Ancholme Valley, Lincolnshire

 Middlegate Lane

 Local knowledge pays off for Lee Beel, as he sets to work to capture a carefully composed sunset scene at a favourite spot in the North Lincolnshire Wolds

Middlegate Lane is a single-track road that runs along the top edge of the North Lincolnshire Wolds between the villages. Ia great believer in getting to know your local area so that you can increase the chances of capturing good shots when conditions are right. Ilucky enough to live in the nearby town of Barton-upon-Humber, and I often drive along Middlegate Lane when Iout and about so that I can see how the view across the valley has changed between the seasons.

This edge of the North Lincolnshire Wolds faces roughly to the west, so it is a great area to photograph late in the day, as the evening sun bathes the scene in lovely warm light. Itnot an ideal location for early morning sessions, though, because, by the time the sun has risen over the Wolds, it has lost its warmth and is quite harsh. It also rises behind you, so can be rather flat.

Along the length of Middlegate Lane there are many hedges and fences running down the hillside towards the Low Villages, which provide great lead-in lines. This particular wooden fence is my favourite, running along the length of the road, and is found between the villages of Bonby and Saxby-all-Saints.

 North Lincolnshire

Iwalked the length of this fence quite a few times and I think this spot works best. The closest fence post can be positioned according to the rule-of-thirds and the long grasses add lovely foreground interest. The woodland and bushes in the middle distance also add interest and depth to the scene, while not being too overbearing. The valley floor and its patchwork of fields are visible in the distance, adding another dimension.

The afternoon had brought broken cloud and periods of sunshine that I hoped would stay into the evening. Later in the day, it still looked promising so I headed to my chosen spot and set up my equipment. As the sun sank lower the scene before me was bathed in the most wonderful evening light, and the clouds turned a fiery red. I fitted a 3-stop ND grad filter to balance the exposure and to prevent the highlights in the sky from burning out. The trees and bushes donprotrude above the horizon much so I wasnconcerned about the filter darkening them, too.

At this time of year, the sun sets north of west, so I could compose with it placed out of frame to the right, to help reduce contrast. Nonetheless, I still needed to shade the front element of the lens and the filter from direct light to prevent flare from ruining my photos. To achieve this, I fitted a cable release and shielded the lens with my body.

I always try and shoot both portrait and landscape format images to increase the chances of my work being published. This location can be photographed both ways, so I kept working the scene until the sun had disappeared and the light on the landscape was gone. Another advantage of working your local patch is that you donhave far to go to get home. I was sat looking through my new photographs while having a cup of tea in my living room within about 20 minutes of packing away my kit!

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