Well September has arrived, with it the dawn mists and the sun rising at a more reasonable hour - it is the perfect time to be out with our cameras. I for one love that early morning chill nipping at my cheeks as the dawn glow sweeps across the landscape, it really is a magical time and makes a person feel so 'alive'.
Autumn really is the time to make wonderful landscape images, ones that will impress family and friends or do well in photographic competitions.
As with all landscape photography the key is preparation, all those long walks during summer scouting out potential compositions are about to pay off. Dawn colour and morning mists are natures way of giving us a helping hand by adding a flourishing touch to our compositions.
On the left is an image I made recently just a couple of miles from home. I hadn't planned this image but as I drove along the main road I saw the mists in the field and knew the sun would rise over the distant hills lightening that part of the sky. So it was just a case of setting up and waiting for the time when the light was perfect.
I have friends who totally dislike the square format and would never use it but I do like it for certain images and don't have a problem in using it if I think it suits the composition. So be flexible in your image making, don't stick to the standard landscape 4x3 format experiment, it costs nothing.
I have made a few trips over to Glastonbury to photograph the Tor and tick off yet another goal from my to do list, I still have another 2 or 3 Glastonbury images I would like to get but they are for a little later in the year - hopefully if the weather is right for them!
Thankfully my 02:00 starts are over for another year, am I mad?
Maybe but there is something really satisfying about making the effort to be up at that time and having the countryside to yourself, it soon makes you forget the tiredness and having to leave a warm bed. Then when you see your images on the computer screen you know the sacrifice was worth it.
With good weather forecast for the first week of September I plan to be out every morning and a few evenings too! I also have a weekend workshop running on 21st/22nd September why not join me and learn how to make the most of the autumn conditions?
Another square image, this time of a field of straw bales with a pink sky overhead, taken about 15 minutes before sunrise. Why do I think the square format works?
Well in this case the brilliant pink colour in the sky is what the image is about so its only right that it takes up most of the frame. The straw bales and the tyre lines in the stubble are needed to provide a base for the sky to rest on and to provide some foreground interest, too much sky would be overpowering. The two bales on the right of the frame provide a useful 'stop' to prevent they eye from going out of the frame on the right so it was a natural place to crop the image. Also the sky out of frame to the right became too bright and made the image unbalanced in terms of luminosity. I did realise all this when I took the image and therefore I made 2 vertical exposures, stitched them together in Photoshop the resulting image gave me plenty of options for my crop - portrait, landscape or square. After looking at all 3 crops I settled for the square as, in my opinion it gives the image more of a sense of 'balance'.
This is one of the techniques I cover in my 'Masterclass Workshops' taking 2 or more images, blending them together and then cropping to suit the image - along with many other advanced techniques.
Why not take advantage of all the flexability digital photography gives us? We can experiment much more than we could with film, if it doen't work then just delete the images they haven't cost us anything to develop.
So what of the future?
Now that we are in to September its time to be out shooting, shooting, shooting - don't waste the wonderful weather or the conditions.
Note the position of the sunrise and sunsets over the next few months using something like The Photographers Ephemeris, go out and walk the countryside looking for suitable compositions and note the exact days and times of day the light will be perfect for your images. Then when conditions are right you can head out in the knowledge that you will return home with a nice image. A little hard work now will pay dividends over the autumn.
Someone once told me 'no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan', how true that is - planning is the key to consistent, successful photography.
My newsletter has gone out to all those people who have registered to receive it and it includes dates for some upcoming workshops, places are being booked and I have just a few places left. Details of any remaining places will be added to this site shortly!
In September I will be giving photographic talks to:
Calne Camera Club on Monday 16th September 2013
Warminster Camera Club on Tuesday 24th September 2013 * note the change in date for this talk.
If you are free why not come along and enjoy an evening of photography and hearing a few of the stories behind the making of some of my images!
In this months 'featured image' I am going to discuss how I made this image taken at Porth Nanven, Cornwall.
When 'out in the field' I always try and imagine how I want my finished image to look before I make my exposure, doing this helps me decide what camera settings will get me the closest RAW capture to enable me to achieve my goal.