Assignment 1 – The Square Mile

First impression

My first thought was that my personal Square Miles are located far way. One would be in Germany and the other one in South Africa. Therefore I would have to find a temporary local version.

After spending some thought about that I decided that my daily walk to work, which is over 5 miles in total, would come closest to that. Seeing daily the same route feels like that I know these locations and buildings for a very long time. One encounters them in different seasons and at different times of the day.

As I start very early in the morning I thought I would like to show it in the cold and yellow artificial light. Hardly anyone one is on the road and the surrounds look cold and desolate. One gets an eerie feeling when looking around you or walking through tunnels, not knowing what to expect on the other end. Old childhood fears might show up on occasions.


Haven’t seen anything like that before but Orwell’s 1984 film adaption with John Hurt would be the closest.

Technical approach

To accomplish this task I would have to take photos when it is still dark outside. I must admit that I have never tried that before. The research on the internet would only show me suggestions of taking pretty cityscape pictures with tripods and long exposure times. Not something I wanted to do.

The alternatives I had would be to increase the ISO speed on my camera to a very high setting or use a flash light. I decided to try both of that.

I set the ISO rating to 3200 and would save the images as RAW and JPEG. The RAW format would allow me to still adjust the images to a greater extent than the JEPG. For the flash light I would use he build in camera flash.

Furthermore I would use a lens with image stabilization that would allow me to shoot the picture at a

lower shutter speed. This was important as I wanted to take the picture hand held.

Self assessment

I liked the eerie yellow tint of some of the images. That was exactly what I wanted to show. I tried some of the same images with a flash light (the estate agents selling boards) but the result was not what I wanted. The tunnels with their artificial light looked as I wanted it, uninviting and scary to enter. I tried several images with house fronts with single lit windows but I found them not very successful. One of my favorite images is the Esso petrol station ‘beacon’ as it was the only inviting and friendly light around. I excluded all the images after the break of dawn (even so I thought that some of them were quite good). But the natural day light was not what I wanted. The image with the door lock looks almost like monochrome (it was taken with a flash).

All in all I would have liked to add more images to the project as I found it difficult to choose which ones are the best.

Future project

I will definitely work on this project and add images from different seasons as it changes entirely the feeling due to the colour of the light.


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