Swinging Tyre / by Neil Alexander

[caption id="attachment_997" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Swinging Tyre over the River Bollin by Neil Alexander"]


[/caption] As part of my final A-level project for this year, I’ve been spending a lot of time round one of my old play areas as a kid. The River Bollin meanders from the hillsides on the edge of Macclesfield Forest, through deepest darkest Cheshire, crosses the Manchester Ship Cancal near the Lymm viaduct and gets swallowed up by the Mersey shortly afterwards. As a youngster, it was a great playground. Whether it was bike rides around the valley, mammoth bridge building with the Scouts or just pottering around with an OM10, this place holds a lot of memories for me. So it was I decided to venture back there and make some photographs.

On this particular morning, there were a few clouds in the sky pre-dawn, but it looked as if I’d be set up for some nice dawn light over the particular location I’d chosen. I played with a few compositions, and tried different exposures and then waited for the sun to rise, which it promptly did. Followed closely by really dense morning mist! I’d set up a composition on a fallen tree about 50 yards down the stream. By 5 minutes after sunrise, and long before the sun had got up over the far embankment I could barely see my own hand, never mind my proposed composition.

So I decided to try to do something with what little I could see. I moved a little farther back up the stream and chose this shot instead of a tyre on a rope hanging from a branch over the river. I wanted to try and soften the water with a long exposure, but I also wanted a really shallow depth of field. To add to my woes (I had already waded too far into the river, and the water had breached the top of my wellies – I hate soggy socks!) & as I appeared to have misplaced my 77mm ND filter, I realised I was going to have to use the 72mm ND400 on a 77mm wide Tamron 70-200mm F2.8lens. Now I’ve tried this before and it works, you just have to make sure that the lens is pointing upwards slightly and rest the smaller filter up against the lens front inside the lens hood, and you may have to crop out a tiny bit at each corner. (The hood for this lens is really long, so there may be a few light leaks from the smaller filter, but generally I haven’t noticed any) The problem I had was that the tyre wasn’t far off the top of the water so to get my camera pointing upwards it was practically in the river itself! Thank heavens I had my little Nikon View Angler thingy as composing would’ve required a snorkel.

Anyway processed in SilverEfex Pro. Exposure was 1 sec at F2.8 ISO200.