Lorraine, France by Ellen Borggreve

As winter had lingered on for a very long time in France and the snow only started to melt in May, waterfalls formed everywhere. When these had been totally non-existent in autumn last year, now they were roaring. Instead of taking the usual overview pictures of these waterfalls I opted to use just my telephoto lens and see if I could find little scenes that told a story of stillness. I had climbed down the sides of this waterfall, which had been pretty treacherous and I was literally shaken after I made it to this spot, I had to calm myself down and started looking for the small scenes. I usually just walk around for quite a while before I find something that speaks to me and moving just a few centimeters when using a telephoto lens can lead to dramatically different results.The log in the water caught my eye and I decided to make this a focal point in a minimalist and almost abstract image, which is not my usual style. I do however have the tendency to look for details rather than a "whole picture". This little scene told the story of cold water in a waterfall better than if I had taken a picture of the entire waterfall with the trees around, because of the absence of colour except this small log. As I always hike a lot I like to carry lightweight equipment and so my telephoto lens of choice is the Sony FE 70-200 F4 rather than the heavier Sony 70-200 F2.8. I hardly ever use wide apertures, so this lens works great for my purposes. I put my camera on my tripod as soon as I had figured out which viewpoint would do it justice and decided to take a look if my polarising filter would either help me out or would take away some of the impact of the scene. In the end I decided against polarising as I wanted the log to look wet because the sheen on it gave the image a bit more of a dynamic line. I also wanted the rocks in foreground to shimmer more and polarising would have cut through the glare and made it too much of a solid dark shape. As the water was flowing at enormous speed I had to figure out a shutter speed that would not make it look too silky. I wanted the picture to show movement, but I also wanted to keep the texture in the water intact as this was a vital element for me in this scene. It was one of those images that marked a turning point. It helped me understand that intimate landscape images like this one does not require going to hot spot locations. These kinds of scenes can be found anywhere in Spring. It can be a tiny stream that no one else would look at twice and it still offers great photographic potential if you are mindfully observing your surroundings. I love to take images where the location is not that important. It shows that magic can be found anywhere, which is one of my life mottos.

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