I drove to see the dentist two days ago – a totally pain-free experience for once. It was a sunny day, and strangely for me I’d left the camera at home. Perhaps the concept of dental pain and photography didn’t feel like a creative combination. Of course Sod’s law applied: when you are out without a camera that’s when you see a first-class picture and you kick yourself for being so stupid as to leave the camera at home!
Actually, what I should say is, you think you’ve seen a first-class picture. I was driving home happy to have survived the dental chair, glanced to my left, and there was a wonderful billowing, rolling field of green seedlings. And the sun was shining. ‘Image’ I shouted silently to myself. Damn – no camera!
I thought I’d missed my chance, but the next day (yesterday) was also fine and sunny and so early in the morning (ten o’clock for me) I was up the road with a camera. There was a convenient parking place only about only 200yds away. And there was the field… behind a hedge. Hedge? I didn’t recall the hedge. I got through the hedge and wasn’t particularly impressed with what I saw. I walked the length of the hedge taking images as I walked and then found the un-obstructed view. Yes – there was a billowing roller-coaster of a field. But beyond it there were some uninteresting fields, and ugly power lines. I didn’t recall seeing those either, just like I hadn’t remembered the hedge.
I struggled to get images. I eventually got some, seeing no option other than to include the uninteresting distant fields etc, leaving the difficult decisions about how to arrive at a viable composition for later back home. This is not the first time that a ‘glance’ from a car has raised false hopes. When we glance, we see what we want to see – our Eye picks out the juicy bit of the view – but in the blur we fail to take everything else in. The foreground doesn’t register, the other messy bits within the view are disregarded too. We’ve just got this flash of something really good, without any of the downsides. Does that sound familiar to you? A glance often gives us false hope.
The good news on this occasion is that I have managed to create two reasonably good images out of this ‘glance’. They aren’t what I imagined I saw – a wide vista. But by severely cropping everything else out so that the field is the image I’ve managed to turn a glance into an image. And I’m pleased with the eventual results.There was one final issue – and that was getting the colour right. With 90% of the image green, auto colour balance failed to record the colours accurately and I’ve found it really difficult to get the colour balance right in the final images. I struggled to recall accurately the colour I had seen, and every time I returned to look at the screen the colour seemed ‘off’. And having got it right during daylight, when I looked again with interior lights on, the colour seemed to have changed again.