Not Such A Bad View
11th Oct 2016
Early Morning on the Beach
8th Nov 2016

Farther Down the Road

As said in my last post, I sometimes take my camera with me on my early morning spin. It’s inevitable that the best sunrises happen on the days I leave the camera behind and the sun is hidden behind a bank of clouds out at sea when I take it with me, but occasionally I capture some okay shots. I took these farther along my usual cycle route than my last post, and over several trips.

I am pretty hard on myself with regard to my photography. I analyse my shots to the tiniest degree and consign plenty to the recycle bin. This is post is about my process and the analysis I put my photos through. These are mostly borderline shots where I could not decide whether I would scrap them or keep them.

I don’t take a tripod with me on my bike, but I usually have a beanbag in my panniers so I can rest my camera on a rock for longer exposures. I use Live View and rotate the articulated screen on my camera to compose the shot and have the camera set to a two second ‘anti-shock’ delay.

Another day when the tide is right I’ll take my ND8 filter to this spot to shoot this image again with a longer exposure, which I think would improve the picture.

It wasn’t until I got home and put my reading glasses on that I noticed some dust on the lens, which caused the lens flare. In this case, I like what it adds to the image.

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I love this time of year when dawn breaks while I am out on my bike. Everything seems to change as the sun rises; an early morning breeze will stop, waves will lessen and gulls take to the sky.

No lead-in lines, no rule of thirds, no foreground interest and a central subject, breaking all the ‘rules’ with this shot. I went for a square frame and symmetry. The high vantage point I used for this picture meant that I didn’t get the long reflection of the sun along the water when the sun was that low, as you can see in the first shot, but it did let me see more sea than if I had been at the water’s edge, allowing me to bisect the frame with the horizon.

It’s okay, but next time? I’ll shoot it when there are no clouds and the sun is either bisected by, or just sitting on, the horizon.

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Contre-jour the with the low morning light, is great for silhouettes.  Shooting towards the sun can fool the camera into under-exposing. I either spot meter an area of mid tones or use my hand-held meter or just add a stop of over-exposure, take a test shot and check the histogram.

A distracting clump of seaweed spoilt this shot for me but I could not very well go to move it. Of course, removing the offending clump was easy digitally and for a picture produced for art and not reporting news I have no qualms about doing this.
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Are landscapes boring? They can be. The challenge is to make them into something that is more than just a simple record of what is there. The early morning light helps, but they become something more with an extra dimension added. I’ve got a bit of a thing for photos of people on their own in the landscape. (Check  out my Solitaire gallery.) Including a person, an animal or bird in a landscape adds a dynamism that I find lacking in a straight landscape shot. It raises a question about why they are there.

I am with this next shot and it is the only one of this set that I would keep.

The industrial background in the background is about six miles distant, brought in close by the telephoto lens. The triangle formed by the man, the chimney and the wind turbine work well compositionally.

Because of the angle I shot this, the horizontals converge and the shoreline is higher up on the right than the left. This can sometimes make a photo look wonky, even when the distant horizon is level. I think I have managed to balance this out with the positioning of  the man offsetting the “heaviness” of the sand on the right . The horizontal line of waves in the centre of the picture reinforces the level horizon too.

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These last three are back close to home again. attempted for some time to get a perfect shot of gulls skimming the waves. My favourite to date is the eighth image in my Monochrome Gallery. An amalgam of the following three shots would represent what I have been trying to achieve. I like the clarity and colour of the sky and the spray off the waves crest in the first, the wave in the foreground of the second and the gulls in the third. One of the big challenges of landscape photography, especially where the landscape is a dynamic one, is to get the elements to fit together perfectly. I could, but won’t, Photoshop these into one image. Getting this shot just right is an ongoing challenge and something to try once again on a future shoot.

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Do you put your photos through a similar process?

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