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Field Note : In the old days, when we used film, it was often said that the Holy Grail was a momentary but scintillating shaft of light that bathed the landscape in gorgeous light allowing us to capture both beauty and the view in question at its best. With digital, it is easier to 'improve' a slightly lacklustre image in terms of the quality of light, its colour, saturation, hue and intensity and I don't find that a problem in itself; it's a subjective art form we practice, not a science and the means to the end are nearly always justifiable if the audience understands those means and, ultimately, we enjoy the image. For that's surely what it's all about; creating good images. The type of camera, lens or filter used is irrelevant if the image is poor. All that matters is the image. So did I 'zap' this shot to improve? Actually, no, I think I may have had to tone it down for this was one of those rare moments of light that lasted no more than 30 seconds and caught me a little by surprise. A bank of cloud sat out to sea in the east killing my chances of a glorious sunrise sky and I was sat wondering whether I should pack up and go back to bed (this being early summer) when suddenly the cloud parted, momentarily, and allowed this intense quality of light flood onto the castle and landscape around me. I had to dash up the sand to some rocks for my foreground, hurriedly drop the tripod, attach the camera, compose, check exposure, aperture and focus point and shoot. Barely a couple of frames were made before the light switched off. Did I get it? A group of photographers were in position out of view closer to the castle at a more well known viewpoint and the competitive side of me would die if they nailed a cracker and I was left empty handed having missed this rare opportunity, for it it these moments I strive for. I'm pleased with the shot, the necessarily quick reaction and choice of nearby foreground interest was left to a bit of chance in that although I'd scoped this view out with these rocks, the fact I was still close enough to get there in time was a blessing. It also meant I had a view that was 'mine' and shared only by me and those that look at my work. I did pass the group of photographers back in the car park and I hope they made something of this light in their own way, I'm just pleased (and relieved) to have caught this moment for myself.
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