6am, Busk, Summer - An Unintentional Photograph

In the summer I tend to wake with the early morning light, stumble downstairs to make the first cup of tea of the day, then sit on the doorstep to let the fresh air bring me round.

On this morning I was disturbed by the chattering of swallows on the power line that runs through the field below the house. I’d never before seen so many,  80 or more at one point,  and as more flew in they’d scatter for a second or two before  settling back once more into stillness, and eventually silence. It was quite a gathering! 

There’s usually a camera not far away and soon I was composing an image with the thought that the swallows on the line, against the mist, were the shot, and that in post processing I’d be able to bleach out the mist to produce a graphical interpretation of the scene.

Intended Image

It was only during post processing that I noticed the shape of the of cut meadows dotted by hay bales on Ten End, which in the mist seemed to take on an almost magical quality. I played with the composition and the tones a little more to produce the final result. 

Cut Meadows & Hay Bales

As befitting an unintended image it has its flaws (I wasn’t thinking at all about the shadows at all when shooting), but hopefully the flaws add to the atmosphere.

Shadow Noise

The image in some ways sums up mid July at Busk; early morning hill fog, families of swallows perched on the power line, freshly mown meadows and hay bales. It’s not a typical sunny July day, but it often isn’t in the Upper Dales! 

Of late I’ve come across this phenomena a lot in my photographs; finding during post-processing that there’s a different composition or aspect ratio (more of this perhaps in a later post) or detail, that changes the nature of the image for the better. I wonder whether this is because I’m just so zoned in on one thing that other interesting elements just become invisible, or whether I just don’t look hard enough, or whether it’s only when looking at the image during post processing on a big screen, and with the benefit of distance between the taking and the processing, that they reveal themselves.  It’s probably a combination of all of these things, but ultimately it all comes down to looking and this is one thing I need to constantly work at.  Sometime I’m able to return to a place and re-shoot, but with a shot like this the stars only align for the briefest of moments before the opportunity is lost.

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