HDR in the Rain

The light at lunchtime yesterday was really interesting – a mixture of blue sky and stormy clouds that created patterns of light and shade on the landscape. The radar maps looked like it was going to be like this until 3 pm so, after an early lunch, we set off with cameras, arriving at the Chew Valley car park at 1:40pm. As we exited the car, the first few drops of rain appeared and the blue sky was almost completely covered over by dark clouds. There had been beautiful light across the valley as we approached, but it suddenly had disappeared. We decided there was no point in turning back now; at least we would take some exercise, if not some photographs.

My first goal was an area close to the “life for a life” memorial tree plantation, where you can stroll down between mature trees to the water’s edge…except you can’t now. Since the last time I was there, fences have been erected. It’s still possible to access the area by a roundabout route through the memorial plantation, but it was awkward and slippery over the mud and wet rocks, so I will leave that for another day.

Chew Brook in early October

Instead, we walked back to the main path to photograph the part of Chew Brook above the bridge, another scene that I have photographed many times in different weather. Undeterred by the light rain and low light, I decided that I might get the best out of the scene by bracketing exposures, as the sky still had some bright patches and the shade under the trees was deep. This also gave me the opportunity to test the auto-bracketing feature of the EOS R, a camera that I haven’t used as often as I should outdoors, because I am still not convinced that I like the electronic viewfinder (though it’s camera that’s wonderful in the studio).

The resulting photographs have been processed in Photoshop’s HDR engine, by creating a 32 bit image which was then adjusted in camera RAW before finally burning and dodging and making other local adjustments.

The single image above is my favourite and I am sure that it will make a good print, but I’ve also included a few more here, which were also taken at the brook.

© Christine Widdall