Autumn Reflections

Sometimes good photographs come just by chance and that was certainly the case with this one. I’d been up in the Lake District and was out shooting with Doug Chinnery in Borrowdale. We’d just been to the quarry featured in the Joe Cornish DVD With Landscape In Mind, and although a wonderful location, somehow I didn’t feel that I bagged any particular inspiring shots, even though the location, light and autumn foliage had been spectacular. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t seem to work. We’d probably spent the best part of a couple of hours at the quarry and the late afternoon autumnal glow was beginning to subside. Badly in need of a decent cup of tea we headed back down the path towards the village of Grange.

We had just descended the hill and arrived along the banks of the Derwent river, when suddenly these gorgeous golden-orange reflections from the birch tress opposite flooded across the water. That cup of tea would have to wait. I was drawn to the stones amongst the reflections so waded out into the river with my tripod; thank god for my wellies. It was obvious the light wasn’t going to last long, so I shot with the EF 24-105mm f/4.0 lens on my camera, but perhaps not the best choice but it would have to do. I took a few frames in portrait mode but they just didn’t work. Then I spotted a pattern of five stones amongst the reflections so waded a little further. I hastily put on a polarizer, ND (soft) grad upside down to balance the brightness and shot a couple of frames, but 5 stones weren’t working. I re-framed on just four stones; I just liked the way seemed to balance the foreground even though even numbers are not supposed to work. I shot just one frame then the light started to fade. I shot several more frames but the moment had gone and the glow subsided but that one frame was my shot of the day.

From my first shot to the frame above was just 5 minutes. I used a small aperture of F/22 to lengthen the exposure and smooth out the water, but that only resulted in a 2.5 second exposure. I would have liked much longer and wanted to put on a 4-stop ND but if I had I would have missed the shot. Lucky for me I didn’t.

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