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Have you noticed lately how the leaves on some trees have started to turn yellow ? There are definite signs of autumn in the air and we can look forward to upcoming season with anticipation. Personally I think it is one of the most photogenic of all the seasons, with rich browns, oranges and yellows embellishing the landscape. Here is an image taken at Golitha Falls last autumn which I hope will whet your appetite.
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Autumn – possibly my favourite season and these beech leaves epitomise the colour that can be found in woodlands during this season. I love the mixture of yellows, oranges and greens that are the last gesture of nature before the dormancy of winter sets in. This type of shot is deceptively simple – you just point your camera and shoot don’t you ? Well no – first of all you have to select your patch of leaves, I took a long time to find an area where the background did not intrude too much – the background here was the river which you can see by the occasional patch of blue. Secondly – the quality of your leaves has to be assessed – not too many shrivelled and decaying leaves, finding good quality specimens in the field is always a challenge. Thirdly the balance of colours needs to be chosen – find a patch where you have a good mixture of colours and try not to include areas where one colour dominates. Last get the whole lot in focus. I was using my 105mm macro lens and consequently the depth of field was quite shallow and it took some time to adjust the camera on the tripod so that the lens and the leaves were in the same plane. I think the whole exercise was worth it and I was really pleased with my shot.
This panoramic image was made last Monday in the early morning just after sunrise. The panorama was constructed in the same way as the Padstow image from the last post and comprises four overlapping images stitched together in Photoshop. The sun was just rising to the east or the left of this picture and the sunlight was beginning to creep forward casting some long shadows and providing some texture to fields and trees.
Sometimes I look at a view and feel restricted by what I see through the viewfinder, even when using a wide-angle lens. This happens particularly when looking at a rural landscape as I have to leave out certain features that I would like to include, it sometimes feels that I am not communicating the whole of the story of the landscape and the composition is incomplete. I think the panoramic format helps me to present more rounded picture with a more satisfying composition. Another advantage of building a panorama from composite images is the size of file produced, this very often will come out at 9000 pixels plus on the longest side and is considerably more than the size of a singe image from my camera. I try to take a panorama on every shoot now and is something that I want to expand on.
This and the next image I am going to post were taken within about 10 minutes walk of my home and illustrate an important point: you can find images anywhere, sometimes right on your doorstep! When you find a few locations close to you it’s always a good idea to go back repeatedly because the scene will very often be different each time you visit. I’d be willing to bet that each image you make will have a different feel and mood depending on the nature of the light on that day and of course the time of year can also have a profound effect on the picture. This particular image was made in late autumn and the branches were nearly devoid of foliage, but imagine how the scene would look if there had been a recent snow fall or if I had taken this at dawn with mist lingering in the valleys in the landscape beyond. If you build up a collection of locations which are close to you then you can respond to changing light very quickly and even if you are unsuccessful in making a satisfying image then at least you’re not far from home.
I have made this image into a monochrome as I feel this treatment suited the subject better, but I had some great contrasty lighting which has picked out the textures in the hedge and the overhanging branches form a natural frame for the view. I could have wished for a more rustic fence instead of the modern galvanised one seen here but I always think you have to take what you can get sometimes and do the best with what you see.
Another from my Widemouth Bay shoot. Not much to say about this one only that I love the cloud formation in this one. That dark cloud to the top left helps the composition and I like the pink and orange tinges to the edges of the clouds. I have positioned the horizon on the top third of the image which gives me plenty of detail in the fore and mid ground. If I was bing picky I would have liked the tide to have been in a little further which would have given me some wave detail, but although the tide was on the way in sunset came before I could take advantage of that.
I had previously been to this particular location about 2 years ago and took an image that I was not entirely satisfied with, it was a little out of focus and I had included too much sky. Remembering I had been here once before I thought I would try again to improve on my earlier effort. Avenues of trees make superb landscape subjects, particularly if they have a certain symmetry. Your eye is drawn through the picture to the end of the road where it disappears round a bend, I placed this point in a horizontal position about one third from the bottom which has the effect of showing less of the road and more of the trees above and I think creates a more harmonious image.
You can find this location between Respyn Bridge and Bodmin Parkway Station, the road being the access to the station from the Lanhydrock Estate.