Sunday, 16 November 2014

Square Mile - A Confession

I was slightly embarrassed a couple of weeks back when a friend asked me how I was getting on with my 'Square Mile' project. The truth is that I have done nothing since that second post back in February. It's not that I haven't been doing any photography as, hopefully, you will have seen from my Facebook page. I have not, however, spent any time taking photographs in the immediate vicinity of my home as planned.

When I began to mull this over, I realised it was largely because it's hard to make really interesting photographs out of what is, in truth, a very ordinary village. I knew this at the start so it simply means I have not stepped up to the challenge I set myself - a big fail on my part.

With a little time on my hands this afternoon, I set about correcting this and went for a walk around the village. To make things even more challenging, it has been a very dull day so I didn't even have the benefit of some nice light to work with. Here, then, are the results of that walk.

This is a section of Old Chester Road, heading up to Helsby Hill. There is not a great deal of autumnal colour left on the trees but this hedge drew my attention with it's blend of browns and yellows. Having taken a couple of very 'straight' photographs, I used a variable Neutral Density filter to allow some intentional camera motion during the exposure in an effort to abstract the colours and textures.

Walking down into the centre of the village, I came across a tree with only a small number of leaves hanging on and adopted the alternative approaches of front and back lighting.

It was when I reached the village centre that I had something of an epiphany. As I mentioned earlier, there is nothing very exceptional about Helsby. It only has a handful of businesses, one of those being a Post Office and it struck me that there is no way of telling how much longer we will have that Post Office, or the red phone box. It occurred to me then that, although I may not be able to create amazing images within my square mile, I can record aspects of the village which may not be there forever. Why it has taken 26 years to come to this realisation, I cannot say.

My final photograph is of the window of Helsby's newest business, a very pretty looking tearoom. Reflected in the window is Helsby's defining feature, it's hill.

More to come!