Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Limetree Avenue, Clumber Park

One of the best local autumn scenes is Limetree Avenue in Clumber Park. The avenue is about 2 miles long with a double line of lime trees on either side of the road. This time of the year the leaves quickly turn yellow and those that fall turn a great rustic orangey red colour.

Despite being lovely to look the avenue can be a challenge to photograph. Under the canopies the average white balance struggles to find a neutral colour reference giving a green or yellow bias to the shots. This can be corrected at the capture stage using a grey card but I tend to make any alterations using Adobe Lightroom. The former would produce more accurate and consistent results if it is important to get the colours spot-on.

Capturing the full range of detail between the dark areas and the highlights is also challenging. Graduated filters do not really help as the highlights tend to be dispersed unevenly across the image. In these circumstances, the perceived wisdom for capturing woodland scenes is to choose a bright but cloud day which removes some of the strongest highlights and condenses the dynamic range. However, my plan was thwarted shortly after I arrived when sunlight appeared with a nice patch of clear blue sky. To be fair whilst the sun makes it harder to get a balanced camera exposure the visual spectacle is significantly enhanced.

With some strong sunlight to contend with I decided to bracket some of the shots and then blend the exposures in Photoshop. Where possible I like to manually blend the images to retain a natural looking finish. Blending software can be used but there is less control over which parts of the image are blended and some unwanted artefacts or colour changes can occur.

These are some of the results including my last shot of the day showing some rather foreboding rain clouds over the entrance to the park:

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