A fleeting glimpse and an instinct to return

Something has changed since I started to take my photography more seriously. Quite simply I look at everything around me and consider whether or not it offers an opportunity for me to get out my camera. Inevitably some of these occasions arise when I am out and about, in the car and driving from one place to another. I will fleetingly see a possible composition but without time to stop. I then think to myself whether or not the ‘opportunity’ is worth a return visit. I also try and pre-visualise the light and more importantly the direction of the light at a particular time of day.

Three chimneys
Three chimneys and a field of barley

This happened to me the other day when I was returning home from a rather long and tiring day at work. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a field of barley and a house on the horizon. It wasn’t the house itself that grabbed my attention but its three chimneys silhouetted against the sky.

The next day I knew that I would be passing the same location, so armed with my camera I returned to see whether or not my fleeting initial glimpse could turn into something worthwhile. I took a number of shots from different positions but I was unsure whether or not I was going to be happy with any of the results.

I returned home only to decide that I would like to go back later in the evening when the light might be better. I explored the location for a second time and felt no more inspired by the composition I was after, so I walked a little further and noticed how the late evening light was shining through the field of barley.

It wasn’t until the following morning that I downloaded the files from the memory card to the computer. To my surprise the earlier shots of the ‘three chimneys’ were the most promising and the best of the bunch is shown above. The light on barley field which was catching one particular ear in the foreground is below.

Barley in light

Having now had the chance to look more closely at these two images I really am pleased I made the effort to return to this location, following what I had seen out of the corner of my eye. I guess my eyes are learning to see – it’s such an important part of photography, perhaps the most important part in fact. You can possess the best equipment, have been trained in all the technical skills but unless your eye can truly see, then your ability to take a good image will be severely restricted. That’s not to say these are great shots but the fleeting view, combined with my instincts and a desire to return, then I would never have taken these images in the first place.

Both shots were taken hand held, with the Olympus EM5 and Panasonic 35 to 100mm f2.8 lens.

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