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Has regular Better Photography contributor Mike Langford lost his marbles? Why is he suddenly photographing urban landscapes, instead of the pristine wilderness of New Zealand's South Island?

Mike explains his new passion in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 98):

"IN THE WINTER of this year, Jackie Ranken and I moved from the picture postcard beauty of Queenstown to the former hydro town of Twizel in the Mackenzie Basin in the centre of the South Island of New Zealand. We are now surrounded by a landscape that has been extremely modified by man and I’m starting to think that man-made objects and extreme modifications to the landscape may, in some way, have a beauty all their own.

"Living in a basin where man-made objects like power pylons march across the landscape like a revolution, you are forced to acknowledge them. They just can’t be ignored. Their patterns and shapes are the opposite of the natural landscape in which they sit. They catch and reflect light in a totally different way from any other part of the landscape. At first glance, they are totally incongruous to the landscapes through which they stride.

"Also across the basin, canals have been etched into and onto the valley floor. They are so obvious that they can be seen from outer space. Man-made lakes now fill entire valleys and irrigation pipes have changed a formerly arid landscape into lush green pastures. The increase of surface water from the dams has also meant there is now more moisture in the air, resulting in fogs and hoar frosts in the valleys. 

"At first, these man-made features can be somewhat ignored. At best, they are just a visual pollution that you try to keep out of your images when photographing the beautiful landscapes that surround them. But wait. Maybe we could look at these man-made landscapes in a new and different way, creating a new and different landscape aesthetic?"

You can read more of Mike's thoughts and see more of his photographs in Better Photography - is this something you'd like to pursue as a new direction? To read more, subscribe to Better Photography magazine online. You'll find details on the www.betterphotographyeducation.com website.

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