Fallowfield station, originally uploaded by ken.udle.

“I’m heading out to a bead store south of town, want to join me?”

This was Sandi’s invitation on Saturday morning. If you haven’t been to one, a bead store is four walls lined with various beads, wires, hooks and everything one might need to craft wonderfully creative pieces of jewellery. Turn around and in the centre you find a rectangle of cabinets with even more gems, probably the more precious ones. I’m always amazed at how anyone can find inspiration in the midst of what seems to be chaos. Sandi is particularly good at it.

“I’d love to go, let’s take the van this time.” I reply. My motives are different and she knows that. I too am in search of inspiration; in place of trays and strands, I’m searching the city for a Franchised Landscape.

I borrowed this idea from Jeff Brouws’ book “Approaching Nowhere”. My take on it was a typical landscape style picture that includes some element of enterprise. In some sense, the buildings replace the trees or mountains that I’d normally shoot, the pavement substitutes for the rivers and lakes. The Franchised Landscape was our Project 52 theme for the week and my earlier ideas on the subject had not produced results. So off I went with Sandi, both of us in search of inspiration.

We head out during the middle of the day. I knew the light was too harsh, so for me this was very much a scouting expedition. Sandi doesn’t normally travel in the van and I only mention that because it was that change in routine that got us lost. The maps were in her car. She knew the general area but as we later discovered, after buying a new map for the van, that we were one main street West of where we needed to be. Our mapless search, however, took us along several roads I’d not been on before including Fallowfield Road and the Via Rail station that I didn’t realize even existed. Looking at it from the distance, I figured this would be ideal for this week’s photo, open, likely to have lights on at night with an expanse of field in the distance. A quick check of the weather confirmed there would be a clear night, and that sunset would be around 7 PM.

We did find the bead store and Sandi found inspiration there, although I believe she went in with a rough concept in mind. I headed back to the station some hours later arriving just as the sunset colours were fading. I found a spot near the tracks, got lower to the ground than I usually do, framed the scene and took one shot before another photographer approached asking if a train was coming, was I there to photograph the moon, and so on. Soon the light was gone.

I did take a few shots of the moon but nothing really that good. I’m pleased with this one though. It is close to what I’d pre-visualized. The framing came more naturally this time, as did the exposure settings. There was some post-work in LR3 but not too much. Hey, maybe those courses at SPAO are beginning to pay off.

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