Outdoor Discoveries

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

A time that’s safe for dreaming?

21st November 2012

The allure of working in the outdoors also has attracted its share of dreamers, some of whom have managed to turn their dreams into reality. A few months back, I was reminded of this when reading a copy of Outdoor Photography. In there, I found something written that I hadn’t seen for a while: an amateur photographer whose work was featured possessed the aspiration of turning professional. So much has happened in recent years that I wonder such dreams are realisable or if they are mere delusions.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the appeal of the countryside to those living in urban settings. Escaping the topsy turvy of modern life is what keeps me getting in walks in quieter places and thoughts of seeing them in pleasing light is an attraction, especially when it comes to photographic capture of those scenes. In that, I am not alone even if life gets in the way from time to time.

Of course, the countryside is under pressure and that always seems to be the case. There is that fungus that kills ash trees just like another has been doing the same for elms, though some still survive and some progress seems to have been made with making the trees more resistant to the fungus that is carried by beetles. Then, there’s the thorny subject of wind-powered electricity generation that rouses strong feelings. Added to that lot is a government so desperate for economic growth that it’s willing to change planning laws in the hope that that might help.

We already have seen cuts in public spending taking hold. A few years ago, I remember reading of someone taking redundancy to start further education in order to become a countryside ranger. Those opportunities hardly can be very plentiful so I wonder how she got on with her planned career change. After all, not only have local authority budgets been reduced but national park authorities saw the same happen to theirs shortly after the current government took power.

Saturation of markets comes to mind when anyone shares ambitions of becoming a professional photographer and it isn’t limited to that profession either. After all, how many guides and guidebook authors do we need? Maybe there were less walking guidebooks available than there are now, which gave some long-established writers a chance, but those bookshop shelves are well loaded now and there’s the rise of digital publishing too. Cicerone may be keeping there eBooks at the same prices as their paper equivalents but I for one have been used to their being cheaper so how long can that last?

The advent of digital photography has had quite an effect on the lot of a professional photographer. A decade ago, a well supplied stock library was a good source of income but that seems not to be the case any longer. Sales of books, calendars and postcards help but there also is quite a growth in the provision of photography courses and writing always is an option. Such is the volume of images that is available that it is impossible to limit yourself to travel, landscape or wildlife photography to maintain that all important income.

It seems that even the obvious outdoors careers are not immune to the upheavals of the present day. Hobbies can lead to careers and my means for earning a living is an example of that as well as something from which many yearn to exit. Having grown up on a farm, I realise that an outdoors life isn’t all easy and there are many things today that make it that bit harder too. Contenting myself with earning my crust using the skills and experience that I possess is how I plan to proceed while enjoying those all-important outdoor escapades for affording some quiet time away from it all. However, it also looks as if  bit more effort is needed to keep the countryside more intact than otherwise might be the case. On that, I reckon that I need to have a think.

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