Saturday, 22 June 2013

A walk in the rain

If you are caught unprepared by a sudden rainstorm, you should not run foolishly down the road or hide under the eves of houses. You are going to get soaked either way. Accept that from the beginning and go on your way. This way you will not be distressed by a little rain. Apply this lesson to everything.

Hagakure: Way of the Samurai

Paraphrased and shortened to “It’s only believing you can stay dry that makes walking in the rain unpleasant” this is one of my favourite sayings. Even as a teenager I liked walking in the rain. It saturates all the colours, and highlights all the greens you find in the countryside and at the same time adds a sort of mistiness to more distant things. It also keeps people indoors, which means you can get lost in your own thoughts. And these days I don’t do it often enough.

Which is why, on a drizzly evening earlier this week I thought it was time I should try it again.

A walk in the rain (vii)  A walk in the rain (viii)  A walk in the rain (x)

I’m slightly red-green colour blind, but not enough for it to stop me enjoying the variety of greens I can find in the local hedgerows, and the mix of damp days and warm sunny days we’ve had over the last couple of weeks means everything is growing like a rain forest. I feel there’s a project for someone better informed than me to photograph every variety of grass in the UK.

Oddly enough, water is a key feature of walking in the rain. Running down the drains, running down the road and simply lying on the tarmac offering the opportunity for perspective bending reflections.

A walk in the rain (ix) A walk in the rain (vi) A walk in the rain (iii)

I’ll have to be honest I’ve cheated on the last shot and turned it upside down.

As if the hedgerows weren’t enough the nature patch next door has its own range of greens, from the fresh blue-greens of the pine trees to the lush greens of the swampy bits.One thing this fairly simple exercise has shown me is how sensitive the overall tone of the image is to the white balance in these circumstances. If I use the cameras automatic setting I end up with a relatively cool finish as in the three photos above, whereas manually setting the “cloudy” option in Lightroom gives a rather warmer and more verdant feel to the end product.

 A walk in the rain (i)  A walk in the rain (iv)  A walk in the rain (v)

My final couple of shots are about transition, as the plants move from attracting insects to producing seeds.Again the white balance makes a significant difference, but having tried  a variety of options I definitely prefer them as displayed here. In truth, looking at the range of images here I think I have a slight preference for cooler shots overall.

A walk in the rain (xi)    A walk in the rain (ii)

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