Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Guest blog by Andy White, Artist of the Week

During this winter I have had the opportunity to have a couple of week’s holiday. The first holiday was staying in the centre of Lanzarote well away from the holiday complexes down on the coast. I was aware that the scenery on the island was extreme but I was bowled over by the sheer beauty of the extinct volcanoes and lava fields which cover so much of the island. The weather was perfect for photography with sunny intervals with the occasional heavy rain storm adding to the atmosphere. Those of you who attended the Coast exhibition in Lyme Regis will have seen the image of the wave at dusk which was taken on the coast. I was trying to take photos of surfers riding these huge Atlantic waves but as the light faded so did the possibility of getting a good sharp image.
Church and Volcano - Andy White
Volcanoes and Lava Field - Andy White

Old Vineyard and Volcano - Andy White 
Lanzarote is blessed with a good road infrastructure but stopping to take photographs is difficult. The authorities in Lanzarote are very keen to stop visitors from walking over the lava fields. Depending on the type of lava, they can be very difficult to walk on and therefore dangerous but also it is so easy to destroy the delicate native vegetation as it attempts to get a foothold on the rock.

Timanfaya National Park is stunning yet only allows the visitor limited access to some amazing scenery which I am sure leaves most photographers frustrated. A coach tour around the interior of the park is wonderful and yet you are confined to the vehicle and therefore forced to take photographs through the closed windows. If only you could gain access to the park on foot at either end of the day when the light was at its best it would be heaven – dream on! Lanzarote has a lot to offer the photographer and certainly my first visit to the Canary Islands will not be my last.

My second break took me back ‘home’ to North Norfolk where I was born and lived for the first twenty odd years of my life. There is something special about returning to a place you know very well and for the photographer it saves an awful lot of time having to research locations. The bleakness of the coast at this time of the year is special and the birdlife draws an enormous numbers of people to the bird reserves. Seeing the huge flocks of geese, ducks and waders makes the trip well worth while although the weather can be pretty cold and miserable.
We made two visits to Snettisham Beach, once in the late evening watching the advancing tide over the Wash forcing the birds closer and closer to the shore until we were forced to retreat ourselves through lack of light. We returned a few days later in the twilight of a cold dawn and experienced the wonderfully choreographed flights of flocks of Godwits, Knot and Golden Plover over the mud.
Wave and pool - Andy White
As a landscape photographer I was drawn to the old decaying jetty on the beach sitting amongst the marsh looking out to what appears to be infinity of grey mud and an indistinct horizon.
Holidays are wonderful for rest and recuperation but can also give photographers much inspiration with the introduction to new culture and ways of life, climate, architecture and landscape.
Old Jetty, Snettisham Beach - Andy White
- Andy White

See more of Andy's work on his Shed Profile. To buy any of his work, or the work of other Shed Creatives please visit our online Shed Shop!

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