Pet Hate

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    I’m desperately trying to see these woods, (and flowers) from a different perspective.

    Last year I got rather excited (and if I’m honest) a bit obsessed with getting the ‘perfect’ shot of bluebells in this wood. I think every serious landscape snapper should attempt at one point in there life, to try and get a meaningful shot of the little blue devils. And this year I came back to the woods to try and nail the little buggers, ‘once and for all’!

    Now you might be surprised by my out of character language regarding these stereotyped little flowers. I can hear you say, “I thought Jason was a peace loving softy who meditates crossed legged with hippy friends on full moon parties?” and well you might be correct (For the record, I’ve only hugged one tree in my life and it was to impress a girl), but regarding these blue abominations, well let me say I’m glad they only lasted a couple of weeks a year!

    Let me try and explain. I think it’s VERY hard to get a decent shot of bluebells without it being either clichéd or compositionally crap. Now the clichéd is one thing, (and I think the shot is bordering on this) but getting a clean composition in this wood was very frustrating. I personally look for strong shapes, angles and leading lines. I try and find areas that simplify the shot, to enable the shapes to push the viewers eye around the shot (or challenge them, like in my last post). I have to admit it’s rather important to me to do this and in this type of woodland the trees just don’t do what you ask of them. They don’t grow in clean lines, they don’t grow leaves to hide crappy little branches behind them, they don’t move enough when you want them to and don’t stay still when you don’t. The bluebells don’t have enough shape, they only get interesting when you get down on your hands and knees (no wonder my back is so knackered).

    But I'm feeling bad now; I'm showing my sorry obsession up for what it is, sad sorry and resolutely void. I will make a new promise to myself tonight. I will never visit this wood with a camera in May again! I will never be disappointed and frustrated by the imperfect woods again, I will promise not to rant much further… anyway let me postpone my moonlit circle dance just until I manage to finish my list of pet hates. (The solstice is coming up guys, anybody for some green tea and tree hugging?)

    Photographic pet hates (feel free to add to)
    Bluebells
    People who refuse to move from view
    People who pick out microscopic areas of ‘blown out’ pixels
    Getting to the location 10 min too late.
    People who are obsessed by the rules
    Dust
    My inability to relax and enjoy the place without out looking for interesting shots!

    Note: it has occurred to me that some of you may think my colours here are wrong. Well let just explain what I did so you can see why that is not the case. I did use a polarizer, (which cut down the reflections and saturated the colours a tad) then in post I applied some curves and levels, but didn’t push the colours at all.

    What you see here is a strange phenomena, it looks like autumn colours in spring.
    The very reason I was attracted to this spot is the strange combination of contrasting colours from the unnatural blue to wonderful golden leaves of the copper beach to the fresh new vibrant greens of the normal beach.

    victor_nuno, Panorama Paul, and 97 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. xamad 83 months ago | reply

      lovely spot :)

    2. brown-dog 83 months ago | reply

      Yep, those are all my pet hates and I just can't stand photographing bluebells as I always comes out of the shoot frustrated!

    3. theloz 83 months ago | reply

      I think you're being a bit hard on yourself Jason! This is a lovely shot! Woodland is my personal favourite kind of scenery, but it's nigh on impossible to get a coherent shot of it! The dark tree really stands out against the light foliage behind, and the bluebells add a much-needed touch of colour to the proceedings. The whole image just makes me wish i was there, which brings me to my question: Are these woods near Bradford?

    4. jasontheaker 83 months ago | reply

      Loz the wood are in Ilkley

    5. Luís C 83 months ago | reply

      Technical: 8
      Fine image, presented in a reasonable medium size (900/600). A difficult exposure situation with strong light contrasts that you have handled very well, even if there are some blown out pixels remaining, wich I didn't check. Fine focus, depth, colors. No visible noise over the less bright areas.

      Composition: 8
      Centering is an issue here. At first look I didn't like it much. It draws too much attention to the tree and distracts from the bluebells and the setting. Somehow it works, though, separating two slightly distinct areas, one darker, the other brighter. The trunk's branching pattern makes it a subject on his own.

      Impact: 8
      The beautiful harmonious and well reproduced colors, the way light and shadows play together and the unusual composition make this an interesting image, with some visual impact. A large print would have strong emotional impact, I'm sure.

      Commercial Viability: 7
      I'm not sure about travel, but fine art could be the market for it, even if it isn't a consensual composition or maybe because of that.

      Grade 7,75/10 as seen in
      Critique

    6. Ryan C Wright 83 months ago | reply

      Technical:8 The depth of field is wide, but nice and the focus seems to be properly employed. The colors are fantastic, and nothing seems too strong or overwelming.

      Composition:7.5Although it may not be the breathtaking composition I've ever seen, it works well with this particular focus because it lets the eye focus on the subject to really take it all in.

      Impact:8.5With such vibrance, it would be hard not to have such a strong impact

      Commercial Viability:6.5I'm with Retinol on this once, I could see fine art prints of this hanging in a coffee shop somewhere.

      Grade (7.75)/10 as seen in
      Critique

    7. RoryO'Bryen 82 months ago | reply

      Beautifully done - it is so hard to get the blues right on these bluebells.

    8. IngridGilbert 82 months ago | reply

      This is beautiful and I like all the efforts posted here. I think it's really important not to torture yourself about whether a subject has been done before, the question is only how well you did it! I think van Gogh was not the first one to paint iris but aren't you glad he didn't let that stop him?

    9. Hopefoote, Ambassador of the Wow 81 months ago | reply

      What is this, the "add your blue bell photo to the comments" picture?

      Your Pet Hate list made me think of my favorite group that I don't think I've invited you too. Yet.

      It's here www.flickr.com/groups/passiveaggressive/

    10. dave.wolanski 80 months ago | reply

      It's quite annoying when that perfect shot I have in my head never quite materializes in front of the camera. "That's close but, what I really wanted is..."

      I go out looking for a feeling and what I get is, blah.

      Nice stream and dissertations about your art.

    11. Photos By Zoe 80 months ago | reply

      I totally get what you are saying - I have found them really hard to capture too - and like you say, verging on the twee - a path I have to put my hands up and say I have gone down - photos of kids and bluebells - bit cliche?!!!

      Another re-visit to Bluebell woods in Blairgowrie...
      --
      Seen on your photo stream. (?)

    12. imagiηeer 79 months ago | reply

      wow lovely colors!

    13. photoimageson 79 months ago | reply

      I love this dad

    14. Steph.F 78 months ago | reply

      very beautiful. makes me want to visit this place.

    15. photoimageson 73 months ago | reply

      pet hate is great :o)

    16. alison lyons photography 70 months ago | reply

      You should count yourself lucky... I am thousands of miles away from the nearest bluebell woods! ;o)

    17. pixelstate 57 months ago | reply

      My Cliche... :-)

      Staffhurst Woods

    18. timballic 37 months ago | reply

      Frankly I can't get enough of them. I just enjoy them without caring a jot what others think. They're only so popular because they are so beautiful...and so hard to photograph as we see them in our mind....magical blue haze, accompanied by spring birdsong and lovely scent. Not nauseous to me but a real challenge and delight. The shaded dark leaves on the left here make this work so well for me.

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