Thank you …

I hope all of you who attended the wonderful 40th Ashton under Hill Open Gardens this past weekend enjoyed themselves as much as I did. Most of my time was spent with my “On Bredon Hill – 2016” photography exhibition in St Barbara’s Church though I did manage a little time around some of the beautiful and inspiring gardens. Thank you to those of you who came to the church and enjoyed my work. I’m most grateful to you for all of the positive comments I received.

The exhibition will remain in the church until this Friday afternoon (16th June).

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Photo Exhibition – Ashton under Hill

I was delighted to be asked recently if I would be interested to show a selection of my ‘On Bredon Hill – 2016’ photographs at the Ashton under Hill Open Gardens 40th Anniversary Event on the weekend of the 10th and 11th June this year. I enthusiastically accepted. Ashton under Hill lies at the foot of Bredon Hill on its eastern edge. I started out on several of my hikes throughout 2016 from the village.

Twenty four, or thereabouts, of my prints will be exhibited in St Barbara’s Church throughout the weekend. Please see the Ashton under Hill Open Gardens website for more information: www.ashtonopengardens.co.uk or the village website: www.ashtonunderhill.org.uk. I aim to be in attendance throughout the official opening hours of the event from 1pm to 6pm each day.

On Reflection …

On 52 occasions throughout 2016 I hiked a total of about 300 miles on Bredon Hill’s 50 miles of public and permissive/concessionary paths, about 6 miles each time. The time I spent dawdling along whilst looking for and taking photographs, about 9,000 frames in total (or 180 per day), amounted to about 240 hours, 10 full days on Bredon Hill out of the 366 possible. I covered almost every yard of the hill’s paths several times over.

Unlike photography in the days of film cameras, digital photography encourages, or at least enables, the taking of many many more photographs than will ever be useful. It tends to make the photographer less thoughtful about the selection, framing and composition before pressing the shutter. I used a large format (5×4) film camera for all of my photography until just a few years ago so that, when on a photo-hike, taking 10 photographs would be a lot. On the other hand, digital photography means that I can try out many different options thereby deferring my final decision as to what works best from the moment I pressed the shutter to some time later, even weeks later, when I’m reviewing and processing images on my computer. Both have their merits but the increasing capabilities of digital capture, processing and printing, once one has mastered the new technologies, has for me won the day. It does require a new discipline though, the critical selection of the best images and a willingness to delete the rest! My 9,000 images were culled to about 250, or the average of 180 per day down to about 5.

So are the 250 photographs all that I have to show for it? Well yes, physically that’s correct. But in fact so much more. There has been the pleasure of the hikes enjoying Bredon Hill in all weathers (except that I avoided torrential rain), all seasons, and from well before dawn and to well after dusk. Other walkers on the hill have been very friendly and interested, stopping for a chat. I’m sure the cyclists would be friendly too had they not been hurtling by at great speed, at least on the downhill stretches. I’ve managed to make a blog entry with photographs within a day or two of each hike and even managed to keep up my once per week average despite nearly a month away in May/June in the US and two weeks in September/October in Portugal and Madeira. By the time mid October came around I was well ahead of my planned average so that my forthcoming 25 day trip to Bhutan and Thailand would still allow time for me to complete 52 hikes. Sadly, just before I was to depart, my mum passed away so that trip never happened. I still completed my project though the last few hikes have been with a little less enthusiasm.

Over the last few years I’ve made a Photo Book of each of my projects. I’m planning to make one during the next month or two for “On Bredon Hill – 2016”.

Any disappointments? There was no snow throughout the year.

I do have a couple of favourite images from the year, one in colour and one in black and white.

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And what’s next? I’m not certain but I am considering a repeat of my photo-hike both ways along the full length of the Cotswold Way. I’ve done it once before (linked here) during the last half of 2009 carrying my heavy large format camera all of the way. My digital gear would certainly lighten the load. For me there’s always an appeal to repeating or revisiting previous photo-locations. It’s never the same.

Day 52 – 28th December 2016 – The End

Throughout this year I’ve had the notion that the stands of Scots Pine on top of Bredon Hill would make good subject matter for a photograph or two. Other than one a few weeks ago I’ve drawn a blank … until today when the very low sun and clear blue sky provided the conditions.

This is the last day of my photography project. I’ve managed to meet my target of visiting once a week on average throughout the year and posted an average of about 5 photographs each visit.

In due course I’ll write up, as a final blog entry, my reflections on “On Bredon Hill – 2016”.

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Scots Pines – I
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Scots Pines – II

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Frosted Leaf Litter
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Parson’s Folly and The Elephant Stone … and Pershore

Day 51 – 18th December 2016

Another ‘head in the clouds’ day for Bredon Hill, at least throughout the morning. I anticipated more landscape photographs today but found only one that passed muster. Otherwise all of my photographs were of things found, or ‘micro’ landscapes. I don’t often visit Bredon Hill on a Sunday so was surprised by the many walkers, runners and cyclists enjoying the misty atmosphere. Perhaps Sundays are always more busy.

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Reprise of my photograph in June

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Irrigation Pipes
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Hanging on in there …

Day 50 – 1st December 2016

I hadn’t been able to visit Bredon Hill the previous morning – the day of the beautiful hoar frost, so I was hoping for the same conditions again this day. Whilst it was almost as cold, sadly there was no sign of the hoar frost …

During the 15 minutes or so before sunrise a beautiful sun pillar was on display – see photograph below. A sun pillar will appear directly above where the sun will rise (or after it has set) whenever there are ice crystals of the appropriate shape and orientation in the upper atmosphere. The crystals refract and reflect the sun’s light causing the appearance of a column of light. Soon after the sun breaks the horizon, and usually before, the sun pillar will have disappeared.

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Sun Pillar
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Frosted Tractor Tracks
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Beech
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Frozen
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Log Pile
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Bracket Fungus on Oak

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