Cypress sentinels, sundown, September This set of trees is so well known that it is important, I think, not to photograph them when conditions are not right. With the scene so pared down, the relation between what is happening in the base, the earth, and what is happening in the sky – usually a question of sympathetic textures, or if not, of sufficiently strong interest in each – is important to get right.

I love the panoramic approach to this location – there are examples in the panoramic gallery – but with this sky, I was convinced that was not right: the resulting narrow sliver of sky lacked interest; it was flat and depthless compared to the undulating nature of the land below.

To make something of the absolute clarity of the sky, it was necessary to show much more of it, to allow the natural fall-off of the sky to provide depth. The wide-angle lens has also given more emphasis to the surrounding undulations, promoting their role as lead-in to the scene and somewhat surreal support for the equally surreal group of trees.

If the image is a success you should not be able to tell this before it is mentioned, but I also used two colour graduated filters, to give the colouration a strength to match the starkness of the scene; without this, it was still a little weak. An inverted chocolate filter was used to strengthen the earth, while a blue graduated filter has deepened the recession in the sky.
Cypress sentinels, sundown, Septemberpermalink