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Bins and Cones (or a load of Bollards!)

“It’s easy for you. You live in one of the best parts of the world for this sort of stuff” He said. ‘He’ being a photographer friend of mine from London. “It’s on your doorstep man. You just get your camera out and click….easy shot”

“Really?” I said. He had a point though. I do live in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet. Rich in its textures and geological history there really is something to see almost everywhere.

Or so I thought.

I have not had the chance to get out and shoot recently. The weather in the North West of England in the winter time can be a challenging foe. And with other work commitments the ‘enjoyable’ side of photography can be left by the wayside.

Two weeks ago we had six feet deep snow drifts so a bit of sunshine and temperatures on the good side of zero (although, I’ve just been informed by my son that the forecast is snow at 3am) meant me grabbing the 5d, a couple of lenses and jumping into the car to head a few of miles out of town and grab a shot of a local village, Castle Carrock, and check its church out for my collection.

I just love the entrance sign to the village. Where most signs say “Please Drive Carefully” or give details of where the town or village is “twinned” with, this one says “Please Dance”, fun! No one has come forward to admit that they altered the sign or why but it does co-incide with the local “Music on the Marr” music festival.

Across from the church is a lovely little stone build hall standing proudly looking over a small green.

A 90 degree turn to the right and its in through the gate with the most musically pleasing squeaky hinges I’ve ever heard and into the grounds of St Peter’s church.

Look at the first photo on this page, go on, have a good look at the front of the church. See it? yes, there, no, no, to the left of the door, no, not the memorial cross to messers Hetherington and Armstrong who ‘gave their lives for their country 1939-1945’.

No, I mean the two yellow traffic cones and the green ‘wheelie bin’.

Now you’ve seen them you can’t in-see them can you? stick out like a sore thumb.

They really are everywhere. Every beautiful little quaint village church seems to be blighted by the Da-glo cones, the green and black wheelie-bin or the green plastic road grit trough. 

I spend most of my time moving said items out of shot or, even worse, ‘painting’ them out in photoshop in post production where they cannot be moved.

Making my way to the rear I encounter even more of the little blighters. Now in an “attractive” Royal blue, just to add variety.

Those of you who have read my previous blog postings will be aware of my hatred of overbearing signage and street furniture in town centres but its even coming out here.

I drove out of the village up into the farm lands for another two miles and passed a beautiful little tarn.

Unfortunately the stone wall separating the tarn from the road was peppered with bright red, white and yellow signs shouting out that this is “deep water” and “do not swim”. Yes, its for “Health & Safety”, that all encompassing get out clause for anything remotely human and fun. But these signs are ruining our countryside. They’ll never be taken down again apart from being replaced by a newer, brighter sign in the future. The view is spoiled for ever. Which makes me sad.

So in answer to my London based friend, no, we do not have it easy and it takes more than just getting the camera out and click!

It could be argued that the buildings and villages I so enjoy photographing are/were a blight on the open landscape which was there beforehand and you could be correct. But, they have charm, they have grace, they are attractive, they improve their patina with age. A traffic cone? really? what a load of old Bollards!!


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