How to make litter beautiful!

Whilst on a countryside walk recently I came across this huge pile of discarded shotgun cartridges on the edge of a wood.  There were thousands!  I wondered why the people who had assiduously gathered them up could not have then disposed of them in a responsible way.  Whilst the metal parts might rust away over time, the plastic parts will hang around for decades.

In an “out of the strong came something sweet” moment, I decided to try and make something beautiful out of the ugliness.  There was a good mixture of colours, so I set my Huawei Mate 10 Pro phone camera to “Silky Water” light painting mode.

I found a suitable section of cartridges and moved the phone in a smooth straight line.  The use of such an additive multi-exposure mode has reduced the cartridges to a composition of shapes and colours with a sense of movement along the frame.  I was pleased with how such an ugly thing had been altered by a simple technique.

Choosing a smaller section of cartridges I moved the phone in more of a curve/rotation.  I kept the phone still for part of the exposure to blend some sharpness with the blur.  If you look very hard you can see more of the individual cartridges, but they are hard to recognise unless you know what they are.  Again, the ugliness has turned to beauty.

I suppose the moral is that even the least promising subject, the result of other people’s selfishness, can be used to your photographic advantage.

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