This first week of practice Among Trees has been dominated by weather considerations.  It has rained almost continually on Skye for days and the sky has been lifeless and white.  There has been hardly any sunlight.  Having said this, I have enjoyed returning to the trees and capturing the interiority, inter-connectedness and relationships between trees and other species in a forest environment.  I have particularly enjoyed the Sitka spruce turning orange and yellow as autumn marches on, and realise that because of Covid lockdown last year, I missed this beautiful season on Skye.  I am keen to ensure I have a good collection from this period of practice to fill the gap caused by the pandemic.

Turning to trees has allowed me to work on a different strategy in my work – reduction.

Exhibit 3 from Upgrade Document – Strategies for approaching the essence by altering states of awareness through activation or attenuation, and way of seeing through metaphor, reduction and fracturing (adapted from Ryan (2019) p43)

Reduction can mean many things in photography such as converting images to black and white to reduce the dominating influence of colour, reducing the field of view through framing, reducing the number of objects or points of focus in the image (through techniques such as control of depth of field or intentional camera movement/slow shutter speeds) and cropping in post-processing.

In terms of the 10-Signifier Diagram, I have continued to work on my camera skills and have branched out to work on subject commitment (ie the trees that I have worked on before), temporality (working at different times of day, seasons and weather conditions) and spatial persistence (focusing on the depth and layers of the space).

Exhibit 13 from Upgrade Document – 10 Signifier Model, June 2021 – modified to show focus of Practice

In Skye, it is difficult to plan, in terms of what a particular photographic shoot might focus on.  This is because of the unpredictable weather between minutes, hours or days, and the unreliability of forecasting in the north-west of Scotland.  It is often the case that I need to revise my plans quite significantly as the weather changes.  The weather also creates practical challenges, in terms of keeping the camera dry.  While professional cameras can cope with inclement weather, it is still important to keep equipment as dry as possible and ensure the lens is clear of rain spots.  Strong winds can affect the stability of the tripod – as I found out this week – and it is important to be aware of safety issues – in my case, the possibility of unstable and falling trees.

Having said all of this, it has been a productive week and I feel my work has moved on from the successful images of trees that I submitted as part of my Upgrade Document.  Here are some of this week’s images that I believe were successful.

Reduction 10 – Alison Price, October 2021

Reduction 28 – Alison Price, October 2021

Reduction 32 – Alison Price, October 2021

Reduction 31 – Alison Price, October 2021

Reduction 20 – Alison Price, October 2021

Reduction 26 – Alison Price, October 2021

Reduction 40 – Alison Price, October 2021

Where do I go from here in the second week of Practice Period 7?  I will continue to focus on trees but, intend to change my location to the small woods along the edge of Loch Cill Chriosd.  The trees in this area are deciduous and the ground sodden and covered with moss and ferns – it is uneven from the continuous occupation of the woods by sheep too.  The trees are gnarled and misshapen.  With the proximity of the loch there is always the opportunity for swirling mist.  I plan to try out a new multiple exposure combination too that will hopefully give a sense of mystery to my images – a different type of reduction technique.

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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