A Wiltshire Afternoon

As you’ll have gathered from the last two posts I spent a few hours recently in the vicinity of Hackpen Hill and Uffcott in my home county of Wiltshire. All of the images in my last two posts were processed sat in the car on the Ridgeway using Snapped on my iPad. I’m home now though and a few hours to spare this afternoon for some processing on the Mac.

© Dave Whenham

Trees lining a field boundary near Uffcott, Wiltshire. Nikon D800E, processed in Photoshop CC and Silver Efex Pro

All of the images here are destined to be used in monthly folios with the Postal Photographic Club of which I am a member.  As such they are unlikely to be seen as a set anywhere other than here. I still however processed them in such a way that they have a unified aesthetic. I often think of my photography in terms of different “bodies” of work (without meaning to sound pretentious) rather than a collection of individual images.  For me there is something very powerful about a set of images that work together, an approach no doubt influenced by my days studying with the Open College of the Arts.

© Dave Whenham

Abandoned roller and trees, near Uffcott. Nikon D800E, processed in Photoshop CC and Silver Efex Pro

Degree-level study was however far from my mind last Saturday afternoon. I was simply enjoying the pleasures of being outside with a camera in my hand. I kept it simple; no tripod or filters and just two lenses, one a telephoto the other a wide-angle lens.  I do think it is important to remember that photography, for me at least, should be something I enjoy doing. Even though I have studied and researched the subject extensively, even though I have worked hard to practice and hone my technical skills and even though I have spent many days on workshops and training courses I still remember not to take it all too seriously.

© Dave Whenham

Tumuli, Hackpen Hill. Nikon D800E, processed in Photoshop CC and Silver Efex Pro

Don’t get me wrong. I am competitive (very competitive one of my line managers once said) and I have enjoyed the successes I’ve had in my club competitions over the last five years. Winning though is not the ultimate goal – creating images that fulfil my vision and that I find aesthetically pleasing is the objective. If other people, or indeed if judges on the club circuit, enjoy my efforts than that is a bonus for sure.

© Dave Whenham

Hackpen White Horse. Nikon D800E, processed in Photoshop CC and Silver Efex Pro

So, the images here, processed similarly, are presented chronologically. I can retrace the drive from Uffcott up the hill to the top of Hackpen Hill from these photographs. Which is what I was unconsciously doing even as I wandered on Saturday. Unconscious competency I think some theorists term this. I prefer to think of it as “consciously aware of unconscious competence” as I know exactly what I’m doing even if I don’t have to think about it.  The same can be said of using the camera, I have used it extensively such that even after four months of not using the camera I was able to pick it up and carry on where I left off last time. This ability to deal with the technicalities without conscious thought leaves the mind free to make choices and consider composition rather than fret about which button or menu item is required to achieve those objectives.

© Dave Whenham

Nearing the tumuli, Hackpen Hill. Nikon D800E processed with Photoshop CC and Silver Efex Pro.

© Dave Whenham

Tumuli, Hackpen Hill. Nikon D800E, processed with Photoshop CC and Silver Efex Pro

Looking back over these images this afternoon I’m pretty pleased with what I achieved with the minimum of kit and the maximum of application. Are these masterpieces? Of course not. But do they satisfy my original creative and aesthetic objectives? Absolutely. And that is what photography is all about in my eyes.

© Dave Whenham

Inside the tumuli looking out on Hackpen Hill, The Ridgeway, Wiltshire.