Sunday, January 22, 2006

On top of the world

click to enlarge photo
So, there I am walking on the Shropshire hills above Church Stretton. It's winter, there's a wind sharp enough to cut your face, but the sun is shining and the world looks great. I've just watched some ravens flying upside down - bird watchers call it "rolling". The fields below the moorland are dotted with sheep and the hedges are dividing up the landscape like pastry on a lattice tart. The camera has a card almost full of shots and I say to my wife, "Can you take one of me walking along the ridge with the view beyond?" So I give her the camera, she takes the shot, and down we go, back to where we are staying.

Later, when I look at the shot on the computer, I decide I really like it. For two reasons. Firstly the composition is good with me slightly left of centre, walking into the frame. The eye goes to the dark figure, then out into the landscape and the distant pyramidal hill of The Wrekin. The colours are good too: I like the contrast between the bright greens and browns nearby and the bluer tones of the more distant landscape. But the sky is sensational. When we were walking we could see the mass of cloud moving in from the left, casting deep shadow over the lowlands as it came. That cloud and the rain it promised caused us to head for home. In the photograph it looks like a big dark hand reaching down. And that brings me to the second reason I like the photograph. It's a bit like a metaphor of the human condition. You might think everything is great, that you are living on the sunlit uplands of life, but watch out because something is bound to come along and spoil your day!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen