The Problem with Instagram

More and more often these days I am finding whilst perusing Instagram the “same” photograph coming up again and again. The same view point, the same time of day… pretty much identikit photography. Instagram seems to be encouraging a uniform “gotta catch em all” approach to the art of photography and, to my mind, this quest for getting “that” picture is killing creativity. Once one person has a great image everyone wants as close to the same one in their collection.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I love looking through photographs on social media - it is a great way to find new locations to explore (although the Lakes is pretty much saturated!) but when I do go out to a location I have seen I am not chasing that same image. I like to explore the possibilities and do something different - find a unique angle or take on the subject. This is something that is going to figure strongly on our courses, we want you to find your own vision whilst exploring some fantastic (often “untouched”) locations to hone both your technique and your creative eye.

What is the hold up?

We are trying to determine where the locations should be! We are into the deep research phase now… we have some ideas, but we are not yet ready. I was planning to launch properly this year but, on reflection, I think 2020 is going to be the earliest that we are going to be able to go “properly” live. It is going to be worth the wait though!

3rd May 2019.jpg

Stumbling Start

Well, the health and fitness drive fizzled out as quickly as it began and will need reignited again soon. Health has been struggling a bit this last week though due to physical illness and stressing about life, finances and the future. On the plus side we are making more plans about the latter which will hopefully sort out the first and offset the second!

Otherwise not much to tell just now.

25th April 2019.jpg

A New Approach to Health

The last few years things have got out of hand, as I have mentioned already. I gained a fair chunk of bulk after breaking my ankle (properly doing it in - surgery required and everything), then just as I recovered I tore my back and, it seems, damaged a lower trunk disc whilst I was at it. Over the course of a year and a half of recovery I gained a fair bit of weight.

Slowly… very slowly… this had been coming down, until an OAP decided that they knew the rules of the road better than the highway code and T-Boned me on a roundabout back in November. My back was knackered once more (this time on the right hand side rather than the previous left), that pesky disc was playing up again and my right arm was, for want of a more technical term, gubbed.

Since then the weight has gone up… another 10kg or so. General health has also deteriorated further, my head space has been a little compromised too. Since early January I have been trying to tackle some of this with Yoga and physiotherapy. It has helped, things are moving - although still a long way from being able to operate normally and my love of mountain biking and motorcycling are still very much on hold.

So… what else can be done? I have always tried to stick to a diet which is reasonably healthy, balanced and consists of fresh foods. This isn’t helping matters though as I suspect I am way too carb heavy, so having read a lot (and looked at many before and after pictures) it seems that this new-fangled Keto diet may just work for me. Not as a long term strategy I should add, but at least over the Spring and Summer and perhaps for 6 - 12 months depending on how it all goes. As my body starts to work a bit better I will up the exercise along with it - walking, running… eventually mountain biking too. I will do photographs, a bit of a diary and see how this all goes for me over the coming months. As tradition dictates it is going to start tomorrow. Well it is both Monday and I need a little time to get myself ready!

This is going to tie in with other plans too - getting the house sorted out is going to be running concurrently, we will be travelling about a fair bit building our future ideas as well (more on that in the coming weeks) and I really want to have everything in place, and be fighting fit, before Spring 2020 ready to face the new challenges that are coming our way!

Wish me luck, I am going to need it!

13th April 2019.jpg

Thoughts of the Future.

There was more bad news this weekend, another person passed away, not someone I knew well… but it was a reminder that life can be all too short and is really there for the living to live. This was compounded when some friends in the area made the decision to move away. It feels like life is moving on around us, and perhaps it is time for us to really set about building our own lives.

We are currently in the “lucky” position of having a nice house in the Lake District, due to inheritance as well as work, but life seems to have been more about earning money than actually living our lives and I think we have got the balance wrong. Really quite wrong. Neither of us feel that our lives are where they should be, so why not shake things up!

Where does this leave us, and this venture. Pushing us on is the answer! We are lining things up ready to see where they take us, looking at the how and where and trying to figure out the logistics of everything to shake things up and do something far more interesting.

12th March 2019.jpg

So there is a load going on at the moment and we are just trying to work out the details!

Its oh so quiet....

I have been busy behind the scenes the last month or so making plans and coming up with some new ideas. This happens when I accidentally read something, it catches my interest… and then I run off on a crazy idea with it all!

The process started a few months back when I stumbled upon Yr Hen Ogleth - The Old North - which is a feature in the heroic poetry of Wales, but interestingly doesn’t relate to Wales itself. It was a collective of kingdoms spanning Stirlingshire in the north down to Lancashire in the south, and yes… incorporating Cumbria. The kingdoms were seen as broadly the same in terms of culture and language and this is something which can still be seen in the modern landscape, language and… indeed… the culture. The people of the Old North still share a lot in common, and many elements of this collective were still very much evident more recently than I had imagined. One would have thought, for instance, that the Celtic language of the ancient Britonic people would have died out with the coming of the Angles or Norse in this part of the world, but apparently it was still in use up until the 15th Century in some areas, and some words still exist in the modern dialect.

Interestingly the people where the Cymru and the language was Cumbric with the modern county of Cumbria keeping that heritage alive (along with it’s earlier constituent Cumberland), although most of the county was probably part of the Kingdom of Rheged in those times.

I started off looking at all the historical features on the OS Map of Cumbria, plotting each and every one I could find, to get an idea of what was here, and thinking of ways to link these sites and explore their histories and origin. Then I started to add in the placename evidence of the Brittonic people, the Cumbric place names as well as those earlier ones which remain shrouded in mystery… and was pretty impressed with how much is still evident.

There is a lot to do on this whole project to uncover the Cumbrians, their links to the other people of the Old North… and expand it all into building an understanding of this whole ancient region. But it is going to be fascinating… and I hope photogenic too!

What is even better is that it allows me to mix my own past as an archaeologist with my current focus on photography!

Kendal’s Castle How, the old Motte and Bailey abandoned in favour of the more striking medieval structure on the other side of town.

Kendal’s Castle How, the old Motte and Bailey abandoned in favour of the more striking medieval structure on the other side of town.

This is going to be a slow burner though, done along side and behind the scenes with other stuff as time, fitness and health allow (I am hoping that the latter two will benefit from this project, less time sitting about and more time clambering around the countryside and possibly up the odd mountain has got to help!)