Scenes from the Plantation

Our final visit to the Waterhouse Plantation in Bushy Park features some of the more scenic and abstract imagery from the parkland. We’ve already looked at the Waterhouse itself, some of the wildlife of the Plantation, and explored my creative-fog-induced obsession with recreating a photograph I took in April. Let’s get back to some post-processed scenes, such as this one.

a bench in front of some partially desaturated flowers
1/250sec, f/9, ISO 160, exposure bias -1.0, 18mm

With this image I’ve returned to an old technique I call selective chromatic removal. In other words, I’ve desaturated the red, yellow, green, cyan and blue hues and left only magenta, which has also left a hint of colour in the ground.

There are various streams and water channels (I’m stopping short of calling them rivers, since they are relatively small, but possibly too big to be considered streams; I’m not too ‘up’ on the technical classification of waterways) criss-crossing the plantation. Where these meet the pathways there are bridges of various types; in some places these were wooden structures, in others low-lying brick constructs.

shot of a stream leading under a bridge
1/20sec, f/8, ISO 500, 37mm

Ever (or perhaps just often) trying to get an unusual angle on things, I then proceeded to straddle this stream and fire my camera under the bridge.

shot under a narrow bridge
1/20sec, f/8, ISO 500, 37mm

Further along this stream opened out to become wider and shallower, where there were kids playing. There were a few shafts of light illuminating some discarded flowers that had probably only minutes before been the favourite plaything of one of the fickle children.

shot of a flower in a shaft of light in a pool
1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 500, exposure bias -0.67, 106mm
two flowers in shallow water
1/40sec, f/5.6, ISO 500, 106mm

A bit further round I found an amazingly colourful (although perhaps a little busy) scene surrounding part of the stream…

1/160sec, f/9, ISO 500, exposure bias -0.67, 18mm

… although this unspoilt scene was soon disturbed by a duck.

1/250sec, f/8, ISO 1000, exposure bias -0.67, 70mm

Unlike most of the other bridges in the Planation, the bridge from where I took the above couple of shots was not wooden, but an weather-worn metal of some kind, inhabited at least at some point by some kind of small, web-creating creature such as a spider or Tim Berners-Lee.

black and white shot of a spiderwebbed gate
1/320sec, f/9, ISO 500, exposure bias -1.33, 75mm

With the harsh, bright sun we had at the time (as I write this, it is pouring with rain outside, two weeks after this trip), the areas underneath the foliage were blissfully cool, especially those areas that had water as well.

shallow stream on a sunny day shaded by trees
1/10sec, f/7.1, ISO 250, exposure bias -0.33, 18mm

With scenes like this, which are full of colour, sometimes I find it interesting like in the opening image, to remove all but one hue. I find it interesting; whether it is successful as an image or not I’m never quite sure. It does sometimes feel like tinkering for tinkering’s sake.

1/400sec, f/8, ISO 400, exposure bias -0.67 (-0.26), 18mm

There are many varying types of scene at the Waterhouse Plantation, although most, to be honest, involve some kind of plant-based life.

1/250sec, f/8, ISO 400, exposure bias -0.67 (+0.27), 18mm

In this image I love the shadows of the trees and the detailing of the foliage.

A little further on I found a pile of logs.

pile of logs in a planted area
1/800sec, f/3.5, ISO 250, exposure bias -0.67, 18mm
1/60sec, f/8, ISO 1000, exposure bias -0.67 (-0.51), 18mm

I’d taken a very similar shot on my first trip to the Plantation. It’s interesting to compare the two images, taken just over a year apart, to see my own evolution as a photographer. A shot like the one a year ago would probably have been deleted in the first edit.

Our final image in this set is of a partially desaturated bench.

1/125sec, f/8, ISO 400, exposure bias -1.0, 18mm

This shot is a bit interesting; I’ve desaturated the six major colours (red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta) but this has still left some hints of colour in the dirt and the bench, which is a result I quite like.

That’s the lot of my shots from the Waterhouse Plantation. I split the images across a series of posts, grouping them thematically, in the hope of making shorter, more digestible posts – and in the process making the posts quicker to write. I’m not entirely sure it has worked – engagement seems to be down, unless you collate across all the posts. I’m always interested to hear your feedback, so let me know what you think in the comments – or, if you’re a bit shy, you can use the form on this page.

For future posts (the temptation to use the phrase ‘going forwards’ there instead depressingly reminds me I must have spent too long in middle management) I’m going to play things by ear to see and break up posts if they feel too long or have naturally disparate themes.

3 Comments

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  1. The selective desaturation is interesting where you’ve used it in this post. I recall it from other ocassions, and it looked good, but to my eye it doesn’t quite work so well in these images. I don’t know why, it’s possible you took a little too much colour out? Or perhaps the bright sun made changed the way the colours behaved… either way, just an opinion (as ever!).

    My favourite in this post by a long way is the grass/trees shot. I like that you can’t see the tops of the trees but they’re a tall, vertical presence which gives it an almost geometric appearance in contrast to the wild grass. Lovely colours again too.

    If you had used ‘going forwards’ I might have thrown something very heavy at you at our next meeting.

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    • I may have gone a bit too far with the desaturating. As I said earlier I’m in a bit of a creative rut at the moment which meant I was clutching at straws a little bit hoping to make the photos serviceable and not just dull bushes.

      I’m glad you like the tree/grass shot. Whilst I was editing it was teetering on the edge of deletion; I liked it but I really can’t explain why. The temptation was there to try some desaturation or some other technique to make it more vibrant, I’m pleased I didn’t now!

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      • I hate the times when nothing is quite coming together right. But the trees shot really is good. And a little in line with what you said in another comment about having parallel photo subjects as I’ve taken a few that are similar in style in Italy! You’ve beaten me to it this time…

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