Silver Birch, Tatton Park, Knutsford, UK – November 2005 (after Ansel Adams)
The image I’m going to talk about is the one that finally showed me the direction I should take with my photography; landscape work.
I’ve had a camera since I was about 7-years-old so photography is part of my DNA. My father was a keen amateur photographer and I guess I got the bug from him. Over the years, cameras have come and gone but it wasn’t until a couple of life-changing events in the early years of the 21st Century that I truly got into the art.
I had bought a “B-stock” Canon D300 DSLR from the much missed Jacobs photo stores at a Focus on Photography event, which went with me everywhere. Finally, I had an interest that kept me enthralled, interested and almost permanently excited.
My conversion to serious photography came with this camera one glorious November Sunday in the grounds of Tatton Hall near Knutsford in Cheshire. It was the perfect late afternoon; lovely blue sky, setting sun, calm water in the lakes within Tatton’s grounds. I set up and started making images. When I got home and had a look at the results from the day I was bowled over by the image you see below. It reminded me instantly of Ansel Adams’s great image, “Aspens, New Mexico, 1958” with the sun highlighting the trunks of the trees. I didn’t have aspens but I did have silver birches and they were more than sufficient.
It’s been an image that has given me tremendous pleasure and happiness no matter what I’ve done to it in terms of processing. The most difficult part was getting the image to vaguely look like one of Ansel’s. Several weeks passed before I was satisfied with the finished article and felt it was ready for folk to see it.
The image has had many different incarnations – colour, tight crop, black & white, reflection only and many more; you may have seen it on my current Flickr feed, or earlier “homes” of mine on the Internet. Looking back at this image I realise that it has flaws both from how I captured the image and from the limitations of the D300; it was, after all, almost 10 years ago and the digital age was just beginning to take off!
There will be another breakthrough image from me next month.