“Rowardennan Bonsai” – Rowardennan, Loch Lomond, Scotland – Karl Williams – Featured Photographer
Whoa! An image from Scotland featured two days in a row? When you have two amazing photos, why not? The famous tree looks like it was painted in oil while the reflection is a perfect water color rendition. When Mother Nature and Karl team up, beautiful things happen. Don’t believe me? Then slide on over to Karl’s website below after reading about how he shot this image and you will want to book your next flight to the British Isles.
This tree, known widely as the Rowardennan Bonsai for obvious reasons, is a Scots Pine growing in a soil-filled pocket of rock at Rowardennan on the Eastern shore of Loch Lomond, the largest inland body of open water in Scotland (and, in fact, mainland Great Britain). The tree is a magnet for photographers but has two notable problems shot-wise, the first of which is that the precise location and the water level in the Loch often combine to make it extremely difficult to get a good set-up point to isolate the tree from a potentially distracting background. The second, and greater, problem is that the area is also a magnet for campers – many of whom appear to have a perverse desire to pitch their (seemingly always bright red) tents in the most inconvenient and unavoidable (from a photography standpoint) position possible, and many of whom can’t resist the opportunity (a) to get involved in the photographic process by “posing” in the field of view or, worse still, (b) to give advice.
On this particular day, I was lucky – the breeze wasn’t strong enough to give rise to “ghosting” of tree branches with a multiple-shot HDR set of images, the water level was low enough to get a suitable set-up point in the dry, and there were no “happy campers” to contend with. The long exposure was an attempt to bring some “regularity” to the water surface and thereby enhance the reflection of the tree for compositional purposes. One minor problem arose, though: an unwanted duck swam through one of the shots but the long exposure (and a little bit of cloning at the processing stage) got rid of any “nasties” from him. (Q: Do I ever shoot wildlife? A: No, but I’ve been sorely tempted on occasions!).
One final point – in answer to those who might be curious as to the thought-processes and emotions which drove me to take this shot: the only thought that ran through my head prior to taking this shot is that which goes through my head with ALL shots – “Hmm, I think that’ll go!”. Sorry to disappoint, but it really is that simple!
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