Click here..... - Andy Gladstone

In The Beginning...

Where do I start? At my image hosting site, the entertainingly named SmugMug, which allows me to control all aspects of my world wide window into my photographic life.

I thought it would be easy, but I hadn't counted on all those extra elements of getting myself seen in this virtual world. I can liken it, broadly speaking, to working on the inside of a new house where only the basic building is already in place. You have to sort out the electrics, plumbing, insulation, decor etc and make sure everything  works together to make it a fully functioning home.

I've found it difficult and the last thing I want is someone going through the front door only to walk straight into a brick wall! I mean, SEO tagging, ad text, meta keywords, RSS and platform compatibility, what were these things? The list goes on and the deeper you dig the more elements you have to consider and optimise. Great thing about SmugMug however is that it does at least allow you to have full control of the interior of your shiny new house, it's just that for someone like me it seems to take forever to get everything looking and working just the way I like it.

Maybe I'm just too fussy? One of my favourite sayings is that "if it was easy, everyone would be doing it" and I've had to draw on this  whilst taking some very deep breaths on a large number of occasions! But there is an upside and it's a good lesson in life. The harder it is to achieve something, the greater the sense of achievement once you get there and that feeling can be reward enough. The secret is to keep going despite the problems you face along the way. "I'm not sure if I can be bothered with this anymore" is a phrase and a feeling that I've had to throw out one of my new windows, as quickly as possible, once the dark thoughts enter my head.

The other aspect of my photography website which has drifted into my mindset at various stages is simply whether my work is actually good enough to be shown to the outside world. You ask yourself why you're doing it in the first place. I don't see my images as some ego based, ostentatious look at my photographic life, but simply to hopefully convey how beautiful the landscape around us actually is and the wonderful creatures that inhabit it. That wouldn't necessarily include us humans though!

When I look at some of the other photographers websites I see some incredibly beautiful work. Some of it is quite stunning. However, it should be noted that to produce these images requires a brilliant skill set in Photoshop or similar and also quite probably a fantastic commitment in time out in the field and expensive equipment to get the shots they want. I'm not in that category and I certainly don't pretend to be. Maybe more a case of something to aspire to!

I like to think that a lot of my images show the world as it was at the time I was there and hopefully capture the essence of the landscape or whatever caught my eye in a natural and maybe even stripped-down way. It gives me a real sense of pleasure and in sharing my images I hope that it gives other people that same feeling. I still use Photoshop as an enhancement tool but try and use it mainly within the boundaries of the image I've taken rather than trying to create something that maybe wasn't there in the first place. You get the idea. Where I have used filters or similar I think it is very obvious and it's to turn an uninspiring shot into hopefully something more visually appealing.

That's me. This is my website. The front door is always open. I apologise for any loose wires you may see hanging around. And I hope you enjoy what you see for what it is and pop back now and again to see my latest offerings or my musings on my Photographic life.