For this exercise I decided to photograph the journey of my local bus service, called the ‘Amberline’. It takes a 6.5 mile route between my local pub in a sleepy village and Derby City Centre. I decided to walk the route, taking a photograph at each and every bus stop along the way.
I selected a 43mm f1.9 prime lens on a full frame body. This allowed me to travel light and keep to a single focal length for consistency. The 43mm lens was chosen as it provides a very natural field of view.
The time of year fitted the ‘amber’ theme very well and so I sought to include as many autumn leaves as possible in the shots. I also toned the images with a warm effect, heightening the autumnal tones / amber theme further and looking like a 1980’s ‘Instamatic’ camera style. I took time to explore each bus stop looking for interesting facets – some are bent, some shelters have interesting community notices pinned inside them, giant Remembrance Day poppies and laylandii conifers squeezing against the glass in their quest to grow.
The initial image contained an image of a but for context along with the single word ‘Amberline’ as a title in the same font as the bus itself. Images titles were all taken from the timetable, quoting the minutes past the hour that the bus arrives (it is an hourly service). The last image shows the gps points for the images plotted on a map.
Starting out in the centre of the city, the route takes us past urban parks and Derby’s industrial centre – Smith’s clocks being world famous at one time. It is interesting to note the transition into rural countryside before the traces of people begin again in the outlying villages. But stops now seem less frequent and linked to pubs, churches and doctors’ surgeries, indicating the changing role of the bus service from leisure time, urban work transport, recreation and finally as a rural lifeline for outlying communities.
Final thought: it was quite easy to feel rather silly and self conscious taking photos of bus stops! But once I’d decided on a clear idea it was easier to be ‘on a mission’ and focus on the job at hand. Something to think about the next time I feel awkward photographing strangers.