There is no need to go to far away exotic places to enjoy your photography and I am always on the lookout for local places which lend themselves to a great picture. Arrow Valley Country Park is 20 minutes away by car and is situated close to Redditch town centre. In 1964, Redditch was designated a “new town” and has since kept the name. The town is often the butt of a Jasper Carrott joke about trying to escape the dreaded Redditch ring road. As it happens, you must leave the ring road to get to Arrow Valley Country Park.
I chose a winter’s afternoon to visit knowing from the Photographer’s Ephemeris that the sun lines up along the longest part of the lake at the end of January. When I arrived at the park, the sun was low, but an hour away from sunset so I started exploring around the lake. There is a concrete path that makes up a circular route around the lake. My first impressions were that this was detrimental to the natural layout, but I soon discovered paths leading into the adjacent woods. There was a lot more to this Country Park then I first thought.
The sun was getting lower and my main reason for coming was the sunset. There is a dip around the arrow point at the head of the park. The path comes close to the water’s edge and here you can feed the resident wildlife.
There were a few people gathered there so I had to make do with a point further up the path. This turned out to be a brilliant point of view, a place where the light took on a golden quality and lit up many of the trees and bushes. The heads of the rushes look like spotlights in the setting sun. For the main picture I used my wide angled lens on a tripod with a hard graduated LEE filter. This balanced the light perfectly as the sun touched the trees in the distance. I was not deliberately looking for the hyperfocal distance. However, my auto focus caught the edges of the framing trees and it tied in with the distance needed.
Enjoy the pictures of the park and the golden hour light.