Photographer Steve Highfield in Appleton, Cheshire

Photographer Steve Highfield has produced a whole new view of Appleton and the fields, folds and fallows thereabouts.. Words: Patrick O'Neill

IF a picture is worth 1,000 words, then this is going to be a very short article. Because Steve Highfield's photographs of Appleton and the surrounding area are pictures of exceptional quality and represent a scoop for Cheshire Life, giving Steve's superb landscapes their first exposure to Life readers.Steve himself, who is based in Appleton, is an intriguing mixture of the practical and poetic.His day job is making access ramps, but his ambition is to be a full-time photographer. I have never seen one of his access ramps and have no great desire to see one. But a glimpse at some of his finest photographs made me an instant fan.Take for example his photograph 'Golden Wheat Appleton'. This is autumn personified. All the colours of the 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' captured on one photograph. With a sky that looks like the 'crack of doom', an autumnal storm threatens the peace of this Cheshire landscape.Move on to 'The Way Home, Appleton' and the signpost points to a skyscape that is full of sweetness and light.

In many of his pictures clouds form the mood music that sets the tone of the Highfield landscapes. Homesickness for people who have never left home you might say.

Gates are a transition point between one world and another as Steve proves with his 'Farm gate Appleton' and his view of 'The Dingle Appleton' where the gates represent a journey from one world to another and a barrier between the two worlds.

In each case the skyline is of huge importance to Steve who spends hours waiting to capture the brindled brilliant sunlight that adds drama to all his pictures.Talking of dramatic lighting, take a look at Steve's portrait of 'The dead oak at Appleton' which stands out like a gallows or half alive dragon against a reddened Appleton skyline.And finally to the more tranquil moment of the 'Evening pond at Appleton' with its magnificent trees and tranquil waterscape proving the old Chinese proverb that 'every man should spend some time beside still waters'. Six pictures, that's worth six thousand words. So I'll stop while I'm winning.Steve's photographs are available via Steve Highfield Photography 07957 902 509.

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