Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 16/01/2012

Blue Monday

Swan Goose, originally uploaded by

Today is supposed to be Blue Monday*, the day of the year where everyone is just that little bit depressed** but with the crisp cold air and bright blue skies I can’t imagine how one could possibly feel down and that’s from a SAD sufferer. I had to go out for an appointment today, and so the camera gear was gathered together after yesterday’s sojourn and packed into my trusty Kata backpack. Of all the camera bags I own (I’ve owned a few), it’s the R-103 that’s my day bag of choice, having said it would appear I’m more of a two bag ‘tog these days, and one just doesn’t seem enough – even then I have to leave equipment at home (in part due to insurance restrictions!). I can fit two camera bodies, 5 lenses, a flashgun, laptop and other bits and pieces in a bag small enough to be carried on as hand luggage (and providing the airline doesn’t decide to try and weigh the bag). This is perfect for general trips, holidays etc however it does leave me the issue of carrying the 600mm lens, which I don’t like to leave on it’s own (there aren’t any hostels for lenses as our feline and canine friends enjoy – though I’m sure a number of you out there would be more than prepared to offer such a service if I needed it 😉 )

I spent a portion of yesterday’s trip talking to people about me, and my photography (and I****), rugby offering advice in some cases discussing my work in others. I should record these sessions as they would readily form the basis of my training course and the library talk, leaving me to add some coherence (well, that would be a first) and correct any grammatical errors (yes, Dear Reader, I know what you’re thinking… And I agree that WOULD indeed be a first). I have thought about some form of audio recorder as I frequently have ideas for the blog, website, photography challenges when driving in the car and as it’s a little difficult to drive and write (not to mention illegal), I could do with some ‘tech to help me out. My phone has this functionality built in but being a smartphone, it requires a number of screen presses before you can access the software – again, this isn’t so convenient or more importantly… safe. I guess I’ll just have to use the tried and tested method and remember until I can note down my thoughts.

I mentioned how yesterday’s sun light was absolutely perfect for photography and I think yesterday’s and today’s images certainly corroborate this. With the sun never getting higher than 17 degrees (you can calculate the sun’s altitude here) it was like having a large (very large, very very large) constant light source*** available. One rule of photography, certainly from a wildlife point of view, is that you should never go out taking photos around midday, this is when the sun is higher most in the sky (in summer it will be 90 degrees ie straight above you) and whilst that will give you nice illumination of your hair or the top of the animals head, it does nothing for the portrait view – apart from accentuating all those bags under the eyes, and wrinkles. As you can appreciate.. elephants particularly hate it when the sun is at it’s zenith (and tend to avoid photographers as much as possible until the sun is lower in the sky).

* No, not the New Order track
**Part of the “equation” for calculating the precise day of Blue Monday is “W”, which is a variable, standing for weather (see it’s starting to sound cobblers already) other variables in the equation include “d” (debt), “T” (time since Christmas), Q (time since failing our new years resolutions)… there are other variables but frankly (as a trained Scientist) they’re laughable and certainly not quantifiable.
*** Not strictly true, Scientists have calculated that the sun’s got another 7 billion years left so you’d better start taking all the photos you can with it – or start saving for a studio light of the same power now!

**** Me, Myself and I by De La Soul


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