A couple of months ago I made a conscious decision to walk every day, even if it was just for a few miles. Prior to that, I walked several days a week but on the other days, work and other commitments tended to eat away at the available time and I missed out. With retirement came more freedom to shape my own day, despite somehow becoming even busier with grandparent ‘duties’ etc 🙂 – in fact sometimes I wonder how I had the time to work 🙂 !
I still do my full day walks several days a week throughout Dorset but on the other days I have been able to focus on local walks which has led me to explore the various pockets of countryside that exist within easy reach of home. These include small nature reserves, woodland, heath, river banks etc, oases in the urban sprawl that makes up our town. As part of this, I set myself a challenge to look for the WOW factor on my doorstep, to notice the small details that we so often miss when walking. These ‘WOW’s’ are there in abundance although when it comes to photographing them, it can be a real challenge!
If you walk the Grand Canyon, Niagara, Machu Pichu, the Everest foothills, or even my local Durdle Door (below), there is a strong chance that that ‘WOW’ is going to escape your lips without even thinking about it simply because of the grandeur of the scene before you. One author put is this way, ‘Beauty is cheap if you point a camera at a grand phenomenon of nature’. But what about the local, perhaps smaller, phenomenons of nature that are equally ‘wow’ albeit maybe with a small W – these are all around us. The challenge is to notice them and capture them in the camera.
Just yesterday I went for a local walk with my son, Paul. We followed a narrow ribbon of woodland that wound through various housing developments, it was urban and yet at times it felt like we were in the depths of the countryside. The views were amazing and there was a myriad historic features, the site of an old mill, the remains of an old steam railway, relics of a long gone pottery works, majestic pines, a lovely clear mirror-like stream that I didn’t know existed, views across the harbour, and much more. It was both fascinating and rewarding, and of course all the more special for sharing it with my son, my favourite walking companion.
The picture below was taken on a gentle stroll along the local promenade – hardly a wild wilderness but when this scene presented itself, I could not help but say ‘WOW’ to myself. The view across the bay was magnificent but with that awesome stormy sky, the eerie amber light on the horizon and the sudden, and short lived, burst sunlight on the water, it just came alive.
Be it a walk along the coast or a walk across just a small patch of heathland, there are always wonderful sights if we are alert and aware of our surroundings. Even the tiniest of leaves in the woodland with the last vestiges of the sun streaming through them makes me say “WOW’!
You can tell that I am passionate about the ‘ordinary’ although in fact there is no ordinary because the whole of nature is extraordinary. My quest in my walks and my photography is to show the seemingly ordinary for the extraordinary that it is, and that is less about photography and more about seeing what is there.
You may have seen in the press that the most expensive photograph ever sold, taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona, changed hands at $6.5M recently. I wonder what made it worth that much. That canyon is undoubtedly beautiful and there are thousands of pictures on the web to show all its beauty – but $6.5M??? The reality in my book is that you don’t need to spend a fortune jetting around the world in search of outstanding beauty, just look on your doorstep, its there if you will see it!
Photography, and indeed, what we see as beauty, is of course a very personal thing – ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ as the well known saying goes, so what makes me say ‘WOW’ may not be the same thing that stirs others. But the fact is, there is beauty and interest all around us just where we are so take the time to walk your local walks and search out that ‘WOW’ factor, whatever that means to you.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler.
If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which ishttp://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.
All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.