Friday, 8 January 2010
Stopping By Woods 2
It's all black and white in Unmitigated England at the moment. Photographing out of doors usually means everything's reduced to tones of grey, but still very beautiful for all that. If the sun does come out, snow scenes can somehow look very chocolate boxy, but perhaps that's just me. I needed to take some shots of this tower the other day for a new book, and was quite pleased that not only was there no sunlight, but a fresh storm blowing in from the west to this high point in Leicestershire brought not only tons of atmosphere but also a remarkable lack of people. One can't usually move up here without a brightly-coloured fleece hoving into view. Old John is a landmark tower converted from a windmill in 1786 on a rocky outcrop in Bradgate Park (home to the Nine Days Queen Lady Jane Grey) as a memorial to an aged retainer who was felled by a flagpole falling on him. It had been thoughtfully placed at the heart of a celebratory coming-of-age bonfire. I've been coming up here since I was a very small child, but this week it was somehow unique. To be alone in these woods and snowy paths and looking out over hundreds of square miles of white-out landscape put everything into a fresh perspective.