Posts tagged ‘Dorset’

A return to the Beech Avenue

It has been four years since I last visited this location – The Beech Avenue at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. On that occasion it was early morning. Some mist and autumn colour enhanced the splendour of the view and I came away with one of my favourite colour images from a time when I was mainly working in black and white. (See below).

(The image from 2017)

I returned earlier this week, this time after lunch and hoping I hadn’t missed the glorious yellow and russet coloured leaves. Unfortunately I was at least a week too late. Most of the leaves had fallen to the ground and the trees were nearly bare, but I was treated to some glorious late afternoon light. It was exceptional and I found a number of pleasing compositions. In fact the more I looked the more I felt this location has so much potential, and not just at this time of year, so I know it will not be long before I head back there.

As I was using a telephoto lens, I was unable to get all the trees in focus, even with a small aperture opening of f14. For the above composition I wanted a sharp image from front to back, so for the very first time I decided I would focus stack three images and merge them in Photoshop. I focused on the near trees for the first exposure, then the middle group for the second frame, and finally the distant branches in the background. I was surprised how easy the process was in Photoshop. However along the way I discovered that before merging the three exposures, it was better to process one of the RAW files in Capture One, copy those changes to the other two, and after that process was complete take them into Photoshop. I could then make any final adjustments on the TIFF file.

Below is another image from the same visit.

And finally a portrait of some of the trees which were still partially clothed with autumn leaves.

As well as capturing the line of trees, there are I believe endless opportunities for some more abstract compositions. A return visit to the Beech Avenue is already being planned.

Autumn mist (Part 2)……… a further selection

This is Part 2 of a short series of posts in which I have tried to capture the light and mood of the landscape when seen through autumn mist. Part 1 can be viewed here.

Mist has the power to simplify a scene and when back lit by the morning sun trying to break through, the light which is cast is really rather special.

Like the first post all three of these images were taken when out walking our dog early in the morning. I never know in these situations what I will see. Sometimes nothing at all, but on other occasions there is a photo opportunity around every corner. It’s a much used cliche……but always carry a camera!

Autumn mist (Part 1)……when warm and cool tones typify this time of year.

I don’t know of any outdoor photographer who doesn’t love shooting at this time of year. The cooler mornings when mist is so often present, coupled with warm autumnal tones, is such a wonderful combination.

In my last post I went out with the deliberate intention of taking photographs. The selection you can see here were all taken a couple of weeks back on an early morning dog walk in a woodland area near my home. A spontanous photographic session which is more my style. If the light and weather are favourable I like to take advantage.

My recently acquired Fuji XT3 and 55-200mm f3.5 to f4.8 lens compressed the field of view which suits this type of subject rather well. Until recently my longest focal length was 90mm in 35mm full frame terms, but given the APSC crop factor of the Fuji, this new set up gives me a range of 83mm to 300mm. A vast difference and I am enjoying being able to compose my landscape images in a very different way. It’s not the fastest lens on the planet, but it does have built in Optical Image Stabalisation (OIS) which for these shots negated the need for a tripod.

Slowly but surely I am becoming more comfortable with colour photography. It provides me with another creative dimension. Another form of expression. It’s very satisfying and rewarding to be persuing a different path and I am particularly looking forward to the weeks ahead as autumn turns to winter. Shorter days but given the right conditions so much potential.

This is the first entry in a short series as I have other similar images which I would like to share with you.

Thanks as always for taking the time to look at my work. It is very much appreciated.

Harvesting the light……a few days of constant change in the countryside.

In the past week I have enjoyed watching the barley corn being harvested in the field behind where we live. The straw has been made into bales and as I type these words they are now being moved, so this rather lovely scene will soon be over for another year.

Farmer’s are well known for moaning about the weather. Too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot and so the list goes on. When it comes to harvesting the forecast is critical to the success or otherwise of a crop which has taken months to come to fruition. The moisture content of the crop needs to be below a certain threshold for harvesting and when the conditions look right it is all hands to the deck.

The weather has been very mixed in the last week. We had a mini heat wave with temperatures in the high 80’s for several days on the trot. Ideal for harvesting, but as so often happens in this country a spell of hot weather is often followed by thunderstorms and rain.

Photographers are also know to complain about the weather or the light and I have written before that high summer does not always yield the best light for photography. It’s often far too harsh but there is no point wishing for something different, you have to work with what you are given and make the most of it.

If you read my last post you will know that I am making a concerted effort to create more colour images. For the purposes of this entry I have decided to include some monochrome pictures as well, as they form part of the narrative…..but it’s the colour work which are the feature.

I have tried to capture these changing weather conditions and of course the light. On the day the bale maker arrived the clouds came in, a foretaste of a distinct change in the weather (picture above). That same evening I sat in my chair relaxing, when I noticed some beautiful warm light. I grabbed my camera to capture the golden glow of evening sunshine. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon, as a thunderstorm moved in from the south.

A couple of days later and once again the blue skies returned and so did the crows to feast on the corn. Having been a committed black and white photographer for many years I couldn’t resist including both mono and colour versions. I will leave it to you to decide if you have a preference.

And finally in this series, a cloudscape looking west across the field as the day came to close. The straw bales play second fiddle to the dramatic sky but they do make for an interesting horizon and of course provide context to the scene.

In summary a very enjoyable and satisfying few days of photography, taking opportunities when they arose. Not waiting for the light but knowing that the waether and the story of harvesting could and probably would change at any time. The bales of straw have all been moved, stacked along the edge of the field. Acquaintances for a while, I shall miss them, but I look forward to making more colour images of another subject very soon.

Until then thanks for looking.

Adding a new dimension – an adventure in colour

For the past 8 years I have solely concentrated on Black and White photography and I have enjoyed the experience immensely. A quick scan of the galleries on this website will reveal a wealth of monochrome images. Only one gallery includes a small selection of colour work.

Whilst I will continue making monochrome photographs I have decided to spend considerably more of my time creating colour images. Good composition, form, texture, light and shade are all key to good black and white photography and I know these skills will be put to good use in the future. However the introduction of colour adds another dimension. Colour balance, colour temperature, saturation and luminosity and the interplay of all these ingredients have a role in making a pleasing image. These are skills I have yet to learn. I do not think for a moment this knowledge can be acquired overnight and I am sure I will make many mistakes along the way. In essence this is a new adventure, a fresh challenge and I do not know where it might lead me in terms of a photographic style.

I suspect the choice of subject matter will not change as I love to be outdoors and enjoying being in nature. I do though intend to adopt a more considered approach. Taking my time, thinking things through, planning the shot and using a tripod and filters if necessary. Less the ‘hit and run’ of my usual spontaneous approach. More contemplative which I hope will result in a much more immersive photographic experience. An approach which applies not just to taking the image, but also in post processing when I am making key decisions about how the finished image should appear and the feelings I would the photograph to convey.

I may write about my equipment of choice in a future entry but for now I will simply say I will be using Fujifilm cameras and lenses. Their excellent colour science is well known. I shall also be using Capture One Pro for editing and post processing. Again I may write about this aspect of the adventure on another occasion.

To finish I would like to share a few more images I have made in the past week or so. Early days but I think this new challenge is going to be rather fun!