Monday, September 21, 2009

Serendipitous photographs

click photos to enlarge
One afternoon on my recent visit to Settle, North Yorkshire, I saw the bright yellow helicopter of the North West Air Ambulance descending into the valley, clearly intent on landing in fields by the river. Since our route took us near to the place that it uses we made a short detour to grab a couple of photographs. Fortuitously the path on the road bridge over the River Ribble gave a good vantage point from which to look down at the comings and goings around the helicopter, now at rest next to the town's football pitch. As I noted in an earlier post, the fun fair was in town, and unfortunately the showmen's lorries and caravans were parked near the bridge, slightly impinging on the photographs that I wanted to take of the helicopter on the ground.

But, serendipity is a wonderful thing, and as I stood with a few other onlookers, waiting for the helicopter and its passengers to depart, I spotted the shadows that we were making on the side of one of the large caravans slightly below us. The image I took is, to my mind, better than the shots of the helicopter that I intended to take. That's me on the right framing this shot!

I don't know about you, but I find that my best photographs are often taken in circumstances such as these. You know the scenario, you've a day to spend in an historic and scenic city, or you're going on a walk through some beautiful landscape, but all you come back with are boring and predictable shots of places and things that have been photographed to death by everyone. However, you also have a collection of much better shots of things that you happened to notice, such as street signs, fence posts, cafe chairs, people or brickwork, images that could have been gathered just about anywhere! Two of the important lessons I've learned during my forty years with a camera is that good photographs are available anywhere and everywhere, not just in the "special" places of this world; and, photographs often have a great way of finding you, rather than you always having to search them out.

photographs & text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1 (Photo2)
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 119mm (238mm/35mm equiv.) (40mm (80mm/35mm equiv.))
F No: f5.3 (f5)
Shutter Speed: 1/500 (1/1600)
ISO: 100 (100)
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 (-0.7) EV
Image Stabilisation: On (On)