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Earlier on this year I got lost in this forest by choosing to venture "off-road" in the attempt to cut the duration of a dog walk. I was getting bored and it was almost pitch black. I fell over many branches and holes in doing so. After one of my stumbles I looked behind me and even though it was almost dark when I saw it, I knew at the right time of day this view would be worth a shot.
Last weekend I scrambled back to this spot. The low winter sun crept below the high-growing branches of Morton Forest, back-lighting the wilting bracken that dominates the forest floor. The brown wilting bracken is given new life as the sun's rays transform the dull brown into a rich golden hue. The incoming light filtered its way through the trees, diminishing every inch as strives deeper into the forest.
Usually I arrive at a location for sunrise or sunset but because the sun is so low in the sky in December the light is pretty good for almost the entire day. I arrived here at 2pm and fine tuned my composition so that the foreground trees framed the image and there wasn't a tree right down the middle of the frame.
Sun-stars are quite difficult to get right. You need to fine-tune your position so that the sun is partially obscured by an object so you get a small flare of light coming into the lens. If you have too much light coming in there will be coloured specks all over the screen, too little and the sun-star loses its dramatic effect. After moving the tripod many times within the bracken I finally found the sun-star needed to make this shot work.
When taking the shot I had to hold my breath as it steamed up my lenses and filters clouding the shot. This is 5 shots stitched together, each 10 seconds long. I didn't want to wait in between shots because if the sun moves slightly my sun-star will change so I opted to hold my breath through all exposures until the last one had finished. The shots were done and I was knackered.