A few years ago I made a conscious decision to try to walk every day, even if it was just for a few miles. Prior to that, I walked several days a week but on the other days, work and other commitments tended to eat away at the available time and I missed out. With retirement came more freedom to shape my own day, despite somehow becoming even busier with grandparent ‘duties’ etc 🙂 – in fact sometimes I wonder how I had the time to work 🙂 !
I still do my full day walks several days a week throughout Dorset but on the other days I have been able to focus on local walks which has led me to explore the various pockets of countryside that exist within easy reach of home. These include small nature reserves, woodland, heath, river banks etc, oases in the urban sprawl that makes up our town. As part of this, I set myself a challenge to look for the ‘WOW’ factor on my doorstep, to notice the small details that we so often miss when walking. These ‘WOW’s’ are there in abundance although when it comes to photographing them, it can be a real challenge!
If you walk the Grand Canyon, Niagara, Machu Pichu, the Everest foothills, or even my local Durdle Door (below), there is a strong chance that that ‘WOW’ is going to escape your lips without even thinking about it simply because of the grandeur of the scene before you. One author put is this way, ‘Beauty is cheap if you point a camera at a grand phenomenon of nature’. But what about the local, perhaps smaller, phenomenons of nature that are equally ‘wow’ albeit maybe with a small W – these are all around us. The challenge is to notice them!
The picture below was taken on a gentle stroll along the local promenade – hardly a wild wilderness but when this scene presented itself, I could not help but say ‘WOW’ to myself. The view across the bay was magnificent but with that awesome stormy sky, the eerie amber light on the horizon and the sudden, and short lived, burst sunlight on the water, it just came alive.
Be it a walk along the coast or a walk across just a small patch of heathland, there are always wonderful sights if we are alert and aware of our surroundings. Even the tiniest of leaves in the woodland with the last vestiges of the autumn sun streaming through them makes me say “WOW’!
You can tell that I am passionate about the ‘ordinary’ although in fact there is no ordinary because the whole of nature is extraordinary. My quest in my walks and my photography is to show the seemingly ordinary for the extraordinary that it is, and that is less about photography and more about seeing what is there.
You may have seen in the press a year or two back that the most expensive photograph ever sold, taken in Antelope Canyon, Arizona, changed hands at $6.5M or $7.8M (depending on which report you read). I wonder what made it worth that much. That canyon is undoubtedly beautiful and there are thousands of pictures on the web to show all its beauty – but that much???!! The reality in my book is that you don’t need to spend a fortune jetting around the world in search of outstanding beauty, just look on your doorstep, its there if you will see it!
Photography, and indeed, what we see as beauty, is of course a very personal thing – ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ as the well known saying goes, so what makes me say ‘WOW’ may not be the same thing that stirs others. But the fact is, there is beauty and interest all around us just where we are so take the time to walk your local walks and search out that amazing ‘WOW’ factor, whatever that means to you.
They say familiarity breads contempt, and it does……..unless we make a conscious effort to stop that contempt in its tracks! We can regain that sense of wonder we once had…….just try it. Go out, even into your own garden, and look for the ‘WOW’ factor. It is all around us if we just LOOK for it!
Come alive, get passionate about creation, about detail – it will be worth it!
Thanks for visiting Time to Reflect and for reflecting with me.
(All words and pictures on this site are copyright of Terry Yarrow and must not be reproduced without permission)