I can pinpoint the moment. It was standing in the park by the cricket ground while my daughter played on the new zip wire. I looked up from my phone and out across the field and the vast sky full of huge summertime clouds seemed to beg for my attention. I shot the sky where I stood. The next day, strolling through the centre of the city, I did it again. And then I thought about posting the results. So that’s what I’ve been doing ever since, at From your favourite sky.
Of course I’m far from the first to point my camera predominantly at the sky on a daily basis – Alistair shoots summer skies every year – but we all see the world differently; one person will completely miss what another sees, and vice versa. No two sets of daily photos would be the same.
The iPhone is not equipped with the greatest camera in the world but taking a photo to post each day is teaching me how to get the best out of it. My framing gets better all the time, but in a sense that’s not the point; it’s more to make a record, of the days, of the skies, of the transient majesty of clouds. In this country, in the space of a day, you can see so many different kinds of sky, though I confess I probably have already developed a tendency to discard overcast in favour of moments when the sky turns more interesting shades or colours. Enough blue to stitch a sailor’s suit is often sufficient for me. Nevertheless, photos on certain days seem distinctly ordinary, or even dreary; others come alive with structural detail from trees and telephone wires and buildings. Trees in particular provide a land and sea-style contrast with the sky. Inevitably there is an element of repetition, because generally I am in the same two places during the week; but there is variety in the repetition, an endless fugue. Fundamentally it’s another way of saying, here I am, this is me, this is what I will see today, this is what I am seeing right now. A daily postcard; a declaration of the everyday, each and every day.
Some days I take just a couple of photos, one to fulfil the requirement I’ve placed upon myself, another as insurance. Others I will see wonders above me everywhere I look, and will take dozens, choosing the best later, and finding that I have to drop photos which are far better than the days preceding or following. So far, I’ve only once been called a freak for pointing my phone at something it appears that only I can see.
At the beginning my intention was to do this for a year. Now I think it will have to be a little longer, because one day, so absorbed was I in writing words, I forgot to take a picture, much to my annoyance when I realised too late the next morning. (I wrote about that day instead, in far fewer than a thousand words.) So to achieve 365 days in succession, completion date will be 3rd October 2014. As long as I don’t forget another day along the way.
Here is the first of two selections of my favourite favourite skies so far:
November 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm
Whoa, those clouds in the vertically aligned photo are fantastic. I am seeing all sorts of things in there.
November 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm
I won’t take it as a Rorschach test, and stroke my chin as I say ‘hmmm, interesting’ to your response, but what are you seeing in those particular clouds, Sean?
November 3, 2013 at 6:19 pm
First impression was of the general shape of the formation suggesting a billowing source of vital energy. Then I noticed the tree appeared to be blowing smoke (or energy). After that I realized multiple ‘beings’ (out of frame) were blowing plumes of energy from various locations in a general upward-wafting direction. It’s a highly unusual formation, not one similar to any I’ve seen. And I consider myself, in Baudelaire’s words, as one ‘damned bastard of a cloud-monger’. Anyway, it’s a sublime photo…wonderful capture. My favorite of the bunch here.
November 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm
Blimey Sean. You’re one damned bastard of a cloud-interpreter too.
And thank you!