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The Ashness Bridge Problem


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

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The Ashness Bridge Problem

20 Apr 2012 8:07AM   Views : 399 Unique : 319

As my friend Ron Tear posts the results of his trip to the States, I have photographed a little bridge on Rhodes that makes me think about going to the classic places to take pictures. So the first thing, Ron, is that this is not in any way about you, and your last couple of posts have tended to disprove what I’m writing about!
We tend to flock to places where others have taken classic pictures… Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland – and Ashness Bridge in the Lake District.
Ashness is the best example from my point of view. I went there. I took pictures. And I found the effective thing was to go where you can’t see the classic view, and shoot another aspect of the place.
Why? Well, it’s like this.
The classic view is looking down the beck to the Bridge, with the orange bracken on the right, and lakes and mountains in the distance. It does not involve numerous tourists in dayglo anoraks running up and down beside the stream.
First problem: it’s a classic place, so a lot of people go there.
Second problem was the Kensington Tractor stuck in the middle of the bridge, because the driver couldn’t see that there was a good eight inches’ clearance on either side. (I honestly believe that anyone owning an “offroad” vehicle should have to use it seriously offroad once a month, bouncing off rocks and windscreen-deep in mud…)
Third – you can’t see that far except in unusually clear weather – after a storm is ideal, as it will also give you that dark sky that adds so much to the shot (fourth issue!)
The bracken provides items five and six. It’s not orange all the time. Specifically, most of the year, it’s green, or brown and crumpled. So, to get THE shot, you need to be there in the autumn.
And seven is that to have the bracken glowing, you need light from the west: so you need to shoot in the evening. The only compensation is that you may well have slightly fewer tourists then, as they’ve headed for the pub because the weather’s getting cooler, and they fancy a lager and some chips.
I walked down past the bridge, and shot upwards: and it’s lovely. And I was the only tog there!
So I’ve not booked my flight to California: only when (if…) my ability increases a lot will I try for a different take on the classics…
And, for now, my admiration for Ron’s ability to find a new take on things increases – ditto for Kaybee’s views of the Scottish Castle!

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