Sunday, 19 February 2012

Wide and wider

He who hesitates is lost. That was me today. I really should have dragged myself out of the house earlier than I did. But I thought I'd catch the afternoon and evening sun by the beach. As I headed south along the coast road I could see I was driving towards low cloud. By the time I arrived the light had all but gone. Worse still there'd been kite cart racing (or whatever it's called) going on and they were all packing up. Other than a few dog walkers there weren't many folk about doing anything interesting.

I headed back whence I came intending to try some ultrawide landscapes of the pools on the marsh. This plan was thwarted by an accident closing the coast road. At least heading north saw me driving into sunshine.

For some reason, since I got my ultrawide zoom I've been struggling to get to grips with it. Strange, because I was starting to do okay with the lens it replaced, which covered the same range. I think I see in a more telephoto way. So much so that I have been considering getting rid of this lens.  Today's exercise was to use the ultrawide pretty much exclusively and try to make some pictures with it that weren't just big skies.

There's a meanygate (lane) I drive down as a short cut that is overarched with trees. It looks like it will make for pictures but I've never stopped to try before. The sky was blue and filled with fluffy clouds, the light angled to provided texture. I got some shots but back home they were rejected. I guess I could have tried harder, but I have a feeling the light wasn't quite what is required. Next stop the reedbeds. Backlit Norfolk reed against a blue sky has worked once, it should work with the ultrawide.

 Before I made it to the reedbeds I was struck by the play of shadows on the path. Some interest lower right would improve the shot, but the ultrawide really did make this picture possible. With it being so graphic, and the sky burning out somewhat, the black and white treatment seemed to suit.

The reeds weren't playing ball. I couldn't find any that made for compositions where the light was right. The angle of the sun did make for interesting patterns and stress on texture of a viewing platform though. This time the lens had to be zoomed in to merely wide to flatten the picture. Maybe because of the limited palette a monochrome conversion added little to this picture.

Carrying on round the path I left the reserve and came onto the farmland. It's a bit of a rustic cliché to shoot dilapidated barns and rusty machinery in contrasty black and white (I've been trying it since the 1970s). This time the conversion works because the light had gone muted, and again the ultrawide perspective has brought something graphic and dynamic to the composition.

I took a lot of time and shots of this scene. Leaving it and returning to literally look at it from a new angle. Initially I was looking at it in the context of the open landscape of the mere, but eventually closed right in to isolate the two strongest elements of the scene. A darker sky would have been preferential to add some balance. You have to take what the light offers you, or return another time.

The lens is going to spend more time in pole position. I really do need to learn how to see in cinemascope. Starting out with another lens on the camera isn't going to achieve that.

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