The fusions and confusions of a curious mind

Learning from the heart outwards, by kempspace

Month: June, 2015

Macro Meditation

My camera is a tool for meditation, focusing my mind behind the views my eyes find. Taking time out from the multi-tasked, multi-voiced cacophony of the daily demand, I return to my lens guide. I scan for small things taken much for granted which shouldn’t be, things often unseen, seemingly inconsequential, but are masterpieces simply lost amidst the inane. Holding a quiet, steady frame behind the widest aperture, I trace macro sight around a small bloom’s newly disclosed detail, in awe of it’s intricacy and tiny structures. My close focus rests en pointe. My fingers move around degrees of sharpness until the protagonist petalled part is illuminated against a blur of background. I take the shot, then seek again. The absorption in this cycle is mindfulness in action; breathing slows, mind coalesces around it, and contentment seeps through the bones of me.

Macro Meditation

Macro Meditation

Jack and I Hunt Frames in the Woods

Through the park to the woods on the other side, I’m hunting dappled shade in the bright midday sun, the only solace for my camera’s sensor from the whitewash of overexposure. My eyes find possible frames and the world falling outside of them falls easily out of attention. Lets see if there are any shots to be had in this wooded half light. I’ve not been here before.

Two ‘it’ll do’ lenses in my bag (kit zoom and 50mm prime) and I find myself hungering after that elusive wide angle. Expensively evasive. Well, another day another dollar (…or several), until then these two are trusty. The Jack Russell is joining today, he never fails to find all sorts to entertain his curious mind on the trail, happy to do the walk-and-pause that frustrates most non-photographers. Perfect company. I’ll be hard pressed to get a shot without something of him in it, as he loves to hoard my focus.

IMG_9395 wm

We choose our wooded path and further in it opens to a stream in a clearing… mirrored reflections? Longer exposures for smooth waters?… I see a nook where knarled trees, irises and water seem to form their own tight composition. I smile then click at the haven.

The wood trail continues, we saunter for a while and my eyes just can’t find a fit. More and more I’m thinking before shooting. Quite suddenly, we pop out from under the cool umbrella of trees onto a small country lane and into the sun’s heat. Across the way is clearly the road to the Wizard of Oz. I secure Jack to one side in case of traffic and play with focus on the fence and field beyond. He eyeballs a vintage car as it passes at lazy summer speed and I curse for not being quick enough to shoot it before it turns a bend.IMG_9421 wm

Despite the lure of the yellowed dirt road to an emerald forest beyond, I decide I’ve done enough hunting for courage, wisdom and heart recently and besides, Jack has scented something more interesting, probably a fox. We turn back.

Skirting the trail round just inside the woods, Jack and I get a run for a while until I spy a profusion of bright irises beaming from the murk under a tree. Stop! The contrast is perfect. Jack skids to a halt and I move around capturing green vertical stripes interrupted by bursts of sunshine bloom.


The lane we had been on a while back must bend around the woods not too far from where we are, as the tinny melody of an ice cream van interrupts my absorption.  I stretch my legs from kneeling at iris height and pause. The world’s re-entered the frame, I’m thinking about cool vanilla in a crispily chewy cone with a chocolate flake and I know I’m done with shooting for a while. I’m hungry, though not as hungry as for that wide angle lens. Jack? He doesn’t care about breaks for ice cream, he knows I’ve got treats in my pocket.


These photos and others from the walk can be found at:

kempspace in Hertfordshire



Lens-captivatated in South Wales means chasing climbing bolts is far from mind

Climbing at Rhossili Bay

Climbing at Rhossili Bay

The Gower coastline raises wonder at its beauty, the spectre of skeletal old wrecks, and the eyes of climbers assessing their prowess against the routes that trace the sea cliffs. For those who like climbing with as much of a salty sea breeze through their hair as chalk through their fingers, many routes at Rhossili Bay are launched from one foot on the sand whilst the other aims for purchase on the first hold.

Ramon Marin on One Ton Depot, 7b at Shipwreck Cove.

Ramon Marin on One Ton Depot, 7b at Shipwreck Cove, Rhossili Bay.

There are both bolted sport routes and trad lines on these sea cliffs in the Bay, and in between, the Vennerne shipwreck makes for a wonderful subject as the tide drifts out and leaves its bones exposed.

The Vennerne Shipwreck, Rhossili Bay

On trips over the last couple of years, I have been increasingly caught up in photographing the beauty of the places we visit to climb, rather than the climbing itself. With my feet planted on the expansive flat mirrored sands at Rhossili, I watched the sea recede to meet the horizon line and gently highlight it with silver. My breathing slowed and I stood lens-captivated, chasing bolts on the sea cliffs far from my mind.

The receding sea at Rhossili Bay

The receding sea at Rhossili Bay

If this wasn’t gift enough, a day spent further inland at Dinas Rock saw climbing routes surrounded by a seemingly magical gloaming, fit as a setting for any fairy tale. Within it’s verdant wooded enclaves, a river and it’s waterfalls ran through the rocks, the babble enhancing the mindful focus of the climbers breathing their way through each vertiginous move. Again, my attention was caught by the unusual mossy-green midday twilight whilst my companions followed the chalk-lit path to top out their routes. I think I know where my route lies.

Climbing at Dinas Rock

Simon Rawlinson and his gorgeous dog Tufa. Simon, Head Performance Coach at Make the Next Move, points out the climbing routes at Dinas Rock in South Wales.

More of my South Wales photos can be found at:

More information about climbing in South Wales can be found at the South Wales Mountaineering Club website:

A link to Simon Rawlinson’s blog article on the opening of Shipwreck Cove to climbers can be found here:

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