On Your Doorstep Issue 4 - Page 30

PETER STEVENS WHAT TO DO WITH HONEY POTS What to do with honey pots? Not the honey pots that bees buzz around, but photographic honey pots. Those iconic locations which are a must place to visit but which have already been photographed a million times. What should the enthusiast landscape photographer do? Go there, join the crowd, and take ‘the shot’, or avoid the well-trodden paths and find somewhere new? All images in this article (c) Peter Stevens For example, let’s consider Glencoe. This is a magical place, the creative photographer should find their own little corner and should be on every landscape photographer’s ‘bucket list’. and brush aside the honey pots, but this is easier said than I returned there in January this year with two good friends. done, and would be a risky strategy. Just think what might The three of us go away for a week twice a year and always be missed! These honey pot locations have gained their try to visit locations with high photographic potential, ie the reputation because they are photogenic and worthy of a honey pots. visit in their own right, if only to enjoy the experience of being there. But it does make the creation of an original Although I’d been to Glencoe twice before I really couldn’t photograph very difficult. say I was familiar with the area and this immediately gives 30 rise to the problem facing most enthusiast landscape For example, Buachaille Etive Mor is a beautiful location in photographers – how to find out where actually to go to the heart of Glencoe and is certainly iconic. It provides many pitch your tripod. We’d done our research beforehand by excellent compositions. Fig 1 is one such example. But this looking on the internet, google maps and just searching for exact image has probably been taken more than any other photographs of Glencoe, of which there are many. We also in Glencoe, maybe even in Scotland as a whole. There are purchased an excellent book (1) which gave exhaustive and almost the physical tripod marks showing where to set up, precise locations down to grid reference level. This level and identical images can be found everywhere on postcards, of research enabled us to easily and quickly pin point the posters and in galleries. So it scores zero for originality but many photogenic locations in the area, at least as measured it is very attractive and it would be a great pity not to have by popularity, and which of course were all ‘honey pots’. All taken it. Second only to ’the Beuckle’ is the ‘island tree’ were undoubtedly beautiful in their own different ways but (fig 2). Actually this image was taken on a previous trip and all had been photographed so many times before – Buachaille the tree now no longer exists. It was reportedly knocked Etive Mor, Black Rock cottage, the Three Sisters, Loch Tulla, down during a storm but my belief is that it was felled by a Glen Orchy, Castle Stalker, Glen Finnan, the list went on. photographer who couldn’t face seeing any more images of it. And this is the heart of the problem for the landscape The challenge to the photographer is to visit these iconic photographer. Typically visiting a new location for just a week locations and try to add their own style or interpretation, on a carefully planned and expensive trip, and unlikely to whatever this might mean. This is difficult to do in any genre, return again maybe for years, should he or she rush around but especially difficult for landscape. It is also very personal ticking off these ‘honey pots’ or go ‘off-piste’ and find their to the photographer. What is creative and full of meaning to own corner of the new location. Of course it’s easy to say one person might leave another person cold. The image of