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22nd September 2009 PAINTING A PORTRAIT OF THE RIVER WYE AT
SYMONDS YAT....
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This latest film, 'A Portrait of the River Wye at Symonds Yat', was filmed at Symonds Yat East and from Yat Rock. For those who viewed this page yesterday, I was not entirely happy with my original edit and decided to go for a remake. I have made a few changes in this new, and final edit. The first was to change a swan scene, which probably looked OK to most but I was not happy with the focus of the shot and have replaced it with a similar scene from further into the 'take'. I have levelled the riverbank (which was slightly askew due to my tripod setting) in the ferry scene. Not with an explosive device in the dead of night I might add, but by using software to correct the skewed take.

The major change falls at the end of the film. Sod's Law dictates that if the weather forecast predicts clear skies, the reverse will apply. And that the probability of the law holding will increase proportionately to the frequency of checking the BBC website.

When I decided it was time to get this film finished (after 2 years of filming this and that at Symonds Yat) I spent 4 hours, two days on the trot, filming at the top of Yat Rock to get the 15 second time-lapse sequence at the end. Both times the sky turned cloudy and so I gave up and used the footage I had managed to capture. Just to test Sod's Law... The day after I had finished that edit, the BBC forecast total cloud cover for the evening, so I went back to the Yat to film it again with my friend Mike Arnison. True to form, the law held and the sky was perfectly clear. I managed to capture the stars for several hours before the cloud finally rolled in.

Continued >>>


A portrait of the River Wye at Symonds Yat.

Out of interest: all of the night time time-lapse shots were 30 second exposures (plus a 30 second dark frame to remove noise) at f8, ISO 3200 with a Nikon D90 and 18mm lens. The flashing lights in the night sequence are cars on the road between Ross-on-Wye and Goodrich. The mast in the distance is the television transmitter at Much Marcle.

In the final scene, although it looks as though the first few frames were shot during brightish twilight, it was actually virtually dark and it is the length of the exposure which produces the effect of twilight. I had to shoot it this way to make the stars appear naturally without a sudden change of brightness and contrast levels. All in all, the final 15 seconds of this movie took 12 hours to film, most of which were spent in total darkness.

For those who might be worried, the pike was weighed and put back into the river and it swam away happily. I just missed this with the camera due to not being able to change camera position quickly enough.

I hope you enjoy the new film (above), which is somewhat more relaxing than the earlier, and extremely popular time-lapse (below), and that it attracts even more visitors to the Wye Valley. The new one still contains some time-lapse sequences but also some slow motion.


A Day out at Symonds Yat East.

Symonds Yat East at dawn.

After sunset, the view from Yat Rock.

A helicopter flies overhead during the complete darkness of night. I removed this frame from the final edit.

The stars were visible the following day, so I re edited the film to include them. (Note the sodium light pollution over Ross-on-Wye, centre and Hereford to the left.)

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