Photo of the Day – 9 April 2017: Dawn on the River Ant

Posted on 19th April 2017 by Admin under Comment, Location, Photograph, Technique
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If you had asked me where I expected to get my favourite image during my camera club’s long weekend in Norfolk, I would have said How Hill.  The River Ant, which is the location of this photo, flows past and is a scenic spot.  We had visited the previous day and opted to return for our dawn shoot.  In particular, there is a disused windmill on the bank of the river which I visualised would make an attractive feature.  As it turned out, I could not get a satisfactory composition which incorporated it.  That will be the subject of a post I plan for a later date.  What I got instead get was this photo, which was completely unexpected.

Dawn on the River Ant at How Hill

Dawn on the River Ant
(Click on the image for a larger version)


Conditions that morning were promising.  There was some fog visible as we left hotel and it was really thick in places as we drove to How Hill.  It offered the prospect of some atmospheric misty shots on the river.  We arrived just as the sun was about to rise and set up our tripods.  I positioned myself at what I considered the best spot, windmill included.  In truth, there were some issues with the composition, but I thought I could make it work.  At that point, the sun was behind a hill, so it was a question of waiting for it to appear above the trees growing there.  I took a series of pictures as the light changed.

After a while, I started to look for alternatives, which is when I found the shot you see here.  The view did not seem remarkable the previous day, but the mist and dawn light transformed it.   The boats which you see here were not present on my first visit.  They had arrived after I left,  taking advantage of the free overnight mooring.


What makes the shot work?  The main factor is the mist, with a diagonal line of boats coming out of it.  I was fortunate with the second boat from the right.  It has just enough colour to lift the scene and is positioned on the right vertical third.  The reflections in the water also add interest.  Obviously, there is a crop to remove a lot of the sky and river, which do not add anything.  I did consider whether I needed to include the opposite bank and left it in.  It provides balance and there is some orange in the vegetation which provides an echo of the boat.

One problem I did have was that I had gone to the location with seven other photographers.  It is great having the company, but they can get in the way.  There is someone just to the right of this shot whom I thought I had excluded.  Wrong.  There is a vestigial sliver of photographer in the full image.  I removed the offending figure through a combination of cropping and use of Lightroom’s spot removal function.  It was just within the limits of what the tool can do.

While I have shown the shot here as a low resolution JPEG, it is destined to become a print.  It should look good on matte paper.  Digital images are all very well, but there is nothing to beat a well executed print.

This post is part of my occasional “Photo of the Day” series.  I publish shots which I think might be of interest and tell the story behind them.  They might not necessarily be portfolio standard images, nor the final version, but still be of sufficient interest for inclusion in my blog.  If I do not show a shot on any given day, it does not mean that I did not take any photographs, just that I did not get anything worthwhile.  For me, that is part of the fun of photography.  Not knowing what I will find on a shoot when I have nothing planned.

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