Monday, 5 May 2014

Back down the river

In the face of the overwhelming evidence that I can't take a decent pastoral landscape photograph to save my life I ventured forth armed with tripod, filters and wide angle lens for a walk along the little river. Once more I stopped at the same places and tried to make pictures of the same things. I really should know better. All that green does my head in for one thing. It makes everything turn to mush in my eyes. Maybe I ought to wait for bright sunshiny days instead of the overcast ones I prefer? The farmers' fords always draw me because they are signs of human manipulation of the land. The work site of unknown purpose also made me stop. Combining the two in one picture gives it some sort of meaning even if the composition is flawed.

One of the filters I took with me actually got used. As much as an experiment as anything. The effect a polariser has on the appearance, or disappearance, of water is quite dramatic. Which is the more truthful representation is open to discussion. I like the way the polarised shot shows the tracks on the riverbed though.

Continuing to flounder I tried some plant close-ups. I was trying to use the willow boughs in the background as a compositional device. As usual I made a few attempts and gave up. It seemed futile to keep trying to work the subject when at best it would end up as yet another nice photograph of a plant.

After that I started fish watching when I saw a chub rise to take something off the surface.I'd seen a few surface dimples earlier but this was my cue to look for more fish. The photography got sidelined for a while.

The remains of the ancient willow are a bit of a camera magnet. Being as far as it is from the river I imagine that the river has changed course over the tree's lifetime. Actually there are two trees, both old and decapitated, but by finding the correct viewpoint the less photogenic one can be hidden behind the star of the show. Today was as much an exercise in testing my upgraded wide angle zoom as a serious attempt at making pictures. Well, that's my excuse!

This is certainly the best effort I've made of shooting the tree, but something more interesting as a sky would have lifted it. Ideally, for my taste, the sky would be grey with visible clouds rather than plain old grey. I like the subtlety of grey clouds against a grey sky - if that makes sense. A stormy sky would have been okay too - if a bit cheesy. The black and white treatment was done mostly to get rid of that bloomn' green!

Having conceded defeat I slung the tripod over my shoulder and retraced my footsteps.  Nearing the road where I had parked the patch runs alongside some twee wisteria clad cottages. very picturesque on a sunny day, no doubt. My pessimistic eye was draw to the fallen petals on the deceased conifer hedge. for once the greenery worked in my favour. I was struck by the contrast of fresh leaves and flowers above the faded and brown petals on the bare hedge. It's a picture of contrasts; fresh/decaying, bright/dark, dense/open.The clipped hedge providing a neat dividing line in what is compositionally a colour field. I'm not big into metaphors in my photographs, but I'm sure there's one to be found in this one.

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