Making the ‘St Mary’s Pool’ gallery

I live across the road from our village church. Just behind the church is a large pond or small lake. It doesn’t belong to the church, St Mary’s, and as far as I know it hasn’t got a name, so I have called it ‘St Mary’s Pool’.

St Mary’s Pool is on private land but there are a  couple of places where you can get to the water’s edge on a public footpath.  In summer it’s a pleasant place. It is surrounded by trees and on the water there are always ducks, moorhens, and coots and often Canada geese. You sometimes see a heron there and I have even seen a kingfisher.  The wooded slopes of Bredon Hill rise up behind the pool.

In winter when the leaves are off the trees it can be a rather bleak and uninviting location. With one exception, this particular group of photographs was made on the same day, in early February 2020. I had for some time been experimenting with intentional camera movement (ICM) and this bleak winter day seemed to call for this approach.

It was a fairly dull day, and with the winter sun relatively low, there was no need to use a neutral density filter. With the ISO setting at its lowest, I found that focal lengths in the range f11–f18 gave me exposures of 2–4 second, which was plenty slow enough to achieve the blurred effects I was looking for.

I worked on the images in Lightroom, enhancing local contrast and using the vibrancy slider to increase colours a little. For some I also played with the colour temperature slider. A number of images were also developed in Color Efex Pro 4 to achieve different effects. With this kind of photography, it’s a question of playing around with image development software until you achieve something that reflects your own impressions of the scene at the time, rather than some kind of ‘factual’ accuracy. It’s magic realism rather than literal realism.

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