No. 1/32: #Project 32

Verulamium Park, St Albans

This shot was really a kick start for me, It was my birthday and earlier in the day I had settled on the thought process behind #Project 32 after some consideration for days.

So, the sun was out and there were some interesting clouds in the sky in the late afternoon, my girlfriend and I headed down to the park for a nice walk around the lake before onwards for birthday dinner. As the conditions looked like there could be some nice colour in the sky later I loaded up the camera bag and tripod. The recent heavy rains had 'flooded' the lake and there was a lone bench on something of a peninsula of dry land. This particular area is pretty popular with the duck/swan feeding fraternity so I experimented a little with some shots of the wildlife and as usual that didn't press my buttons, in fact it was a little intimidating being slowly surrounded by hungry geese and swans, not sure if it was good or bad that we didn't have any bread to give them!

Not a massive fan of the geese, I'm looking suitably worried!

Not a massive fan of the geese, I'm looking suitably worried!

However, it did allow a little time to assess the area and possible viewpoints for when the sun finally sank and the colours ignited.

Sitting on location, waiting for the sun to drop. Pic courtesy of Giulia and iPhone!

Sitting on location, waiting for the sun to drop. Pic courtesy of Giulia and iPhone!

I had the shot I wanted in mind, it was just a case of waiting for the sun to drop. As the sun dropped so did the temperature and it wasn't long before it was approaching dusk and I was really starting to test the patience of my poor girlfriend. I'm pretty sure watching someone else in the semi-dark fiddling with a camera in the middle of January only holds a certain appeal so my heartfelt thanks go to Giulia for her constant support and patience!

I experimented with a couple of other shots and angles etc, my opinion is divided on the shot below for example, I don't think it quite works; the foreground and centre are a little too dark and I hadn't exposed correctly enough to bring enough light back in the post-processing, plus I don't totally like the dynamic of the composition:

Not quite, an experiment of sorts but not everything will work as you see it at the time.

Not quite, an experiment of sorts but not everything will work as you see it at the time.

 

It was a good 25-30 minutes after the official sunset that I got the shot that I was finally pleased with. In such dark conditions (a) focusing was not much fun as the auto on the camera had nothing to lock onto in the dark and (b) setting manually using the rules of 'hyperfocal distancing' is all well and good but again the semi-dark and impending feeling of worry about being in a town centre park in the dark on a Saturday night probably added to the challenge! Anyway, we got the shot and avoided any random muggers or lunatics on the dark walk back to the car. I was pretty happy with the end result, especially because it required very little post-processing, probably the least of any shot I've ever published in fact. I must admit getting quite a buzz seeing the picture review on the lcd screen at the time of taking the shot, I'm glad we hung around until it was seemingly too dark and others with perhaps less persistence may have packed up. You can see the final shot and all the other #Project 32 images here.