A Square Mile – A Walk in the Park

The brief is to use the concept Y Filter Sgwar (The Square Mile) which is the connection with your childhood home to look at your surroundings in a new way, producing a set of six to twelve photographs that illustrate this.

I started in a very literal manner by identifying the square mile around my home. I shifted the area slightly to the south as I rarely go more than two streets to the north. This area includes:

  • Some housing, mostly late nineteenth and early twentieth century with some social housing built in the sixties
  • A large and well used public park with a burn running though it
  • Farmland, mainly arable
  • The local shopping zone
  • A historic area with an abbey

This is an area I have lived in for 25 years and must have taken thousands of photographs of and I was very aware that I risked simply reproducing these or giving a tourist guide to the best spots.

I walk this area every day with my dog, so I decided to change my standard camera zoom lens to one with a fixed focal length, carry it with me every day and photograph anything that caught my eye. As I did this I realised that there were several possible themes developing:

  • Water and its impact on the area – this was especially noticeable as it was a very wet time, with the weather varying from brilliant sunshine, though heavy rain to blizzard conditions
  • Close-up nature studies
  • Architectural details
  • The environmental impact of man and the debris left behind
  • The time of year – balanced between winter and spring

I eventually decided to use the last theme as, one day when out walking, we started in brilliant sunshine, then nearly got blown off our feet in a blizzard, which then stopped to leave a mix of sun and snow on the spring flowers. This was a day with extreme weather changes, even for Scotland, but I felt it showed the area in all its moods.

I use a Panasonic micro two thirds camera and for this project I fitted a fixed 45mm focal length lens which equates to a 90mm standard lens. I set the camera to P except for a few images of moving water when I changed to a slow shutter speed.

Beforehand

Blossom

Blossom: 1/500 sec, f4.5, ISO 200

Path in the Woods

Path in the Woods: 1/250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

Crocus

Crocus: 1/100sec, f/2.8, ISO 250

Snowstorm

Abbey

Abbey: 1/250 sec, f/3.2, ISO 200

Dog

Dog: 1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

Whiteout

Whiteout: 1/640 sec, f/5.0, ISO 250

Aftermath

Crocus 2

Crocus 2: 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

Seats

Seats: 1/640 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200

Flood

Flood: 1/100 sec, f/2.6, ISO 320

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