It is always a challenge to shoot directly into the sun. Your lens has to be scrupulously clean to avoid flare, and even then, it is difficult to avoid. In this shot the dynamic range was such that bracketing was unavoidable. I shot this with three exposures – the first at 1/400 sec and then 1/800 and 1/1600. This gave just enough dynamic range between the three. Blending the shots also meant that, despite the fast shutter speeds (which help with sharpness in the high winds), I could retain some impression of movement in the low scudding clouds. I also loved the lichen on the rock in the foreground, which is a very deliberate feature of this composition. It is quite possible that it is there because someone applied some organic matter to the rock years ago to encourage the growth of the lichen. Whatever the cause, it made for an interesting shot. There is also the added bonus that the top two levels of the rock have the appearance of a crouching animal – paws forward – as it surveys the valley below. Perhaps I should call this one “The Beast of the Moors”?
There is a brooding mood about this image; almost a sense of anticipation. Once you are aware of the possibilities of the foreground, your imagination begins to get to work on the deeper image. It is hard to resist. Recollections of black-and-white films spring to mind; including the obvious Hound of the Baskervilles. But I choose a gentler path – the “beast” is at rest, entranced by the landscape beyond; the season is about to change and autumn is in the air. It will not be long before the first frosts of winter and the odd flurries of snow transform this place. Winter coats will return and nature will test the resilience of all things that venture here. The soft tones of a breezy summer evening will become the cold iron of long nights and bitter wind. Even so, the far-off light, breaking through the broken cloud, reminds us that there is always hope beyond the gathering storms of this life.
The powerful foreground and the the dramatic skies give a sense of depth that is only increased by the sunlight glancing off the distant fields. Please watch out for the video about this trip that comes out later today (6th Sept 2019) at 4.00 pm UK time.
For the tech-minded – it is shot on the Sony RX10IV, 24mm, F/5.0 and with a soft grad 2-stop ND filter. Post-processed in Lightroom Classic. I could have compensated for the lower exposure/dark shadows on the rocks in the upper-right foreground (the crouching animal), but I like the drama of the near-silhouette. I hope you enjoy…