The Derwent valley reservoirs in the Peak District have become a favorite place to visit. Joined to Ladybower reservoir it makes a great walking area. The paths are well maintained and make fairly easy walking. There are much more difficult paths if you want to tackle them. You can find them here.
The first image is one that I took en route to the reservoir. It was a grab shot which on a cold misty morning where there was a little color in the sky. A long lens was used to compress the image. It is more about shape and form than getting too much detail.
In the winter I prefer easier routes and leave the more difficult routes for summer. There are numerous parking spots along the reservoirs but I chose the visitor center park, mainly so that I could get a coffee and snack after my walk.
It was beautifully sunny day as I set to walk along the side of the upper reservoir. My B&W polarizing filter was fitted to take some of the glare from the water. This in turn allows you to get great reflections and deep rich colors. The second image is a general shot of the reservoir but does let you see what lovely day it was and the scenery that I was walking in. Don’t think you could ever regret walking in this area.
The walk was on a wide path, it is quite muddy in places so wear waterproof boots. It is probably much better in summer. My route was about 8km there and back along the reservoir. You can do circular routes over the hills. Because of a poor winter of walking I need to build my endurance back up so its best to take it fairly easy to start.
When I am walking I will always look for something a little different. The image that I came across on this trip was of a tree. It was in the water and had a perfect reflection. There was very limited space to work in. It would have been great to shoot from a bit further back but you don’t always get to choose. I felt the image was too lovely to miss and decided that the shot would look great in sepia so just took it. It is my favorite shot of the day.
Autumn is the time of year for foggy days and frosty mornings. Because you can’t see far doesn’t mean you cannot come up with images. You just have to be experimental and see what you come up with.
Autumn is great time for color. The variation and depth in the color is amazing. Add some frost to it and it can become quite magical. Here a simple shot of a fallen tree with some brambles growing round is lovely. The colors in the natural world are stunning. This type of shot can be taken anywhere close to where you live. Most of us have small wooded areas nearby.
When you are doing this type of shot you have to think in more abstract way. Taking parts and making them into an image. Keeping too much in the image can make it too confusing.
When photographing in woodland it can be dark. You can up the ISO to get a better exposure for hand holding the camera. I prefer to go for better quality so carry my monopod with me. I can usually get away with exposures up to 1/2 second with this.
On foggy days, the camera doesn’t see as well as your eyes. That doesn’t mean you cannot come up with great images. I took this shot on higher ground. The fog was laying close to the ground. You could see the tree tops sticking out of the fog.
When the sun rose it lit the clouds above the mist. Don’t be afraid to photograph in any sort of weather. Use your imagination. You can come up with something to be proud of.
I just want to tell you what I thought was a slightly ridiculous conversation that I had about this image with dappled sunlight. It was a beautiful day and I was out walking in the hills and stopped by a waterfall. There was a couple in their mid 70’s sat by the waterfall, there was also a class of school children doing geological studies there. The kids were having fun as they do when near water. I fell into conversation with the couple, the conversation got onto how these kids probably only get out into the countryside when on school trips. They probably spend most of their time sat on their PlayStation’s at home.
The couple both had good cameras and liked to photograph when out walking. I mentioned to the couple about a day that I had in the Derbyshire Peak District recently, the light was beautiful and had come across some strange trees, the dappled sunlight was coming through the trees. The light was amazing and the scene just stunning. The gentleman the said to me that he would create that effect in photoshop. I was little taken aback, surely all you are doing is the same as the kids on their PlayStation’s. Part of what we do as artists or photographers is getting out there and seeing and feeling passionate about the images that we produce. Always remember that photoshop is not a substitute for feeling passionate about our wonderful world.
I woke very early on a lovely morning with the sun rising. I set off along a local for a quiet walk. The path meandered alongside a golf course. The light was beautiful casting long soft shadows. As I walked past a small lake, there was dead rotting tree that had fallen into the lake. The shape of the tree intrigued me, I do find the shapes that trees create quite fascinating. The reflections of the tree in the water made the shape even more fascinating to me. I photographed the scene but knew that with some extra processing in lightroom I would be able to make the scene even more interesting.
In lightroom adjustments were made to add contrast and take some of the detail out of the image. The focus of the image had to on the tree and reflection. The image appeals to me very much and fits in with my view of what art should be. You are inspired by something and interpret in your own way. The great ability for anyone involved in visual art is to be able to see the way light works and what you can do with it. Understanding light is far more important to you than what camera make you use.
This black and white shot I took up on the Shropshire hills. This shot really is about the contrast in the shades between the black and white. Whilst the shot is of a valley between two hills, it would not be of great interest without a main focal point. I have made the focal point the rotted tree branch and grass around it. It is important to give your shot a focal point, something that adds interest and that leads the eye into the picture.I do use small apertures to get as much depth of field as possible but when you focus on something so close as the branch and grass the distance will go soft.
Most modern cameras are capable of great quality images, to make the most of this always shoot in RAW mode and process using a programme such as lightroom. Whilst I do believe that artistic content is most important I do love to see great craftsmanship and do believe that it will enhance your images.
Contre-jour lighting essentially means shooting into the light. This can vary from extremes of very bright light with silhouettes to more control of the light from the sun whilst keeping some detail in the shadow areas.
Shooting into the light is a favourite form of lighting for me. I love it when there are shadows created as they give so much feeling of depth to an image. To me there should some detail in the shadow areas but it is all down to personal choice. When shooting with the sun in the image I would advise the use of the live view on your camera, never look directly into the sun. You can damage your eyes.
When shooting into the sun my personal preference is to use a very small aperture, it tends to give a better starburst effect rather than an overall blast of light. With the image that I have put up here, you can see the low sun bursting through the leaves but all the deatil is there in the shadow areas. The shadows of the trees in the foreground give depth to the image.
Sometime when you go out for a stroll with the camera you come across a shot that is set up for you. The whole thing is about a feeling, a passion for your art. The window with the wooden shutter is framed by the beautiful ivy. It gives a great contrast between the two but works perfectly together. This shot I spotted at Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire. I have put it into black and white because I felt color detracted from the image.
If you want to add extra impact to your images then look at the world from different viewpoints. There is nothing wrong with photographing anything with the camera at eye level stood up but it is how most people view the world so can lack impact. If you explore your environment for different viewpoints then you can add a lot of impact. Bend down, look up or move shooting position. To show the point I have chosen a shot where I was above a field. The branches in the foreground are to add depth and scale to the image. When you look at the field with the trees in you see all lines and patterns of how the field has been worked by the farmer, making for an interesting image. If this shot had been at the side of the field none of the patterns and lines would have been captured. Always explore your environment and add impact.
I was walking along a path in a very misty wood with very little light and desperately searching for some inspiration. The wood was at Haughmond hill in Shropshire. It is a popular venue for families, dog walkers and people just out for a bit of fresh air. As I walked along the path the sun appeared through the trees above the mist. As it was later afternoon it gave a lovely golden light which softened spread with the mist. It’s moments like this which we dream of as photographers to give beautiful light and create something magical.
This is a shot I took early one morning. I was working on some wedding photographs and went outside to sit with a coffee. The sunlight was lovely and rising through the tree branches so I grabbed my camera and took a few shots bracketing the exposure. I didn’t want the trunk burning out completely but wanted to capture the lovely golden rays of sunlight.