Back Around the Corner

On a lovely summer evening, I decided to head back to Milton Creek Park.  Having previously been there in the morning, several hours after sunrise, I wanted to see how the park looked in softer light.  I also thought I might catch a decent sunset and was craving some fresh air and exercise after being cooped up in the office for audit season.  It was peak dog walking time and I am pretty sure I was the only person taking their camera for a walk instead!

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As the trip was fairly spur of the moment, I gave little thought, before leaving home, to whether or not I had the right gear or the technical know-how to deal with the changing light conditions.  I experimented with different angles, taking some photos into the sun, others with it behind me, and also varied where I metered and focused.  I still tend to use partial metering (the closest my camera will let me get to spot metering!) and to shoot in fully manual, as I did whilst taking the photography class earlier this year, not because it is essential that I do so but because it forces me to think more carefully about what I am doing.

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Not the most exciting of images, it’s true, but I enjoyed playing with the light as it hit the grass.  In the first photo, it creates a wave-like effect.  In the second, parts of the scene are picked out and highlighted, others silhouetted.  Both were shot with a fairly large aperture (f/5.6), so only certain areas are fully in focus.  This also allowed me to keep the camera on ISO 100 and still manage a shutter speed (1/60) that meant I could take the photos without the aid of a tripod.

As the sun set, the clouds stacked together in a dramatic fashion.  Without the appropriate filters (now on the shopping list!), I struggled to expose the scene correctly and the end result was generally either a washed out sky, with no interest or colour, or  landscape that disappeared almost completely into shadow.  In some cases I was happy with the latter but at other times I wanted both sky and land to be exposed correctly, so kept trying until I was happy(-ish) with the final outcome.  I have tweaked brightness and contrast in post-processing too, but like to keep this to a minimum.

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I was particularly keen to capture some sunset reflections, so braved the mosquitoes and headed first to the fishing lake and then to the small area of water that was on the way home.

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The blobs in the top corner of photo 2 are not dirt or dust, but insects.  There were clouds of them around the water and it was almost impossible to exclude them completely from the photos.  I half thought about trying to magic them away with photo editing software but in the end decided to leave them alone.

I am rarely fully satisfied with my efforts – probably a good thing because it means I keep trying to learn and improve – but have started to find that there is one photo from each outing that becomes my new favourite.  This slightly abstract, almost autumnal ‘landscape’ (can I call it that?) is my pick this time.

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