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.
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.
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