I’ve had a bad month. COVID fading more into the background meant I was able to see my doctor at 4th attempt, resulting in a series of referrals mostly dealing with that curse of ageing – arthritis, but also to deal with recurring reminders of the cancer. For me pain has become a bit of a bar to working in the studio, perhaps more mental than physical I admit, but none the less real for all that. But ‘To Paint is to Love Again’ I once quoted Henry Miller as saying, so now I am looking at alternative ways of working, addressing an old area of creativity based more in the camera than standing in front of an easel. Much as I did with the Four Seasons imagery, I am looking again at what has now become habitual, the morning thread of photographs in Weather Watching.
The total of images I have uploaded to the BBC Weather Watchers site has passed 2,600 now. Not all are morning shots looking at daily and seasonal change in garden and skies here in Sussex, but also shots of the surf and the moon.
Of the 2,600 shots the Beeb has used a dozen– one of their presenters commented they were just of my garden! Well missy, I have news for you – weather happens in our gardens and the spectacular doesn’t trump the sense of change that comes from observing the same scene over and over through time, and Monet made rather a thing of his garden anyway, so why shouldn’t I?
The routine includes the cat of course, and can provide a moment of stillness, of prayer, in the flow of the day. In the last couple of years, I have added a limited commentary (limited by the number of characters the Beeb allows) to my observations, data fed by a local weather station and observation. I am exploring how the imagery can reflect time. I have been playing with the images, merging them to show a week in one shot, and then maybe four weeks merged to show a month, and (most fun) four months, one from each season, to show a year. Here is 2020 for example.
Now this is my attempt looking at smaller change than the year, at portraying a month or less – this series is October 2022 with its commentary. The images are each a week set of 7 shots merged to produce the week in summary, one just as they come, the more colourful being a representation using High Dynamic Resolution. HDR is a process that supposedly reveals colour that we don’t normally see (unless we are Monet). Occasionally I tweak the exposure or another aspect of the image but essentially, I stay true to the morning light. I then crop to a size the web and the BBC can cope with
1st Good morning. The storm, such as it was, has passed in the night. The cloud is breaking up, thinning to reveal blue and con trails. Much warmer, well up on yesterday’s frosty start with just a lingering memory of the stinging impact of raindrops when I stopped at Birling Gap to snap the waves
2nd Good morning. Dull and damp, gently but steadily raining. In September the rain almost filled a bucket on the terrace – worralorrarain. Poor light getting duller it seems but at 12 degrees quite warm
3rd Good morning. The temperature all over the place this week, down to 6 degrees this morning. Heating came on for the first time, place is like a sauna, must check the thermostat. Sore back after two hours cutting back honeysuckle and climbing rose from ripping down a gutter. I cannot recommend ageing
4th Good morning. Yesterday on the Downs I saw swallows zooming across the landscape as well as a skein of geese. The colours of autumn are only slowly appearing apart from the conker trees which look glorious. This morning is warm again at 15, and blowy, as summer is reluctant to let go
5th Good morning. Dawn breaks sullenly, light barely making it through the cloud at 0915hrs. The ‘nightlight’ the school keeps on all night for the kids, even though they are still snoring at home, glows across the playground. Wind whips the trees, the birds sensibly still have heads tucked under wings
6th Good morning. Without cloud it is noticeable cooler at just 8 degrees. As the sky pales from the east the morning star still gleams as a pair of paranoid blackbirds shout their warnings across the gardens. There are moans of ‘shaddup’ from the sparrows in the holly not ready to un-snug themselves
7th Good morning. An hour later this morning and the sun is well up revealing a sky like an advert for a ‘Battle of Britain’ movie, with contrails criss-crossing white on blue above grey and red tinged smoke like clouds. Temperature is well up too at 17 degrees
8th Good morning. Cat failed to wake me so late again, but no matter, no timetable to keep any more. The sun is risen again, burnishing the treetops with gold, their leaves gradually flying away as the earth dies slowly again in its seasonal dance. I look forward to winters glorious storms
9th Good morning. The cat wakes me, purring, warm, nestling against my side. It’s just before six so I come downstairs, no light using my peripheral vision and familiarity – return to add my glasses… It’s too dark for the camera at first, warm at 12 degrees, the morning star gleaming amongst a few clouds
10th Good morning. A pigeon ghosts past on silent wings. From the holly there comes a series of sleepy cheeps as the sparrows discuss their plans for the day. In the distance a crow grumbles aloud. Overhead a grey cloud blanket, not thick, is enough to keep us at a mild 16 degrees
11th Good morning. Night on the ebb, dawn arriving. As darkness flees and the school turns off its night light the lovely glow of the in-between subtly shifts, the subtlety of colour and texture challenging as the cool 6 degree wind carries the paranoid call of the blackbird, the sleepy sparrow chirrups
12th Good morning. First time I’ve turned the heating on as the first hint of frost can be seen on the grass. It is 5 now but I suspect a couple of degrees colder during darkness. The garden is quiet, and I suspect the avian crew are staying warm until hunger drives them to the feeders
13th Good morning. At 06.30 still dark as Hades. The only sound the constant pattering of raindrops as it steadily pours down. I wait until past 0700, tidying the kitchen before it is light enough to be venturing out to take the morning photos. Now of course a soggy moggy rubbing against my bare legs
14th Good morning. Waiting patiently since 0620 to take a morning image. Sunrise today is at 0722, so this taken in the twilight zone. The news that Brits may be evicted to provide housing for dinghy people makes it even more like we are in a twilight zone. The birds still chirrup cheer up in the bushes
15th Good morning. A wet morning. The rain has just moved further down the coast but more is forecast. It is 15 degrees warm again, the temperature yo-yoing up and down as the seasons fight it out to see who will dominate. Although we all know winter is coming there are still autumnal days to enjoy
16th Good morning. A mild morning. Two gulls in the distance squabble “did” “didn’t” repetitively to giggles from the LBJ’s in the holly. As fast as autumn colour appears in the trees the sea wind blows them away across silvery gleaming puddles left by the overnight rain
17th Good morning. In the twilight zone it is greyer than normal as heavy clouds bind the sun to darkness. The only sound is the sound of raindrops on glass, wood, grass and stone. the school nightlight turns playground puddles into sheets of gold but dark green greys predominate. It is warm at 16 degrees
18th Good morning. Cooler this morning at 11 degrees, a dew mimicking frost. A fox has dug out all the freshly planted bulbs from the pots on the terrace – they probably need a wire netting topping adding for protection. The grass is becoming a meadow, with cat leaving game trails marking his walks
19th Good morning, finally after another ageing computer crash. Beautiful pink sky fading as day gets a grip. Bit of a breeze moving things around, chilling from the measured 14 degrees. Enough pink to shout out to the shepherd perhaps – it is that time of year when storms can come, but lovely right now
20th Good morning. Steady rain softly falling. Gentle pattering sound supplemented by crow and gull, robin and sparrow, tit and wren. The moggy goes off to get soggy and the clouds roll on ahead of the sunrise, misting the Down, gentling the colours
21st Good morning. Gorgeous morning, and 16 again. A new moon shyly shepherds the clouds off stage to the west, setting the scene for the sun to rise. A gentle breeze attempts to dry a substantial heavy dew whitening the grass and the LBJ’s seem their cheerful selves in the cheep seats this morning
22nd Good morning. The weather forecast is predicting a maximum today that the local weather station is already exceeding at 19 degrees. A lovely balmy twilight in which mistress moon ushers in her master the sun, lower clouds rushing to hide the higher ones that are tinged pink in embarrassment
23rd Good morning. Thunder and lightning, rain hosing against the windows, tumultuous black clouds driving in from the Channel. Warm and wet this morning, the cat huddling at my side with memories of last night’s firework noise lingering reinforcing his need for safety and security
24th Good morning. Finally dawn breaks. Hanging about in the dark waiting first light is a pain, but at least it stopped raining although we have had plenty in the last few hours. Remarkably the moggy is not soggy
25th Good morning. Warm again at 15 degrees, Grass is getting tussocky but daisies still blossom, and mushrooms grow, it gets cut on Friday. Stunning cloudscape as the sun rises after waiting for that clock change extra hour to expire, but it has stopped raining for now
26th Good morning. Worralorra rain we’ve ‘ad. Black clouds battle pink, blue sky argues with grey whilst a warm wind brings 16 degrees in from the Channel to the south. Anyone see the eclipse yesterday? In between showers and rainbows?
27th Good morning. Magpies laughing as I step outside the back door. Cat looking at me beseechingly but barred from the garden as we go to the vet soon. The rain steadily coming down, persistent, from the grey sky and oppressive clouds. Today’s walk looks unlikely to happen so studio time looks probable
28th Good morning. Can’t get used to how dark it is in the mornings still. The small birds are awake, one chittering its alarm as a raptor briefly hovers and surveys the gardens below. The sullen clouds gradually pinken as the day lazily starts up at a warm 17 degrees. But it is dry for once
29th Good morning. Quite an indian summer we are having it seems as temperature stays in the warm zone. The robin is busy laying the base line for his territorial claims – bit of a family squabble I imagine from the number of young I saw earlier in the year. The grass has been hacked down – not my hand
30th Good morning. Clocks away! It’s raining hard this morning. so apart from the sound of raindrops, silence reigns – er – rains. Cat sensibly stayed in the dry. A spot cooler at just 15 degrees. Not nice. Clocks…
31st Good morning. It’s dry and warm – a little cooler, but still 15 degrees. Catching the last of darkness. Venus sparks bright as a sleepy robin challenges a sparrow and a crow drifts over with a hollow laugh. The school still burns its nightlight for invisible ghosts of children past and dark galleons
It’s all a bit of fun, but also a daily act of worship, a thanks for being here and the beauty around me. I’d love some feedback from experienced eyes. So tell the truth, whaddya thunk? HDR or no HDR? I know HDR is supposed to reveal what the eye doesn’t normally see, but am I losing it to like both sets? Do use the comments below, or feedback through Twitter (Patrick A. Goff (@patricktheart) / Twitter)
And here is the month united