Bluebell Blues!

May 2016

I am sure I am not alone when I admit to getting quite down from time to time about my photographic exploits and sometimes the battles of life in general, especially in the pursuit of photographic genius. We only have to watch a national news bulletin for 10 minutes and our whole mood can swing from okay to totally miserable; follow that with 5 minutes of Eastenders and I'm reaching for the vallium as depression sets in. I say 5 minutes, but normally it’s only as long as my ageing body takes to find the remote control and hit the off button. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way denigrating mental health issues; in fact, this post recognizes and is very much promoting ways of boosting our mental and physical welfare.

My recent posts have been highlighting the positive experiences of our photography, of feeding our soul and engaging in the process to hone and transcend our image making abilities. There is no doubt that feeding a creative desire will help to lift any depressive tendencies; but of course there are two sides to every story. I am very lucky, in as much as I am doing a job of choice. I enjoy the photo making processes and all that goes with it ... but is making images enough on its own?

This may sound hard to believe, but I am officially ‘a Miserable Old Git’ – my wife on occasion sees my glum expression and asks what’s wrong ... my reply may explain what is wrong or, in my total 'fedupness' I will just utter … I’m being a MOG! … and in a true, caring wifely fashion she will just say, “Oh, that’s okay then.”

Challenging Conditions
April and May have been quite busy for me hosting a lot of workshops. The warmer weather seems to suit photographers. However, the last few days have thrown up some challenging weather conditions and at a time when I had two bluebell day workshops back to back, with 6 people on each. My mood leading up to these workshops was very positive; after all, 9 out of the 12 were returning workshoppers and I was looking forward to meeting up again. I generally work on the theory that returning participants are happy ones and it also means I can exercise my “mickey taking skills”. The reality of course is that they generally gang up on me and I am the one being barracked! Fair play!

Anyway, back to the plot. The Met Office was predicting heavy and light rain for the whole of the two days solid! This turned my mood from extremely positive and looking forward to two days of photo fun and social interaction to, well, let’s say a serious MOG syndrome. Participants were literally coming from all directions: one was from Singapore and had a very tight window of opportunity; another hates rain and point blank refused to get out of bed; and many others had engagements that would make postponement almost impossible, not to mention the fact that the bluebell season is coming to an end and leaving zero opportunity to reschedule.

Avoidance Techniques
So, in an attempt to hide my absolute panic, I somehow managed to deflect the concerns of those involved and convince them that the 2000-strong MOGs employed at the Met Office were in fact wrong with their forecast and that all would be okay for us, my steadfast and totally rational theory being that they have got it wrong quite a lot lately, implying that all of them must be taking hallucinating drugs or something, which was seriously affecting their judgement. How could I be wrong?

Conspiracy Theory
With the weather boys doing all in their power to conspire against us, I decided to go ahead regardless! Rain covers, sowesters and borrowed hotel umbrellas were added to the already long list of camera kit, kneeling pads and high energy foods needed to sustain a full May day in the tropical rain forest conditions of Wiltshire.

Day one: Cloudy yes, but not a hint of the wet stuff for 7 hours, and the bluebell wood did a sterling job in brightening the mood. A carpet of rich coloured bluebells with the woods emanating a beautiful scent I have never experienced before.

Day two: Apart from the one wise sage refusing to get out of bed, citing that the rain always follows her, everything was good. We did have a hint of light rain followed by a downpour whilst travelling the 20 miles or so to the woods. But the rain held off all day until the last half hour.

Success, vindication even. What does the MOG's office know about the weather? Lots of banter and image making took place, with the odd bruise or two to my ribs when I (naturally) dared to fire abuse at the solitary Nikon camera user (in the yellow jacket). All in all, a great two days' photography with lots of friends, the overall experience being positive and uplifting. Everybody, including me, enjoyed the adventure and laughed in the face of the unpredictability of the British weather.

So next time someone tries to spoil your mood, don't be put off: plump for some adventure, grab your camera, pack a flask and set off .... remember, it sure does beat watching Eastenders!