Monday, 13 June 2011

Image of the Week - Bluebells at Prior's Wood

Talking of bluebells (the subject of last week's post) by coincidence I just discovered I have made a recent sale for one of my other bluebell images through one of my representatives.

Prior’s Wood, Portbury, Somerset
Prior’s Wood, Portbury, Somerset

I realised that this image has probably generated more interest than any other image of mine. It hasn't sold as well (nor brought in anywhere near as much income) as others but it has generated interest. Unfortunately much of that interest was from people unwilling to pay, but that's another story.

I have a few bluebell images that I think are better, but it is this one that people seem to notice. So what is it about this picture that works?

I like the winding path through the trees, but although it was a fairly straightforward picture to make, there was one small complication that might have led to the picture having that little extra quality that has generated the interest.

Although I prefer to photograph woodlands when there is cloud cover to avoid harsh contrasts, the sun had emerged from the cloud cover by the time I was in position and it wasn't in any hurry to go away. Sun was forecast for the rest of the week so today was my only chance of the light I wanted, but it appeared I had missed it. The high contrast was giving me a problem which I pondered for a while until I remembered I had a soft focus filter in my bag. I don't normally use this filter (in fact I am sure it's the only time I have ever used it) but I wondered if it might help reduce the bright highlights that were causing me so trouble.

Sure enough when I compared the filtered and straight images later on, the unfiltered image has ugly contrast that spoils the image. The filtered image is... well soft, and the softening of the highlights, particularly on the leaves of the beech trees, has created a pleasant dreamy glow. Maybe it is the soft focus filter that draws people?

If only I knew the secret, but perhaps I might dig out that filter and see what effect it has on other woodland images.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Image of the Week – Bluebells at Rumps Point

I've noticed I've previously made two postings about images made at this location. Is this because it's such a beautiful location? Well partly, but it has more to do with my return visits in an effort to catch the bluebells I spotted growing there on my first visit.

Rumps Point, Cornwall
Rumps Point, Cornwall

When I first visited on the first day of June in 2009, I spotted a a large patch of bluebells, but sadly they were well past their best so I made a mental note to return a earlier in the season the following year to photograph them.

This I duly did at the end of April last year when everywhere else was awash with these little flowers. To my dismay, there was no sign of any bluebell flowers and only the first signs of the leaves could be seen. Their exposed position obviously meant these bluebells were later flowering than most.

Roll on another year and with the spring flowers emerging unusually early due the hot weather I returned during the second week in May. With a little trepidation I peered over the grass in search of the bluebells and there they were. In my previous visits I had already planned out my composition so it was a simple task of setting up and waiting for the evening sunlight. I had been hoping for some more cloud in the sky, but the cloud cover that had lingered most of the day had blown inland about an hour before.

The bluebells don't stand out in this image as much as I had imagined they would. The warm evening sunlight has largely robbed them of their striking blue colour. Silly really, because I have always found bluebells work best out of direct sunlight - I should have known better. I could have done with the bluebells being in shade. A little more cloud cover might have presented an opportunity for some passing shade. Better still, morning sunlight soon after sunrise at this time of year should put these little flowers into natural shade due to the slight depression they are glowing in.

Still, I was nevertheless pleased to have finally photographed the flowers and there's always next year. Another work in progress piece then.