Winter arrived in many parts of the UK last week, and when I say winter, what I mean is snow. Here in Shropshire, on the Welsh Borders, we copped a good dollopful, to use a technical weather term! Wednesday morning dawned bright, cold, but sunny, so I wasn’t going to hang about. I slipped on my walking shoes and set off with my camera to do my daily walk. And it was the right thing to do, because a couple of hours after getting back the blue skies disappeared and the grey cloud rolled in.
I’m used to taking photos specifically to illustrate magazine articles, but on days like this, it’s nice to simply go out and make the most of what the world has to offer. But that doesn’t mean to say that these photos are wasted. There’s an opportunity in everything.
Later on that afternoon I had an email from an editor thanking me for some work I’d sent through. He ended his email by commenting on the weather - that where he was he had loads of snow, and did I have any? So naturally, I responded, but just before I hit ‘Send’ I thought I’d send him a copy of one of my photos taken earlier in the day. I sent the photo shown here.
About five minutes later the editor came back - saying how lucky I was to have blue skies - all he had was a dark grey one.Then he asked if I had any winter-themed travel articles planned, because his magazine was always looking for good winter front covers. I’m sure you’ll have realised by now that one should never look a gift horse in the mouth!
Admittedly, I was challenged slightly in that the snow was melting, and the blue skies had already disappeared. This wasn’t something I could sort out now. And this is where my own photographic library that I’ve built up over the years comes in useful. Browsing my own library for snowy images I quickly spotted a theme, and one I should have thought of much earlier. I often say to students to write about their home town as a travel destination, because they live there, so that makes them an expert. And which place in the world do I have the most snowy pictured of? My own doorstep.
I selected a small collection of images, created a pitch for a travel piece about my home town and sent it to the editor to see if he was interested. Twenty four hours later I had the commission, and the article will be used in an issue in December this year.
So, whatever you do has the potential to become a commission. This one simply started with some snow falling last Tuesday night.