Scenic View of the Exmoor Countryside

by David Gibbeson

It is a long time since I have just gone out in the car with my camera and no solid plan in place. While driving on to Exmoor national park in the late afternoon, my only plan was to drive around and see what caught my eye. I have been trying to open my eyes to more isolated scenes that I can capture with longer focal lengths. It was nice to be in the open countryside with a flask of coffee, my amateur radio on and the sun out, just absorbing the beauty of the Somerset countryside.

Driving over Winsford Hill as I have many times before, I saw some nice trees in the distance that I hadn’t fully appreciated until now. The light was too harsh though. However, I decided that that would be what I would shoot once the light was more favourable.


The most amazing side light

On my return, the scene before me made me smile. The countryside beyond was bathed in stunning sidelight from the low sun. This formed amazing shadows across the luminescent greens awash with sunlight. I found myself walking quite far to try to find the right composition. The sun was close to the field of view for the compositions that I wanted, which made shooting more challenging.

One of the shots I captured was the one above. I love how the three trees are aligned, complimented by the sheep grazing in the golden light in the middle of the scene. In an ideal world I would have avoided the trees in the foreground, but this doesn’t detract from the scene in this case. I cropped out the sky as it added nothing to the image and some of the background. I like the image in a larger crop too but felt that the 1:3 aspect ratio is more balanced.


Using longer focal lengths

I have been trying to isolate scenes in my landscape photography rather than just use a wide point of view to keep fresh. I think it is important to try to find ways to view things differently. The “intimate landscape” is a term thrown around by many photographers. Finding the right perspective for each scene is something that is worth giving attention to, regardless of the focal length. It can be all too easy to get into the habit of shooting at one focal length all the time, or to use a particular lens. I shot this photo at 188mm on my 70-200 lens. A longer zoom lens is something I really want to add to my kit list. I have already spotted potential compositions that the 70-200mm just isn’t long enough for.



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