Quiet Morning in Crabwood / by Graham Dew

With the house now devoid of the Christmas decorations and the skies filled with endless grey, it’s all feeling quite wintry and ‘January’ this weekend. I decided to head off to Crabwood, a small nature reserve and managed woodland near Winchester yesterday morning. A heavy mist hung around the woods muffling sound and softening the light; it felt as though the countryside was asleep.

Quiet Morning in Crabwood 1, January 2013 © Graham Dew

Quiet Morning in Crabwood 1

There is always something to look at if you have the time and the right frame of mind, and it was not long before I found a few subjects that would act as suitable motifs to capture the experience of being out among the trees. I had taken along my new flashgun plus brolly & lighting stand to add some light to energise the pictures. The biggest problem on flat dull days is one of poor lighting on key subjects. Just a small touch of light from a flash is needed to draw attention to the subject, to lift it from its surroundings. It took the brolly along so that I could give my subjects diffuse soft lighting.

Quiet Morning in Crabwood 2, January 2013 © Graham Dew

Quiet Morning in Crabwood 2
I was using my new Metz 52 AF-1 flashgun that I’ve just got to supplement the Lumix G3. The primary reason for getting this model was the high speed synchronisation feature, which allows me to use shutter speeds in excess of the normal X-sync of the camera. In this way I can use large lens apertures to give me the shallow depth of field that I want for pictorial reasons and still be able to add light to the pictures. On most camera systems you need both camera and flashgun to have this synchronisation (also known as Focal Plane or FP mode). Fortunately all micro four thirds cameras are equipped for this, but you still need to get a fairly high end flash unit to offer this functionality. I’ll write more about the Metz over the coming weeks, but for now I’m pleased that the new unit is opening up creative opportunities in the way that I hoped it would.