26 October 2015

Autumn

I often find myself plodding along woodland paths. Such walks are especially pleasant at this time of year when the sun is out, illuminating autumn's dramatic progress. However, such scenes can be devilishly difficult to capture with a camera. It's because of the contrast between light and shade. The camera gets confused and is unable to make the kind of allowances that we naturally make with our eyes.

I have lost count of the number of pictures of woodland paths that I have snapped and then later deleted. Hundreds of them. But today, when walking in the southern extremities of Sheffield , along the Limb Valley and back to Whirlowdale Park, I finally snapped a woodland path picture that I am very happy with. The lighting is right, true to what I witnessed with my eyes and I also feel that the photograph speaks of the beautiful melancholy of this season. The summer has gone and winter is steadily approaching.

Autumn

In these shrinking days
The beechnuts drop
Burst husks
Unsheathing hope
In shiny
Seeds of Destiny.

Somewhere a bonfire
Smoulders
Its odour swirls
Like whirling
Sycamore keys
Or alder leaves
Falling in slow motion
To settle down
All around 
This quiet path.

With foliage
By Seurat
In gold and bronze
And forest green
No footprints
Will be left behind
To trace
Where we have been.

23 comments:

  1. Perfectly peaceful post, pretty picture, poignant poem.
    Pam

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    1. Great response Pam! Shall I stop calling you Hilly now I know your real name?

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    2. How do you know it's my real name...maybe I just picked out one that started with a P.......?

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  2. You nailed it in your trail photo!

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  3. Stunning both in picture and in words. :)

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  4. In the right place at the right time! And a picture in words to match (or maybe even better?) the photograph.

    Ms Soup

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  5. A wonderful picture, one of those moments when one wishes time would stand still or at least stretch so that the moment could last for a long time.
    I have been on a woodland walk on Saturday and hope that my pictures have turned decently, although they'll never reach your level. They are still on my camera, though.

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    1. Cheers Meike. I look forward to seeing your woodland pics.

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  6. Very nice. Woodland scenes are always a problem. Try underexposing a stop and pushing the colour temperature. Sensors have twice as many green receptors as they do red and blue.

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    1. Thank you Adrian.Technically, I should try harder instead of mainly relying on my "Super Automatic" setting.

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  7. Yeah, those paths can be a challenge! Do you edit your photos with any photo-editing software? If so you can often lighten the shadows and lower the highlights on the bright areas to bring out detail. Sometimes boosting the color just a point or two helps bring out detail, too, and make it more like what your eye sees. (You know all this, I'm sure.).

    Re. Adrian's comment -- I didn't know that about camera sensors. Maybe that's why we sometimes get that weird "digital green" effect, with super-saturated green colors that look unnatural?

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    1. Steve - Adrian is like the blogosphere's photographic guru. You should keep in touch as you are clearly more technically minded than I am in the world of photography. But please don't challenge him to an arm wrestling contest or for that matter a whisky drinking contest. He'd win with glee.

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    2. Steve, I will look it up as it was something I was told years ago. It is not the actual sensor or photo receptors but the Bayer filter in front of them. There is also light bleed round the edges of the Bayer bits. I find auto white balance the biggest problem. I set it to sunny usually about 6500K. Then can muck about in the RAW converter.
      YP, if you shoot RAW as Steve says you can play with shadows highlights. That would go someway to reducing the blow out on the tree trunk but watch it doesn't just replace the white with a vile 18% grey. I'd rather have blown white. There is really little excuse for not getting a good editor as GIMP is free. Just as mind boggling unintuitive as Photoshop. The trouble is that these programmes have been developed over a decade or two and stuff just dumped anywhere. If they cleaned them up folk that have persevered with them would be lost. I am starting to use Node editors and much the same thing is happening with their compositors. Video is a nightmare as there are so many standards that even moving projects from platform to platform requires the patience of a saint. I tend to shift projects from Photoshop to Blender and Fusion. Mainly because I know how to do tasks in one of them but not the other.
      I am far from a Guru more like a Gnu. I just enjoy it.
      A quick way of correcting white balance is to use the eyedroppers in Levels and if you don't have levels then you really do need a software upgrade.

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    3. The words and music are here.

      SENSORS

      There are three different types of sensor CMOS, CCD and another one I think it's called Foinhaven after the race horse.

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    4. You will also see another problem usually in misty clouds or blue skies. Looks like bands of grey. This is called moiré. Named after an eel. They pop an anti aliasing filter on top of the sensor stack to desensitise it. Very posh cameras do this without but I doubt I will ever afford one. Having turned your eyes brown I'll now take the dogs a walk in the rain.

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    5. I still think that my woodland picture is a very good one Adrian. I don't known what you mean about the trunk of the tree being "blown". To me it was simply spotlighted by sharp October light. That's how it appeared when, plodding along, I noticed the scene. Of course I undertook some small adjustments in light, shadow and colour on the computer - but nothing too drastic. The end result is exactly as I wanted it. You may have a mind that is drawn to the technical side of photography but I could never go there. It just isn't me.

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    6. It's horses for courses. I like the image but would have pulled more texture from the tree trunk and the ground, it looks like snow and snow has texture.
      I don't often work for money but I leave the artistry to the director and just concentrate on working the machine. To be able to do that I have to know how it works and what it's limitations are. I'm a technician not an artist. I wish I was autistic....I mean artistic.

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    7. PS. Nothing worse than trying to concentrate with some arty farty blathering on and if it's video I daren't even swear or I get a clout from the sound man.

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  8. I would say Adrian is several steps ahead of me on the technology front! :)

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