Early morning mist lifting at Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 6 Apr 2015.

Driving through the Chew Valley, heading for the Mendip Hills, I came out onto an open stretch of road beside Chew Valley Lake and was suddenly enveloped in thick mist.  But over to my left the sun was starting to rise, the mist was lifting and changing colours in the most visually seductive ways – and I swerved into a layby, jumped out and started taking pictures.

I was there for about an hour, and this is the first of a short series of images from that misty morning.  I love images with little detail, and the telezoom that I’m married to was just right for picking out scenes in that warm softness.

Chew Valley Lake is a large reservoir, the 5th largest artificial area of water in the UK.  It was opened in 1956, to supply Bristol with drinking water.  It has many memories for me because it was here, in 1967, that two school friends first opened my eyes to birds and birdwatching, and so set me on a path and interest that continued through to 2002.  I no longer go birdwatching, but I retain a deep love and feeling for birds, and see them as an essential facet of all land-, water- and skyscapes.

Click onto the image to see a larger version in a separate window – certainly recommended.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 78mm; 200 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

UPDATE: ask me the sorts of pictures I enjoy taking and scenes like this would be high on the list.  I get a real buzz from pointing telephoto lenses at scenes like this.

Why do I like this?  Well, first, its a Minimalist scene, there’s really not a lot of hard detail here, not a lot to get a real, visual grasp on, and to me it is the richer for that – the essence of the phrase “less is more”, perhaps.  Its just a duck, swimming in front of some trees which are all but shrouded in some glowing mist.  Then its a natural scene (although the body of water is actually an artificial reservoir) and Nature is always big with me – although, having said that, I do seem to be swinging more towards built environments, city photography, since getting a smaller and handier new camera, the Fujifilm X-T1.  I’ve done a lot of city photography in the past, often in pursuit of abstract studies.

But, anyway, here it is.  A calm scene, something taking us away from “the busy modern lifestyle”.  Was that my mobile phone?  I don’t know, I’ve got it switched off, and the greeting on its answerphone is “Go away!”.

And, lastly, would this image work without the duck?  Well, put your finger over the bird and its wake, and see.  For me it still works, becoming an even more Minimalist study, something on the lines of – although still far from – a Monet maybe?  For you, this may not work, this may be a subtraction too far.  What do you think?

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. LensScaper says:

    I can’t explain why but the duck seems to add to the feeling of serenity and peacefulness in this scene and for me its presence in the image is important – but that’s just a persona opinion. Either way it is a minimalist shot.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      No, Andy, I can understand that point of view too. Maybe its because the duck and its wake are the only really solid, material things on view, and they are both materially symbolising quiet and calm. Whereas if the duck and wake are removed, we are left with far less certain symbols, something very diffuse, so that things are les certain. A


  2. Meanderer says:

    I think it would work wonderfully without the duck; a dreamy meditative scene.


  3. krikitarts says:

    It works both ways for me too, but I like the spontaneity of the duck’s fleeting (or paddling) presence!


  4. Sallyann says:

    No herons… No green… But I think I enjoyed this one last time around too. 🙂


  5. bluebrightly says:

    I’m with you, I love this sort of image, and for me, it works both ways. When you see mist and the sun’s trying to get through it – oh, what a fabulous time to take pictures, and you did it perfectly! It doesn’t hurt that these particular shades of peachywarmstuff are scrumptious! (When I grow up, can I leave a message that says “Go away!” on my phone?)


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’m glad you like this, Lynn. And glad too that you think that removing the bird works too – we think alike – in quite a few things I do think. You have my permission to put that message on your phone right away and, to mollify those you so mortally offend and never hear from again, you can tell them it was all my idea – or should that be, “ideal”??? But on a serious note, problems are arising here now for youngsters on their phones overmuch. Constant phone use to peers is thought to be factor in young girls’ poor mental health, and I think I read that one in ten teenagers checks their phone 10+ times throughout the night – FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out. I’m glad I’m not prey to such pressures – I prefer more pleasant pressures, like those generated by world class Belgian beers! 😉


  6. Beautiful landscape. I like this atmosphere.


  7. paula graham says:

    By its very beauty, an uplifting photo. Beautifully processed too, my friend.


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