Way- HEY!

Quiet celebrations at Château Scott.

I've been awarded first prize for the Landscape Section in the Charnwood Arts 2008 Photographic Competition, with this image ...

It was taken one winter's night, on the outskirts of Geneva, near the airport.

For those interested in the technical details: I used a Nikon D70s, mounted on a sturdy tripod, with a 19mm wide-angle lens. The exposure was 1/30sec at f5.

I was standing on a footbridge that crosses the highway, and I spotted its possibilities for a 'traffic trail' shot whilst I had been driving along this stretch a few days previously. (I know, I should have been concentrating on the road, but I find my 'photographic eye' a bit difficult to turn off sometimes.)

However, I suspected that there would be a problem getting the light right as, in winter, the trees are all a uniform brown so there would be little differentiation between the road and its verges. Maybe try the spot in spring?

Then, when it snowed, I realised the problem was solved. There was just enough snow to give an 'edge' to the bare trees and roadside, but not enough to bring traffic to a standstill. I jumped in my car, found my way to the footbridge access, and spent a freezing hour 'making' pictures. It was very icy.

At one point a man walking his dog passed and, from the look he gave me, he obviously thought I'd taken leave of my senses.

In the end the cold got too much, my batteries (both camera and personal) started to go flat. I retreated to sort out what 'd got - and I had quite a few photographs - back at home.

Apparently the competition attracted hundreds of entries from over 40 countries so I'm pleased with the result. You can read more details, and see the other winners, here.


DL NELSON said...

That is beautiful

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks D-L

Mighty Mom said...

Congratulations!! Great news!

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks Mighty Mom

Catherine Nelson-Pollard said...

Heh,heh, well done! Quiet celebrations ? Yeah right, I could hear the champagne popping over here in Nyon.....

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks Catherine. That wasn't champagne corks you heard. It was the police firing tear gas to break up hysterical crowds of merrymakers. :-) The neighbours were complaining.

livia said...

Congratulations! Good to hear it wasn't a shot any bloke could take. You had to work for it and use your photographers skills. That makes your reward even nicer, eh?

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks Livia. It does. But I find that most good photographs you have to work for, one way or the other - either setting them up, or waiting for just the right light/cloud formation/action/whatever. It's very rare that I get a brilliant 'snap' (though it has happened - subject of next post).

Somebody once said to me, dismissively, 'Photography's easy. It's just pushing a button'. Hmmm.

mollieb said...

I love the touch ups you made on this photo. Especially making the signs the same neon color as the road, and highlighting the snow with the fence posts. Overall contrast made it work. Takes a good eye and lots of practice to see what can be done to a photo to enhance it's qualities. Right?

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks for your comment mollieb. That’s an interesting interpretation.

But not quite right. I certainly did some post-processing, but I did no ‘touch ups’ to ‘enhance its qualities’ as you suggest. The signs are that colour. To be honest, I’ve no idea how I could change them, without it being blindingly obvious. And the highlighting of the snow comes from the cars’ headlights, accentuating its texture.

What did I do?

- Increased the colour saturation a little.

- Altered the contrast enough to bring up the darker areas and increase the texture in the sky. (Its orange colour comes from the sodium vapour street lights of Geneva.)

- Cloned out some dust spots and other junk.

- Applied a touch of sharpening as a final step because digital cameras, with an optical low pass filter in front of the sensor, blur the image by a few pixels.

That’s all.