• Chris Nowell

The 6th of November



October and November are always the best times for those misty and foggy conditions. Not every day but you can definitely expect more luck over these months with your photography capturing those foggy conditions. One day in particular however you are pretty much always guaranteed to be lucky is the 6th of November. Of course this isn't always fog and mist instead it is the remaining smog from bonfire night combined with the fog it is nine times out of 10 pretty good. This time round I had a good half an hour before the morning fog lifted so I was lucky I was there early ready to kick things off.


We arrived very early in the morning as it was still quite dark. I knew it would take a good 20 minutes or so to get to the top and I also wanted to be there in good time just to relax have a coffee and watch the day begin. Carefully crossing the river or small stream we soon made our way to the top of the hill through the gate and hugged the tree line to the top. As I was approaching the top in the area of where I wanted to photograph I was reminded of a trip to this location back in August with James pictures. James and I did a quick overnight wild camp hoping for good conditions in the morning , however that wasn't the memory I had it was in fact that of a barn owl quietly perching on a post as I scrambled out of my tent on that occasion. The reminder came due to the fact I heard the very classic hoot of a barn owl in the same trees as I walked past the Silverbirch Giants standing out proudly in the morning mist. I wasn't for one second about to search for this barn owl for a photograph instead I just enjoy the moment and approached my location.



Quick iPhone image as the light started to appear
First light

Only a few moments later and I could see enough to drop the torch carefully placed my bag down on the ground and have a quick look round for the Silverbirch trees I wanted to photograph. Although I wasn't 100% of the compositions I wanted to photograph I knew the area quite well and I was aware of the sort of imagery I wanted to come home with therefore I was confident with my ability.


The first composition that stood out for me was almost a lone silver birch tree. The leaves at the top end of the photo slightly stood out but it was the straight stump of the tree with the black and white markings on the bark which caught my eye. I could not get perfectly straight with the tree due to the background being quite cluttered with other trees however I landed on a fairly decent composition composed the shot with a level tripod more specifically the Vanguard VEO 3 tripod then secondly attaching a Kase polariser just to boost the colours this was especially important as it was quite dull still. Before snapping away and landing on this pleasant looking image to start my day.




The images will be available at the end of this piece without the captions or information. However here you can see the camera settings and equipment used to capture this image. Starting with the trustee Fujifilm XT 3 Camera. A beast of a camera of which I've had a lot of fun using over the last few months and I continue to have many plans capturing my journeys with this outstanding camera. The lens of choice was the 10-24 and I think the camera and lens have done an outstanding job. It is always good when the dream team work together from the tripod filters and camera to create something special such as this. By clicking on the photo above it will take you to the Fuji film website where you can check out the camera I use and many others, from Fujifilm.



More camera settings
Cool Tones

When I am looking for compositions with woodland photography like most photographers I am looking for separation. Gaps between the trees light beaming through the exposed spaces or just the simple separation. The reality is this is practically almost impossible to get the perfect separation especially in a natural environment like this. Of course it is slightly easier and a man-made pine forest but locations like this have been growing for years creating a perfect ecosystem which doesn't work perfectly for the photographer. However giving it a good look around I came across this scene and it had more than enough separation for me to try. As well as that the bonus of the foreground interest in the form of this nice large gritstone definitely got me intrigued.

Next I needed to compose an image and to start off with I couldn't work out if I wanted the stone to be on the left or the right but it definitely wasn't working on the right having a strange shaped at the photo. Therefore I was forced to be on the right however things all worked perfectly because in this forced element it also created the separation mostly that I wanted. The majority of the trees are not touching the fog or morning mist increases the clarity and fall out to the distance with the foreground interest and a separation I was very happy indeed. With this instead of doing one exposure I performed a simple focus stack of two images one in the trees to the mid left of the image and the second on the right hand side focusing on the big grit stone. As the previous photograph a quick turn of the polariser just to make those colours pop a little bit. Followed by the short self timer of the XT3 and I was away happy with these two focused act images.


The final part of this image came by the time I got home. I simply had to stitch them together using Affinity Photo as always, followed by my usual set up of postprocessing and the image had been created. Perhaps that is incorrect if I get round to printing it hopefully soon but unfortunately I'm still having trouble with my printer the Epson P 600 which unfortunately is still printing with a slight pink tint even though I've changed the INK.



Sleeping giants
Cold light


Warm light

The final two images from my adventure at this small woodland really show the difference in temperature of the time I was there. From moment of first pressing the shutter to finally packing the camera away I think it was an hours process. Although the first image at the top isn't when I first arrived you can clearly see the cool tones in the photograph as this was about 20 minutes after sunrise. The bottom image displays those slightly warmer tones another 20 minutes later giving it 40 to 50 minutes altogether really showing the difference of those temperature tones.



 

Affinity Photo


On my way home I went via a pleasant picturesque scene I have photographed a few times knowing that the autumnal colours would be nice and decent. Unfortunately by now the morning mist and fog had gone but there was still a little bit of atmosphere in the air so it was decent enough to photograph.

I wanted to get this photograph but at the same time I wanted to include a piece on this blog about my photo editing. My weapon of choice for photo editing is that of affinity photo.

I have used Affinity Photo from the day it launched and I am a huge fan of the software. Initially it was quite upsetting that the old software with Apple which was called aperture one was closing down but on reflection this has been fantastic and I continue to really be happy with this software. Years later now and affinity photo has also released version two which I will be downloading shortly as I really am a huge fan of this software and wouldn't use anything else. In the meantime however I wanted to just show a few edits I do for a simple photograph. Not going too deep into the editing software but just showing a few quick steps that I do for the majority of my photographs. When I first began with photo editing I would punish myself pretty much not doing any editing and just ending up with a dark under exposed photograph horrible crop and believing that the photo should be how it was from the camera. Which yes it should be mostly how it was but at the same time our eyes and the camera together can never we create that photograph we had our mind it is almost impossible. Therefore with use these editing platforms to help us to create the photograph just how it should be. It is not a cheat it is improving it and these days are part of my photography I quite enjoy. Although it can actually take me a few days to get round to it leaving the photographs quietly on the camera but when I finally start I quite enjoy it and it is almost relaxing.


So let's kick off this is a photograph I snapped on the way home and this is how it was straight from the camera with no editing at all.



The photo without any editing

I photographed the image on purpose at a slight angle not to completely crop and change the image but just to show you the crop slightly. It isn't the darkest photo so overall that is quite decent however there are a few cool or cold tones which also would be changed. So here is the photograph after I spent a quick 10 minutes editing it the normal way I do with most photographs.



Using Affinity Photo
Completed photo with edit

And here is the finished photograph now admittedly I could go quite a lot further with this photograph starting with clearing out all the dirt on the floor which I am assuming is either mud or horse poo but for that example there's no need. I began with the simple crop to start off with just to bring it in a little bit on the left thus creating a more leading line to pull the viewer in more.




So a quick look at my work flow shows you the first image at the top left untouched and straight from the camera to the computer. These are just a few steps I do on a daily basis with my editing so if it needs brightening up a little bit I often increase the brightness or bring that down if it's too bright already with a simple slide. And the good thing about affinity I can use the Mac and zoom in if needed with my sight limitations.


Next this is a good example of the HSL adjustments which you should be able to see with the circle diagram with different colours. All I need to do is pick a colour I want to adjust sir for my first example was red to increase those leaves on the floor I simply adjusted the slider and increased that bright red floor. After this I brought out more colour on the greens and yellows in the distance. Very easy then merge it all together and it will happily sit there ready to confirm the next step.


Which for this example just to go a bit further I adjusted the lens filter which you can see in the photograph for this example added more orange which is a common autumnal colour. Simply adjust that how I wanted nine times out of 10 where I finish off I always bring it down a little bit just to make it look a bit more natural and then I am finished with a photograph I'm quite happy with.

Of course there are a few other tweaks but I am a big fan of Affinity Photo and would highly recommend it and I hope in its examples you can at least see a few things that are available for you.



For more information about Affinity photo or any of the other platforms available such as affinity publisher which I also use and affinity design you can click on the photo above and it will take you to the website for more information and information about the new update.



 


Homeward bound


Just to come home with one photograph is always a good mornings work but to come home with so much all different types of photography and enjoy a good few hours out is always the perfect start to the day. So with things looking as good as they were there was one more photograph to try and capture on the way home with those nice autumnal colours and the perfect light and weather conditions. This is in fact one of the most local photographs to me so it's a nice easy one but it especially works with the autumn colours and especially on a foggy day which unfortunately had lifted by now but we were still gifted the light and the colour.


There is a place very close to me which offers three individual countryside landscape photographs and this is one of the three. It is so good to photograph in autumn with those colours and it is even better if you are lucky to have the fog. But it just works and there is so much to offer with this photograph. The colours the composition the leading line it just works perfectly, and it was just the best way to finish the day.



Derbyshire
Autumnal Lane


As promised I wanted to include the other two photographs from the beginning of the morning with out the camera information. These mornings full of imagery are the best types of adventures. Of course we don't always come home with a photograph and sometimes when we do we come home with one but we are happy enough with just one photograph. To come home with quite a lot of variety some great memories and things to work on it's even better and that is what it's all about.


Thank you again as always to everyone who takes the time and checking this out your continuous support is very much appreciated.







Empty Silverbirch



Composition


Chris Nowell Photography


Equipment used.


Fujifilm XT3 camera

Vanguard VEO 3+ Tripod and Active 53 backpack

Kase Filters UK






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