Deep Midwinter

It’s mid-January. Outside, last week’s powdery covering of snow has all but melted, just in time for the arrival of the next forecast storm of high winds and heavy rain. The sun is still below the horizon, seemingly reluctant to show itself at this, the bleakest time of year. 

In previous years, and last year in particular, this has been a difficult time to get through personally. Twelve months ago I was unwell enough to be off work and struggling, and I count myself as very fortunate to have had an understanding employer and colleagues at the time, who let me take the time I needed, and ultimately to exit the business on my own terms, when I decided that was best. 

Now, I can look back at the progress I’ve made during the last twelve months, and also look out of the window at January and not feel unduly daunted by the thought that February lies just around the corner. I’ve taken on two voluntary roles recently, both of which are allowing me to use my professional background in a constructive way, and I’ve also begun the process of returning to “proper” work after all those months out. It may take a while to get back in the saddle, but I’m working on it now.

In the meantime, photography continues to occupy much of my time. I gave a talk a week or so ago to a camera club in Ireland, the preparation for which was tremendously rewarding. It gave me a good excuse to go back through thousands of images, re-editing some with the benefit of greater experience using Lightroom and Photoshop, and creating new material that I felt would benefit the overall theme of the talk, which was a journey around the Yorkshire Wolds and coast.

I’m not a particularly confident public speaker, and delivering the session via Zoom was odd, as my words fell into the void of the internet. But I enjoyed it overall, and even if it wasn’t for everyone, the effort wasn’t wasted and my fee was donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which you may know by now is a charity close to my heart.

Since then, I’ve  given the proverbial two fingers to the winter weather and have been out and about on the North Yorkshire Moors, photographing the snow and ice of the last week and then making some very satisfying prints. So, whereas twelve months ago the midwinter really did feel bleak and never-ending, this year feels brighter. And now, the sun is up.

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