What My i Sees

Bradwell Mill in Milton Keynes

Bradwell Mill in Milton Keynes

“What is the best camera to own?  Well, the one that you have in your pocket of course.” I often hear this and had always thought that I would not beat my DSLR with it countless options and opportunities.  But people are right, if your DSLR is at home, then the best camera really is the one in your pocket, especially when a photo opportunity presents itself unexpectedly.

I travel around a fair bit and all too often I either don’t have the time to set up a shot with my DSLR or I just don’t have it with me, especially if I am on a business trip.  However, like most of us, I always have my iPhone in my pocket or close to hand and you can get some reasonable images at times.  Whilst the resolution is hopeless for large printed images, they are great for publishing online.

I therefore plan to include some impromptu taken images using my iPhone or iPad as and when.  There is often a story behind the image or reason for me being where I am, or for taking the image and I’ll include that in the postings for a little additional interest as well.

I’m also planning on using two hashtags for those of you that wish to follow these postings.  The first will be #whatmyiphonesees purely because a lot of people use this already and I also plan to use #whatmyisees for those of you that just wish to follow my postings of this type.

Why the second of the two hashtags?  Well it is a play on words with the ‘i’ representing my eye (what I see) and also the ‘i’ in iPad and iPhone because I’ll be using one or the other.

Bradwell Mill viewed from beneath on the Redway.

Bradwell Mill viewed from beneath on the cycle Redway.

So to kick off the series, and where this idea came from, I’ve chosen Bradwell Mill.  Bradwell Mill is located in Milton Keynes and when I was much younger I recall taking bike rides across Milton Keynes from Bletchley (where I lived) to Newport Pagnell (the then home of the glorious Aston Martin), Stony Stratford (the home of the Cock and Bull stories) and Wolverton, with the railway works and Queen’s carriages in those days.

Today, the route would be made by road or on the countless Redways that work their way all over the city, in and around the housing estates.  There is still plenty of green areas with something like a quarter of the city being given over to parkland and other green areas and there are in the region to 22 million trees. However, in those days the Redways were only just being laid and they meandered around the countryside at best or ended up in a dead end in a field at worst – but that was the fun of using them – plus they were really safe for a young teenager on a bike.

I recall one afternoon ending up in what is now Bradville, a dense housing estate in the north of the city.  I also recall standing on the bottom bar of a five bar gate, looking out over the canal and open fields towards Wolverton railway station.  In the field in front of me and just off to the right, Bradwell Mill stood alone and proud in the open.

Bradwell Mill nestled in a housing estate.

Bradwell Mill – a little bit of history nestled in a modern city housing estate.

In her working days of grinding grain, she stood atop a slope that stretched about 2 miles over open fields to Wolverton.  The view from the front door would have been unhindered and it would have given spectacular views during sundown.  Now, the sun sets over the city and the view is spoiled by the cities rooftops, the mill itself is even nestled in amongst plush modern houses and alongside a sports field.

Anyway, I thought that I’d simply try looking out the old mill during a visit last weekend to Milton Keynes and to see if it was still there.  Thankfully the answer is yes and as I got there the sky cleared to a deep blue and the sun began to drop lower in the sky, casting a lovely late afternoon shade of golden yellow across the city.  The mill is still raised up above road level and there is a clearing from the road right up to the mill.  The sun therefore has a clear view right to the front door during late afternoon.  There is a house directly behind the windmill, so the opportunity for an early morning sunrise shot might not be such a sure bet.  I might give that a try sometime though.

The light on the mill and her sprawling sails, was wonderful and it quickly had me reaching for the iPhone and therein the reason for these crude snaps (images) and this post.

I’ll be back in Milton Keynes in a couple of weeks time.  If the autumn air is as clear and crisp as this day and the sun is working it’s magic again, I might just take a few images using the 5D, watch this space. 😉

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