Sometimes, for us landscapists, that which we are told is bad can work in our favour. Hot and humid summer days in the UK are not usually the best conditions for landscape photography. I speak from the experience of one who has wasted hours of effort getting to a location with half a plan to prove the folly of the wisdom, only to subsequently waste reams of film and processing materials because the folly was all mine and the wisdom was correct all along. Such is life and I’m more often amused than frustrated by the outcome, being thwarted should be laughed at, it really is the best way to deal with it.
Sometimes though, against the odds, it all works out. I met a friend for a walk along the shore of Rutland Water on one of those warm, humid and hazy summer days which, because of the company, will never be forgotten. Normanton Church was in my sights, always worth setting the tripod up for, and I decided to use the Fuji GSW690111 with Fuji Acros 100 because I wanted to make some long exposures. Well, long exposures are what water is for, so the Heliopan 9.0 nd filter came too and one of the reasons I like rangefinder cameras is because near-opaque filters can stay where they are screwed to the lens without tedious removing for composition and focus and re-attaching before making the exposure. No breeze meant no yachts, dinghies or windsurfers to complicate my composition and that was good. I had planned an almost featureless surface with just a little detail in the shallows of the foreground. The wooded shore in the background was sufficiently diffused by haze to give depth to the image, but without details to compete with the main subject. The sky was overexposing by several stops and everything was coming together to leave the old church isolated in the composition.
You reach a stage as a landscape photographer where you need to break rules and challenge the wisdom with fair confidence that you’ll realise your personal goals in the end. No doubt I’ll return to photograph Normanton Church again in different conditions and in different circumstances, but the memories that linger for me of this hazy summer’s day by Normanton Church are cast in stone, like the old church itself.
Normanton Church, Rutland. Fuji GSW690111, Fuji Acros 100, 10-stop neutral density filter.