Autumn swirl at Padley Gorge

Autumn Swirl at Padley Gorge

While recently shooting at Padley Gorge in the Peak District I found I’d missed the best of the autumn colours and wider shots didn’t quite seem to work. Chatting to a couple of walkers I discovered I’d overshot by two weeks, but rather than give up it was a case of tackling the location in a different way.

This small setback pushed me onto looking at the landscape more creatively. Slowing down to see the images that I might normally miss with wider scenics grabbing attention. This shot was a six second exposure of a slow moving swirl pool in the stream.I was drawn to the leaves on the rock protruding from the water. Even though the surrounding water was moving slowly, the image itself instantly revealed itself. So with nothing more than a polariser I set about capturing the image I had in mind. 

Padley Gorge Autumn Swirl behind the scenes

While the most obvious approach would have been to use a 10 stop ND filter, I decided that an exposure lasting for a few minutes rather than a handful of seconds would create too much blur. Deciding on how to approach long exposures is always a challenge because there’s little right or wrong, and personal taste always plays a part. But it’s safe to say that some subjects work better than others for more ‘normal’ or ‘extreme’ long exposures. 

Focus stacking at Padley Gorge

Focus stacked waterfall at Padley GorgeWorking close up to foreground interest meant some images had to be focus stacked to maintain sharpness throughout the image. With a scene like the one above it was easy to blend the two images together because the water running through the centre of the image was the point where  focus split.

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