Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn landscapes

click photo to enlarge
A few days spent walking, cycling and driving in the area of England where Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire bump up against each other have given me an opportunity to reflect on the relative merits of each form of travel as a means of securing photographs. It confirmed my instinctive preference for walking with a camera because its slow pace gives more opportunities to see and compose images. More than that, however, if your walking isn't in a known photogenic location, then it presents you with more "ordinary" subjects which you can try to turn into extraordinary images. Furthermore, it places shots before you that are unlikely to have been taken by anyone else - a consideration in our modern world where the yearly output of digital photographs probably outnumbers the grains of sand in a Saharan erg!

Cycling is, for me, the second best way of going about photography. When you're on two wheels you tend to choose the less frequented highways and byeways, places where it's easy to stop and snap, that pass through more interesting areas, and that haven't succumbed to the sanitising effect of the traffic engineer. However, even the speed at which you travel by bicycle means you miss a lot. Photography by car comes last, in my estimation because, by and large, when car-borne we gravitate towards the more obvious locations, or are forced to disembark where we can park, and consequently end up taking the more obvious shots. And, we tend to look less searchingly once there because if we don't find anything of interest it's so easy to move on to the next place. That's not to say, of course that good photographs can't be harvested using each of these modes of travel.

During my few days away I took photographs on a day-long walk, a day-long cycle ride and a couple of drives. The first of the two images in today's post was gathered near the start of our walk from the Leicestershire village of Hallaton, looking back at our departure point in the morning sunlight. It is an image that for many people will represent the quintessential English village, with church spire dominating, roofs of slate, tile, thatch and stone clustered around, trees changing colour as autumn progresses, and green fields beyond the settlement's edge. This particular shot can only be taken if you stretch your legs. The second was taken on the cycle ride (which also started at Hallaton), and was snapped after I'd screeched to a halt on a downhill section of lane, next to a gateway in a hedge. This scene of the Rutland village of Lyddington, when compared with the first shot, is "the same but different": a more distant prospect of a more wooded location. It was the autumn tints in the trees that prompted me to "slam on the hammers" and take this photograph.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Photo1 (Photo 2)
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 137mm (274mm/35mm equiv.):(70mm (140mm/35mm equiv.))
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/200 (1/320)
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV (-0.3 EV)
Image Stabilisation: On