Unexpected reflections

I try to go to the countryside and shoot some landscapes about once a week, usually early Sunday morning. I don’t always make it, but that’s the intention anyway. When I do make it I usually choose a destination over Google maps the night before, using terrain and satellite imaging to pick interesting spots – lakes, hills, rivers, etc. I don’t know the area well and I don’t have the luxury of visiting the target destination beforehand to do some scouting as professional landscape photographers do. So I often end up in a location that is less than optimal for photography. In these cases I just look around, spot the next promising landmark, get in the car and drive towards it exploring the area.

Although this is not the most efficient approach to landscape photography, I enjoy these early Sunday morning explorations so much that I don’t resent missing one of the only two weekly opportunities I have to sleep a few hours longer.

Sometimes I get lucky and discover some real gems, like I did during one of these explorations in late November last year.

Neukirchen, Bayern, Dawn, Church, Pond, Lake, Reflection, Notis Stamos
Neukirchen near Seehamer See between Munich and Salzburg just after dawn.

After taking some photos of the dawn mist at my original destination, I drove towards the mountains. Some minutes later I reached a village called Neukirchen and drove through it without stopping. While leaving the village I spotted some water in a field on the side of the road. I stopped, thinking it might be worth exploring further and indeed, just a few more meters away I found this small pond, perfectly reflecting the village church.

I set up the camera low, next to the water, choosing a nice waterlily as my foreground topic. This meant that the church’s cross was right at the top of the frame, but I corrected that during post processing. I bracketed by five stops to be certain that I had the whole light range. In post processing I ended up using all of the shots and I spent some time to remove two electricity poles and the corresponding power lines that were running across the photo. I also added about 300 pixels of sky at the top to bring the composition in balance.

For the next photo I went to the side of the pond and shot against the sun. There was some nice fog in the distance and that was the main thing I wanted to capture here. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything interesting in the foreground and so I settled with the grass.

Neukirchen, lake, pond, reflection, dawn, sunrise, Bayern, Notis Stamos, fog
The valley and the pond just next to Neukirchen.

I bracketed here as well because of the light difference between the left side and the center of the image. As in the previous photo, also in this one I had to clone out a few electricity poles and lines running into the frame. I also added some more fog on the right and left hand sides of the photo. After a few minutes the fog moved in and I focused on other compositions near this location and some time later I drove to Seehamer See where the scenery was completely different. More on that in my next post.

© 2014 Epameinondas Stamos


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