A few weeks ago, The Delightful Mr F and I headed off to Bath for a photography morning. I wanted to try out my new Fuji lens, the XF 16-55mm f2.8, and The Delightful Mr F wanted to try his new 21mm f2 lens on his film OM1. Also packed in our kit bag was the marvellous Brain’s Foto Guide for Bath. I met the lovely Ben Brain on a Light and Land Photography workshop in January, and was intrigued by his project to produce maps of different cities to guide photographers to good locations. I ordered a map, and then the weather was so bad we didn’t make it out for a few weeks.
The map is really well done, it’s about the size of a tourist map, which folds up nice and flat for keeping in your bag. On one side is a street map of Bath, with different numbered locations, and then on the other is a more detailed description of each area. Unlike many “Instagram shots you must take whilst in Bath/Paris/Rome/London/Ankh Morpork*” articles you see, the map leads you to areas where good shots can be found and urges you to work the scene, rather than telling you to stand in a specific spot, with a specific focal length and shoot. Bath is such a beautiful city, and one that we know well. I wondered how many new shots we would find. The answer, Dear Readers, is lots. The map took us to places we had been before, but made us more aware of the architecture, the shapes, the shadows. It also has a really nice sunset and sunrise calculator, so working out where all those glorious shadows are going to be is made easy.
The weather was very foggy, with the sun battling to get through. It was also freezing cold. Never ones to shy away from inclement weather, The Delightful Mr F and I headed to the Royal Crescent, a beautiful and grand Georgian building close to Victoria Park. I have always struggled to get a decent shot here, mainly due to the amount of parked cars and wheelie bins on a Thursday. We spent a good three quarters of an hour here, shooting and finding unusual angles. It was all rather jolly.
We soon realised that with over 20 locations on the map, we were not going to get around them all at the rate we were going. It was still really cold, so we decide to follow the map and visit locations which were on the way to our favourite cafe, where we had planned to get breakfast.
The fog was still hanging in the air over Bath, and I took this shot of the Abbey. It is heavily cropped, and really I could have done with a longer lens, but hey, I worked with what I had.
Feeling frightfully creative, I had a little experiment with some of the in camera effects on my Fuji XT-2. I rarely use these, but I think there is potential there. More trials required.
We spent about three hours wandering around with the map in hand, and only covered a small portion of the locations listed. I can easily see that you could spend days with the map and return time and time again, getting new and interesting shots with each visit. Currently Bath is the only guide available, but Ben mentioned that he is planning more. Photography is an expensive business, but this map can be yours for £6.99. A complete and utter bargain, and worth every single penny. I can see ours ending up in well used tatters.
* Delete as applicable