Over a period of a couple of days in mid-December 2014 the UK experienced very clear skies which tends to mean cold, frosty mornings. I took the opportunity to walk in the immediate vicinity of home to look for abstract pictures created by the frost early in the morning before the temperature rose and the frosty look is lost.
Cricklade has many public flower beds and has won several Britain in Bloom gold medals over the past couple of years and hence there is plenty of organic material to photograph at any time of the year.
The photographs were taken over 2 days but I only had a tripod on one day, the success rate of images with the tripod is significantly higher as due to the low light conditions the shooting conditions were on the verge of what is possible in respect of uniformly, sharp images with a hand held camera. In my view the most pleasing images are obtained when there is sufficient depth of field in the photograph so that it is sharp from front to back coupled with careful framing to pick out interesting shapes.
Fro example I like this image of the frosted leaf but I rejected it because it has a soft focus in one of the most dominant areas of the image. This could be corrected by using a tripod which would allow a smaller aperture to be used which would dramatically improve the depth of field that its possible to achieve,
Compared to this image where by using the tripod the issue in the above image are avoided and the fine detail created by the frost can be seen on the leaves.
Where the subject is all in the same relative plane – such as the leaves on the drain cover – then depth of field is much less of an issue and the camera can be hand held.
Post-Processing, The frost images were processed through Adobe Camera Raw and tweaked for contrast and framing. To improve contrast a duplicate layer was created and a high pass filter applied, then the blending mode selected to give a pleasing effect – for these sort of images overlay or “linear light” seem to give the best results.
Later in the afternoon I took some images of trees and our local church, practising the pseudo hdr effect of exposing for the brighter part of the image – generally the sky in these conditions and then bring back the detail in camera raw by boosting the “shadows” slider, no other post-processing was applied to these images. This does produce well saturated skies with plenty of shadow detail and is something I will definitely incorporate more into my landscape work.