I’ve worked with professional landscape photographer Paul Sanders on various projects and he knows about my recent falling in love with landscape photography. I saw this image by him on his Facebook wall and had to learn more about it because I was completely blown away by it.
One quick email later and Paul told me everything I needed to know:
Photography for me is emotional, it is a reflection of my state of mind and the reaction I have to a certain place at a certain time.
These trees sit in a boating lake near my home in Kent, it’s a place that is surrounded by the M25, A25 a bustling village and noisy schools. However when I go there I hear none of the bustle of the world.
I had this image in my mind last year, so it has been a long time coming to fruition. I rarely plan my shoots but having revisited this location a number of times I knew exactly what I wanted and the conditions that would make it work.
The weather was drizzle, mist and gloomy. Strangely it largely reflected my state of mind! On the off chance that the mist and drizzle would continue I headed down to the boating lake and stood listening to the birds.
The drizzle intensified and the mist thickened a little over the lake, perfect for me, ideal for my island of trees.
To get the image I had in my head I used the Fuji X-T1 and XF50-140 lens, shooting upright which I’m starting to do more of, but I still find challenging.
I wanted the trees to be virtual silhouettes against the mist, sort of isolated but stark.
For this shot I exposed for the darkest part of the island, this intentionally overexposed the back ground exaggerating the misty feeling, shooting at F9 on telephoto also helps by utilising the shallower depth of field the 50-140 has over a wide angle lens.
Of course the joy of using the X-T1 is that the EVF means I can pretty much see the exact image I have in my head at the time of shooting, making the whole process more about the final image than the camera and the technical aspects of photography.
I didn’t want hard reflections on the water and the choppy conditions combined with the an exposure of 2 minutes rendered them as I hoped. There was very little in the sky so I added a .75 soft grad to hold the tone. I used a Lee Big Stopper increase the exposure to two minutes from 1/8th of a second.
The first shot I took was the one that nailed it for me, I did a second one but forget to release the remote until about 5 minutes later I was so lost in watching the mist moved over the lake! I often get lost in the moment and totally forget why I am there.
Once I got home, I loaded the image into Lightroom, converted it to monochrome in through Silver Efex, selecting to develop it with an blue filter to increase the tone in the trees in the foreground, increased the contrast marginally added a platinum tone from the finishing menu and saved it – five minutes of post processing!
With every picture I create it’s all about pre-visualisation and connecting my emotions with the landscape and feeling the photograph.
About Paul Sanders
Paul will be speaking at The Photography Show on Monday 23rd March at 17:00 in the “Behind the lens” theatre.
You can see more of Paul’s amazing work on his website, or following him on social media.
Paul Sanders’ Official website
@wiggys on Twitter
@wiggys on Instagram
Paul Sanders Photography Ltd on Facebook