Photowalk Jan ’13

Photowalking is pretty self explanatory. It’s kind of what we used to just call ‘taking pictures of things’ but seems to have evolved into a thing all of its own. I would differentiate it from the normal act of taking pictures simply by the fact that photowalking is going for a walk and photographing things of interest you see as you see them, rather than setting out with a particular photographic mission in mind.

Either way I find it a good source of inspiration when my creative motivation is lacking as often I end up with interesting images from things I would never normally give a second look to. So, to give my D800 a shakedown I mounted a 35mm prime lens and went for a walk.

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I’ve never been one for taking ‘normal’ snapshot pictures of places or things. There are some situations in which I do take the same picture as everyone else (you may have seen some of the many, many pictures I have posted of the Forth Rail Bridge, for example) but most of the time I try to find an angle or a detail that is a little different.

The route I took is along an old railway line footpath that crosses open fields before running alongside a proper rail line. The light was nice and the views were pleasing, but nothing really caught my attention initially other than some recently planted crops that formed a nice linear pattern across the fields.

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A bit of dereliction a couple of miles later showed some promise. The intricate geometric forms and bold colours of this pile of rusting rails make a nice image. Looking for patterns and framing in tight to isolate the subject from the surroundings can produce interesting abstract images from places you’d probably never think to point a camera at. Photowalking puts you in situation of trying to make the best of what you see, encouraging you to try and be creative by finding non-obvious subject matter.

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Graffiti is always interesting and I like the abstract geometry and bold colours that come from cropping tight in on part of the design and picking up the underlying texture of the concrete wall through the paint.

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There is something fundamentally photogenic about things in a state of decay. The way ironwork corrodes and paint flakes away creates rich textures and colours that have an organic feel to them while also retaining a sense of manufactured uniformity. It is as if the manmade ironwork is slowly merging back into the natural stone. Entropy in action.

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So there you go. A wander around in some familiar and seeming uninspiring surroundings has lead to a few interesting images and some philosophical thoughts.

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