Sundown over Ivinghoe Beacon

My Posts are usually planned a few days in advance. It gives me time to draft the text, select the images, and then ‘park’ the draft returning to it for a read through (and usually an edit) before I finally press ‘Publish’.

But events have overtaken me: today’s planned post has been delayed; something better cropped up. We had planned to visit one of our favourite spots (Ivinghoe Beacon) on New Year’s Day but Jan 1 was a rubbish day – grey sky, dreary, dismal. No point going anywhere. The forecast for Jan 2 was much better, and the forecasters got it right: blue skies all morning. So we set off for the 40min drive south after lunch. Ivinghoe Beacon is a Hill on the edge of the Chilterns (about 35miles NW of London). The closer we got to the Beacon, the more the sun flirted with a large dark cloud, and we were thinking: by the time we get there, that cloud will have swallowed the sun – game over. But no – by the time we parked, and set out on the 20min walk to the top, the sun had moved one way, the clouds the other and a sinking golden sun was shining out of a clear sky. Glorious light.

Ivinghoe Beacon is not that high (757ft), but if offers long views over flattish country to the north, edged on either side by gently rolling hills, and it’s also backed by a huge area of woodland. I had gone with the idea of finding some reasonable light and long shadows on middle distance landscapes – but my hopes were not that high. Once there, it didn’t take me long to realize that the landscape was ‘dead’ (too late in the day); but the sight of  people silhouetted by the sun, out on the same walk as us, shouted – shoot me. And that is what I shot – 32 images in 10 minutes.

Sundown on the Beacon_1 - clixk to enlarge

Sundown on the Beacon_4 - click to enlarge

The images came to me – I positioned myself just off the top with the Sun in the frame and waited for suitable family groupings to hove into view.

Sundown on the Beacon_2 - click to enlarge

Sundown on the Beacon_3 - click to enlarge

I went home with a happy heart and an even happier one when I started processing what I’d captured. What a great way to start a New Year.

Sundown on the Beacon_5 - click to enlarge

A lesson learned: don’t go out with fixed expectations, prepare for the unexpected and then maximize the opportunity you’re given.

[Technical data: 24-85 mm Nikkor lens, DX Nikon body. Images shot at between 95-127mm Film equiv. Matrix metering with -2.0EV exposure compensation.
Processing: Adjustments to Temperature and Highlight Recovery in Bridge. Photoshop CS3 – Minor adjustments to Shadow/highlight, Sharpening, Cropping].
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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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10 Responses to Sundown over Ivinghoe Beacon

  1. Andy Gimino says:

    Well Said Andy! Really nice captures here. I try not to get discouraged when shooting conditions suck but rather I go out and try to get at least one image no matter what! Never limit yourself.

  2. Dave DiCello says:

    Man, these are some creative shots! What an awesome use of sunlight and silhouettes! As always, I love your reading your posts as well!

  3. Len Saltiel says:

    Very nice images Andy. Great use of silhouettes against the wonderful glow of the sun. I have long given up getting upset with the weather. If you look enough, there will always be something of interest to shoot. Well done.

  4. Adam Allegro says:

    Really nice shots Andy. I think the sun placement is perfect. I really like them. Well done.

  5. Jimi Jones says:

    Amazing shots, Andy. Using the sun to backlight in this manner is awesome. Really like that 4th shot with the sun peeking under the arm. 🙂 Cool stuff!

  6. Curt Fleenor says:

    These are really some fun and creative shots Andy!

  7. Marc says:

    Great set of images Andy. I am a bit of a fan of these backlit shots and these look great.

  8. Eden says:

    Great silhouette shots! I love the first and fourth 🙂

  9. Jim Nix says:

    wow Andy what a great bunch of shots, love these silhouettes and I think the perfect call for shooting that day! well done!

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