When I’m not taking pictures* I like geocaching. For those who don’t know what that is, you can think of it as a high-tech outdoor treasure hunt played with hand-held GPS units (or smartphones). Someone hides a container at a specified location, you get the co-ordinates from the geocaching website, and then you use your GPS, and skill, to find the cache. Determining a cache location can sometimes be very complicated, with codes to crack and clues to answer, and actually getting to the cache can be even harder. There are lots to find; over 1.5 million worldwide, and over 75,000 in the UK.
I’ve been thinking about a photographic project involving geocaching, and came up with the idea of taking shots of cache locations, cache contents and the “view from the cache”. Geocache locations are meant to be kept secret from non-cachers (known as muggles), so there’s no real clues in the following images as to where the caches are.
Cache locations vary from very rural areas to the middle of cities. There’s even one on the International Space Station in orbit round the earth! Very many are in the countryside, which means you can practice your landscape photography. I came across this sculptural dead tree which has a cache at its base. The threatening clouds added to the air of secrets and mystery, as does the conversion to B&W.
The contents of caches vary a lot. The least a cache will contain is a log book so you can date your visit and sign your name (all good geocachers carry a pencil). What else is there depends on the size of the cache. Some are quite large boxes, others are as small as a finger joint. If you’re lucky the cache may have a “travel bug” or a geocoin. These are items that make their way from cache to cache, and each has a unique identifying code. I’ve blurred out this one’s code.
Finally, there’s the “view from the cache”. Caches aren’t buried and sometimes they are sat in plain sight. It’s fascinating, having just found a cache, watching other people walk past not knowing it’s there. This cache, now sadly gone, had a wonderful view of the Marlborough Downs. I was struck by the cloud formations in the distance, and how they balanced where the very bright sun was in the frame.
It’s a project I’m still working on, so I’ll keep you informed.
* Clearly I take pictures even when I’m not taking pictures!