Month: March 2011

25 Mar

How early would you get up for that perfect photo?

Now that the days getting longer, the sun is rising earlier and earlier. With the clocks going forward at the end of March, us landscape photographers have a bit of respite for the next few weeks, with sunrise reverting to a more or less respectable 7 o’clock, or thereabouts, here in the West country on Sunday. However, over the coming weeks, it will start to rise earlier again, testing my resolve to drag myself from beneath the covers. In previous years I’ve kind of given up early rising at the end of February but this year I’ve stuck it out until now, and pretty glad that I have. However, I’m not sure how early my own personal limit is, so my question is: how early would you rise …?

(Given that this is my first poll on a blog in its infancy, I’m expecting as many votes as a Liberal Democrat in an Oldham by-election)

22 Mar

The frustration of making it believable

Last Saturday I prised myself out of bed at 5:15 and sped off to Teignmouth with a photo in mind. I wanted a shot of the pier from the northern side with the early morning sun bathing it in warm light. In my minds eye there was a fantastic sky to set off the picture perfectly, but it was a clear frosty morning, so the chances of that were minimal, but you never know …

Having turned up in plenty of time before sunrise, the sky was turning red on the horizon through some low haze. No fantastic cloudscape but, hey, you can’t have everything all of the time. Anyway, I was enjoying being up and about with no one else but the elements for company, so I set up my tripod in my preconceived position just north of the pier and got down low to get some interesting foreground in the form of a groyne. I added an ND grad filter and fired off some test shots, and felt good.

As the sunrise approached I was joined, as seems normal these days, by two other photographers. Perhaps I should choose a less well known viewpoint for my next dawn foray. At least we didn’t get in each others way and a series of shots were taken by all as the sun rose. As the light levels increased I added a polariser to give me 3 more stops of exposure time so I could get some milky movement in the waves as they retreated down the beach after breaking. I know this is not to everyone’s taste but I like it.

I really enjoyed myself and got pretty damn wet as well. We all seemed to reach that “photo’d out” stage at the same time, so  packed up our gear, had a bit of a chat, exchanged website details and headed our respective ways home.

A successful morning then. Or was it? Ever since I’ve been sat in front of a computer screen trying to get Lightroom to portray the scene the way I remembered it. I shoot RAW, so an element of post processing is required in order to bring out the colours and tones. Normally I have no problem with this whatsoever, but this time I’m fighting the process.

I want to create a punchy result. Not neccessarily a realistic one, but a believable one which doesn’t look like its been produced by a beginner who’s just found the “levels” command and gone to town. Yet all I’m getting are horrible colour casts and gaudy HDR-ish tones which do nothing for me at all. More importantly, and probably what I’m having the real struggle with, is achieving a level of consistency between individual shots; some having the golden tones I want with a blue sky, and others achieving one but not the other.

As a result, I am becoming more and more frustrated after a morning’s photography which I really enjoyed. Perhaps I need to forget about it for a few days; have a break; and return refreshed.

Watch this space.

13 Mar

Like father, like son?

When I started this blog, I had no intention of using it for family snaps, and that is still my aim as I have other outlets for that, but I just cannot resist this one time. Well, it is linked to photography …

We had taken advantage of a beautiful, fresh, spring day to have a family outing to the coast at Dawlish. I took my SLR, tripod, and 10 stop ND filter with me (more of which  to come in another post) and had just spent quite some time on the piers hoping for an interesting sky, and had reached that “photo’d out” point, so I made my way back to the family and Read more

06 Mar

I want to be alone. I think.

Bruce Little / landscape / / 1 Comment

I’ve made a resolution this year to make the effort to get up for sunrise. For me, this is really limited to weekends, as work and a young son just don’t give me enough time on weekdays. I’ve managed to get out several times this year and I really enjoy being up and about, alone, watching the sunrise.

However, on several occasions, I’ve had to share my viewpoint with other photographers. I don’t know what it is about being with someone else, but I kind of get inhibited and lose some sense of freedom. Whether that’s down to not wanting to get in the other persons way, or out of embarrassment that crouching down in the water to get that perfect shot is just plain stupid, I don’t know. What I do know is that several times this year I’ve come back with less than perfect shots and I’m wondering if having company is the reason. Or is that just an excuse?

Take this shot at the Cobb in Lyme Regis as an example. I had a great sunrise, I had a woman doing a “Meryl Streep” at the end of the wall, and I had another photographer standing just to the left of me with whom I was gassing away for 30 minutes or so. The compo just doesn’t work for me. I’d have liked the wall to enter the frame in the bottom right corner – not lazily half way up the right hand side. Also, I lose a bit of the wall on the left.

Perhaps a square crop will rescue me?

Sunrise at the Cobb. Original.
Sunrise at the Cobb. Original.
Sunrise at the Cobb. Square crop
Sunrise at the Cobb. Square crop.