The images in this short series from the Somerset Levels were taken on an absolutely beautiful morning, when the sunrise coincided with banks of thick fog.  Most if not all of the other images celebrate the natural beauty of that early morning, but here is one that simply looks at a facet of Levels life.

There is no school in the village of Godney, and so those who are not taken to their schools by other means go via the school bus, which is seen here waiting on the outskirts of the village early in the morning, prior to going into the village to pick up the children.

What can we see in this picture?  Well, obviously, the bus waiting amidst open farmland – it’ll be in a place where it does not block the single track road.  And the red triangle of the road sign to the right of the bus warns drivers that this narrow road is about to enter a series of sharp corners: the road is following the bends of the little River Sheppey – the raised river bank can be seen immediately behind the bus.  Then there is a telegraph poll, carrying landline phone cables.  And right of the road sign, part of the inverted umbrella shape of a pollarded willow tree.

A short while ago, my blogging colleague Harrie Nijland was talking to me about two distinct types of photography.  The first type of photo is simply a straight, factual representation of something, a record shot perhaps, or documentary photography.  This is such a shot, showing an everyday facet of Levels life, without any artistic ambitions or endeavour whatsoever.  But the second type of photo Harrie mentioned does use artistic / compositional / etc devices in an attempt to make images more attractive to the eye: and, for better or worse, the other images in this short series are all of this type.

There are other images from this early morning shoot here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Godney, on the Somerset Levels; 19 Oct 2018.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    I think about Harrie’s two types of photos – that dichotomy – regularly. It comes up for me personally as a question about documenting beautiful scenes vs. doing “something more” with them. In fact, I think the categories overlap. It’s likely a fallacy to believe a documentary image can be made that doesn’t impose some compositional order or other aesthetic considerations onto the scene. I don’t think that means we shouldn’t think about different intentions, just that we should keep questioning, especially when we’re tempted to categorize, or fix anything into any kind of conceptual box. In your example I think there’s an aesthetic at work – it’s a particular kind of aesthetic, one that celebrates the ordinary, but it (it seems to me) it’s there.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      This is an interesting reply, Lynn – yes, the fallacy – given that a photo is inevitably a selected scene, that the photographer makes some sort of visual selection when making the photo, you may well be right. And in my photo here, yes I suppose I am celebrating the ordinary, but to me its more of a documentary shot – but I have included the vast foreground, whereas a true documentary shot might just have shown the bus. A 🙂


  2. paula graham says:

    Godney does need a bus…great nature area there with an interesting hide too, you are sure to know.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, absolutely: I imagine that everyone in Godney has at least one vehicle. Yes, it was the natural history side of things that first drew me down to this area in 1994 – my then manager, who then lived in Wedmore, had been cycling around these Levels, and he told me what a wonderful place it was. 🙂


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