Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Time of the signs

click photo to enlarge
Near my house, at the entry to a short, scenic lane, with old houses, fine gardens, sturdy trees and a stream alongside it, there is a sign on a pole. It says "Unsuitable for heavy vehicles". Despite the fact that any driver of such a vehicle would have to have the visual acuity of a mole in sunglasses and the intelligence of a dead ant NOT to notice that the lane was unsuitable for his lorry, someone, somewhere, felt it needed spelling out in the form of a permanent sign that disfigures the locality.

The modern world seems obsessed with signs, particularly those designed to be read by drivers. We must have long passed the point where it is impossible for even the most diligent and alert person behind the wheel of a vehicle to take note of every piece of information that highway engineers have put before them. Indeed, there must be an increasing number of locations where to attempt to do so must surely impair your ability to drive safely. In other words they risk becoming counter-productive, encouraging that which they are designed to prevent. When the present government came to power one of the minor policies it gave voice to (and one of the few that I had any agreement with) was the desire for a reduction in the number of signs along our roads. But, they seem to have failed to achieve this goal just as they they are failing with many others. I recall a survey a few years ago suggesting that a large percentage of motorists had forgotten what a significant percentage of the road signs mean, so anyone thinking that a reduction in signage would be detrimental to road safety needs to factor that into their calculations too.

Today's photograph, taken on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, has two signs, and I'm not ashamed to say that I don't know what they mean. If I were a sailor then I would make sure I did know. However, I have no interest in boats small or large, so I endanger no one with my ignorance. The fact that they are two different colours means, I suppose, that they must do more than simply mark the position of the groynes. From what little knowledge I have I think the green sign may be one of a pair (with a red one) marking the deep water channel. However, the purpose of the yellow one eludes me. By analogy with road signs they are probably warning markers because they are triangular. But I could be wrong, and beyond that, and despite a search I made, I'm clueless.

Of course, it was those green and yellow triangles, stridently coloured to make them noticeable, set against the blue of sea and sky that prompted my photograph, illustrating once again that the nature of something doesn't necessarily preclude it from being the subject of a photograph.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 105mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On