Another part of my time around Oxford the other day was a quick visit to Port Meadow. Here again I spent some time working with the tilt-shift lens. I concentrated my attention on the river, and in particular a swirling mass of foam at the water’s edge. While this had a rather unpleasantly cappuccino-y look, it did render in interesting ways with longer exposures, so here again I was experimenting, as I was a little later with ICM in Bernwood Forest. While abstraction was a particular goal here, to add some mystery and interest to the shot, I wanted also to try to preserve a little balance between complete abstraction on the one hand, and description/familiarity on the other: I wanted the long exposures to defamiliarize, but not completely alienate, in other words. This is why I kept some sharp detail in the twigs here. I posted the square view on Naturescapes recently, and received one comment suggesting I crop out the twigs, but I disagreed, and so did others.


In the square image, much the best in my view, I also like how you can gauge the increasing water speed through the image, starting in the top left where things are virtually still, right through to the lower part of the scene, where the water was moving much more quickly. I also like that there’s also an overlay and interaction between the scudding foam and the vauge reflections of clouds.


The second image is rather less successful, partly because the colour is a bit weird, but also because the longer exposure didn’t produce quite as interesting effect, at least in my opinion.


Anyway, I hope these images are of interest!






Nikon D800E/85 PC-E/Lee Big Stopper


ISO 500 5” f/7.1



Water Abstraction




Nikon D800E/85 PC-E/Lee Big Stopper


ISO 100 1 minute f/7.1


As an afterthought, I’ve been reading the thoughts of other photographers about these ideas, and much the most pertinent I’ve found are those of the highly impressive David Ward, whose detailed large-format images of intimate vignettes in landscapes are very much worth studying.  Some of this thoughts about abstraction and mystery are included in the gallery on his website:






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