Busy as a Winter Bee!

With being busy with Pilgrim House and The Pilgrim magazine I don’t have much free time to indulge myself, as with most businesses it’s finish one thing and then onto the next. I actually enjoy this way of working as, living with Autism, my mind gets bored very quickly so always needs to be busy doing something, although not necessarily the same thing.

Way back in 2009 I brought myself a nice little Fuji Bridge Camera. It was my first time ever venturing into taking more detailed photographs instead of quick ‘snaps’ that you more get from compact cameras or mobile phones (although you can get some astonishingly great photos from both neither require the setup). Anyway, in 2010 I bravely decided to venture to buy a DSLR camera, my first! It was, and still is, a Sony A400, and is still a great camera although in the eleven years since buying it secondhand on eBay I’d never actually gotten around to working out how to use it. Oh, I’d go about pretending I could take a photo but phone cameras were getting better and I found myself reaching more for my trusty iPhone, and I still do, I actually enjoy finding out what I can do with my phone.

During lockdown, I’ve not stopped working, but the start of 2021 has given me a bit of breathing space, and SNOW!!! So, I’ve used the past few weeks to actually try and learn how to take a photograph, learning what the settings do and why they do them. I still haven’t a clue, but I’ve figured out the ISO setting, changing White Balance and guessing the Aperature and Shutter Settings and although I’m really only playing these are some of the best photographs I’ve ever taken! This is a big admission as I was always proud of my Bridge Camera work but learning the tiny amount I’ve learned using the camera, which has sat behind the sofa for years has been amazing.

I know Winter isn’t the greatest time to start a new(old) hobby but it’s a very much underestimated season with so much to offer, I used to despise Winter walking but since the ‘Beast from the East’ in 2018 where I didn’t have much choice to be outdoors, due to work and pub visits it’s a season I’ve come to love just as much as summer for many different reasons.

I have great difficulty being still, I can’t abide boredom and always doing something, whether it be cooking, reading, walking or writing then I’m always working on something. Picking up the camera really allows me to roll a number of the things I enjoy into one and give greater detail to where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved that day. I know for some even leaving the house is an ordeal (I’ve been there myself) but like me learning a new hobby all great things start off with the tiniest of steps.

I know my photos aren’t anything magnificent compared to others who are serious about photography, but this is my thing and it’s the steps that I take that make them special and individual to me.

Tom Stanger
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Host at Supernatural People podcast, Editor/writer at The Pilgrim Magazine, curator of the Pontyddim archives, tea drinker, hat wearer and autism advocate. PhD researcher on Gothic Literature & religion also does book reviews bad photography and other bits and bobs

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