November 2013 - A Second Autumn

Category: News 13 November 2013

December 2013 - A Second Autumn

Autumn colours and mist in the Dee Valley (Dyffryn Dyfrdwy) near Llangollen at dawn, Denbighshire, Wales.
Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/160 sec @ f5.6

It was supposed to be a weekend off, yet there I was creeping out of our friend’s house in the darkness before dawn trying not to disturb their well earned slumber, intent on trudging up a Welsh hill before the first light painted the landscape. Our hike the day before had confirmed the colours in the Dee Valley were finally, in mid-November, at their autumnal prime. As I drove through Llangollen the familiar excitement that precedes a promising shoot started to build. Tantalising, evocative mist lay amongst the russet toned trees lining the banks of the river. Yes my schedule over the last month since returning from the Yukon had been relentless and I really did need just a couple of days at home, but really, what else would I possibly prefer to be doing?

Horseshoe Falls near Llangollen at dawn, Denbighshire, Wales.
Canon 5D mkIII, 24-70mm lens @ 47mm, 4 secs @ f11.

At the Horseshoe Falls I extended the tripod legs ready to expose just before pink twilight filtered through the dawn sky above. With pixels duly exposed as the moment passed I started plodding up my chosen hill to the north, lungs heaving, tripod on the shoulder and the reassuringly familiar weight of my Lowepro on my back. As I climbed I reflected on my luck; I never dared dream tacking on a couple of days in Wales after the Chester Road Show could be so well timed, and fortuitous. Below the views of the valley looking its very best opened out. This was a real treat, and my second autumn in a year. The first had started in the woods of the Yukon over 2 months ago amongst the golden aspens and flame red fireweed. That trip had been an epic, as you will see in this month's Yukon Gold Video Blog. Then last weekend on Exmoor hosting our first Photo-Explorer Adventure the fall colours in the Lyn Valley were beautifully subtle, yet muted and restrained. That I assumed was my lot for this year's quota of orange leaves, I really didn't expect to get another bite of the autumn pie.

Watersmeet, where the valleys of the East Lyn and Hoar Oak Water merge, Exmoor National Park, Devon.
Despite the fact this was shot with our Workshop group in the pouring rain the first Photo-Explorer Adventure went well. We’ll be doing it again next year.
Canon 5D mkIII, 24-70mm lens @ 35mm, 6 secs @ f16, polarising filter.

So to the News. You may already be aware of the recent publication of my third book, The Vision which deconstructs the Art of Photography from Idea to Exposure. With less than six weeks to go I hope you agree it’s just about acceptable to mention this book could fit not very neatly into a Christmas stocking. You'll get a signed and personalised (if requested) copy with a pack of 5 of my Photography Cards thrown in to really stretch the stocking nylon when purchasing direct from us. Alternatively you could let your loved one choose their indulgence from our range of books, films, filter kits, prints, cards and f11 Memberships available from our on-line shop by giving a Gift Certificate. This year we've one specifically priced to cover the gift of a full year's f11 membership, entitling the recipient to receive the Chasing the Light eZine plus have access to all 23 (and counting) back issues and download the Composition Tutorials eBook worth £9.99, with more to come. F11 members also receive discounts on most products and can enter the Your Vision Competition. For all of £36 (approx. $58) surely it has to be an ideal present for any who love photography.

We have become aware of occasional confusion between this, our monthly free newsletter, and the Chasing the Light eZine. Let’s spell it out; to read the Chasing the Light eZine you have to be a signed up f11 Member, which costs £36 a year.  For that an f11 Member gets' access to all the inspirational articles, practical tests, field trials, guest features, video tutorials and films from behind the lens we publish every month, plus all the back issues. Now approaching its second anniversary the eZine has become the main focus of all that we do. It's the stimulus for trips such as our recent adventure in the Yukon, and quite frankly, I love doing it. It’s where all my accumulated passion for the joy of photography gets channelled these days. It’s where the best stuff gets published. Just this month for example we have a “Yukon Gold” Video Blog, an accompanying “Behind the Lens” feature, a “How it’s Done” piece on shooting the Northern Lights and two Video Tutorials on the post-production of the results. There's also an examination of the pros and cons of top-lighting in our regular “Seeing the Light” series, a Guest Feature by adventure photographer Marcin Jamkowski, and an analysis of the potential and pit falls of the Social Media phenomenon for photographers. “Stepping Back” revisits 1984 to wade through rivers with the Royal Marines as I photograph their gruelling green beret selection at the Commando Training Centre. There's the usual f11 Member's Gallery with feedback from yours truly, and finally the Your Vision Competition, with the chance to win a day in the field with me plus a whole range of prizes. If all that isn't worth £3 a month I don't know what is.

An image from this month’s “Behind the Lens” feature and Video Blog in the Chasing the Light eZine for f11 Members.
A juvenile Grizzly Bear, Kluane National Park, Yukon Territories, Canada.
Canon 1Dx, 200-400mm f4 L 1.4x lens @ 540mm, 1/320 sec @ f5.6.

In position on a hill top above the Dyffryn Dyfrdwy I waited. While the sun struggled to rise the mood of the scene below evolved as the mist wafted. It felt like I had Wales to myself. Such solitude beholding such scenes is what this game is all about, and what keeps rousing me out of bed well before the lark. Time to reflect on the last month; the Danish and Chester Road Shows, PhotoLive, the Exmoor Workshop, the Big Storm, meetings, plans, IT hassles and triumphs, the book publication, lectures, talks, demos, traffic jams, delayed trains, airport lounges and sterile hotel rooms; sometimes the Professional Photographer's Life seems to have very little to do with actually making pictures. All the more reason to savour such solitary moments of contemplation behind the lens on Welsh hilltops.

Eventually as the bright sun shone through the autumn colours glowed, but all too soon the mist burned off and the mood was lost. I strode down the hill, buzzing with post-shoot euphoria. The joys of the M6 were in store, but deadlines, commitments and the mountain of editing still awaiting were forgotten, for now. That's photography for you; often frustrating, time consuming and all demanding, but it does have the power to captivate and get us out before dawn to see sights we'd be unlikely to behold in the normal course of life. It’s a game that demands determination and perseverance, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Determination and perseverance will always triumph.
An image from this month’s “Stepping Back” feature in the Chasing the Light eZine for f11 Members, shot in 1984 at the Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines.

Keep exposing.


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David Noton Photography
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Milborne Port

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Every month we publish an issue of our unique magazine Chasing the Light exclusively for f11 members. With features from behind the lens and on the road with David Noton it combines stunning photography with David's unique style of writing. Technical features, humorous anecdotes, travel notes, a member's gallery, news and the stories behind the pictures make it an entertaining, informative and inspirational monthly read and information resource for all who love photography and travel. All this for less than the price of a coffee and a biscuit a month. F11 members can also download other exclusive content such as Despatches+ and video blogs for free as they become available.

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