Friday, September 07, 2012

Renegades, Warriors and Barbarians

click photo to enlarge
We all have our failures in life; some great and others small. One of my relatively small failures was buying a car. Anyone who has read this blog with any sort of regularity may recall that for a long time I tried to stick with public transport and the bicycle, but I eventually succumbed to four wheels  following the birth of our second child and a couple of "difficult" experiences on the railways as Margaret Thatcher's government starved them of resources in the run-up to privatisation. However, despite my ownership of a modest vehicle I still believe, to adapt George Orwell's words in his novel, Animal Farm, "two wheels good, four wheels bad", and I still much prefer riding to driving.

I also retain fairly forthright views on cars and people's attitudes to them. For example, I consider sports cars and 4X4s to be anti-social vehicles. However, I also find a lot of humour in all vehicles powered by the infernal combustion engine. For instance, over the years I've watched with interest the increasing popularity of the four-seater pickup. You know the sort of thing - its a mixture of a car, 4X4 and old-style pickup van. I've also looked on with amazement as they've got bigger and bigger. But the thing about these vehicles that has most grabbed my attention is the silly names with which the manufacturers adorn them. In fact, I've been so fascinated by these that I keep a mental list of them that I try to update when a new example appears. So far I've recorded Renegade, Warrior, Wrangler, Outlaw, Animal, Gladiator, Trojan, Barbarian and Rodeo. There are probably more that I've forgotten, and I know that ever more ludicrous examples will appear (I suggest Vandal and Visigoth). Now I'm sure that there is a small group of people for whom such vehicles are entirely appropriate. But I'm equally sure that there's a large group of people (mainly but not exclusively men) for whom the size, the macho appearance, the "just in case" utility, and yes, those silly names, make them objects of great desire. Why have a bog-standard hatchback or saloon when you can be a rugged outlaw of the road that causes lesser vehicles to scatter at the very sight of your entirely superfluous bull-bars?

On a return journey from one of my regular but brief visits north of the River Humber we stopped off at the bridge that links Yorkshire with Lincolnshire. We trekked out to the middle of the enormous span and took in the view down to the city of Hull and upstream towards South Ferriby, Winteringham and beyond. As the traffic flashed by I took a few shots of the suspension cable anchors, looking to contrast the blurred vehicles with the sharpness of the bridge's structure. The best of the shots was this one with, yes,  an over-sized pickup with a rear take-off cover and bright yellow ladders strapped to the top.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 24mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On