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Evocative Photographs celebrating England's beautiful north country

Landscape Photography Blog

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Seeing the light- part two

27/02/2011 15:16:00
by Roger Clegg
Walltown Crags, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland
In my last blog entry taken from the excellent Tyne Valley Express I recounted my rude awakening to the fact that, as an intended professional photographer, I rarely ever took a good picture. A matter of some concern!
As I spent many years as a consultant to small businesses I decided I needed to be that consultant to myself! The first thing was to think about was how I saw Hadrianís Wall and what it meant to me. The next problem was how to show that to other people in my pictures.
So, what did Hadrianís Wall mean to me? It is an ancient, imposing, solid monument on a grand scale. It represents a long history of people living in the area, particularly Romans, Norse Invaders, Normans, and Reivers. It is also associated with myth and legend; latest speculation on the origins of the legend of King Arthur suggests that Lucius Artorus Castius, a Roman military commander from the area around the more western parts of the Wall, is the most likely contender. There is also the major geological feature of the Great Whin Sill Fault. This gives rise to the dramatic scenery of the central section of Hadrianís Wall and was exploited as an additional defensive feature by the Romans.
Then there are the plants and animals. The weather creates an ever changing landscape; it ranges from tranquil and benign to wild and dramatic. Another aspect of the changing faces of Hadrianís Wall is the seasons. I revel in the autumn and winter, spring is alright and summer is the least interesting photographically; summer has a tendency to a lot of one colour Ė green.
Another consideration was that photography of Hadrianís Wall was already well catered for, so I wanted to be different. I also wanted to create a story of Hadrianís Wall in pictures, rather than just assorted photographs; this needed a consistent and systematic approach and style.
With the history, mystery, legend and drama the first thing to do was to avoid the traditional summer midday picture of lots of green with a bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds. The solution here was to get up well before sunrise or out until well after sunset. The beauty, colour and drama of the rising and setting sun gives a great atmosphere to a picture. Some types of bad weather have the same effect.
Finally, not only did I want pictures with impact, I also wanted pictures that contained information about Hadrianís Wall. One of my selected uses (I hoped) for my Hadrianís Wall pictures was to tell the world about Hadrianís Wall Country. Somewhat ambitious for someone who hitherto had rarely taken a good picture!
If I had thought about it I could easily have gone through this process as an amateur photographer and enjoyed an enormously satisfying hobby. There is no reason why you cannot employ this thought process to your favourite subject, whether it be family, a sport, landscapes etc. If you do you may well find your photography much more rewarding.

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Seeing the light- part two
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