Behind My Lens I See Differently

I have been using cameras for five decades to date. I adopted digital photography fairly early on too. My first introduction to videography was in my being filmed by others and then it was the things that took a thousand words to explain that led me to use videos because even pictures rarely convey the passage the chisel and plane takes to execute an action and technique. Mine started with my phone. Almost all of my photography for my blog comes from my phone and not my camera. The I began using my phone for video work to give me the instancy I wanted with the least invasiveness which I find can break thought patterns and concentration in my work and in my rest and recreation all too easily. By setting limits on my self I have found greater levels of control to help me manage my work. I try to get my photographs continually as I see subject matter that I want. The phone gives me just about everything I need whether in the shop, on a ramble outside and in the countryside or anywhere else. It’s compact, easy to use and versatile too. I am a compose in the lens guy and not a crop-it-later guy. I look for composition through the lens and allow a little margin to surround but not too much at all. I always feel that I frame my pictures better when I take an extra second or two to do that. I am also always looking for light on my subject and reposition myself to get the light I want to play with where I want it. Reflective light from glass or a bright wall is often all I need to cast light onto my subject and whereas many photographers seem to like total control of their light source I rarely use fill flash because I don’t have any and it is all too easy to flatten out the image and remove the contrast I strive to keep. So, the images here are from my phone and not a larger camera. What do you think?

So, vlogging! Whereas I have and do use my phone for quick video work each day, it’s a new thing for me to use my camera to film with and I am enjoying it greatly. I have Ellie who works with Phil on our main video work to steer me and nudge me when I overlook something but it is getting a little easier. If vlogging does nothing more than make me appreciate what goes on on the other side of the lens then this new phase for me will be worth it. I must say though, I don’t think I have ever been unappreciative of the special gifts everyone I work with brings to the work I do to pass on my skills.

My vlogging these last few weeks makes me think much more deeply not just about woodworking but how we can find deeper richness to what we do surrounding our working, our environment and then the things we make and why we make them. Beyond that there is making all of these a comprehensive whole. For instance, my woodworking comes from the trees and the woodland. The seasons dictate what happens to the growth of the trees and woodland and effect inside the wood is an accurate record of things like levels of rainfall, sunlight, tree damage of various kinds ranging from parasitic invasion or something damaging the tree physically. These things add interest to the inside of the tree stem and of course then does affects the actual grain. I study the birds and the wild life and track whatever I can whether it’s a bird crossing the sky or a badger run (Don’t compare our Mr Brock the badger with the American badger of north America). Nests too are soon to be exposed as more and more leaves fall. I will log the locations for future reference as well as for identification. Now that I am vlogging I envisage recording some of my rarer and scarcer sightings and sitings ever conscious of course that wildlife protection is of paramount importance to all. So, I am enjoying sharing my thoughts and feelings in this way, not as a separate element but that which compliments the whole in its extension to my awareness of woodworking and nature’s provision.

In the workshop I have been developing a prototype baby cot. I can’t always express how making impacts my life but I do my best. Ever since I can recall, my pre-teen years at least, I have always been excited about making something so at night before sleep I try to think about the tomorrow I will wake to and what I will be creating. Though of course this often revolves around making something from wood or working with the tools I use to improve performance, things such as that, I also think in pictures and compose images in my mind as I drift off to sleep.

The leaves and seeds are falling now. I gather leaves from maples alongside seeds. Then I compose them as picture kaleidoscope images I can rearrange somewhere near my workbench. I can leave them for others to look at at work too. This is so enjoyable. A treasure to create! This morning I saw the Garden Service providers blowing leaves from the footpaths. It was a noisy business but watching clouds of leaves tumbling and billowing into air-driven rolls as barrelling clouds was really quite fascinating, but then I realised something, whether he did or not, that the order of his working developed a configuration of total order. Stop and watch the men sometime as they do it. I am sure you’ll see it too.

10 thoughts on “Behind My Lens I See Differently”

  1. Sarrienne Cousland

    I think that either you have a pretty decent phone to get pictures like that, or you’re an especially gifted photographer – I’m lucky if I can even get mine in focus!!

    1. When you shoot with a cellphone, hold it steady for an extra 2 to 3 seconds AFTER your hear the shutter sound. Don’t move your phone immediately after you shoot and hear the shutter sound, which produce shaky or out-of-focus pictures with some phones. Most phones nowadays (unless your model is pretty old) can take pretty decent photos for viewing on the monitor/screen.

      1. which can produce…

        Also most phones allow you to set the resolution for the pictures. Set it to the highest level (but it will take more of your memory space, too).

  2. OK….So how many of us saved the kaleidoscope of leaves with a feather to use as a home screen?

  3. I love taking pictures with my phone. It is with me constantly and there if hardly a week goes by that I haven’t taken several. I have a niece in Virginia and a nephew in Kentucky that their parents are both gone. This is one way I stay in contact with them. Every Saturday morning while drinking my first cup of coffee I send them a picture entitled POTW, (Pic of the Week), with a little caption about what is in the picture. Been doing this for over two years. Pictures range from flowers, birds, butterflies, family, scenery, my wife’s latest painting or decorating creation, my woodworking shop project or latest old woodworking tool find, before and after restoring. When something catches my eye, snatch out the phone and snap a few shots, a few times over 40 trying to get that butterfly with its wings spread wide. All the bad shots can be deleted later.

  4. Robert W Mielke

    I have been a serious photographer for nearly 50 years. I have been a contributing photographer to National Geographic Magazine for many of those years. My second passion is woodworking as I was born & raised by a carpenter/contractor my whole life. The two hobbies go well together as I can illustrate my woodworking with still cameras and post stories on my blog.

    I have no interest in video as my other two hobbies keep me busy. I appreciate your blog site as well as your youTube channel as I love woodworking with hand tools. Thanks for being there.

  5. Paul’s team should be congratulated. They film him intelligently. Apart from the sheer technical expertise they have they clearly also understand his thinking. I watched some video of Frank Klaus thirty years ago on VHS. He was cutting dovetails. Seeing him work in real time I realised how potent video is for instruction of this kind. Way better than books and photographs for this purpose. At Kew they still draw and paint plant specimens. Seeing Paul’s drawing I think that drawing comes second after video.

    Thanks to the whole team for this wonderful gift.

  6. I am so thankful to have found your site . I look forward to each oneYou of your post. I have vied all of your YT videos at least twice. Thank you so much for what you do..

  7. Benjamin Reniers

    I can feel the way we think the same way on the sometimes little thing around us. The umportance we humans should have to ad more value to our lifes and the people around us. The beauty of nature and the special place way have in this surrounding. I believe their is a deeper connection between things we make and the course of nature in the materials we use. This is perhaps the reason that I choose to work with wood.

  8. You say. “I am a compose in the lens guy and not a crop-it-later guy”, well that’s exactly how I was taught to do it. I was a professional photographer for 30 years back in the day when we shot on film and every frame was money, where every unsold image was an expense and every sold one was income. Cropping later was tedious and more expensive.

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