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  • Chris Nowell


landscape photo of Derbyshire
A Derbyshire Dawn

At the time of writing this blog, it is still the beginning of 2024. As a result, a New Year brings with it a great deal of excitement, plans, and possibilities. However, this is not always the case. I have noticed over the years that this time of year between January and February can feel a bit flat for me, and I am aware of a few other photographers experiencing the same. In the first instance, I would advise you to do not put yourself down if you are not feeling motivated, don't force it; it will come perhaps when the spring weather arrives or you will naturally find yourself encouraging yourself over time. There are a few things you can do to boost your confidence and encourage you to use your camera again.


Organizing a project is one way to achieve this. If you wish to motivate yourself with a project at the beginning of the year, it can be as small or as large as you desire. Moreover, it does not have to be at the beginning of the year. You can initiate a project at any time, and I just thought of a few ideas that might assist someone who is feeling less motivated at the moment.

The first thing you need to do is maintain your equipment. While I sometimes clean my camera bag at different times throughout the year, I definitely do it at the beginning of the year. Starting with a hoover and a quick wipe down. As with filters, it is always a good idea to wipe them down and clean the lens cloth once in a while. I also do the same with my tripod at the beginning of each year. It is my pleasure to give the tripod a little bit of a clean and to make sure there is no mud or broken parts attached, as well as a gentle spray of WD-40 or other lubricants. This is a simple and effective method of extending the life of your equipment.

sunrise landscape photo
Barlow Summer Sunrise

You may also consider putting on your boots and going for a walk. Whether in a rural area or within a short driving distance, there are always new compositions and photographic opportunities to be found. When you have a local photograph, hopefully within a short walking distance, you will be able to return and photograph the same area or exact location at different times, perhaps showing the changing seasons in your photographs. I have done this on several occasions over the years, and the photo above shows one fairly local photograph taken within a short distance of my residence. As you can see, I have a photograph that shows a summer image in spring, summer, and autumn. I am just waiting for another opportunity to photograph the same location with snow, and I will be able to display the changing seasons for you.

Derbyshire Bronze Age stone circle
Stone Circle

I had the plan to photograph stone circles in the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales a few years ago. My interest in history and photographing historical locations greatly interests me, and this was one of my first projects, photographing the majority of the stone circles in the Peak District National Park. It was just my own satisfaction of photographing the majority of these stone circles that resulted from this project. Although I did not photograph all of these locations, technically there are still a few I could photograph, but I enjoyed getting out to photograph these interesting locations.

It may be as simple as capturing the seasons or capturing the same location twice with different patterns. Therefore, it is ideal to be able to return to a fairly local location and photograph the same scene or a pretty similar scene under simple conditions, such as autumn or winter.

This is something I completed quite recently with the completion of photographing the millstones at the bottom of stanage edge. Location I have photographed many times over the years but I've never been lucky enough to have it with decent snow. Of course looking at these two photographs the Snow could actually be a little bit better. There was snow on the high ground but lower down in the valleys and only a few miles away the snow seem to disappear quite quickly. However looking at the photos together they look quite impressive photographing the pretty much same composition on two weather patterns again. In fact I think there's probably about four years in between these two photographs with the snow photo being captured at the start of 2024.

Just photographing the seasons can be an easy way to capture some of the seasons, as previously discussed. There is a noticeable difference between the same location in winter and spring. Obviously, a woodland or tree location would be ideal for this type of project. Perhaps you have a local woodland or an interesting tree nearby where you photograph the same composition throughout the year. There is one thing I would strongly recommend, however, and that is to do this. Seasons are great, but at least one with fog is necessary. With a foggy environment, woodland locations are ideal since the clarity is greatly enhanced.

Perhaps you would like to do something even simpler, such as this project we completed in 24 hours with myself, James pictures, and Scott Reid. It was a few years ago that we traveled to Northumberland to photograph the Bamburgh Castle. Since we arrived the night before, we were able to photograph the same area at sunrise and sunset. As an example, the sunset image represents the warm and bright conditions of the sunset while the sunrise image depicts the cold tones of the sunrise during blue hour.

Bridge in Derbyshire
River at Derwent Res

In spite of the fact that I do not complete a project every year, every now and then I do think about it. One in particular that I am thinking about for this year or in the future has something to do with reflections, bridges, and rivers. In addition to these interesting reflections, I have a number of decent photographs around Derbyshire and the Peak District. Perhaps this will be something I do in the future. Additionally, I had an idea a few months ago to make Moreland photographs very simple. What is the best place to photograph those gentle tones emanating from grasses and flowering heathers throughout the Moreland in the Peak District?

As a result, I hope that this blog will encourage you to get motivated, and if you are not there yet, please do not discourage yourself. Don't worry, you will eventually get motivated despite the constant windy conditions and rai combined with gray skies. Nevertheless, I hope this blog will inspire you to give your camera equipment a good clean-up first, as you never know when good weather could arrive and you will want to go taking photos.

The Photography show Birmingham, NEC

16th - 19th of March

Check out the usual suspects such as Vanguard, Kase filters

Check out all the cameras available, a huge number of live speakers, or grab a bargain from the Disabled Photography Society and much more.

Use voucher code VANTPS20 to get your tickets now with discount from vanguard.

Chris Nowell Photography

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