Wednesday, December 21, 2011

King's Lynn street view

click photo to enlarge
Strolling through King's Lynn in Norfolk a short while ago I came upon the scene above after walking almost the length of Queen Street. The low, yellow tinged winter sun was creating deep shadows and strongly highlighted areas and the limestone of the twin towers of the medieval church of St Margaret positively glowed. So I composed my photograph with the Romanesque and Gothic church framed by the mainly newer, C17, C18 and C19 brick buildings of the street.

When you take a photograph you are, in general terms, aware of what it contains. But, on the whole, the photographer's mind is fixed on the main things he or she wants to include and those objects that need to be omitted: but the smaller details are sometimes overlooked. I knew I'd have to crop out a white door on the left that would detract from the main subject. And I had to accept the distracting presence of the clutter of cars parked in Saturday Market Place next to the church. What I hadn't noticed, however, was the triangular traffic warning signs in the centre of the shot. They are obviously designed to be seen and in the shaft of sunlight coming from College Lane, with the deep shadow behind them, they shouted their presence. What's a photographer to do? I'm not one for removing objects so I toned them down until they could be seen for what they are but are less intrusive.

I photograph a lot of architecture and I find street signs, lamp posts, telegraph poles and wires, roof and wall mounted aerials and dishes, and parked cars, the bane of my life. They are so common that it's virtually impossible to exclude them from shots. Often they are not so noticeable and I can cope with them, but sometimes they cause me to lower my camera and walk on. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive about these things. But, sometimes I wonder at the planners and conservation officers who allow such things as the grey, utilitarian street light seen above the cars in this photograph: if they can specify "sympathetic" bollards for conservation areas such as this, why not more sensitively designed street lights?

Anyone with an interest in English architecture will have noted the stone Gothic (C15) doorway in the brick building on the right. This is Thoresby College, a building built c.1500 for thirteen chantry priests attached to the Trinity Guild. The elevation to Queen Street has three such doors, one with its original wooden door still in use. The rebuilding of the two main storeys dates from the late C18, but, interestingly, the "Dutch" style dormers are earlier.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 45mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On