Selection of February 2022: Frozen fields of Deelen by Jeroen Lagerwerf

Frozen fields of Deelen by Jeroen Lagerwerf

The photo was shot on the nature reserve called Deelerwoud, which I visit every so often. The reserve has a nice old oak forest, wildlife observatory and wide heather and grass fields, making it one of my favorite places to go to. This February morning, the forecast was sun after a cold frosty night, for the first time after weeks of rain. Potentially excellent conditions for fog over the wide heather and grass fields with morning frost on them.

At the spot, I directly noticed the frost on the grass and headed straight for a row of oak trees in the field. This row of oaks is the left over from an old middle-age road to the east. With the sun rising behind them, there is a good chance of picking up foggy atmosphere. Because of the clear sky, the light was increasing very fast with only a few minutes of colors from the sunrise on the horizon, so I had to work quickly. I positioned the camera so that most of the light was blocked by the trees in order to get a nice misty soft look over the grass fields. Only a little bit of fine tuning was needed to frame it nicely. Because of the wide angle lens and camera height, I was able to get enough focus in one shot.

Back home, post-processing this image was relatively straightforward. The shadows were lifted a little and a little warmth was added by changing the color balance slightly. I wanted the picture to look cold as it is a freezing morning, but also warm from the February sunrise. Therefore I used a couple of gradient filters to balance the light, color and contrast in order to emphasize more depth. I finished the final image by dodging out the grasses a bit and burning a little more contrast upfront, again helping to emphasize depth. Lastly, after a couple of days of considerations, I decided to add some vignette and a little more saturation. I deliberately didn't make the photo too light, to maintain the mood.  

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