Gateway to Sussex

I've been fixated with a beautifully appointed rustic gate on the South Downs for several years now. An adjacent tree casts deep shadows, as dapples of evening sunlight appear over the aged wood. You can open it up and walk down the hill to be greeted with the most wonderful view of the South Downs. In summer, the meadow is teeming with butterflies and orchids. It's a wonderful place to go and relax after a hard day's graft. 

The farmer drove up the field to say hello and asked if I was a student. I thanked him for assuming I must be young enough to be at university. Guesses of my age are often woefully out, ranging from a child reckoning I was 9, to a couple of chaps hazarding 48 and 57 respectively. No wonder Specsavers has an annual turnover of £1.7 billion. I'll settle for 21, if that opens gates for me socially. 

I took the 2nd picture back in May using my 500mm lens and revisited the site over 9 evenings this month. The 3rd image has an extremely shallow depth of field due to the f1.4 aperture of my 85mm lens. I felt quite pleased with myself, having taken a lovely image of the fields and local photographers agreed. But I knew I could do better and the light and visibility on Thursday gave me everything I needed to create something far superior (see 4th image). Notice by the 5th and 6th images taken on 22nd June how quickly the landscape is turning yellow. Getting the colour balance right can be difficult, as the golden hour in combination with the yellowing landscape can become overpowering, but I just about got it right.

I could see a band of poppies in the distance, so I hopped over a fence, walked through a copse and past a farm. The sky that evening was bright, but sunless, therefore ensuring that the delicate tones on poppy petals wouldn't be blown out. Three giggling girl students from the nearby university strolled down the hill and commented on the size of my lens. I was tempted to say I'd been born in 1999, but the Canon 500mm lens was introduced that year, not me. 

South Downs Gate

Gate on the South Downs

South Downs Gate - 85mm f1.4

South Downs

South Downs

South Downs Valley

South Downs Poppies

Poppies Close-up

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