A month like February can be pretty challenging. It’s very much a winter month of course, isn’t altogether a lot of fun and finding any real colour at all in the landscape isn’t that easy. Photographically it was pretty flat for me but it didn’t stop me getting out just to breath anyway.

Following the immense storms and what seemed like endless rain in January, a new watery landscape had been made across large parts of the English countryside and so I, like many others, naturally turned my attention to capturing some of the natural beauty that was created. A trip to the Cotswolds during mid-February presented some nice combinations of bight clear light with plenty of available reflections and so Cotswold Watercolour was created;

Cotswold Watercolour

Cotswold Watercolour

What Really Makes The Photograph Work For Me?

It may not be the world’s most original composition but it does very much remind me of some of my father’s watercolour paintings, it’s part of a memory I hold – these trees could easily have been created by brushstrokes. It’s a photograph I could spend a lot of time look at, although it’s a very simple subject I love the intricate play of light and colours and the way the image is broken by the slight movement of the water. Those reflections feel so glassy here, a look you don’t always get.

Here are some of the things which stand out for me in the frame;

  • I used to shoot a lot of Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) images and this is about as close as you will get me to that technique these days. Having said that I think the overall image has an abstract quality without losing the subject and I rather like that.
  • The simple bold juxtaposition of bold colours only work thanks to the empty blue sky and the frame is nicely divided almost diagonally which seems to suit the 5:4 crop.
  • I’ve already mentioned the glassy look of those reflections, to achieve this you must use a higher shutter speed but there is equally just enough movement in the water to break up those wonderful Birch trunks.
  • I flipped this image horizontally and vertically but settle on the original real life composition as it is here. It’s something I would always recommend trying because the final photograph can be changed quite dramatically with a flip. I already have too many images with trees the right way up so it’s nice to have something different.
  • The trees spread and fill the picture nicely, filling the whole frame. I have no hesitation in chopping the tops off trees in order to achieve such an effect.
The Technical Setup
  • Taken with the Nikon D800E
  • Nikon 85mm f/1.4G
  • f/8, ISO200, 1/100, mid-morning in full winter sun
  • Tripod, cable release
  • Shot in 14bit RAW, manual white balance
  • Finished with Nik Color Efex Pro 3 and Adobe¬†Photoshop CS6