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The Clear, The Cold & The Graduated Sky

It appears that I am a day behind. Having tapped off at least 100 images a day for the last 3 or 4 days a backlog is a certainty. Yes, here I am wanting to blog about yesterday(Friday)  and finding that I am having to include images from as far back as Wednesday and Thursday. So on this note, let me jump back to Wednesday. 05:45 and I hop out of bed to do a “sky-check”. Our bedroom faces west and I have no view to the east unless I wander through the house to look out of another window. If I am truthful I can actually look westwards without getting out of bed as I can see the sky between the blind and curtains. Checking the weather and the cloud base therefore means getting out of bed. A quick totter to the window revealed a clear sky, twinkling stars and an over flying aircraft with a feint vapour trail in the dark but slowly paling sky.

Coming up with new ideas for a decent sunrise shot is getting quite difficult. Yeadon Tarn is a great place for wildlife, water and trees as foreground and even aircraft. As am sure you will appreciate that once you have done something a few times it’s actually nice to have a change and try a different approach. Over 2012 I tried one or two different locations including the airport all of which proved very successful. I discovered that spreading the locations about over the twelve months allows different images as the sunrise location changes throughout the year. The weather and clouds play a huge part of this too with no two days being the same.
After grabbing a quick coffee I proceeded to de-ice the car and headed off to Yeadon Tarn. In an ideal world it would be nice to see it as still as a mill-pond with no wind, an ideal photo opportunity. Rarely does this happen as its location is quite high above sea level. From the area around the Tarn there are good views with great foreground subjects facing in most directions. In particular the view towards the airport runway makes for superb shots of aircraft taking off and landing in to the rising sun. I must admit that I don’t usually go for the aircraft option whilst I am by the tarn as the runway is about 20 feet higher than the level of the tarn making it quite difficult to obtain any decent background detail. I parked my car in the easterly car park and just 20 yards from that spot I am able to get some very pleasing images of the rising sun. Below you will see what I mean about the departing aircraft. I wouldn’t normally include an aircraft in a sunrise where the sky had clouds to reflect colour and give some definition to the image. This morning it didn’t matter, the sky was clear with hardly a cloud. My vision was about to be become reality.

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As the sun just started to emerge over the horizon I could hear the noise of jet engines roaring in to life. An aircraft was about to depart. I had my plan laid out. I would capture the aircraft in single frame, then holding the exposure I would capture then same scene to the left and the right of the aircraft. This would enable me to stitch the three images together to make a panorama. The panorama looks more appropriate in a sunrise or sunset shot when there is a lot of plain foreground with no detail. See what you think, the shot is shown above. Or should I say three shots. I actually regard this series of images as one of my best mornings yet.

There was one more image that just screamed out “Take me, Take me”. From my location looking across the water the colour had now turned a bland yellow and was fusing with the now blue spring sky. However looking left just out of the direct sun I noticed a woman walking a dog. As she proceeded towards me I lifted my camera and tapped off a couple of frames. You could see her breath in the cold morning air. Both the dog and its owner cast long black shadows in front of them which made for a lovely composition as she walked the path through the gap in the bushes. The final image is shown below.

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Once the sun had risen all chance of getting anything decent whilst facing east in that direction were non existent. It was just way too bright. So I decided to call it a wrap and headed off back home, to the warmth and a chance to sit down with my beautiful wife and have some breakfast.

Thank you for reading. As always, comments welcome.

After the worst of the snow | Leeds Bradford Airport | 29th March 2013

A small gallery of images from Fridays trip up to the airport. After my morning’s adventure around Otley, Fewston and Menwith Hill the lovely sunshine drew me in. With the wind favouring departures and arrivals on runway 14 a trip up to the Cemetery location was in order. A chance to bump up my very low photocount for 2013. Hope you enjoy the images, a little bit of snow and sunshine makes all the difference

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