This shot is very different to my previous ‘How I got the shot‘ post. The conditions where very different and I approached it in a different way too.
This is actually only 5 minutes from my front door in Oldham in the North West of England. We don’t get that many bright, clear days so I wanted to make the most of it. It is taken in the Medlock Valley.
For this little photo walk, I wanted to challenge myself a bit so instead of taking out all my camera gear, I took just one lens. So I took my Sony Alpha a100 and my Minolta 50mm f1.7 lens out with me. This means that I had no zoom to help frame the image, so I would have to move to get the picture I wanted.
I saw this photo possibility from a little way off. The sky was a nice blue with some nice whispy clouds to give the sky a bit interest. The light was good on the grass, and fortunately the grass was a nice contrasting colour to the sky.
So all the ingredients were there, I just had to mix them together to get a decent result.
The tree was a perfect focal point in the picture, but the tricky thing was, where to place it in the frame. Should I comply to the Rule Of Thirds and position it more off centre and lower down? Should I include more sky or more grass? Should I try and find a larger focal point for the image or climb the hill to make the tree larger in the frame?
Lots of options, and who’s to say some of those options would have made a better image, but this is the way I decided on.
So onto camera settings. I knew I wanted to make sure as much of the grass was in focus as possible which meant a large depth of field, which meant using a small aperture (large f number). So I set the aperture, again with the camera on aperture priority, and checked to see what the shutter speed was going to be like. I needed to make sure I captured the grass as sharp as possible so I needed a fast enough shutter speed to avoid too much blur caused by the wind. So I ended up with f14 to get a lot in focus, and 1/200th to try and keep things as blur free as possible.
Well I am pleased with the result. I did take a few different compositions but this is the one that I liked the most. It’s the sort of arty type print that might be good for a wall and it’s also got a lot of space in it so it might be good for a magazine cover or advert in a magazine, so it has certain commercial possibilities too.
I’m not really into landscape photography but I did enjoy the walk I did and the images I ended up with.
Let me know what you think of the image and if you’ve ever challenged yourself in photography like this.