After a week of terrible weather in Essex I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to get my camera out at all. Thankfully in the morning of the last day I was there the sun came out briefly and I dashed over to Dedham.
Although it was sunny it was bitterly cold, very windy and a weekday so I knew there would be few, if any, walkers or tourists around for me to include in the photos to give a modern day feel to them so I treated my time at Flatford as another test for some panoramas.
I started by setting my tripod up in front of the Haywain scene. My mind really wasn’t on what I was doing and it took a few sweeps of my camera before I was able to focus and count the number of photos I was taking for each panorama. At one point I was completely distracted by a fat Robin who hopped out of the hedge I was standing in front of and started scrabbling around my feet and turning over the dirt I had moved when setting up my tripod.
I eventually tried a couple of different focal lengths and two lenses but this panorama of three rows of eight photographs is my preferred.
Back on the laptop I used Photoshop to merge a copy of Constable’s Haywain on top of my photograph and reduced the opacity so that some of the photograph is still visible beneath.
The painting image that I have used is very low resolution and cannot be used for printing but on a screen I think it gives a really good illustration of how the landscape has and hasn’t changed.
I moved on to the scene of Constable’s Boat Building. By now I was in full swing and only needed to try a couple of different focal lengths in order to get what I wanted. In the end, this one of three rows of nine photographs is the one I prefer although I haven’t quite approached it from the right angle. I don’t have a decent copy of Constable’s Boat Building but from the images I have seen in the books I think I need to stand about a foot or two to the left to get it perfectly right.
Finally I moved on to the scene of Constable’s Flatford Mill. Again I only needed to try a couple of versions before I was satisfied. This version has three rows of eight photographs.
As with The Haywain I used Photoshop to overlay a copy of the painting onto the photograph. I think the Stour changed route slightly when a new lock was installed in 1838, just over 60 years after Constable was born, and this is why the towpaths are going at such different angles.
I chose to only take three of the scenes on this occasion, I wanted to know that I was getting these right before I moved on to take any more.
I think I will include a copy of the original painting overlayed on my photograph. I want it to be blended in well and a low 30% or 40% opacity so that viewers can see both the painting and the detail in the photograph below. I think this will give the painting context in the wider scene. Then if I keep the photograph black and white and the painting in colour, it should create a nice effect and add to the timeless nature of the countryside.
I have also decided to only use my digital camera for this project. I will ‘play’ further with the Rangefinder but I am pleased with the results of the digital panoramas and will stick with them.
I’ve included a gallery of all of the above images so that they can be viewed larger and in more detail.