We are creatures of habit – well at least I and my wife are. We tend to re-visit the same places, usually at the same time of the year. It’s part of the rhythm of life, dictated quite often by the seasons and their symbols. At this time of year we visit a number of Country Houses and their gardens to enjoy the Spring colours, and in a month or so it will be bluebell woods. It’s like meeting old friends again. But things are never exactly the same.
Today is an example. Ivinghoe Beacon is somewhere I have visited since a child. In the old days my father and I would travel north from Hertfordshire to clamber up the steepest side of the hill. Now we travel south from Northamptonshire and stroll the easier slopes (click here for an earlier post from the Beacon).
I don’t have a picture of the hill itself – that would be too obvious for me! But this is the view along the ridge that juts out NE ending in Gallows Hill (yes, that really is it’s name). In the distance are Dunstable Downs. The Lion cut into the chalk slope announces the presence of Whipsnade Zoo.
We were here earlier this week on a glorious blue-sky day, like we were 51 weeks ago exactly, on a similarly beautiful day with a few fluffy clouds to partner the sun.
The attraction here in Spring is the sheep with their lambs that graze the slopes to the right of this shot and the broad valley below.
Two visits to the same place precisely one year apart, same idea, same good weather. But not the same images. I thought a post would provide an opportunity to compare and contrast those two visits.
It’s amazing how a bit of cloud and a few tiny figures will add interest to a landscape.
The viewpoints are slightly different but I don’t think there is much doubt that the 2011 image is the better of the two.
Bands of light and shade add drama and depth, and then there was that bit of ‘luck’ in noticing a group of people with dogs moving into the frame and selecting the right moment to press the shutter.
On to the grazing sheep. In 2012 we walked anti-clockwise. Traversing horizontally round the valley past the sheep pens, up to Gallows Hill and then to the top of the Beacon. Approaching the sheep from the Rt side of the landscape views above, the sun was behind me and I was pushing the lambs before me.
A cute image but the lighting is so flat. But see the difference in the two images from 2011 below. On that occasion we walked clockwise – up to the Beacon, along to Gallows Hill, and approached the lambs facing the sun.
Walking into the sun – what a difference that makes. Rim-lit sheep, with pink semi-translucent ears. Suddenly they come alive.
My mistake. Couldn’t do anything to manufacture clouds. But should have thought through, or better still looked back at the previous images, to plan the shoot. Lighting is so crucial. A lesson learnt! But there’s always another year…