Poppies Under Stormy Skies

The annual obsession with poppies very nearly passed me by this year, in fact it would have done had I not been asked to join a meeting in Portsmouth on Wednesday.

As I drove west on the A27 from Brighton, I saw the most amazing field of poppies, at least a quarter of a mile square, absolutely wall to wall. Naturally it was on the other side of the dual carriageway and I was already running slightly late. I filed it away for later.

On the way back, the weather started to deteriorate and rather gloomily I started to work out the possibilities of catching this field in the early morning. A few spots of rain duly appeared, as if to mock me as I approached Shoreham.

To cut a long story short, the rain stopped and so did I, right next to the field. Jumped over the fence and followed a well trodden path into the centre of the field. Given the weather and the fact I only had my Canon G1X to hand, I decided to bracket the shots and try to make something of them later in HDR Efex Pro. All of the shots were taken three times at normal exposure and + – 1 compensation. The idea was to get the detail in the sky as well as the texture of the flowers. No tripod, very steady hands!

This is my favourite from that mini-shoot because the inclusion of the green field on the left gives shape to the poppies and a sense of depth. Some of the other shots had more dramatic skies, but it’s a subjective choice.

Tomorrow, I’m off on my travels again. First stop Arles for the photography festival, second stop Spain. Watch this space for a big announcement in three weeks time!

What's your view?