Embrace the gloom at Derwentwater
Despite the majority of the UK being desiccated by a record summer heatwave, we were greeted by two days of drizzle and downpours in the comparatively verdant Lakes. The grey light and featureless skies, plus a relentless curtain of rain, meant that a different approach was required to capture the landscape – something that Jennifer, who has a keen interest in documentary photography rather than classic landscapes, was keen to explore.
We’d initially planned to hike up to the top of Cat Bells to photograph the view across Derwentwater, but there wasn’t much of a view visible through the rain. So we made the short trip down to our first lakeside stop, Hawes End Ferry Landing. We had the place pretty much to ourselves apart from a few ducks and swans; as a ferry sliced through the murk, Jennifer lined up this frame.
“I was shooting handheld, with a shutter speed of 1/125 sec in order to avoid camera shake,” she explains. “I chose an aperture of f/4.5, as an extensive depth of field isn’t always that important to me – I’m always looking to capture a story with feeling, and tend to shy away from perfect clarity from front to back.”
We love the curve of the shore and branches that lead the eye to the boat in Jennifer’s composition. We’d be tempted to clone out the bright stone at the bottom of the frame, though.
Even though David came armed with a host of lenses, as soon as he was handed the D850 with a 50mm lens, he decided to use only this combination for the entire Shootout. He also chose not to use his tripod. “I was really just challenging myself to shoot in a more simple way while relying on the quality and dynamic range of the D850,” he reveals. “This image is all about the wet foreground rocks, and I shot it with a black-and-white conversion in mind. I wanted the jetty to be acceptably sharp in order to add context to the rocks, but I also wanted the background out of focus to help separate the elements, and I felt that an aperture of f/8 was my best compromise.
“As there was no detail in the sky because of the weather, I opted to exclude this blank canvas by framing the scene from beneath the overhanging tree near the shore. It stops the eye wandering out of shot and adds interesting detail. “In the end it took 14 shots to get this frame, as I was waiting for the ducks to move into the shot and face towards the left of the scene. I had to wait for five minutes before they did so.”
The way that David’s framed the layers of this scene creates a harmonious result, and he’s done a cracking job of bringing out the blend of textures – from spiky foliage to glossy, rippled rocks – with the blackand-white finish.
Challenge 1 Jennifer Berry
Challenge 1 David Goodier