An elusive image

The New Year dawned dry with a clear blue sky. Yes, hard to believe after all the rain we have had but it really was a fine day from dawn to dusk. So having recovered from New Year’s Eve and knocked the house into shape (wife’s orders) we finally got out for a walk in Stowe Gardens – our closest National Trust property – with about 45 minutes to go before sunset.

There’s a copse of trees close to the main entrance behind which I knew the Sun would set at this time of year and the image I was after was logged in my brain. A silhouette of the copse with the setting sun: a cliché, I know, but I’m a sucker for a pretty image at sunset. But could I get that image just how I wanted it to be? NO! Four images, shown here in the order in which they were taken, show a variety of near misses.

Click any image to see a higher quality enlargement.

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Situations like this will be familiar to all of you. Today’s primary problem was down to the inability to get the Point of View (POV) I needed. I wanted that copse lifted and fully separated from the background. But there was a fence in the way and the land beyond was Private land with no access. I got the Canon G10 down to ground level, peeping through the fence, but still couldn’t get the POV needed. But I was able to get the sun behind the copse to shrink the huge contrast range so that I could get some tone into the ground around the trees.

We took a short walk and my wife wandered back towards the tea room – a stiff cold breeze was blowing – and I took another look. A couple with cameras were leaning over the fence and gate and provided some additional interest.

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Once they had moved off I took another shot with the sun now lower in the sky than in the first image, but of course the trees hadn’t grown in the meantime and their lower branches still stubbornly got jumbled up in the background.

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Finally I tried one more version of this view, going wide and using trees in the near foreground to provide some context and compositional framing.

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None of these have achieved what I envisaged in my mind. In situations like this we either have to do our best, or take our cameras elsewhere.

Of the four images, I think I prefer the first. But if I come back to these in a fortnight my choice may be different. Sometimes putting a little distance between a shoot and image selection enables one to see something about an image that one didn’t appreciate at the time.

But what do you think? Do let me know which you prefer of these four.

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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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16 Responses to An elusive image

  1. ks3nia says:

    I think I like the third or the second best actually!they are all very nice, but I like how the warm light seeps through the trees 🙂 Or maybe the last.. Hmm… Not easy 😛

  2. rigmover says:

    Yeah it would be the first for me to, all are great though.

  3. I look forward to keeping up with your blog in 2013. Happy new year. Best wishes, N

  4. Great shots to begin the year, Andy. I really like the silhouette image, adds a little extra something to the scene.

    Happy New Year!

  5. oneowner says:

    The first shot is the most formal of compositions but there is something that draws my eye on the last photo. Perhaps it’s the off-kilter look but it just grabs my attention.

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks, Ken. It’s interesting to read the varying opinions about this set. They tend to confirm my thoughts that in situations like this it can be really quite difficult to pick a winner. They are all OK, but no image convincingly hits the mark

  6. ehpem says:

    I like the first shot the best. Today.
    “In situations like this we either have to do our best, or take our cameras elsewhere.” Or risk trespassing to the right spot? I sure would be tempted.

  7. These are really superb! The light gives almost a sepia tone…superb!

  8. seekraz says:

    I prefer the one with the people and the gate…gives us more, while still providing a very compelling silhouette of the trees, but with a less harsh light….

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