A Meandering Life…
Alan says his journal title says everything about him. However, the name ‘A Meandering Life…’ is far from implying aimlessness or lack of control. He’s chosen this based on life events and a fair few changes of direction. Each time, he has retrained and moved on to new challenges.
After receiving injuries as a police officer with 21 years of service, Alan had decisions to make. Not letting the setback get in the way, he’s been a tour operator for a US based travel company, a higher level teaching assistant at a secondary school and gained a degree in garden design before accepting a ‘quieter’ life concentrating on his hobbies - of which, you may be starting to imagine, there are many!
His recent move from the Kent/London borders in England to North Yorkshire has also kept him busy. Not one to stand still, he’s already on the committee of the local camera club and joined the Yorkshire Dales Classic Car Club.
He says, “This new stage in our lives was long overdue!”
Today, we’re pleased to be able to profile this versatile blipper with endless creativity on our Community Blog.
Enjoy meeting Skeena!
Have you always been a photographer?
Photography has always frustrated me but I can't leave it alone; I travel too much. What would my memories be of flying more than 597,184 miles without as many blurry photos?!
With the help of Blip, I gained a Royal Photographic Society (RPS) distinction in February 2016. Trying to produce a good image every day definitely helped me improve my skills. I now have the honour of having the letters LRPS* after my name. ;o))
How did you become interested in photography?
As a teenager, I think my first taste of photography was with a Kodak 110 pocket camera then I had a Polaroid Land Camera (but less said about that the better…)
What started you blipping?
Back in May 2014, I was a new member of the Orpington Photographic Society and had attended their end-of-season garden party. As I left with the then chairman, he said he hadn’t got a Blip yet. I had no idea what that meant but one backside of a bee later I was hooked.
What do you enjoy about the concept?
It caters for the simplicity of just an image or the starting block for a wordsmith.
How would you describe your journal?
There are themes that come and go, some continuously weave between the passing months and years. As with life, it doesn’t stand still and I like to experiment and change things but always with the aim to improve.
Do you have a photographic style?
I’d like to think I have many styles but it does frustrate me, I haven’t mastered any of them. Maybe its just as well because I’d get bored doing them.
How important is the journaling side to you?
I’m not good at words, even worse at keeping up with other journals. Sometimes I want to say so much more and interact but find it difficult for one reason or another.
Do you use your journal to keep in touch with people?
Not necessarily with my journal but I do use others to keep up with Blippers I have met or hope to meet one day.
YOUR JOURNAL & PHOTOGRAPHY
What are your favourite subjects for photography? Why?
Looking at my most popular tags it suggests Matilda, my Morris Minor Traveller. She does feature a lot! After that, Mono Monday, for which I coordinated the hosts for a number of years. I still set aside February to only take monochrome images. I like stripping colour away as it tends to clutter what we look at sometimes.
When I lived in London, street photography was my main subject but my involvement with The World Garden at Lullingstone Castle also meant I did a lot of flowers and nature work. Now I live in North Yorkshire it appears I need to learn how to do landscape!
What do you look for in a photo to save in your journal?
I like to produce something that reflects my day or thoughts at the time. I rarely have an idea in my head at the start of a day but if something pops up, I’m happy to run with it. I’m a huge fan of the American illustrator Norman Rockwell who always injected humour into his images. I often see that humour in everyday life and I might incorporate this into my journal. If I bring a smile or my images get another blipper to have a go, then I’m happy.
How do you choose what to save?
This tends to be my biggest problem! As a club photographer, I never know what images I should put into a competition. All my images tend to go through Blip first, even most of my LRPS* panel. Sometimes I may have 100s to chose from but I have found some days, I have just one!
How has photography changed for you over the years?
I never mastered film and definitely made a hash of slides! Digital photography has meant I could snap away with the hope something will be worth looking at. Since joining a camera club and Blip, I have improved on the technical side. I can be lazy and will often go out with just my mobile phone. Having said that, I have won inter-club competitions with images taken on a phone and I make sure I tell the judge afterwards…
Tell us about the hobbies you incorporate into your blips
Since my move last year to North Yorkshire many of my old hobbies have been put to bed. The need to have a garage for Matilda outweighed the need for a well-equipped workshop and as Matilda can fit into our new garage it wasn’t an issue. So no more welding or major woodworking projects (although both can be needed for Matilda!)
I did keep my stained glass tools and at some point I may use up some of the glass I have. Another hobby on hold at the moment is travel. We have been lucky in being able to venture to some beautiful places, another reason to improve my landscape photography.
How has daily blipping impacted on your life generally?
It can always be in the back of my mind that I need an image. When driving I might see a shot but can’t stop. I sometimes might have to explain my cursing to others I’m travelling with…
What’s the biggest challenge with daily blipping?
The biggest challenge is getting something I think worth showing others. This may mean not having a technically brilliant image but I do like to do my best in the circumstances.
What does the Blipfoto community mean to you?
It’s a huge community these days and I never get the time to look at many new journals. I appreciate greatly those who regularly visit my journal; it means a lot. I have many views on many things but I don’t use Blip to air them - I don’t think it’s the place for that.
What motivates you to keep blipping?
Because it’s there! I did take a break back in 2018 to prove I could! Between July and December I only posted 2 images, one because I had a BlipMeet with BikerBear and the other of a ghost at Lullingstone Castle! How could I miss blipping them?!
What would you say to other blippers or people who are considering signing up.
Blip has helped me no end to improve my photography and I believe it can also help others. We can all learn from and take inspiration from seeing what other Blippers do. Never worry about what you take or how good or bad you think you are. Give it a go. The many challenges can help focus your mind if you are stuck for ideas.
Skeena’s Top 10
Alan has shared his favourite ten blips with us. Enjoy them here in this short film.
*LRPS = Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society
Alan chose ‘Me & Me’ explaining, “This is my school photo when I had just turned six. I wondered what I'd say to myself if I had a chance to be there. Knowing what was install for me over the next 10-12 years I guess I'd say little, except hang in there.”