Photography In A 15 Minute Radius

My typical photowalk begins with a 10-30 minute car trip, before venturing by foot around an ancient church, or a National Trust or Kew garden, like Wakehurst.

Lately though, with restrictions in place on travel, I’ve been using my bike for the work commute, and otherwise explored the village and surrounding countryside on foot.

Fortunately, photography accentuates our ability to see the beauty around us, so we don’t need epic vistas or distant travel to find compositions to delight our eyes and soothe our souls.

This period is reminding me what’s available very close by – and without compromising any social distancing guidelines.

Within one minute…

I have our small but valuable garden. The grass is beginning to be overcome by daisies (and will soon be followed by clover, when it becomes a bee haven) and the cherry blossom I bought my wife nearly a decade ago is resplendent in full bloom.

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It won’t be long before the roses, wisteria and honeysuckle start to flower too.

Within five minutes…

I can wander further down the road we live on, which becomes a narrow lane, then at the end, a public footpath off through the woods.

There’s currently an abundance of wild garlic either side, with their pretty white flowers and heady scent, which looks especially alluring in the evening with the sun going down and casting its golden glow.

Might oaks stretch up into the sky, which with the vastly reduced traffic (road and air) is looking deeper and bluer than I can remember.

Within 10 minutes…

I can wander across a field to the woods, to find a carpet of bluebells gathering momentum daily.

It’s these woods that also contain the old Triumph bicycle I first photographed around eight years ago, and is still there, a little more rusted each time I find it.

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Within 15 minutes…

Further into the woods finds the old Suzuki Jeep abandoned years ago and, like the bicycle, is being reclaimed by nature more each day.

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Close by are the remnants of part of a fairground, including a handful of dodgem cars, looking forlorn amidst the brambles.

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A scattering of other debris like tyres, a fridge, and toys, give further photographic opportunity.

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If I walk in a different direction, the local church is also within 15 minutes, with its array of weathered wooden seats and crumbling, lichen covered gravestones.

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As you can see, there’s no shortage of photographic material nearby, even without using a car to travel to some of my usual favourite haunts.

Combined with the glorious weather we’re experiencing, I want to make the most of these opportunities in the coming days and weeks.

How about you? What do you have within one, five, 10 and 15 minutes of you to explore and photograph?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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16 thoughts on “Photography In A 15 Minute Radius”

  1. Great stuff Dan! B&W shots are my favourites. I can tell you that within 1 or 5 minutes from my home there will soon be debris on local shops by the time we come out of this lockdown 🙂
    However, I agree, there’s always something to photograph, just need to learn to see. Cheers

    1. I think sometimes just having a camera with you – even if you don’t get it out of your bag or pocket – enables and encourages us to see more, or rather look or more that could be interesting to photograph.

  2. Good post Dan! Hope you and yours are keeping well on that side of the world. I am fortunate in having a garden, live beside the sea and have rolling hills at the rear of our property. Hence there is plenty of photographic material to work with and lovely environments to enjoy. Like you I am always on the lookout for interesting black and white images which reflect the beauty of Nature.

    1. Paul, thanks for your thoughts, and yes we’re good thanks.

      Sounds like you are also surrounded by plenty of photographic opportunities. My family on my mum’s side going back generations were all farmers and farm workers, so being in the countryside is in my blood. I can’t imagine enjoying living in a big city, just too claustrophobic and hectic.

      1. I can’t imagine enjoying living in a big city, just too claustrophobic and hectic.

        Now imagine how the residents of New York City and San Francisco etc. feel living under shelter-in-place orders because of COVID-19.

      2. I can’t imagine it. I struggle to comprehend living in a city even in pandemic free times, they just make me anxious. I just need grass and trees and birdsong around me, not concrete, glass and metal. My ancestors on my mum’s side were all farmers and other agricultural workers, and I grew up in the countryside, with much time spent on my grandad’s and uncle’s farms. That rural DNA runs strong in me!

  3. I like this. Within a 15 minute walk of me it’s all suburbia – houses, parks, and shopping. But there must be more and more subjects deeper in there if I just keep looking for them.

    1. Whilst my photographic hunting ground is virtually always in very rural areas, I think wherever we are, there’s opportunity if we look hard enough. There’s a strong tradition of US photographers who photographed what was every day and mundane to some, and made them memorable and interesting, like Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston and more.

  4. Is like when the members fell asleep and suddenly you are regaining awareness of you body. In this case being aware of our close surroundings, as if it were visited from a long place. In my case there is a wall of machine made bricks with some green vegetation that looks quite intriguing in the blue hour, wild flowers along the fence of the stadium and after the last summer rains finished the past week they will burn in a week I guess, as Autumn is at last strong. Some reflections at home too. You live in a radius rich in textures, Dan. Thank you.

    1. Francis, yes that’s a good way of putting it, like we become tourists in our own town, seeing the ordinary and familiar in new ways.

      I found textures endlessly attractive to photograph, you’re right.

  5. I live in what we call a giant cookie-cutter neighborhood (all homes are pretty much the same with a little variation…) and people here don’t really have gardens, so I can walk 15 minutes and not have anything of interest to photograph that I haven’t photographed before. That all changed that one day when it snowed, of course…
    So lately there’s been a few things at home that gave me interesting subjects… but those are drying up as well. So my photography’s been basically on hold lately 😦 – even the RZ18 that I was taking on the bike trail doesn’t work anymore, I guess I have to try to take a DSLR next time…

    1. One of your more compact Pentax DSLRs might not be too much weight and bulk on the bike trail? My K100D and K-m are not like a little compact, but smaller than most DLSRs, especially with something like the super light DA 35/2.4 or 50/1.8.

  6. I live in one of the townhouse communities in the suburbs of New Jersey. Everything looks the same including the types of cars people drive.

    Within one minute walk in the front yard and street or the shared community backyard. The backyard is all grass and sometimes occupied by one or more of the eights kids who live in the nearby units. The yard is fenced off and behind it is a line of trees and shrubs to provide privacy for the mansion just beyond. The street at the front has a nondescript community mailbox and guest parking. I have a very small garden in the front but it’s mostly just Hosta and the deer have eaten everything. A few years ago, chipmunks ate all the bulbs.

    Within 5 minutes walk is more of the same as above.

    Within in 10 minutes walk, I will have arrived at the now-closed and taped off tennis courts and children’s playset.

    Within 15 minutes walk, I will either have arrived at the end of the block of units or the private woods behind the tennis courts which is now just leaf-less trees or spring beauty flowers growing just at the base of some trees. There is a small very shallow and narrow stream created with a few wild plants.

    I much prefer driving 15 minutes from home and hiking through the open space land preserves.

    1. Why is everything so similar? I mean I understand the houses, as they were initially built to the same specification, but don’t people have different plants in their gardens even? And why are all the cars so similar? Reminds me os an X-Files episode where a suburban neighbourhood had a hidden monster that only came out if anything broke or became imperfect, like a light bulb on a porch light, or the grass became too long!

      The nature reserves look beautiful, at least you have them so close by, if not right on your doorstep. How nature restores and soothes us.

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