Friday, May 29, 2009

Shots I've missed No. 172

click photos to enlarge
About a week ago as I was driving along the main road through Gosberton, Lincolnshire, I glanced across at the 160 feet tall spire of the medieval church of St Peter & St Paul. Fortunately the road was quite clear because I took my eyes off it for longer than I anticipated as I did a "double take". I'd spotted, half-way up the spire, the outline of a man climbing a ladder that had been fixed to it. Across his back, at right angles to his body, was another ladder. The man was a steeplejack, and I immediately knew what he was doing. A few weeks previously I'd been to the flower festival at the church, and a parishioner had told me that a new weather vane was soon to be fixed to the top of the spire. This man was clearly starting the preparatory work of assembling sections of aluminium ladder that stretch from the top of the square tower, up the tapering spire to its very tip. Once that was completed a scaffold platform would be erected around the top of the spire, allowing the work to begin.

My heart sank. Why? Because I didn't have my camera with me! One of the reasons I use Olympus cameras is the relatively small size of their bodies and lenses. That makes them easier to carry, and therefore much more likely that I'll have it with me. But, here I was with a wonderful photo opportunity and no camera. I could have wept! However, my mission was the weekly shopping, so I gritted my teeth and drove on, cursing my ineptitude. Yesterday, as I drove along on this week's shopping expedition, I looked at the spire expecting to see the weather vane in place. But, work had proceeded slower than I anticipated, and the men were in the process of assembling their work platform. Determined to seize the moment this time I took a small detour and grabbed a few shots of them about their business. Compared with the workers who construct the gleaming towers of Shanghai or Dubai, these men weren't very high above the ground. But unlike their high-tech counterparts they had the major disadvantage of working on an inclined stone surface that was built 500 to 600 years ago, and which has been subject to a damp climate for all of that time. Furthermore, a fall from the top of this spire would leave you every bit as dead as a fall from the latest Middle Eastern mega-tower. It certainly isn't a job that I'd relish.

My photographs aren't much to write home about, and, at the risk of sounding like a fisherman, can in no way compare with the one I missed. However, the subject of the images will be unfamiliar to many, and you might find them of interest. The moral of this tale is, of course, always have your camera with you because you can guarantee that the best shots will present themselves the moment you leave it at home. And the title of this entry? I thought it would make a good companion piece for Photographic Tip Number 127.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Image 1 (2)
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 40mm (142mm) (80 (284mm)mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1 (7.1)
Shutter Speed: 1/800 (1/1250) seconds
ISO: 200 (200)
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 (-0.7) EV
Image Stabilisation: On