Verity is a landscape and commercial photographer based in Birmingham, UK. She’s also an ambassador for Zeiss lenses and a workshop leader with Light and Land.
As we emerge from the global event that was Covid, it seems as though we’re entering another period of uncertainty, with rising fuel prices and a squeeze on our cost of living. To escape the maelstrom of daily news, my instinct is to retreat to the outdoors. When I’m outside, with or without my camera, I feel connected to something bigger than the sum of me and can guarantee that I will feel better.
I’ll be the first to admit when I think of the outdoors, my mind drifts to the grandeur of the Lake District or the pristine beaches of the Outer Hebrides, however, one of the things that the past couple of years has taught me is that there is beauty everywhere, even tucked away amongst the urban sprawl.
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When I first fell in love with landscape photography, I didn’t know how to drive and this restricted where I could travel to in the mornings (unless I was able to convince my understanding partner to drive me somewhere). At the time I found this frustrating, but the upside of this was I got to know my local area well.
I’ve lived in Birmingham for a while, and although it doesn’t stand out as one of the most beautiful locations, there are plenty of green spaces to explore and atmospheric conditions can create just as much excitement
in my local park as in the Lakes.
Some of the most fulfilling mornings of photography I’ve experienced have been in places less than ten miles from my home. This knowledge can be valuable when the weather plays ball as instead of feeling overwhelmed by an unfamiliar location, I can immediately create the composition and make the most of the conditions.
For example, I return time and time again to Sutton Park on the outskirts of Birmingham. It’s a huge urban park and there’s always something new for me to discover. I have my favorite trees and I’ve photographed the landscape across all seasons, from the first buds of spring to summer mist, autumn fungi and winter frost.
The world has changed irreversibly over the past two years and it continues to shift, but we can take solace in the diversity of landscapes we enjoy, whether they are urban or rural.
I’ll always be drawn to the extraordinary scenery of more remote places, but there’s plenty to see and learn from exploring your local landscapes.