Here’s a photograph from a successful day out in November 2018. I got down to Knole deer park in Kent for sunrise and spent the morning there, before driving a little further down the A21 to another regular photography location for me, Scotney Castle, for the afternoon.
I still have a backlog of images this day to share and, while this is one of the simplest it’s also one of my favourites. The light through the early afternoon and sunset was beautifully golden and while walking between two spots I noticed the light catching the leaves of this tree to my left.
I remember having watched a video from, I think, Thomas Heaton not long before and the scene reminded me of the inspiration to try some closer-in detail shots of trees.
I had the Fuji 50-140mm lens already on my X-T3, with the 1.4x extender, so this was shot at the widest focal length possible that combo—70mm, or around 105mm full-frame equivalent—still giving a nice close-in view of the back-lit leaves and a good portion of the tree trunk.
The tree line behind the main subject tree was in more shade, providing a nice bit of contrast and separation to the glowing foreground leaves, while a little flare/ghosting in the top right where the bright sky pushes in works quite well for the overall feel of the image.
Normally I would avoid having the sky in a shot like this. As can be seen here, it’s generally going to blow out to white.
In this case though, I think it works well. The subject tree still pushes up that space quite nicely, leaving only a relatively small amount of true negative space in the sky, while that lightness up top on the image brings a bit of airiness and works with the lower contrast towards the top of the frame.
As you move down the image, contrast improves where there's a bit more shade, giving a nice diagonal gradient from bright, low contrast in the top right to relatively dark, high contrast in the bottom left of the frame.
When living in London, I could always count on places like Knole and Scotney Castle as great locations for photography whenever the time opened up for me to spend a few hours or a day.
Now that I’m up north, I need to start building a similar list of places I know I can go to at short notice if the opportunity arises or if conditions look good. Druridge Bay is one such location and Cragside is another (though not quite close enough to be really easy). I need to find some similar woodland-heavy locations in a smaller radius of home for when a couple of hours open up.