Autumn Mist, England

Warm light and thick fog are good cues to head for the local woods. The beeches seemed to be leading the wanderer to the gateway and the way out of the woods....
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Warm light and thick fog are good cues to head for the local woods. The beeches seemed to be leading the wanderer to the gateway and the way out of the woods.
Read less





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Winner in through the forest Photo Challenge
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2 Comments | Report
Joviaal PRO
Joviaal Apr 14
Hi Simon, Congratulations on your win with this beautiful image.
simonharding Apr 14
Many thanks :-)
margaretgodfrey PRO
great shot, congrats on winning challenge :)
simonharding Jun 04
Thank you :-)

Behind The Lens

This photo was taken in Badby Woods, near Daventry in Northamptonshire, England. It's a favourite haunt of mine, especially in bluebell season in late April / early May.
It was taken at around 09:59 on the 24th October which is mid Autumn in England. I was racing to get to the top of the woods before the morning mist disappeared.
I had intended to be at the woods earlier than I actually managed to as the heavy morning mist was going to be perfect for woodland shots. As I drove along the road towards the woods, I could actually see the mist rising up through the trees! By the time I parked the car, I had to race up the hill through the woods to find a composition.
Due to the fact I had to grab my camera in a hurry, I only had my Nikon D800, 24-70mm standard zoom and, thankfully, my tripod. Fortunately, 35mm seemed to be the perfect focal length to capture this composition. I managed the capture process using live view. I focused on the closest of the two large trees, using f11. I knew this would give me front to back sharpness. White balance was handled manually, using a specific K value, again, judged using the live view facility. In terms of exposure, I used the live view screen to make sure what I was capturing was what was in front of me. Using a tripod meant that I was unconcerned with shutter speed. There was no wind, and 2/3 of a second was going to be fine. This type of shot is much easier in manual mode, as the camera would, if left to its own devices, have underexposed.
I had never manged to take a woodland picture I was happy with, and on this morning, I was hoping to get the classic autumn mists in the woods. The fact that the mist was dissipating rapidly has actually improved the shot. The upper branches of the trees still have some mist amongst them, and the exit from the woods at the top of the hill is bright and misty at the same time. At the capture stage, I was happy for this bright patch to overexpose, as I knew that would emphasise the mist.
There was very little post-processing done here, as the mist and the lighting had done all the hard work for me. The only real edit I did was to apply a very light vignette to darken the edges of the frame and help lead the viewer's eye from the trees towards the brightly lit exit.
In my camera bag
I usually go out armed with my Nikon D800 and D850, a 24-70mm standard zoom, a 14-24mm and a 70-200mm. This particular shot was taken with the D800 and the 24-70mm. I always have my Benro Mach3 carbon-fibre tripod. That's pretty much it for landscape photography. I do have a circular polariser and a couple of neutral density filters, just in case!
I had heard that taking pictures in woodland is difficult. It is, or at least I find it very difficult. Trying to identify a composition that doesn't just look like a confusion of trees, means that you have to find ways of isolating specific trees from the rest. Mist always helps, as it provides a physical separation if it is present within the woods, but it also diffuses bright light to provide a less contrasty lighting. That is what is going on in this shot. Although out of shot, the camera is pointing towards the sun, but the light is being diffused by the mist. I was actually at the edge of the woods, and this meant I had the benefit of the mist-diffused lighting coming from the left hand side of the frame also. I would say that the trick to woodland photography is the same as any other subject....just keep trying. The best photos to learn from are the "failures"......except they're not failures if they point you towards improvement!!

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