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This group of five trees I found in the Lanhydrock Grounds while strolling around with my newly-acquired Sony NEX-5 compact on an overcast summer afternoon. I was actually testing the camera out and just taking the odd picture to see what I could get without going into any serious image making. All the pictures that day were taken hand-held and as I was doing so it struck me that I was finding composition so much easier and I realised that the reason for this was that I was mobile and able to make minor adjustments to the composition by just using my feet and moving to one side or taking a step or two forward or back. With my big Nikon and a tripod setup adjusting the camera position would have involved a lot more ‘faffing’ about but instead I could just click away.
With this scene I wanted to arrange the tree trunks so they took up a space that was equidistant from each other, with no overlap. The five trees were in amongst other trees and with the compact I was able to refine the composition so it only included my intended subjects. I liked the way the area under the branches was quite dark leading to a much brighter area at the back, which tends to lead your eye into the picture. I was very pleased with my shoot that day as I came back with a number of pictures I liked which to be honest I don’t expect I would have bothered to set up the big camera for, and above all I had fun doing it. So I can heartily recommend you try out a compact and see if it can help you free your creativity
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I found this headstone in the gardens surrounding the church at Lanhydrock House. From what I can make out the inscription reads “In Memory of .. .. Gundry, I have no idea of the date or who the person is that is buried here. For some graveyards are morbid places, but I have a certain fascination with them, and its not that I am contemplating my own demise but that I think you can connect more with life in such surroundings. I don’t expect many people to like this image, but that’s not why I made it, I mainly took it to please myself, and in the end that should be why anybody should take photographs.
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On a recent to Lanhydrock, near Bodmin I came across this scene looking down the park road which leads away from Lanhydrock House. What immediately struck me was the almost perfect symmetry of the scene if I stood in the middle of the road. I like the way the road leads your eye into the scene leading to the vanishing point in the distance. This is a summer shot and I think this view would look even better in the autumn when the leaves on these deciduous trees have turned into glorious autumnal colour. But I will have to wait for that.
This image was one of the first I made with my new compact camera. It is a Sony NEX-5 and the quality I have been getting out of it has exceeded my expectations. I particularly like the live view for framing and focusing shots and the small size makes it ideal for handheld photography, freeing me from having to carry a tripod and loads of gear. I shall be using it extensively over the summer, but I shall not be ditching my regular Nikon just yet, as no compact can give me the versatility of a quality DSLR.
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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.
Yes I know another texture ! This time a close-up of the trunk of a large Cypress Tree in Lanhydrock Wood, adjacent to the car park at Respryn Bridge. Now I have identified this tree as a Cypress Pine but I am not 100% sure so if you know different let me know by using the comment form below. The tree must be about 40-50 feet tall with a diameter at the base of about 6 foot with the branches spreading out above 10 feet. I got in fairly close to the trunk eliminating any distracting elements to concentrate on the texture of the bark. The fluted areas are a feature of this tree so I wanted to include this in the image. The bark texture is quite rough, the tree being very old, and you think of the tree as having a character of its own. As I was composing my image a passer-by commented that she thought this was a beautiful tree, which I agreed with, it gives a feeling of solidity and nobility – yes I think that’s it – a noble tree.
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.