Monday, July 14, 2014

Time-worn stone steps

click photo to enlarge
There are few things that indicate the passage of time better than worn steps. To gaze upon stone (or even wooden) steps that have been eroded into concavity by the repeated passage of hundreds, or more likely thousands of feet, is to experience a tangible understanding of years becoming decades and decades becoming centuries.

On my first visit to Wells Cathedral many years ago I made a point of having a look at the chapter house's stone stairway. I knew this from an architectural photograph by the English photographer, Frederick Henry Evans (1853-1943). The undulations in these stairs made by myriad feet add to the beauty of the shot and give it a quality that it would otherwise lack. The "sea of steps" makes you think of the people who have walked up and down them.

I've photographed steps regularly during my life though never with the success achieved by Evans in his shot. On one occasion, however, I took a shot of steel steps, but with added son's added feet and deliberate blur, and result became one of my favourite images. On our recent visit to Bolsover Castle I tried this subject again but this time without blur and  with time-worn steps. The result doesn't please me as much as my earlier shot with feet but I think it's not entirely without interest.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 32mm (48mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On