The Colour of Atmosphere

Padley Gorge, the Peak District. Fuji X-T3, 16-80mm lens at 32mm. ISO160, 1.6″ at f/13.0

In last weeks blog post I shared an image together with my thoughts about the direction of landscape photography. I liked the image I shared because it was very natural and could mark a new direction in my work. The post appears to have resonated with a few people who commented positively.

This week I want to share another image that’s a departure from my usual style. As before the colour are strong but not through saturation or strong contrast. In fact, this image doesn’t have a lot of contrast at all because of the mist.

What really struck me when taking this shot is that I was able to clearly imagine the finished image. The conditions were quite dull and there was a lot of blue light from the mist in the trees. But the strongest colour seemed to be the green from all the moss; it was literally glowing. I think it was this combination of blue and green that created the atmosphere which helped fuel my imagination. It feels to have created the perfect atmosphere for these strange and twisted trees.

When I came to process the image, it made me think about how much the colour in an image can affect our perception of the mood. I realise I’m stating the obvious, particularly if you have an artistic background but I think we photographers don’t think about this enough. I for one will be considering the colour palette of my images more in the future. I’ll also be looking for ways to control this during capture and post-processing. It could well be something that I want to develop much more.

The image is a single frame captured two days ago with my Fuji X-T3 and Fuji 16-80 lens. Shot with the camera tripod-mounted at ISO160 with a shutter speed of 1.6” at f/13.0. It was around an hour after sunrise.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

22 thoughts on “The Colour of Atmosphere

  1. I wish you all a very good Christmas, and good health for the new year. Robin reading your information on your images I find very informative, I shall be interested to see how your new approach to image editing goes.
    Best Wishes to you all.
    John Steadman.

  2. You may care to take a look at the work of Hans Strand and Eliot Porter. Hans is probably the best living exponent of images like this. Eliot Porter was the first intimate landscape photographer amongst other things. Both are brilliant artists.

    1. Thank you. Yes I’m very aware of both Photographers although I tend to think of Hans for his aerial shots rather than his intimate landscapes.

  3. Lovely, I really like it. Must go to the Peak District one day …
    My Nikon is collecting dust since I got the Fuji XT-3 this year. 🙂

    Happy Holidays and all the best for for 2020.🧚🏻‍♀️🤶🏻🎄🎅🏻🧚🏻‍♀️
    Warm greetings from the wintery coast of North Norfolk 🌊
    The Fab Four of Cley 😊😊😊😊

    1. I never used to like the Peak District but now I think it’s wonderful as I do the X-T3. Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have wonderful light in Norfolk.

  4. Lovely image, similar to some by Joe Cornish at Padley Gorge. I see you used the Fuji 16-80 and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the lens, I’ve had mixed results with it. Have a great Christmas.

    1. Thanks. Someone else said Joe Cornish had shot something similar at Padley. I think he should stick to North Yorkshire and keep off my patch! Only joking. I need to look this one up as he’s a great photographer and you have my interest as to what he might have shot. As for the 16-80 lens, I love it. It’s very sharp and the focal range is perfect for me. Initially, I had problems because I think the lens profiles were poor and really stretched the corners of the frame causing them to look unnatural and soft. This appears to have been corrected in recent software updates and possibly in the new firmware for the lens. The only thing I don’t like is that image stabilisation is always on. It makes panning to shoot panoramics on a tripod difficult. I’ve also seen it trying to stabilise an image repeatedly when it’s on a tripod so the image looks like it’s jumping in the viewfinder. It could be this was fixed in the recent firmware upgrade.

  5. Lovely muted image and yet the moss seems to glow. I do like more natural coloured images as the trend to hyper saturated ones makes me think of the fad a few years back of saturated bracketed images that just didn’t look real.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I’ve now taken a dislike to a lot of overly saturated work including my own. I’m going to have some reprocessing to do for some I think.

  6. Hi Robin,
    I heartily agree with your sentiments. It is reminiscent of the debates that took place back in the 1980s when photographers went mad with colour film and filters. We are now deluged with over- worked digital photography in publications and alas, photographic exhibitions in the club network. A well known darkroom guru I worked with for 10 years explaining the secrets of how to ‘dodge and burn’ was that the viewer should not be aware that anything had been done to the finished print. In those days it was making allowance for the limitations of equipment and film. Todays digital cameras take care of all this apart from being too sensitive to light needing filtration.
    The photographer needs to make notes about camera settings, atmospherics of the scene, light etc.
    Happy Christmas

    1. Thank you. You’ve just reminded me of a friend who used to buy a new Cokin Special effects filter each week back in the 80’s. I wonder how many of his shots he still has from those days. I think the best approach for me to follow now is to keep it looking natural and believable. Have a great Christmas.

  7. Hi Robin, I really like your finished image. It brings to mind the garden of the Addams Family, or what I imagine that garden would look like. I’ve taken similar shots myself but not quite known how to edit them in post. When I convert to black and white and post them on Flickr I often get remarks that they’re too dark and not defined enough. If I made them brighter and more defined, to me it would take away the atmosphere of the scene when I took the shot. Is this a modern day failing?
    All the best for Christmas and the New Year and I hope to see more of your work then.

    Nigel Crooks (Settle, North Yorkshire)

    1. Thanks Nigel. The trick when processing this image was to drop the Contrast considerably I also ensured there wasn’t a true black in the image. This is what allows me to make the scene dark but at the same time allow you to see into the shadows. It may work with your black and white images as well.

      1. Many thanks for this advice, Robin. I will try it out over the Christmas holidays.
        Have a great Christmas.
        Nigel Crooks

  8. I really liked that picture. Rather than pure landscape, it’s something I’d like to see more often.
    By chance, I did a similar photo a few days before. Also a twisted tree trunk invaded by moss. But your photo exudes more mystery and atmosphere. As you explain, it’s mainly due to the lower contrast and mist. But I also think because of the angle of shooting with this forest of branches in the background. While for mine, I reinforced the contrast a little and attenuated the green of the moss. Besides, it was a fairly clear day (without mist).

    I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year 2020. Greetings from Luxembourg.

    1. Thanks. The reason I don’t show a lot of this type of scene is that it’s not easy to find good areas. On this particular morning, it also became quite difficult to shoot because of the number of photographers in the area. I went to another part of the woods and there were so many people everyone was getting in everyone else’s way. Good locations are rare so they are popular. You also need the right conditions. I have other shots of the area when the conditions aren’t so good and they look terrible. Hopefully, I will have more opportunities to shoot other material as winter takes hold. Have a great Christmas.

  9. Charming in a Lord of The Rings trilogy cinema-photograhy manner.!

    Merry everything and Happy always …
    from Agde, France this holiday season.
    The Mugglebutts

    1. Thank you very much. I’ve managed to capture a couple more since and hope to share them soon.

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