Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Golden Hour

Last week I tried to photograph woodland in its Autumn colours.  This week, with the weather looking ideal, I thought I would give wildlife a try, hoping to give them an Autumnal backdrop.  I decided to use the ‘Golden Hour’ – that period just before and after sunrise – and water based birds as the subject.  Arriving just as the sun was rising, it was around 5 degrees but with no wind and a clear blue sky – perfect.

Over the water was a fine mist, unfortunately just dissipating, otherwise this would have given a great atmosphere.  You can see from the first image that the sun was just hitting the trees at the far end of the small lake, the trees of which were ideally in their Autumn colours and reflecting beautifully on the completely still water.  There were only four Mallards and a couple of Moorhens around but were perfectly posed within the reflection of the trees, which you can just make them out below.  Combined with the early morning orange glow the images I was able to get were a spectacular colour which I have tried to recreate.  It was just a shame there weren’t more subjects available and a bit closer.

After shooting a couple of dozen images, I had a walk around the area in the hope of other opportunities but with nothing there I came back to the lake only to find just two Swans left and the strong golden glow all but gone, so I moved on – next stop Big Waters.


Big Waters seemed initially very quiet.  It’s one of those places where there will be nothing much to see then, if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of an Otter or Kingfisher.  No such sights today but a large flock of Greylag Geese flew in, spooked by something in the nearby fields in which they were feeding.  I had my 30D with Sigma 500mm plus 1.4 converter attached so trying to track these birds as they flew past wasn’t easy.  Had I had the 1D mkIIn then I would have probably had more ‘keepers’ but I would have lost a little reach.  Still, I was able to get a few shots.

In the middle of the lake were a couple of Cormorants, warming themselves up.  For the most part they just sat on an old dead tree, but occasionally stretched themselves, opening their wings to make the most of catching the suns rays.  Although now late morning, the sun was still ideal, being low down in the sky due to the time of year.  The Cormorants turned out to be quiet photogenic, but eventually they flew off, leaving Big Waters very quiet again.


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