Starlings Masterclass


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Wordsworth’s daffodils, Glencoyne, Ullswater

May 2010 |

Spring is a whole three weeks late this year – and daffodils are only looking their best here in the north-east of the Lakes well into April. I have an admission. Don’t tell the Tourist Board but I’m not that keen on daffodils, especially when planted in great strident yellow ranks along road verges, traffic islands and the like. But I do like the little wild ones, such as here at Glencoyne, the inspiration for William and Dorothy Wordsworth and the famous poem. Not exactly a ‘host’ of daffodils, but still a goodly number. I, and a host of photographers, including Martin Lawrence with his excellent March Cumbria Life cover, have photographed them at Glencoyne any number of times, my most successful results being with my panoramic camera. However, my latest deadline coinciding with their peak I decided to revisit for this Masterclass and see if I could challenge myself and come up with something different. Better even. Well, I couldn’t.

I found composition tricky, too many trees and the shoreline now further eroded after the November floods. I wanted to include the lake, in focus, so I set the camera to f22 to maximise the depth of field, and used a tripod at a low height (yes, wet knees again!). The photo was taken early on a beautifully still morning. I used Photoshop later to brighten the shaded foreground daffodils and to add warmth to the light (April light tends to be a cold.) The photo isn’t quite right, the view being offset (though that composition would make a good wrap around book cover!) But I don’t think, short of repositioning the trees and the daffodils, I’m going to achieve anything better. Somehow, I can’t see the National Trust going along with this. One golden rule – don’t walk, sit or kneel on the daffodils!