Surprisingly I have never been inside Sutton Park. Why not I ask myself, having lived in Birmingham and Solihull for over 35 years. I have been to Sutton Coldfield many times but not to the park. With some meetings cancelled, I planned a visit and got there around 45 minutes before the sun was to set. I timed my walk to be at Bracebridge pool when the sunset was due to take place.
It was muddy on the trails and I did get distracted by Blackroot pool on the way as the tree lined avenue next to the train line was glowing in the setting sun. Eventually I arrived on the shore of Bracebridge and I sat down to admire the colours of the sunset. I had debated whether to bring my tripod with me and I therefore played around with the ISO and left it at 400. The colours were beautiful, and I lingered a long time around the pool.
It was dark getting back and the prospect of negotiating the woods alone but luckily I met a couple who were disorientated and wanted to get back to the same car park. The park does get very quiet when the sun goes down. I came back and processed my pictures.
There was one I was particularly proud about and I received some interesting comments on it from Ewen in the British Tech Network Slackroom.
“So at that distance F10 to F8 is zero noticeable difference and F10 to F5.6 would have been a small enough amount for sharpening to reduce the difference. Handheld I expect myself to be able to shoot successfully at 1/15th There are trees there to brace against or you take off your shoe laces and tie them around the camera and hold the other end under you feet to get a taught line to pull against. All of these give you extra stops back to reduce the ISO. My first choice is always to maintain the lowest ISO and highest image quality as possible. Zooming in you already have excess grain in the water through the higher ISO and lower light level. Secondly, when adjusting the RAW file, use of ‘highlight’ slider to reduce the glare form the sun is the starting point as you need to get the ambient light on the rest of the image up. Your job is to balance the colours AND the textures. You’d nailed the textures but lost the awesome colours in everything but the clouds around the sun. Your next question is ‘what looks natural’ and when looking towards the Sun, your natural vision is ‘blown out’ in order to see the other details, so its ok to burn out the clouds around the sun a little more than you feel the histogram is telling you to. In that way you see more of the great detail in the trees and lake and you still get great colours in the clouds…just a little further away from the sun.”
Always good to get such advice and thanks Ewen.
If you are thinking about visiting Sutton Park then there is a good website from Birmingham City Council which has maps and information.
Sutton Park, Birmingham City Council