Month: September 2011

18 Sep

Photographic Frustration

Now we are moving into autumn, and my summer of busy weekends is over, I have the time to get out and about at the weekends to make the most of golden hour photography at achievable times. This weekend I was itching to get out and about and, despite having had too much wine on Friday night to really warrant getting up before sunrise, come 05:30 I was up and in the car, heading for Colmers Hill in West Dorset. This is an oft photographed location, some might say Read more

12 Sep

Long Exposures at Bembridge

A week’s holiday on the Isle of Wight in early autumn was supposed to yield a satisfying haul of landscape photos. Before I went, I did my research and worked out where to go, what the tides would be, and sunrise/sunset times. Of course, I did some Google image searches as well and had my “targets” well and truly lined up. Unfortunately the TV forecasters had a series of weather fronts and overcast days well and truly lined up in opposition to my plans.

Therefore I decided to change tack, and concentrate on using Read more

01 Sep

The Autumn Starts Here

After a summer of distractions, most of which were welcome but which also curtailed my photography somewhat, the nights are now drawing out – making sunrise photography easier – and I appear to have a few free weekends on the horizon. With this in mind, I don’t want to miss the boat – and some good photography weather – so I am forcing myself back into the habit of getting up early for sunrise.

So it was on Bank Holiday Monday I ventured out with the gear to Lyme Regis and the Cobb. Yes, its a bit of a cliched location but I am still to get my “perfect” shot there and until I do I will periodically return. Knowing that one of the highest tides of the year was just after dawn I was torn between the Cobb and the Otter estuary. However, my last efforts at the Cobb, earlier in the year were taken at low tide and I was unhappy that some unsightly concrete at the bottom of the wall were exposed. Therefore I reckoned that Budleigh Salterton could wait until the next high tide and I set off down the A35 to Lyme.

For once I was on my own, and I set up half an hour or so before sunrise. Everything had been checked the night before – lenses cleaned, battery charged, CF card checked and formatted, filters cleaned, no alcohol consumed, so I should have got back with some great shots. However, for whatever reason I wasn’t “in the groove” when I was shooting and I came away a little disappointed. On top of that, there were some boats moored out of harbour which contaminated my shot. The sky also didn’t quite do it (or so I thought) despite showing early promise. I have also got into the bad habit of composing and shooting using my camera’s “Live View” LCD on the back. While this helps me avoid my usual pitfall of sloping horizons, I find that my focusing is never quite up to scratch when I use this method, and the metering was all over the place. Note to self: “Back to using the viewfinder next time”.

When I got home, I half-heartedly imported the images into Lightroom and had some breakfast. Perusing the resulting thumbnails I wished I had stayed in bed and a little grumpily got on with my day. The next day I thought I’d have another look and was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there were no competition winners in the set, but some showed promise, and the cloud formation has really grown on me. Below are two of my faves from the day; the first being taken 30 minutes before sunrise – I like the general composition and grey/blue tones; and the second taken 15 minutes later when the sky was at its best – this one I have square cropped to make the most of the sky and to cut out some distracting boats on the left hand side.

The spark has been re-lit and the learning continues here.