Geograph Blog ::

Learning as I go along

By David Howard

2011 was the first time I started taking photos especially for the Geograph map. I'd already got a library of 10,000 plus digital photos from when I bought the camera in November 2005 and had finished uploading the suitable ones once Streetview allowed me to get the spots correct, I did a few before then but struggled with the buttons and locations and returned to browsing others' photos here until I had another go two years later.

After a while of course I noticed the map spread out, but my further trips had been on film which I decided not to include as the method on digital is so different that having a few random isolated spots of not particularly exciting photos and a good number of railway stations wasn't worth muddying the water with and decided to start from scratch here instead. So myriads became new all over again, and from the fourth, which sparked off my first blog entry as I drove to Chesham the first time without a grid map (I knew where it was so assumed I didn't need one) and got home and found I turned left instead of right partly as I saw a steep view which always makes good photos, and stopped a few hundred yards short of the blue line west. Not to be defeated I drove out the next day and turned right at Chenies and drove literally some of the worst roads I've ever driven in the country (after 12 summers driving in Devon) to do the node, the crossroads of four myriads and take photos in all four within a couple of miles (I had the other three already but that was the actual route to get SP9900).

A couple of months ago I noticed someone had taken perfect photos on the motorway, clearly able to focus at 70 mph, so on the M40 tried a couple out of the window and they did indeed come out as usable. That unleashed the monster described in my previous entry, as my trip to Oxford beforehand consisted of Oxford and nothing else, with a gap to High Wycombe where I'd been already. There were the two red dots on the motorway used as test experiments which had passed as well, but the following trip to Wheatley nearby filled a red line back to Wycombe plus a nice fat tail to Thame and Stokenchurch. It also meant less time to go further as previously each of my photos was taken by finding safe places to park, and of course that slows you down like a bus ride. The downside of course is the many photos of marginal quality, both blur (inevitable) and content. Green verges out of the passenger window do make geographs but without some very clear feature so I could find them to locate did not make good photos. But they did make red lines so with nothing instead in they went.

After overdoing it with far too many on a trip to my next myriad (SZ) I wound it back a bit, taking everything as before but only including such gems as this TQ4022 : Telegraph pole and pylon on Lewes Road, Chailey by David Howard and this TQ4109 : Parking area on the A27 Lewes by David Howard where absolutely unavoidable, and then kicking everything out with more than a small amount of blur regardless. The wounderful Department of Transport delayed the sixth myriad trip (TV) by a week as the M25 has something almost but not totally unseen on British motorways, a right hand exit. Heading east from Reigate there's the A22 junction we needed and somehow missed, then the M26/J5 at Sevenoaks. One minute you're on the nearside waiting for the around ten mile ricket of overshooting J6 to be rectified, and another you see a sign (tiny and barely mentioned under the M26) Sevenoaks on the right. You can't cross three lanes of motorway traffic in half a mile or less, so besides the rain coming down around that moment, any chance of driving south when heading for Badger's Mount was over. I hadn't been to Kent either digitally (due to Waterloo and adjacent bridges being verboten from the congestion charge, and not joining the sheep across Tower Bridge when I could have been in Eltham already the old way) so not a waste by any means. That ended up creating a nice tail around the M25 and my favourite views of the North Downs in Kent I'd never have bothered with (and had no photos of despite being there numerous times) otherwise so not actually a bad result after all.

The bonus of going to Seaford was although the straight route gets you there it turned out to be a slow and winding road however direct, plus a signposted four mile kink in Lewes which coincidentally meant I got another unexpected hectad 30. My father said the A22 was a far better road, my mind is more linear and when it sees a straight road takes it unless as then it turned out to be a bit of a swine. He remembered going to Eastbourne far quicker on the A22 despite it bending round Uckfield, and did the reverse trip in a third of the time back to the same point in Wych Cross. That meant not a line but a lozenge, and you all know how that looks on the map in comparison as well as possible added hectads. The main objective was to get the final myriads of 2011 before the clocks go back next month as whenever you leave if you want more photos coming home it must be before then, it got dark around Lingfield and ended up with a good few sunsets (not wanted or intended) as a result. So my mission is complete. 2011 has added three myriads and a return to a number of places I hadn't seen in years, plus a good few I'd never seen before as who'd willingly shlep to Selsey without a myriad to catch? (It's certainly not the most scenic of locations). Seaford however was a wonderful surprise as being out on a limb (the reason it contains another myriad) I'd never got there before, having reached Beachy Head from various earlier trips to Eastbourne. Unlike the other Sussex resorts it's nearly all modern, and besides the ubiquitous pebble beach (a couple don't have them but not the reason I was there) probably the nicest one along the Sussex coast. Without wanting to offend anyone, the biggest disappointment was Littlehampton, which reminded me of East Ham by the sea. I have heard locals agree so don't think I'm saying anything too controversial.

So in nine months my personal map and collection are looking healthy, I have learnt not to let garbage in except in absolute last resorts, I can get photos from a moving car but must be selective with the results, and revisited many old haunts.

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Wed, 14 Sep 2011 at 16:31
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