Poppies…and the summertime slump

It’s no secret that when it comes to photography, I don’t like summertime whatsoever. I dislike blue skies, bright sunshine and white, fluffy clouds. They really don’t suit my style of photography at all.

I like to shoot in inclement at best conditions. I look to head with out with my camera when many others wouldn’t even think about it. When it comes to summertime, my photography goes into a major slump, as does my motivation to go anywhere much at all. The early starts for sunrise suit me, I don’t sleep well at the best of times, but other than that nothing really clicks for me during the height of summer.

I know a few fellow photographers who are the same as me, but then I know a whole lot more who live for summer, the lush greens that are all the same colour, everywhere. The still waters, whilst give lovely reflection images, for me personally there is no drama, and therefore no connection between myself and the landscape.

Once autumn and then my favourite season winter rolls around however, I’m out all the time. The lovely different tones of browns and golds, the darker skies, the softer light, and the ever changing conditions are what I connect with the most. If I’m out shooting in these conditions, I feel alive. It isn’t a good trip for me if I don’t come home from a trip freezing cold and dripping wet. It’s just how I love to shoot. Capturing mood and atmosphere. Something that I rarely seem to find at this time of year.

There is sometimes an exception to my rule however, and that exception came last Friday evening. I had seen a couple of my photographer friends had been to shoot what looked like a lovely field of poppies, so I decided that I would go and have a go too. The vibrant field of red really struck a chord with me when I seen Alans, and then Chris’ images, so I decided it was my time to go shoot there.

After checking The Photographers Ephemeris and realising that the only time I could make it over would be late evening, and therefore I would be shooting straight into the sunlight (if it arrived) it would backlight the field wonderfully if the sun broke through. Technically challenging, but the rewards were high if it paid off.

So after work on Friday night, I packed up my gear and drove the hour East to get to the spot in question. Immediately as arrived, my breath was taken away by the beauty set out before me. A sea of red poppies in amongst a landscape of greens, with two trees at the far side of the field that would become the focal point of the image. The sky, ever changing from dark to sunlight and light rays breaking upward from the clouds, the scene just worked, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. A summer evening, shorts and t-shirt, flowers, not a drop of water in sight even though the majority of my images feature it in some form, a sea of colour.

Something I normally dislike a lot, but not on Friday evening. It was stunning. As I hope the images below portray to you…

The scene when I first arrived…

 

 

Then the light rays got stronger…

 

At this time, I was quite happy with the images, after all, I got the type of sky I like, darkish clouds with some light up there, although ultimately I wanted the light breaking onto the field of poppies.  I knew if that clear patch on the horizon stayed like that, once the sun had got below, there was a great chance of that happening, and…

Here we go…


 

…it wasn’t over yet though, the sunlight just got stronger and stronger, and it eventually gave me the image of the night, and not only that, my favourite image I’ve made in a long time…

The one…

 

 

Shooting directly into that sunlight was a real challenge, as even with the amazing dynamic range of the Sony a7rii, I still had 7 stops of ND filters in front of the lens.  I used a 0.9 reverse and 1.2 soft edge graduated filters from Kase Filters.  These filters are available to purchase from my web store right HERE on my website.

I guess the moral of the story is that no matter what and when you prefer to shoot, there is always the chance, if you take it, to produce something really quite special if you just step outside of your normal shooting habit every once in a while and step outside in ‘nice’ weather and embrace it!  Although the sky is certainly on the moodier side to summery than what we’ve had for the past few weeks, it helped me connect to the overall scene for sure.

All 4 images were taken using the Sony A7rii camera, Sony 24-70 f2.8 G Master lens, mounted on my Benro Mach3 TMA48CXL carbon tripod with the Benro GD3WH geared head, using Kase WOLVERINE filters.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings if you got this far, and I hope you enjoyed viewing the images as much as I enjoyed making them.

M.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.