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This is a shot from last year that I was hoping to improve upon this year. All I wanted was a more interesting sky – now that’s not a lot to ask for is it?! We haven’t really had the skies this spring but more to the point is that the foreground field has been sown to crops and the whole scene is just too green (how poetic :)) Somehow it looks very flat and, considering it’s a beautiful view of a quintessentially English village, it actually looks a bit uninteresting. I guess that’s my problem with this shot – the sky lacks any pizzazz and somehow seems to suck some of the life out of the picture.Funny, although it looks incredibly peaceful and you can almost hear the birdsong, I was actually sat on the side of a busy main road and any birdsong was obliterated by the constant roar of speeding traffic behind me. The reason for choosing this particular spot to shoot from was that the raised embankment was the perfect vantage point. No doubt I got a few funny looks but I was too preoccupied watching the light change as the sun slowly rose until it finally peeked over the hills behind to pick out the village from the background hills. It was an anxious waiting game – would there be enough light on the village before it lost the subtle early morning softness and become too harsh …..

My approach to photography has changed recently and rather than simply shooting what’s there I’m starting to have a mental image of how I’d like the scene to look and set out to try and capture this. It’s certainly raised new challenges and I’m learning a lot but, I wonder, maybe you can become too focussed on an ‘ideal image’? Maybe you can capture great shots but is there a risk they end up becoming formulated and samey? Is there an ideal middle ground? Do you end up being limited by your own imagination? Maybe you need some sort of ‘vision’ without losing spontaneity and the ability to react to what’s in front of you? What do you think? How do you approach things and more importantly does it work?!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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