Posts tagged coast
The lure of the long exposure

While I was reviewing a number of my images for use on my website and facebook page, I came to realise there were a few common themes developing.

One of these themes was definitely my love of a long exposure, particularly when photographing water. A long exposure can be anything from 1/2 second upwards. If you haven’t already tried doing this, it can give wonderful results as the water and clouds in the sky can be blurred, making them milky smooth.

I love that effect, particularly when applied to seascapes or waterfalls. It gives images a real sense of movement - which takes a 2 dimensional image and levitates it to something much more 3-dimensional in nature (though obviously not truly 3-dimensional in the way the eye sees it).

To achieve long exposure, you need to slow your shutter speed down to at least 1/2 a second. Depending on the conditions, particularly the amount of light, you will almost certainly need a filter to achieve this. A standard neutral density filter is a wonderful compositional tool. I use Lee Filters, but there are a number of brands out there. Be careful of cheap filters though, they will often create an unpleasing colour cast. My advice would be to buy the best you can afford.

I cover long exposure techniques in much more depth on my workshops so do please check out upcoming workshops you may be interested in.

This particular image had an exposure time of 90seconds, which completely smoothes out the water and I really love the effect. Thanks for looking!

Luck in landscape photography.

There is a real element of luck in landscape photography. How will the light be? What will the tide be like? Have I already missed the best time of day?

I think that’s true, but you can also increase your chances of being lucky by getting out as often as possible. This week I spent a couple of hours at my local beach, and really nothing was working photographically. I waited until sunset and was just giving up when the light suddenly appeared.

If I had followed my initial thought, which was to give up and go home, I would not have seen this light and would never have gotten the image.

So yes. we are lucky if we get great light - but can you increase your chances of being lucky by just being out there!

Why kit isn't important.

This week I took the family for a short break to Scotland’s Moray Coast. It was great to get away and see some places I hadn’t been to for a while, and for my children it was all new. I took this picture of Bow Fiddle Rock while we were there.

It’s unusual to find the sea so calm and although there wasn’t an amazing sunset to photograph I think the cool tones work well. While I was there I met two fellow photographers who were there to capture the moon rise - which co-incidentally was due to be visible through the arch at the time. As it transpired it was cloudy and the shot didn’t materialise, but it’s one I’ll keep an eye on for next time!

One of the gentlemen I met had an incredible Hasselblad camera, probably worth £50,000 or more, but I was flattered that he enjoyed looking at my image, taken on a camera worth about 1/20th of that. While I’ve no doubt he would get amazing pictures with his camera, what was more important was his knowledge of composition, light and technique.

To get this shot was tricky, I had to get very low to the rocks in the foreground and technically it posed a few challenges of composition and sharpness. But I did get the shot, and I would have got the shot with the £50,000 Hasselblad or a £500 DSLR. Achieving great images is nothing to do with kit, it has everything to do with the photographer - and the good news it can be learned! Workshops are a great way to learn, but so is just getting out there are trying new things. I can’t wait to come back to this spot again!

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Golden hour magic!

The “Golden Hour” is the term used to describe the time just after sunrise and just before sunset when the sun is low in the sky and the resultant light is at its softest and most colourful.

For photographers this is the time period at we are most likely to get great images. Long shadows and soft golden light really enhance the feel of a photograph.

This recent image was taken just after sunrise. The light on the rocks and cliff face give the image depth and interest.

If you’d like to learn more about composition, light and the many other attributes that can significantly enhance your photographs why not consider joining me on one of my Scotland Workshops. There is no better way to improve your photography than spending time with like-minded people from whom you can learn new skills and perspectives.

For a limited time only there is a £100 voucher available to spend on any workshop when you subscribe to my newsletter! I hope to see you at a workshop soon. Thanks for looking :-).

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