zondag 16 augustus 2020

It's just a trick

The last two weeks I enjoyed getting up before dawn and driving to my favourite fen. There used to be many dragonflies and spider webs, but since we had a few dry summers this has changed. It feels less alive. The advantage for me is that due to the draught this fen has partly dried up and the moss and plants are now accessible. The ground is soft (great for the knees) and a bit wet but smells wonderful (if you like that kind of thing). And I can be weird without people watching. 

My camera is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III (full frame) and my favourite lens at the moment is the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I use it at F1.6, 2.0 or 2.8 at maximum. For the pictures below I set the focal length to 7 inches/ 20 centimeters (ISO 100 with shutter speeds still above 1/100s). I want lots of detail in may pictures and the bokeh of the wet (very fine) grass between my lens and the focal plane adds to the picture (the rings). 

From a distance, if you would walk by this spot, there is nothing that really appeals, but once you are on the ground and look through the lens a whole new world unfolds. I made a video this morning. It was quite cloudy. 


The first morning I went, conditions were perfect. It was still before our 8-day-heatwave, the night had been clear and the sun was just up. The light was soft and the field was full of sparkling dewdrops. While the light was getting stronger, the bokeh became more pronounced.

During the heatwave I didn't think it would be worth it to get up at five. The nights were so warm, I did not expect any dew, but I was wrong! Stepping onto the wet moss was very refreshing. I will remember this next year. I have been comparing apertures and did not see a clear difference  between F1.6 and F2.0 but at F2.8 the glow is less pronounced, there is more sharpness and the pictures have pleasing velvety quality.

The 'red' flowers in these pictures are rushes. I noticed for the first time that there are differents species next to each other. Now I have to figure out which! The bigger one could be a rare species (probably not). The true colours are a bit more brown. I changed the hue of the orange to make it more red.

The grass blades have different colours. They are hyped up a bit (white balance/ hue) but I did not colour them separately ;) It may be that the red blades are from the rushes. So much to see on a few square centimeters! It's a world in its own. 

This mornings harvest. It was very misty, I love that, but the clouds wouldn't budge. The light was too flat. The quality of the light makes all the difference. I know this now, but it took me quite some time to realise that. On days like this I used to get cranky, thinking it was me.

I do have one rule though: never go home without at least one good picture. If things are not going to plan: change the plan. 

I always shoot in RAW and edit in photoshop. I play with the white balance, hue and saturation of the colours and adjust contrast to my taste. I do not have a fixed workflow or use presets. I try not to crop but occasionally clone out something.  It is better to look for interfering elements (straws in the background are terrible straight lines catching a lot of light) and remove them before taking the picture. However, with wet grass this is like playing mikado, when you touch something else the drops fall off and the effect is gone! The cloning is an option. 

If you click on the first picture they appear bigger and you can scroll through them. Enjoy!

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