In today's blog, I intend on discussing three things…firstly some pictures from my holiday, how to take pictures with a screaming toddler in tow and finally proving that there is a third dimension to the phrase "work life balance" - read on…...
Cornwall is somewhere I had wanted to come back to. It must of been about 30 years or more since my previous one and only trip. To be honest when I came here as a child I don't actually remember where I'd stayed. This time I'd be staying in Tregonce - a small village over looking the harbour town of Padstow.
Padstow has a bit of reputation of being a foodie town, and also being a bit of a Rick Stein theme park. Its usual for celebrities to be a marmite like figure in these types communities, but three things are for sure - it's may be on the pricey side but its quality, and people flock here in there hundreds if not thousands each day. This visit I've been to Rick Stein's fish and chip shop x 2, Rick Stein's Pub - The Cornish Arms, Rick Stein's Patisserie and finally Rick Stein's Restaurant. Also not on of Stein's empire, map the Michelin star Paul Ainsworth's Number 6 Restaurant. I ain't no food expert, and my choice in a restaurant is about as predictable as the chimes of Big Ben. So other than saying it's fantastic food and I will die a little fuller/rounder and poorer than I was yesterday.
Padstow is a busy place. This makes it a great place for street photography which has to be one of the toughest form of photography. Requires real quick technical skills, eye to capture a story and some balls to stick a camera close up to someone that you don't know without looking like a bit of a weirdo.
LESSON 1: Use every opportunity you have irrespective of how small to get the camera out - you never know what may find you.
I used an opportunity of an ice cream stop and a rare bit of peace to take the shot above. I like it. But it does fail on a number of fronts…no eye contact mainly and not the greatest of focusing . But to use a massive photography cliche and heavily over-used quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson…"focusing can be crap" or "a bad workman blames his tools and you can get away with it" or something like that. But I like the two couples of similar age but worlds apart in the style stakes. But just by sitting somewhere and letting the photo come to you sometimes works, especially when you need to make regular ice-cream stops.
LESSON 2: Some locations are great for families and photographers
Next day - The Eden Project. What a great place this is. Must be a photographers paradise. If you haven't been, then go.
LESSON 3: Leave the camera at home.
Next up Dairy world. This would probably fill most parents with dread…but not me, what a great place! Now I'm in the habit of carrying my camera with me everywhere (see lesson 1) as I dare not miss anything amazing. But sometimes it gets in the way of whats important. It has become a bit like a mobile phone where families sit around a dinner table more engrossed with the phone than with each other. I'm leaving my camera at home more often, to make sure I give my full undivided attention where it's need (I promise!).
LESSON 4: Know your surroundings, have a photo in mind and when the lights right make a run for it.
Remember the golden hour and that beautiful soft light? But if your anything like me you are probably exhausted and any thought of getting up before 6am this time of year (unless your child is throwing up in your lap after bringing home the latest bug from school) its impossible.
Now remember being on the side of a mountain for that 9:30pm sunset? Ha ha ha. You will be reading "Where Spot?" to your child who is refusing to go to sleep. But just in case you get five minutes free and the light is perfect, be prepared. Know your surroundings and have a shot in mind. Don't waste time…..run quick…..take the photo.
LESSON 5: If the light and weather is rubbish, then practice composition.
My last trip of the holiday took us to the beautiful village of Boscastle. Two things against us - the weather in the form of sea mist and the second was a toddler in the worst mood seen in ages. I think we sometimes get in the mind set that every trip we should be producing award winning photos. Well if the conditions are against you, then perhaps put that National Geographic award winning aspiration to the back of your mind, and get back to basics. I think when you are faced with these conditions it is best to focus on practicing composition. This practice really pays off, as composition is something we become better at the more we practice. This is the approach that I took at Boscastle not expecting any keepers but ended up liking some of these shots.
Well that was my holiday in Cornwall. Beautiful coastline and fantastic food…we will be back. In true Jerry Springer tradition, I have a final thought….
FINAL LESSON: The work life balance missing dimension.
The phrase "work life balance" gets banded about a lot these days. But to me, work is what you pay your bills. Life is the time you invest in your family. For me this isn't enough. Without sounding too selfish, I think there is a third dimension to this. Equally important is the investment you make in yourself pursuing what you love. Both the work and the life bit gets tough at time to time for all of us, so try to spend time re-charging yourself, this will ultimately pay off both at work and at home.
HOT OFF THE PRESS….Medium Format Film Developed!
All images Copyright - David Rice
David is a photographer based in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. When not with his family, he enjoys capturing images of the beautiful Towy valley. His work can be seen at www.towyphotography.com and on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/towyphotography or a regular tweeter on twitter @caerwynt_loops. He can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.