Among the Sighing Branches

Among the Sighing Branches (0997)

Looking back at my images over the holidays I finally realized that I really like woodland and churches. Well, at the very least it seemed rather obvious that those seem to be photgraphic subjects close to my heart. Those who have been following my blog over the past year will also have realized that I like to walk in the countryside. This has been the subject of a number of chats with friends in the photographic society. You see, I generally see these as walks where photography may (or may not) happen, rather than walks with the specific objective of taking photos. I hope to keep this point of view as it makes for more enjoyable walks. I also hope to have more outings where photography is a primary objective, but that’s another story.

Anyway, last weekend I took advantage of a break in the predicted rain to follow a walk in the woods near Bramshott. Most of this walk is actually in Ludshott Commons, which I understand is managed by the National Trust. It’s surprising how many more worthwhile areas I keep discovering in the vicinity of where we live. Now I must say here that while the sun was out for most of my walk, there was considerable cloud cover, and what the Brits call ‘a breeze’. After the harsh storms we’ve had recently and the almost incessant rain, one can only expect broken trees and mud in any walk. This time there was not much of the latter, but the wind certainly kept the trees singing. Looking up, one could see the upper canopy swaying. With some trees, the branches’ sighs were rather touching.

The image above was taken on a tripod as a single exposure. I used a soft 0.9 ND grad filter to balance exposure somewhat between the upper canopy and the forest floor. Nothing could keep the sky in check though. I also used my new polarizer (finally got to try this) to cut through those small reflections on the leaves and therefore let as much colour show as possible. What with sunset approaching, the filters cutting a lot of light, the low ISO setting and the small aperture (to keep everything in focus) I needed a rather long shutter. In post, I cropped to a 2:1 format which I seem to be liking lately. This also helped avoid the polariser showing up in the corners (more about that in another post). Then it was a matter of using the usual selective curves to balance the exposure further between the various elements.

Click on the photo for a larger version; comments welcome, as always.

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