Photo of the month - Feb 2018
February Photo of the Month
February was a good month photographically speaking and this little cameo image was made as a drive-by stop. How many times do we all see shots when driving but can't pull over or don't have the camera to hand! Fortunately on this occasion I was equipped and able to stop.
Hen Reed Beds
Hen Reedbeds is a blend of reedbeds, fens, dykes and pools created in 1999 to provide new breeding habitat for bittern and other wildlife. In summer look out for bittern, marsh harrier, heron, bearded tit, norfolk hawker and even hobby hunting over the reeds and dykes. Reed and sedge warblers sing to their hearts’ content alongside clouds of iridescent damselfly and nimble dragonfly such as the four-spot chaser and hairy dragonfly. Far more secretive are the otter and water vole which also live here
I posted a blog after the February workshop in Suffolk - Suffolk Punch about my connection and roots to the region. This return to my childhood county was different because it was about photography only, and not family duties. Suffolk is in my view, one of the untapped areas of landscape photography. It provides a wide variety of genres with piers, sand and pebble beaches, woodlands, quays and estuaries and a diverse countryside.
Over the February workshop weekend, we did some of the more iconic spots but also incorporated heathland at Dunwich and the reed beds near Blythburgh and Southwold.
This shot was made whilst I was driving on a lovely misty morning back from Southwold for a sunrise shoot at the pier and beach huts. Timing is everything in photography and I was, as ever, conscious of the time the sun was due to rise just over the sea horizon next to Southwold Pier. I didn't want to miss out seeing it slowly rise and it casting light on the water and rocks, so as I drove past Hen Reed Beds and admired the pre-sunrise mist and atmosphere I wondered if I should pull-over and change locations.
Not wanting to miss out on the pier shot, the previous morning there had amounted to the sun rising into a bed of cloud on the horizon, I continued onwards with my plan but decided I would limit my time to 30 mins max at Southwold and return to the Reed Beds whilst the sun was low in the sky.
Having made 2 or 3 frames in Southwold I quickly packed everything away and returned to the Hen Reed Beds.
The light was magical, the mist had lifted a fraction and vista across the reeds was mystical and even mysterious in feeling as the mind contemplated what array of wildlife called this alien landscape home.
I pulled over to the nearest safe place and took a quick grab shot on the iPhone to inspect the potential before deciding on my next steps.
The combination of mist and the warm light was indeed inspiring so without hesitation and a certain amount of excitement I grabbed the camera. I wasn't able to safely use a tripod from the roadside so I knew it was a case of hand-holding the shot, acting quickly and doing the best I could in the circumstances.
Two frames were all I had time for as I was perched on a steep but short verge on a bend with cars whizzing past behind me. I didn't quite get the composition I wanted and interestingly I prefer the composition of the shot I took with the iPhone. Though, as you will see, and know, when you click on the iPhone version the resolution and detail simply aren't comparable with that of a DSLR image.
Hen Reed Beds are definitely on my list to return to when I run the next Suffolk Workshop on 28th Sep. Processing wise I didn't feel there was much to alter between the RAW image capture and final output. A slight tone curve adjustment and other minor adjustments were all it needed.
ISO 100, Focal Length 70mm, F5 @ 1/40 sec, hand-held and custom white balance.