Holiday Housekeeping

It’s a fortnight since I posted an entry on this blog, and in the meantime I have to confess (somewhat shamefaced) that apart from occasionally signing in to WordPress once or twice to check if there were any comments that I should reply to, I have not read a single blog. That’s the longest break I’ve allowed myself in more than three years of blogging.

The holiday period has provided an opportunity for me to clear my head and prepare for a New Year. And before I go any further I hope it’s not too late to wish all of you – my readers – a Happy New Year.

Christmas is predictable: it passes by in a hyped-up blur of eating too much (and wishing I hadn’t). Imbibing an occasional extra glass of wine that results in (a) the room revolving  in an alarming way, and (b) falling asleep and missing at least half of one of the rare TV shows that I really wanted to watch. Finally ten days later I’ve caught up on all the shows I missed the first time round, the intake of food and drink is back to normal, and like so many others I scratch my head and think: ‘what was that all about, why do we all make the same mistakes year after year?’ Sounds familiar?

So what else has happened? Housekeeping. No, not vacuuming and dusting, although I do light the fire, clean the grate, do my share of filling and emptying the dishwasher, carry a cup of tea upstairs to my dear wife on a daily basis etc. The housekeeping I’m referring to is of the photographic variety.

These short days, and long dark, cold evenings provide the opportunities to catch up on chores that always get put to the bottom of the list. This Christmas I’ve re-visited the archive and pruned the collection of images from 2009. I’ve found a few gems that had never seen the light of day. Been reminded of where we went and what we did. Been surprised and disappointed in equal measure with some of the images that I had preserved for five full years.

And, more importantly, I’ve gone through my entire collection of transparencies that date back to about 1962. Thousands and thousands of them. Chucking out the total rubbish and sorting them so that I can now readily find images from a particular year or place. That was a task that was long overdue. And what I have noted is that Kodachromes from 1962 are as vibrant as when they were first taken. Agfachromes have faded badly. Images shot on Fujichrome, (a film that arrived in this country around 1970), have undergone some slight colour shift toward the magenta end of the spectrum. Thankfully Kodachrome was the medium I always took with me on major trips – I’m so glad of that.

DSC07932_wpFinally to today’s image. This was taken on 21 December 2009. We had a small fall of snow that evening, and I remember drawing back the curtains to look outside. The rear porch light was switched on, and the main light in the living room was dimmed. The result was a ‘balancing’ of light levels inside and outside and the image you see was a straight image – the room reflected in the window through which the exterior was visible. No HDR trickery, no fiddling during processing. Shot on a Sony compact. For me it sums up a winter evening at Christmas time. The simple pleasures of snowfall viewed from the warmth of the house.

Now it’s time I took a look at what you have all been posting on your blogs.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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24 Responses to Holiday Housekeeping

  1. Len says:

    I have been doing a bit of housekeeping myself Andy. I am impressed that you sound like you are done. I am still far from it. The more I shoot, the more I get behind. A never ending chase. Hope you had a great holiday season.

  2. suej says:

    Well done! You might spur me on to get my transparencies sorted! I, too, have a good few thousand, and with an impending house move (major downsizing) I really need to get this done….. I can identify with the disappointment og fading and colour shifts with different film stock…I have lost some rather precious images of Snowdonia to this.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Sue. Some of those transparencies hadn’t been viewed in over twenty years – just sitting quietly in their original containers in the dark. Thankfully nothing major has been lost to ‘fade’. I experimented with media about forty years ago but not for very long. Kodachrome was always my first choice for major trips

      • suej says:

        Well done you for sticking with Kodachrome….Perutz, Agfa, Ektachrome and Fuji all had their varying degrees of problems 20-30 years on!

  3. No apologies required Andy. It’s important to take a break every so often. Wishing yiu and your family a healthy and happy new year.

  4. oneowner says:

    I like the quality of light in this shot. The warm glow is very nice.I have meant to do some housekeeping but I’ve had some computer problems, some of which I have yet to resolve. I tend to spend more time indoors this time of year so I will continue working on it. It’s not the kind of challenge I enjoy but it has to get done.

    • LensScaper says:

      Happy New Year, Ken. I’ve not been out with a camera for over two weeks now. Seems strange, but as I get older the urge to hibernate in the warm seems to grow stronger

  5. Chillbrook says:

    A very comforting image all round Andy. Your Christmas sounds familiar although these days I avoid the alcohol because of my meds but more than make up for it with the food intake. Your photographic housekeeping sounds pretty major. You must feel very proud of yourself for tackling it.
    I’ve been scanning some of my early images taken with a very cheap point and shoot in the early 80’s. Snapshots really from my university days. Mass processed generic negatives have not survived brilliantly but I’m very happy with the results I’m getting from my new Epson Scanner. I’m planning on processing my own negatives from a medium format Mamiya 645 that I happened upon on ebay. It’s stuck in customs currently having come from Japan. I’ll process the negatives and scan them initially. I hope perhaps to start printing at some point. Unfortunately I don’t have a spare room to set up a darkroom so this is hampering my plans a little. A new year must mean learning a new skill is how I challenged myself over the Christmas period.
    My very best wishes for 2015 to you Andy. I’m very much looking forward to many more of your images and excellent advice on i-Sighting.

    • LensScaper says:

      It was a very long job sorting the slides. They had been used in various talks and not placed back in the right place. It seemed like a giant jigsaw at times. I got them all finally in the right place apart from about a dozen images – so I was quite pleased.
      I really must do some serious scanning. Which Epson scanner are you using? – I would really be interested to know how you are getting on with it. I have a Nikon Coolscan – which is fine for the occasional scan, but very time consuming and Nikon has given up updating the scanner’s software. I think there is now some generic software that can be used, but It’s now about two years since I last scanned anything and one of my next tasks really should be getting to grips with scanning.

  6. athyfoto says:

    Hello Andy. I too have done very little recently. I read your post while I was creating a filing system ready to accept my 2015 photographs and creating a new Lightroom catalogue so I will be able to find things more easily. Still got lots of archiving to do and hearing you talk about pruning your archives reminded me that I haven’t even started that task. Haven’t done it in a LONG time either, oh dear!

    • LensScaper says:

      Oh – if only I could have started life with a good filing system!! I learnt my lesson after the first year or two but it was hard work. I still, as yet, haven’t used Lightroom. I’m aware of the cataloging, but I’m a little more concerned by the way it files the data about processing. I move my processed images around quite a lot depending on how I use the final images – something, I understand, that Lightroom doesn’t handle well.

      • athyfoto says:

        When I first used Lightroom (v1.0) I would lose my tags, I would get errors saying files not found etc. Turned out to be my fault not LR’s. The thing with LR is that it is a database of file information, including physical location on the computer. If you move files that are cataloged in LR by any means other than from within LR then the location info that LR holds for those files become wrong. Any moving, copying or re-locating of files needs to be done from within LR in order to maintain the accuracy of the database.
        I have cataloged my images back to 2004 and have no problems.

  7. seekraz says:

    Such an interesting image, Andy…reminds me of one I made a year or so ago looking out of my window at work…it captured the snow-covered mountains and street view while having a dim reflection of my desk and work-space. I prefer your image…it looks much cozier. 🙂

  8. poppytump says:

    Time well spent I feel Andy, and very worthwhile when you see what is there from way back when. Your picture is like a Christmas so many of us I think would relate to … a mixture of nostalgia good family times and warmth . I’ve still not cracked the Light Room cataloguing system or an to be honest . I do try 😉 Interesting how there seems to be a surge of people recently going through their archives with a view to new projects .
    My trainers are are out ready for the first of the year’s morning power walk to hopefully counteract the past few weeks . Wishing all the best for 2015 !

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Poppy. Going through the Archives isn’t just hard work – it’s a trip down memory lane, and a very rewarding one too. It just consumes time…
      Talking of Trainers, I’m supposed to be out running getting fit for a week’s skiing. It doesn’t sound a very attractive idea, but if I want to enjoy skiing, somehow I must get down to it

  9. shoreacres says:

    Your image is lovely. The juxtaposition of the two worlds is perfect. I always enjoyed watching snow swirl and fall under the lights. Since it’s not likely I’ll get any this year, it’s enough to take pleasure in the photos of others.

    I need very badly to figure out a tagging system for my photos. In the beginning, I took so few it was enough to keep them in one file, with perhaps a few odd folders. Now, as their numbers increase, another way will have to be found. One of these days the weather here will turn truly bad, and I can devote some “inside time” to the project. I suppose I’ll need to chose a system, and then import everything I have into it. That sounds rather daunting, but taken a bit at a time, it certainly would be doable.

    As for our little “sabbaticals” — I think they’re critical. Just as we know when we’re physically tired and need a bit of extra rest, I think we know when our creative energies are flagging, too. A little withdrawal, a change of focus, and we can come back energized — just the right thing for a new year. I’m looking forward to seeing what your creative eye brings us in 2015.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much Linda. I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to ‘Tag’ your images except to say keep it relatively simple. Work out first what is critical – is it place or date or a mixture of both. My system is based purely on folders. Year/Month for all the local stuff or images that are what I call independent of place, and Year/Place for visits, day trips or holidays. That works for me most of the time. I don’t use searchable tags because I would then need to keep a list of the tags I’ve used and would end up thoroughly muddled.

      • shoreacres says:

        Ah, but what you have done is inspired me to really look at what I already have. I spent a couple of hours last night and finally learned how to use the file and folder system I have to get things sorted. With just that done, life will be much easier. And it’s more fun than dusting and scrubbing the floor!

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