Seven Years Ago / by Graham Dew

St Catherine's Hill Boardwalk, 2006 © Graham Dew
St Catherine's Hill Boardwalk, 2006

It’s either too cold at the weekend, still not light enough in the evening, or I’m not feeling well enough to go out and take new photos. So I started to wonder what pictures I had taken in late winter in previous years. Since switching over to digital eight years ago all of my pictures now carry accurate timestamps that have been diligently recorded by my cameras. It is easy to flip back and see what I was taking pictures of during the month of March in previous years. This picture was taken seven years ago in 2006, and is of the boardwalk that protects the heavily used path up St. Catherine’s Hill to the south of Winchester.

Times change and so do approaches so making pictures. Although I had by then been using colour film and then colour digital pictures since the start of the millennium, old habits die hard and I still had a tendency to process images in a monochrome based style. This picture, a cropped image from my Fujifilm F810, was stripped back to a black and white image, tonally adjusted and then re-coloured, a technique I used quite a bit then. These days I like to do as much as I can in-camera, and use only the ‘gentle’ image editing in Lightroom rather pixel bashing that tends to happen in Photoshop. Perhaps I should return and re-shoot the scene and see how much my photography has changed over the intervening years.

In fact, it is easy to see a lot of changes just by looking at the images in the monthly folders in which they are stored. Back then I was just looking, hoping to find interesting single images. I was working without a plan, and had a scattergun approach to taking pictures. Time, with a young family, was perhaps even more restricted then than it is now. But today I have a much clearer idea of what subjects I want to shoot and the photographic techniques I want to employ, so I can make good use of my time and opportunities.

The biggest difference though is in the pictures of the family; we all look so much older. It’s hard to look at the pictures of my children without a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye; they look so small and so sweet. They are all very lovely now I’m pleased to say, but they are no longer little.