Spring is in the air / by Neil Alexander

Daffodils by Neil Alexander (Click for larger)

The other weekend, seeing an eery mist in the air before dawn, I hurled myself out the door determined to make some photographs before the sun rose and the atmosphere dissipated. Armed with only a couple of lenses, and the compulsory flask of coffee, I purposefully restricted my options. I do this from time to time to try and improve my technique. Often, when I'm armed with half a dozen pieces of glass it gets hard to see. By that I mean that the range of possibilities open to me with such a plethora of tools at my disposal blurs my mind, and I find it hard to focus on any particular image. By restricting myself to just one or two lenses, my mind and eye can't wander. They're forced to see from only one or two options, and it aids my creativity no end.

The only feasible place for me to get to without risking losing the mist by the time I'd got there, was the golf course at the end of the road. It's not particularly dramatic from a landscape point of view, and to many, it's probably quite drab. But to me, it's an endless source of inspiration. I would say it's serene and peaceful at that time of the morning, but that'd be a lie! It's probably only a mile as the crow flies from the airport, even nearer the motorway, and overlooks Manchester city centre, but with my headphones on - it was just me, the mist and the trees and flowers.

Both of these are shot with the Nikkor 24mm tilt/shift lens, processed in Nik's HDR Efex Pro, and a few further little tweaks applied in Photoshop afterwards.

Trees in the mist by Neil Alexander (Click for larger)