"There are beautiful photo opportunities all around you and as a photographer your job is to learn how to recognise them." Emil Pakarklis
Let’s face it, not all of us can travel to iconic photography locations all the time.
Many of us don’t live close to areas that might yield ‘epic’ images.
Over recent months most of us haven’t even been able to travel far outside our own local area, so our photography has been focused on making images close to where we live. And while this might have seemed like a novel challenge at first, it soon began to feel that we were shooting in very boring locations.
Yet the best photographers will insist that photography does not have to be about ‘epic locations’ and that we can make decent images wherever we are if we can change our view of the ‘boring’ landscape around us, go out exploring and try to see what we can find.
If we are open to experimentation, to being curious; if we enjoy being out and spending time with the camera, then we will find those images wherever we are.
This is the opinion of photographer Thomas Heaton, whose recent video, ‘Landscape Photography in the World’s Most Boring Location’ shows Heaton set himself a photography challenge called 'The Boring 10 Miles.'
In the challenge the photographer cycles 10 miles of boring landscape close to where he lives and challenges himself to make 10 images, one every mile. Heaton concedes that all his images may not be good, but he wanted to see what he could learn from the experience and how he could begin to see his local area in a new way.
Heaton's video gave me the inspiration to take on a similar challenge and see what images I could make in an ordinary, even boring, location. I decided to take this challenge over a regular weekend, when I wasn’t planning to be in an area
with an amazing landscape, and to see what results I achieved.
Part of my challenge took place on a drive through a flat, farm landscape, which had no particular beauty spots. The first location I stopped at yielded these images.
I was driving along when I spotted this ploughed field, which I thought made a nice foreground for the image of the trees in the background
Further along the road was this image of a lone tree, side lit by the setting sun
I travelled towards home and found myself stopping at a haulage yard. As it was late in the evening the yard was closed, and I wasn't sure if it is still in use, but I looked around for possible photographic interest.
I liked the way the sun lit up this unfinished, and apparently abandoned, building
Inspired by Thomas Heaton, I took this shot of a pole and powerlines, aiming to capture an angle not usually seen
This is not my usual style of image, and not a particularly good one, but it does prove that there are photo opportunities all around us
The birds seem to be ignoring the No Parking sign!
The next two images were taken when I stopped at a farm gate. I felt compelled to take them as part of the challenge I had set for myself, and I did like them in a way.
I like old metal and old wood, and the two come together here. They tell a story of rural living and how old objects still have their uses
Something drew my eye to this image of an abandoned trailer with a muddy line (sort of) leading the eye towards it, while the beauty of nature exists alongside
I took this photo near my home. Again, it is just something ordinary that I would not ordinarily bother with. The clouds added a bit of drama on this occasion
Abstract images can also be a way to make something from an otherwise boring landscape
I enjoyed setting myself this challenge. Taking these photographs took me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to think differently and to look for images in places where i wouldn't normally look. A challenge such as this is something that I think would be worth doing again in the future.
I hope this post and Thomas Heaton’s video have inspired you to take out your camera or phone close to your home and just make some images.
There might even be a gem among them!
If you know someone who might like this post, please share it.