Monday, 9 July 2018

Stanage Edge (May 2018)

Currently, I really like to challenge my photography in familiar locations; it is so easy to take the same image time after time, and then moan if the conditions where not better than the last time it was taken.

Over the years I must have taken hundred of wide angle landscapes on Stanage Edge, often waiting for the golden hour light, only to be disappointed when the sun drops below the cloud line on the horizon, leaving only a few minutes to salvage a 'keeper' (a general landscape photography term for an image taken and not deleted either through a process of prioritisation in post processing or resisting the urge to reformat the card in a fit of childish pique!).

My approach on this bright sunny afternoon on Stanage Edge was the formation of a mental list of all the features that define the edge and its surroundings. On this list were things like: moorland; gritstone edge, gritstone, millstones, trees, roads, cars, farms, dry stone walls, walkers, climbers and so on. I then tried to apply the list with a determination to include as many of these elements as I could. The results were interesting.

This is my favourite image; a stack of film covered bales at the edge of a field with steep moorland in the background. There is a faint path leading from the gate to the top right hand corner. I think it is the contrast between farmland and the moorland that I like; one being an altered landscape and the other being a more natural landscape:

Perhaps a better way to understand my choice of a favourite is to look at my other photos of the topic of farming. They are easier to look at, perhaps even more picturesque, but they don't inform in the way that my favourite image does - well that is the way I see it anyhow. In fact, now I have reviewed the images they might actually say more about drystone walls in the landscape than farming:

On the topic of drystone walls, I tried to make a feature of a wall on Stanage Edge:

Vehicles in the landscape generally aggravate me, particularly white vans or cars with bright colours. Invariably I end up trying to clone them out of my photographs. This time, however, I decided to make a line of parked cars the main subject of an image. The light for this scene was a bit constrasty, but guess what; I actually like the outcome:

Roads were another theme that I selected:

Most people when walking along Stanage Edge tend to look over to Higger Tor and the Hope Valley; its the most scenic view. Behind it though is a moorland wilderness, almost featureless except for the bands of grasses, bracken and the odd hawthorn tree:

This selection was taken above the Stanage Planation looking over the top of the trees and keeping the compositions tight. I also picked out some trees in distance and some immediately below the edge:

I did take some pictures of the edge itself and again I decided to keep the compositions tight.

In summary, I enjoyed the approach of making a mental list of features and it certainly made me look more carefully for subjects. Some of results include details or scenes I may not have captured without setting myself the challenge and I can see the potential for trying this again in the future.

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