Milestones, January 2015

Category: Newsletters 20 January 2015

30 years on the road; how did that happen? The road to Skagway, Yukon Territories, Canada. Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm lens.

2015; a year of milestones, for us anyway. 30 years ago I leapt in at the deep end of the chilly pool that is the photographic profession. It was a leap of blind faith, prompted by boundless naïve enthusiasm, the optimism of youth and a distinct absence of any other feasible options. There's more truth behind the flippant riposte that I became a photographer because I couldn't get a proper job than I care to admit. Of course by then the photography bug had already bitten so deep that a proper job was never on the cards, much to my long suffering father's chagrin. I duly set up shop with a bicycle, an SLR, 3 lenses, a student overdraft, sceptical parents, a supportive nurse of a girlfriend and whole lot of hope. I soon discovered there's a bit more to starting a business than just printing letterheads and business cards; the early years were distinctly touch and go, but by 1995, ten years later, I was on the road most of the time, travelling as much as I ever have lugging around a monster of a panoramic camera system and uncountable rolls of film. 20 years later in 2005 as I grappled with the switch to digital capture on a trip to Peru I was already beginning to feel like a veteran. Now, three decades on, I often reflect on all the dawn patrols and dusk vigils around the world. They are the memories that make me a wealthy soul, but I'm still on the road; or in this case in the air; the glowing screen on the headrest in front tells me we're currently over the Caspian Sea, bound for Saigon.

Hanoi, Vietnam.

It will be my fourth visit to Vietnam. Why go yet again? Well, firstly because I find the country endlessly fascinating and visually stimulating. Being the crusty vintage I am means Vietnam was constantly a backdrop to the news reports I was vaguely aware of through my 60's boyhood in Ontario; something must have germinated. Secondly the prospect of noodles and tropical sun in January is distinctly appealing, and thirdly I need to be on the road, making movies, exposing, scribbling notes and doing what I've done for 30 years because we now have this voracious animal that constantly needs feeding with fresh pixels and adventures. It's called the Chasing the Light Online Magazine and it is, this month, 3 years old. It's another milestone of some significance.

I can't believe it, we're now working on Issue 37. When we kicked off at the start of 2012 I had no idea how the then fledgling project would take over my life. I'm not complaining mind you, the endless need for fresh content is now the stimulus that keeps me boarding flights to Whitehorse, Prague, Rio or Saigon. Photography spanning the globe to inspire and inform; that's what it says on the tin, and what we strive to bring you f11 Members each and every month.





An image from this month's Low Down feature on exposure in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine; the morning mist swirling around Matera, Basilicata, Italy. Canon 1Ds mkII, 17-40mm lens.

Welcome aboard to all our new f11 Members who joined us over Christmas, those gift vouchers were obviously under a few trees. The January Edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is pretty typical of what 's on the menu every month; we have a Behind the Lens feature and Video Blog from Franche-Comte, two Post-Production Video Tutorials on black and white conversions and channel mixing, Ross Hoddinott on shooting Dartmoor, Chris Weston musing on the advantages of mirror-less cameras, the Low Down on exposure modes, Ben Pipe knocking about South America and a Stepping Back feature from the driest place on the planet, the Atacama, plus, of course, your images with constructive appraisal by yours truly in the f11 Member's Gallery. The Chasing the Light Online Magazine is published monthly for our subscribing f11 Members, who pay an annual subscription of £39 for access to every monthly edition plus all 36 and counting back issues. If you are still unclear on what its all about there's a video which spells it all out, with tasters from around the world.

Sleep eludes me on this flight. We're now over Afghanistan. By tomorrow evening we'll be on a farmstay in the Central Highlands, not far from the old DMZ. A month ago I was.... sorry, can't tell you, yet.  All I can say is I have been working on a fascinating project that you will hear all about in due course. For now though the news is due to last minute cancellations we still have 2 places on the 22-28 February 2015 Iceland Winter Photography Adventure. If that's too short notice for you there's next spring's Jurassic Coast 3-Day Capture to Print Workshop, or next autumn's Exmoor Photo-Explorer Adventure. We'll be also bringing the Chasing the Light Road Show to Clacton-on-Sea on Friday 13th February. Beyond that the prospect of a visit to The Photography Show, 21-24 March 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham starts to loom.  OK, it's maybe not quite an exciting prospect as Saigon, but I will be presenting daily on the Manfrotto stand. See you there?

An image from this month's Stepping Back feature in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine; Wendy treading boldly in the Valle de la Luna at dawn, nr San Pedro, Atacama Desert, northern Chile.

Tomorrow morning we'll have breakfast on the roof of the Majestic Hotel. It's the old French colonial-era hotel by the river we usually stay at whenever passing through Saigon, sorry; Ho Chi Minh City. Last time there 4 years ago I watched the egg chef do his stuff in the early tropical sunlight dappling the rooftop terrace, entranced. He was a maestro with eggs; omelettes, scrambled, poached, fried, easy over. It's not often I envy someone their job, but I did him; such a simple task, a proper job no less, done with artistry, panache and style, delivered with a smile. He was an inspiration. Maybe he too has been doing it for 30 years.

Lots more news coming next month.  Until then, keep exposing.


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Every month we publish an issue of our unique magazine Chasing the Light exclusively for f11 members. With features from behind the lens and on the road with David Noton it combines stunning photography with David's unique style of writing. Technical features, humorous anecdotes, travel notes, a member's gallery, news and the stories behind the pictures make it an entertaining, informative and inspirational monthly read and information resource for all who love photography and travel. All this for less than the price of a coffee and a biscuit a month. F11 members can also download other exclusive content such as Despatches+ and video blogs for free as they become available.

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