Durdle door in the rain

It’s great to be creative on a daily basis but sometimes everyone needs a break from the daily grind and digital lifestyle we all endure so getting away for road trips and enjoying the outdoors at weekends is a must.

As per usual the weather wasn’t favouring us for our first visit on to the Jurassic Coast and visiting the ever popular Durdle door but this wouldn’t stop us.  The drive down to the coast was tedious enough with flooding but once we arrived on the cliff side car park all we could see was sheet white. The cliffs and sea had disappeared.

It was only until you climbed out of the car and fought your way through the rain and wind to the pathway, did the beach start to appear. A light scramble down to the water edge was difficult enough, let alone trying to get the camera out which was instantaneously soaked.

Trying to lift the camera up to view the coast line was near impossible. The front elements were coated in water, sea mist, salt and sand that was being blown up.  You dare look down and take time looking on the back of the camera to see if anything was any good or worth keeping.

Shooting in poor weather like this speeds up your process but also makes you conscious of what to shoot, trying to avoid the camera out in the rain. Working in these conditions really gives you unique views that most typically shy away from and stay indoors.

Where's the fun in that?

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Cambrian Detox

The Cambrian Mountains are a remote area in mid Wales and one that I keep returning to time and time again. Hiking through heat waves, thick fog and heavy rain and thunderstorms, every visit is drastically different and no one expedition is the same with the ever-changing conditions, landscape and weather.
And yet every visit continues to remind me of the striking beauty despite the somewhat extreme weather, but this makes it all that extra special and unique. Every morning, afternoon and evening different bringing rainbows with piecing light as the sunrises over the Elan plateaus, thick fog shrouding giant structures and seeking shelter in dense woodland.

The lack of people and digital interference makes it peaceful and alien landscape. One man, his camera and a rucksack roaming the Welsh mountains just enjoying the vast great outdoors with no disruption from anyone or anything.

 

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Interview with Bath Spa on IGPOTY runner up

Creative Arts graduate named runner up in international photography competition

Bath Spa BA Creative Arts graduate Matt Holland has been announced as a runner-up in the 11th year of the prestigious International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) competition.

Matt, who graduated in 2014, captured the prize-winning moment at Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, Wales and was awarded his accolade in the Trees, Woods and Forests category.

Matt said: “I didn’t have to go far in order to take this photo. Snowdonia is known for its mountains and giant vistas.

I took the photo at the roadside on my way down to Llanberis which was on the opposite side of the Llyn Peris or better known as Electric Mountain. The sun was just peeking through from behind the storm clouds which caused huge beams of light to illuminate the trees dotted along the ridge and I just knew I had to stop and shoot. As soon as I framed the shot I instantly fell in love with it.

The composition was simple but the patterns and subtle colours breaking through just made it perfect. I decided to enter my chosen photo into the competition because I hadn't seen many like it. Although I was confident that it was a special photograph, I was still very surprised and thrilled to find out I had been awarded second place.”

The impromptu image, titled ‘Dinorwig Pattern', can now be seen on tour as part of a global exhibition which began at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew earlier this year.

Matt said: “The opportunity to go to Kew Gardens to see all of the shortlisted prints in the flesh and meet other photographers was second to none.”

A hardback volume of the finest entries, including Matt’s photo, has also been produced to showcase this year’s best garden and outdoor photography.

When asked how he has honed his skills over the years, Matt said: “I have been interested in the arts and photography from a young age, it's all down to my dad who taught me how to use 35mm film. My love for photography has steadily developed alongside my passion for producing graphic design work.

The Creative Arts course at Bath Spa really helped me gain an understanding of how to apply my work in a commercial perspective. I had the creative freedom to produce the work that I wanted to, with a steer in the right direction from my tutors.

Photography is a competitive industry so my advice to budding photographers is to expand your skill set. My university experience taught me to mix my photography with print and web design. If you can learn video, graphic design or animation and merge the two together it can really set you in good stead for a fulfilling career.”

To view more of Matt’s work visit his website: https://www.mihphoto.co.uk/.

Interested in studying Creative Arts?

The Bath Spa Creative Arts course encourages an entrepreneurial approach to creative practice. Students have the opportunity to produce original, practical work, while tackling the challenges of critical thought and reflection. Much of the Creative Arts programme is based at Dartmouth Avenue in the Oldfield Park area of Bath where students have access to workshop spaces and facilities.

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Modern Day Impressionism - ICM

Get Off Screens and Get Outside for #MentalHealthMonth

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as #MentalHealthMonth. At Time To Log Off we’re going to be focusing on two aspects of mental health affected by our 24:7 screen habits: social media and mental health, and the benefits of getting outside and connecting with nature.

Human beings have only been around for the last 200,000 years and most of that time we’ve been outside roaming in nature, living in caves, making fires and hunting. But in just a blink of an eye, over the last fifty years, we’ve transformed into almost entirely sedentary and indoor creatures.

We hardly go outside. We sit at desks for hours at a time, doing very little but staring at our devices. We eat lunch at the desk where we work, we drive or sit on a bus or train home, we watch TV or sit on another computer and we repeat this cycle week after week, after week.

Is it any wonder mental health issues are soaring? We’re simply not wired to live this way and our aches and pains and low mood after our week’s work are our brain and body telling us “Get off screens and get outside!”

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We know so much now about how getting outside and connecting with nature can restore our mood and make us feel better. From forest bathing to the restorative power of the sea, to simply sitting in a green space. Getting outside in our busy lives can be easier said than done, but for #MentalHealthMonth here are a few ideas on how you can get off screens and get outside to boost mental health and wellbeing:

#1 Take a 15-minute fresh air break for every hour working on a screen. If you can’t actually get outside then look out the window and refresh your eyes with some natural light.

#2 At lunch don’t sit at your desk and continue to work and eat. Get away from the desk and find a green space to sit in – you’ll feel better for doing so and probably improve thinking and creativity for the afternoon.

#3 When you get in after work, avoid TV and screens for the hour before bed. How about quick walk outside in the evening to reconnect with nature instead of slumping at the TV? You might even find you sleep better at night.

#4 Follow the 5:2 Digital Diet and have weekends completely free of tech, go on a digital-free day trip, get outside do something different in the fresh air and restore your body and mind.

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