The Back Yard

An avenue of beech trees in early autumn mist, East Yorkshire. A photograph by Tim Pearson. The Waves and Time land sculpture in Thixendale, Yorkshire Wolds. A photograph by Tim Pearson. High tide accentuates the curves of the old Scarborough South Bay lido. A photograph by Tim Pearson. A choppy tide hits the sea wall at Sandsend, near Whitby in North Yorkshire. A photograph by Tim Pearson. Beech trees in mist at Warter in the Yorkshire Wolds. A photograph by Tim Pearson.

It’s been three  months or so since my last post. Time flies. I’ve been fortunate during that time to have had a couple of short trips away, to North Wales and the Lake District, but I can say in all honesty that I failed to make the most of either, and instead have gained far more satisfaction from getting to know my own patch much better. There’s an old adage that you need to make  repeated visits to a place to get the best of it photographically, and I’m absolutely sure that’s right. Sure, you may get lucky with the light on a particular day when visiting somewhere new, and place your camera in just the right spot, but I’m not sure that the resultant image will give you the same satisfaction as one you’ve had to work at over successive visits. 

For both my Wales and Lake District trips, I did a little planning by way of the excellent Photographing North Wales and Photographing the Lake District books by Simon Kitchen and Stuart Holmes respectively (both in the Fotovue series, which I highly recommend). I had ideas about where I’d like to go, and considered what I might do in different weather and light conditions. But it all felt a bit rushed in the end, not because I was dashing from place to place (I wasn’t), but because I felt that I was there to take photographs rather than simply enjoying and getting to know the places I visited. I’m sure that affected the outcome, and if you dig around on my website right now, you won’t see too much evidence of those days.

Much more satisfying has been the time I’ve spent in my back yard: the Wolds, Moors and Yorkshire coast. Repeated visits to the same places have begun to pay dividends, and of course it’s much easier to look at the weather forecast or tide times and make plans when those places are all within an hour or so of home. Plus, I’m quite happy to go somewhere local and not even take the camera out of its bag, or even the boot of the car. I visited an unfamiliar corner of the Yorkshire Wolds the other day to look at some old trees (as you do) and a difficult, muddy climb in overcast conditions for what was really just a scouting mission didn’t require the “proper” camera, the heavy tripod or the other paraphernalia I tend to carry around these days; instead, a couple of snaps with my iPhone gave me everything I needed, and I’ve tucked the location into my memory bank for another, better day.

We’re heading inexorably towards winter now, but instead of focussing on the negatives of this time of year, which I’ve always tended to do, I’m trying to focus on the positives. In particular, the chance to visit some of the locations I now know pretty well when the leaves are fully off the trees, there’s a hoar frost or perhaps a covering of snow. I have an idea of the images I’d like to take, where to stand, how the light may fall. Those books I mentioned really are great, but they’re no substitute to going to the same place again and again.


Using Format