When I first started working with digital I wasn't very organised or as ruthless at editing out poor images as I am now. Consequently in my archives reside all manner of horrors that really need deleting to save space. So, I've been doing a little housekeeping in the last few days and delving into my old images from 5 or 6 years or so. To my surprise I have found a few gems lurking in there that my younger less skilled self dismissed.
This image was from my first trip to the Lake District in 2005. I had arrived in Ambleside to find low cloud and fog obscuring just about everything. I decided to take a stroll round Rydal Water and after a while the fog lifted a little to reveal the outlines of the fells on the other side of the lake. I made a number of exposures including this one.
A couple of the images I made that day were processed into final images, but this particular one remained unprocessed. An unprocessed image back then is the equivalent to rejecting and deleting one today so what was I thinking when I left this one? I can only assume my poorer image processing skills back then could not produce a satisfactory image and I abandoned it. Image processing software has improved dramatically in the last 6 years, as have my processing skills and my eye for an image. When I saw this yesterday I immediately saw its potential as a monochrome image.
Colours on that day were very muted, but I felt the depth created by the mist would still work best with all the colour removed. I first started working in colour to bring out the best colours I could before converting. I work like this because different colours will create different tones in monochrome and by bringing out the best colours first I have more to work on during the conversion. By doing this I can also better pre-visualise how the final image should look and then make the appropriate adjustments in the monochrome conversion to match my vision.
To me this image is all about symmetry and depth. The depth comes from the layers created by the mist. The trees on the small island are the darkest and most clearly defined part of the image. The trees on the far shoreline behind are lighter and much less defined, the distant tops of the fells are lighter still and finally the sky the lightest part of the image. All these layers are mirrored in the almost glass like surface of the still water. My one slight regret is the gap between the tops of the trees and the top of the fells in the reflection is not as much as I would have liked. Could I have done anything about this when I set-up my camera? I honestly don't know, but I am very tempted to have a look when I am back in Ambleside in a few weeks.