Although it didn’t exist during my lifetime, in my childhood the folk memory of the tide mill that stood on this very spot was still strong. Now a petrol filling station stands on the site. Sustainable, clean, low tech, inexhaustible energy has gone for ever – they filled in the creek and built a Morrisons on it. The future is up the creek.
Story of the shot
Access was very restricted, behind a wall at the head of the creek. Ideally I would like to have shot from lower down – close to water level – but that wasn’t possible. The dimensions of the creek allowed me to emphasise perspective using a vertically oriented shot and a short focal length (20mm). I only had a few feet on either side to change the composition but I’m reasonably happy with position of the leading line provided by the channel. The light was tricky – clouds meant it kept changing. I underexposed by one stop (f8) to avoid burning out the sky but still got 1/750th exposure on ISO 100, so hand held. Minimal post processing other than using a gradient to notch back the exposure on the clouds slightly and black and while conversion and tweaking via an Adjustment Layer. Probably would have been better to tweak the sky with a polarizing filter but it was starting to rain so I didn’t – it was also darn cold and I needed to go to Morrison’s.
I know why I’m a rubbish people photographer. I’m less sure why I’m a mediocre landscape photographer.
Some would say good photography lies in being passionate about the subject. I would say it’s about understanding the subject. And mostly, I think I understand landscape. The problem I have is that I don’t find the “freezing a moment in time” rationale commanding enough. And the “chocolate box lid” possibility worries me to death. I want a narrative.
I don’t really have a narrative for this shot. It is a moment frozen in time. I was there, it causes me to remember. You weren’t there but you can make up your own narrative if you want. Gloomy light? Reflection? Stillness? It’s up to you.
Sony HX20V f4 9mm 1/100 ISO 100
I’m still feeling tired after a hard week, so we decided last night not to go out for a dawn shoot this morning. When I woke and saw the mist I wasn’t sorry, so leisurely cup of tea in bed, breakfast, then when the light had finally hit the sweet spot between murky and flat, wandered down the garden and shot this. Which I’m pretty happy with. Especially the tea in bed part.