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Marshall Black Photography

Oak Leaf on Frozen Pond. Chobham Common NNR, Surrey. UK

Oak Leaf on Frozen Pond. Chobham Common NNR, Surrey. UK

The Photography Year - The Seasons

There are subjects to photograph all through the year, and the keen photographer will be out and about whatever the weather searching for images which reflect the seasons. Here are some ideas of what to look for, scroll down through the whole year or select the month below.
So far there are images in January to April, more will be added soon.


January

Reflected silver birches.

One of a series of reflections I shot at this pool on a cold, windy day.

There are a large variety of differing images resulting from changes in the surface water motion, this has the least amount of disturbance to the tree reflections.

I looked at this flipped 180 degrees out of interest, but found I didn't like it.

When I posted this on Naturescapes, quite a few people (maybe half) favoured cropping off some of the blue at the bottom of the frame, I still feel the balance is fine without a crop.

My difficulty now is choosing from the 180 images I took that day. One of the drawbacks with digital imaging?

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 90mm TSE, polariser, 1/40th, f8, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Fishpool, Chobham Common NNR, Surrey. UK

Fishpool reflections. Chobham Common NNR, Surrey. UK

Fishpool reflections.


February

Hazel Catkins and Flower

Hazel is a early flowerer, catkins begin bursting out from mid January onwards (there are some plants in flower today 19 January 2008), and by looking closely you will be able to find the tiny red female flowers dotted around.

To take this shot I searched around a number of shrubby hazel bushes to find a combination of catkins and flowers, then looked through the lens to see if I could get some more catkins in the background. Once a suitable bush was found it took a while to get the tripod in place, shuffling side to side, and back and forth, and checking the DOF (depth of field) preview for a nice soft, out of focus background.

This may sound an easy set up to achieve, but try it yourself and you will find twiggy bits creating a cluttered background. And of course the breeze will only pick up when you are about to press the shutter...

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 180mm Macro, 1/10th, f11, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Anckerwyke NT, Wraysbury, Berkshire. UK.

Hazel Catkins and Flower. Anckerwyke NT, Wraysbury, Berkshire. UK

Hazel Catkins and Flower.


March

Wild daffodils on field border.

Daffodils are one of the icons of spring. These are probably escapees from the surrounding woodland, hanging on in the field border.

For this image I used the Canon 90mm TSE lens, using the tilt function to obtain depth of field from the foreground flowers to the distant trees.

Even using f11 the result hasn't got perfect details throughout, and the distant daffodils are not quite sharp due to the placement of the wedge shaped depth of field.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 90mm TSE, polariser, 1/13th, f11, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Ebernoe, West Sussex. UK

Wild daffodils

Wild daffodils.


April

Wood anemones and fallen trunk.

Wood anemones can carpet the woodland floor, and are a useful indicator of ancient woods. Here the display can be spectacular, at times the woodland floor appears to have been dusted with snow.

The fallen trunk was used as a backdrop to the flowers, positioned to create an angle across the frame.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 90mm TSE, polariser, 1/20th, f11, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Chiddingfold, West Sussex. UK

Wood anemones and fallen trunk.

Wood anemones and fallen trunk.

April

Wood anemone and fallen wild cherry.

Finding suitable backgrounds for woodland wildflowers can be a difficult task. Here the decaying trunk of a wild cherry tree has been brought into play.

The shadows of the broken bark were positioned so that they didn't cross too closely behind they single bloom, and the leaves of the anemone were also carefully considered before finalising on the framing.

This is one of the locations to be visited for Photography Field Day Courses, see the Learning Photography section for details.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 90mm TSE, polariser, 1/13th, f11, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Chiddingfold, West Sussex. UK

Wood anemone and fallen wild cherry

Wood anemone and fallen wild cherry.

April

Fritillary flower.

The fritillary meadow at Cricklade is, for me, a must to visit in April whenever possible. The numbers of blooms on display can change each season, depending on the weather and the amount of flooding the meadow has received over winter. The same changeable conditions can also affect the quantity of other flower species in bloom, for example in 2006 there were large numbers of yellow dandelions also in bloom, providing out of focus splashes of yellow for some backgrounds.

Using a macro lens in the 180mm to 200mm range allows selection of individual blooms, with a wide aperture leaving the background to become an out of focus blur of green.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 180mm Macro, polariser, 1/125th, f6.3, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
North Meadow NNR, Cricklade, Wiltshire. UK
22 April 2006

Fritillary flower.

Fritillary flower.

April

Bluebells.

Every year I tell myself I don't need any more pictures of bluebells, but without fail I end up shooting the irresistable display of a woodland carpeted in blue.

There is a marvelous display beside the road at Ashridge in Hertfordshire, where the host of bluebells is only matched by the host of visitors walking through the wood. This can prove a difficulty when framing a shot, only to find people walking into frame in the background. Never mind, with patience and a wait you will be rewarded.

I discovered this fallen branch and decided it could form an interesting addition to my composition, creating a lead in through the frame. Unfortunately I had left the extending column to the tripod in the car, and I couldn't get the camera quite high enough to stop a field in the background appearing as a green strip in the top of the frame. Ten minutes later I'd retrieved the missing column and had the shot I was after. Luckily the car was close by this time.

Equipment.
Canon EOS1DII, 90mm TSE, polariser, 1/8th, f11, tripod, mlu, cable.

Digital Darkroom.
Converted & dusted Adobe Lightroom.

Location.
Ashridge NT Estate, Hertfordshire. UK

21 April 2007

Bluebell wood.

Bluebell wood.


All images and text Marshall Black.
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