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.

Mormon Row (When It All Comes Together)

A Classic Location within the Grand Tetons NP

Mormon Row Panorama

Mormon barn set against the Grand Tetons – © John. R. Birch 2011 – (click for larger view)

You know the problem, as I’m sure I’m not the only one. You set out out on a photo-shoot to a great location, arrive in good time, get a great spot, set up you gear, and carefully compose your frame. Then by some magic of nature, that fantastic light you’d dreamed of suddenly appears and the scene before you is transformed. You snap away with merry abandon, filling up the memory card with an abundance of frames, not wanting to miss every subtle change in the light, thinking you’ve definitely bagged a winner since it looks great on the LCD. But then you get home and

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Never Trust the Devil

The Devils’ Golf Course, Death Valley

Devils Golf Course (Jul 2009) 0005

This is a place I won’t forget too easily as it was ‘nearly’ the site of one of my photographic disasters. I’d been up since before 4:00 am that day and had driven down from our hotel at Furnace Creek for a dawn shoot at Badwater. Unfortunately the dawn sky colour failed to really materialise and the desired reflections in the sparse salt pools were a bit meek to say the least. Never-the-less

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False Kiva, Canyonlands

A Classic Photographic Location – False Kiva

I first became aware of False Kiva location from the excellent Canyonlands and Arches DVD by photographer Steve Kossack from his series Photographing The Great American Landscape. My purchase at the time was more out of curiosity and to gain further insight to landscape photographic technique rather than a specific interest in the locations covered. At that time I only had dreams of visiting locations like those and False Kiva.
False Kiva

False Kiva, a hidden gem in Canyonlands – © John R. Birch 2009

However that changed in the summer of 2009 when I took my family on a fly-drive holiday in the USA. Whilst researching possible photographic locations for our trip I came across a picture of False Kiva by the photographer Stephen Oachs. His is entitled “The Tribunal” and to be quite honest I was simply blown away,
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Mesa Arch – The Photographers Holy Grail

An Iconic Location of the American Southwest

Mesa Arch Sunrise

We’ve all seen hundreds of pictures of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. It’s an iconic image and a location that is hugely popular with photographers from all over the world. You may well think it’s been over-photographed, but the temptation to add this to your portfolio if you get the chance is just too good to an oportunity to miss. It’s almost the holy grail for photographers and besides, for amatuers like myself it’s a chance to compair your own results with the big boys and see

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