Sunday, 16 June 2013

Drawing from LIFE

Inspired by the work of Keith Brockie, after buying the book 'One Man's Island' - absolutely terrific. His drawings of the natural history of the Isle of May off the East Lothian coast in Scotland are just beautiful, the studies of the sea birds that I know so well from my diving and of the grey seals are simply stunning. The book was originally published in 1984 and I'm surprised that I hadn't seen it before and pleased to note that he is still working today - I recommend highly.
Link to his website -

Inspired, I spent a lovely 20 minutes on Saturday morning with my son Alexander, both trying to draw a frog which had got into the paddling pool outside the front of our house. Both of us sitting in the early morning light trying to snatch little studies as it as it moved about the pool trying to find a way out. Difficult trying to draw a moving subject and as noted by Brockie in his book, it's about patience and trying to piece together repeated poses to catch something of the animal. Drawing also forces you to look closely and if I had previously drawn a frog from memory I would have missed the fact that the back legs have a third section, extended foot bones making up another piece between foot and what we would call an ankle. Plan to draw more from life this year, not just from death as I so often do with the subjects that I find on the road or beach, however at least they stay still.

The frog was then happily released into the flowerbed with everything damp from the recent rain.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Derek & his shells

This lovely short film is part of the Channel 4 Random Acts series:

There are so many lovely things about this film - subject matter (it is about a lifetime of collecting), local connections with the subject matter (Derek Howlett) and the animator (Phoebe Halstead) being south-east Norfolk people, the animation, the timelapse, the sentiment that we have to understand to protect and the sheer beauty of the shells. I love it!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Life is not still

Being on crutches, I am having to find things to do whilst not moving. So, I decided to experiment with time lapse:

Life is not still from Adam Clark on Vimeo.

These livingstone daisies that live in our garden open and close on sunny, warm days, so I spent a couple of hours taking photographs every few seconds as they opened up to the morning sun and then again as they closed as the shadows lengthened across the garden in late afternoon.

I learnt a couple of key things by doing this - I attempted to add a bit of interest to the shooting by zooming in, and I think this was a mistake as it actually is quite clunky as the zoom is not smooth. The other issues is that I don't have a remote control for my camera, so although it was a on a reasonably stable tripod, there is still some camera shake. I think time lapse probably works best with a totally static shot or alternatively a really smooth dolly-based tracking shot.

The other thing that I learnt (or re-learnt) was that sitting still is the best way to see nature, as it comes to you. As I sat there taking the shots, birds came and went around me - for example two goldfinches came in to the birdbath, one at a time, whilst the other kept guard from the hedge. And then later, I saw that a grass snake had come out and was basking on the sun-warmed paments by our pond. Wonderful.

Mammoth's Tooth

Terrific few days camping with family at East Runton in Norfolk over half-term. We walked down to the beach in the blazing sunshine and explored along the cliff edges and the exposed chalk reefs, with the children splashing in the pools. We found many belamnite fossils and to my delight I found a mammoths tooth. It was near here that my father-in-law found a mammoth vertibra several years ago and although this coast is famous for it's mammal fossils I couldn't believe my luck. Showed a lot of people in the campsite and hopefully inspired a new generation of children to look carefully at the rocks on the beach.