds like I'm complaining, that I have loved working on this book, it has been an incredible opportunity not least because it has given me a reason to get to know the area better, discovering new places and spending more time out photographing them. I've still got a lot of work to do but I'm looking forward to having the finished book is in my hand because I know it will have been worth every minute put into it. 

The book is due for publication in the first half of 2018 (subject to me hitting the deadline)... I'll keep you posted!

For more information on Fotovue guides visit www.fotovue.com