Monday night at camera club, the guest speaker was Slawek Staszcuk – and he showed us a range of urban and countryside landscapes that he had captured over the last few years. He was originally from Poland, but now lived in the UK and was enjoying taking photos of our unique landscape and historic churches, and he talked lots about the importance of capturing photos in the right light and the amount of time it takes sometimes to wait for that perfect moment when the clouds act as a giant light box lighting up the shadowy side of objects, how the position of the light can add depth and interest to the landscape. He also talked about how your eye is taken to the brightest area of the image or the area with the most contrast – and this is often the area in the photo where the landscape meets the sky – the horizon – which is not necessarily what is the most interesting part of the image – so he did not often include the sky in his images unless they added to the story.
Slaweck talked about minimal editing, he prefered Lightroom – but he also only spent at most a minute of two and and would prefer to get the image right in camera – he carried filters with him and would often use a 10 stop ND filter for images with water, and a graduated filter to achieve the effect he wanted.
Slaweck also talked about the fact that taking an original images was getting increasingly harder – we are inspired by others, other images we have seen, and try to replicate them with our own photos – he likes to try new angles, new directions and to try and create something different, he often photographed from afar using a large zoom lens – all this information very much reinforces the talk about Coastal environment I listened to a few weeks back, different light, different lens and different compositions add to your interruption on the image.
So how has that affected my photos today … I went out to capture the New Forest landscape, but as the sky was cloudless and blue – it was about 8.30am in the morning, I focused on excluding the horizon and using a zoom lens to capture the landscape.
It first struck me as to how the seasons are changing – the heavy dew on the grass looked almost like it could have been frost – I choose to covert the above image into monochrome, as I felt it highlighted the colours in the light more.
The Highland Cow became my subject is this one, but I shot low and carefully framed the subject so that I did not include any sky, but the New Forest moorland fading into the background behind. I took this as I really liked the diagonal angle of the cows horns and the way the colours of the cow worked on the same colour palette as the heather and gorse.
Slaweck’s landscapes had a greater depth of field than mine – but the idea was to create your own image based on the inspiration of others … I wanted to draw your attention to the heather in the foreground, but give a sense of scale and depth – the lightest part of the photos is the telegraph poles, it draws your attention, but I think helps balance the image, and gives a sense of the vastness of the New Forest.
The heavy dew across Setley Pond – the New Forest ponies add interest to the subject and the reflections add an additional layer to the image. The early morning sun and the damp grass creates an image full of neutral tones.
One of the images that we were shown on Monday was a reflection… we were told that a polarising filter really enhanced reflection images – sadly I did not have mine with me… but I liked the contrast between the pink heather and the blue sky, so captured the moment.
The morning dew and the heather was lit beautifully in the morning light – it will be interesting to see if I can head out earlier – sunrise this morning would have been at 6.20am, the golden hour ended at 7.04am, whereas this image was captured at 8.45am – I wonder what it would have been like 2 hours earlier…. perhaps I need to start getting up earlier to enjoy the better light.
Below is a close up of the heather – I wanted to capture the light on the heather in the foreground – but I have not got enough separation between the foreground and the background for it to work – why – simple, my own error, I had too narrow an aperture – of course F22 will not achieve the desired effect, I would have been better shooting at F5.6, by day 253, you would have thought I would have remembered to check my aperture before I click the shutter button…. gggrrrr!!!