Here in the Lake District, colour can be hard to find in the Jan-March depths of winter. So I thought it might be fun to explore the replacement of faded colours – like those found in last year’s grasses and ferns – with a colour treatment that was blatantly artificial, yet suggested hidden fire and life

The grasses above are a good example of something that retains last year’s summer shapes, but whose shapes remain, leaving us with a form that defies the winter’s ravages, yet is pale.

The iPhone’s toolset, including the downloaded Google Snapseed App, is good at taking such a pale form and bestowing a richness that would have been hard to achieve using just the raw set of ‘sliders’ that come with the native tools to brighten, darken or increase contrast, for example.

Equipped with a test result, above, I set out to find other sympathetic subjects – all this while being dragged around by a decidedly unsympathetic collie…

(Above: Tess the bored collie…)
(Above: the old leaves and vegetation might be good subjects for our project?)

An old overhanging oak, near the end of the lake at Newby Bridge, looked promising. I explored different captures and settled on the above framing, then used examples of the same settings – varied in two stages- in Snapseed as the previous ‘winter fire’ shot.

(Above: a ‘light’ treatment suggested that we could go much further with the ‘winter fire’ settings…

The final result, below, included a little ‘smoothing’, and had much more atmosphere than the raw shot. Armed with two successes, I went hunting…

(Above: turning the filters right up gives the best results!)

I was looking for an artistic rather than a purist approach, and quite happy to entertain a high degree of distortion. The shot below had only one strip of old vegetation to be ‘lifted’ by the filtering. The contrast between this and the dark background still made it an effective photo.

(Above: a shot that seemed to have no promise at all now has a curious band of fiery orange…)

The result is nowhere near photo-realistic, yet gives life to the ‘fire in winter’ idea.

(Above: a beech hedge on the edge of the car park at Fell Foot)

And what follows are the best of the rest…

(Above: a huge bed of ferns comes back to life)

It’s a technique I enjoyed exploring. I will use it with other settings on future projects.

(And a final shot of Lake Windermere from its southern tip)

©Stephen Tanham 2023

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

6 Comments on “Stories of Winter Fire

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: