NPhoto - - Special Feature -

What’s the ef­fect? Pho­tograph­ing land­scapes over sev­eral min­utes can trans­form an or­di­nary scene into one that con­veys ev­ery­thing from ac­tion through streak­ing clouds, to peace via glass-like wa­ter. Coast­lines pro­vide a wealth of sub­ject mat­ter, and here in Bri­tain we are no more that 50 miles from any coast.

At times, you can set your­self a chal­lenge like I did here, with a panoramic stitch of Nub­ble Head Light­house in Maine, USA. I wanted to cre­ate a long ex­po­sure at dawn with the sun just break­ing over the is­land. I had to cal­cu­late the to­tal amount of time of all of the ex­po­sures to co­in­cide with the sun break­ing over the edge of the is­land. I could have cropped a sin­gle file into a panorama, but this would have meant throw­ing valu­able pix­els away and I wanted a large file.

What’s the time? To de­ter­mine the po­si­tion of the ris­ing sun, I used my Flight Lo­gis­tics sunrise/sunset cal­cu­la­tor. This is a com­pass and chart that tells you where the sun will rise and set at any lo­ca­tion. The ocean wasn’t very pho­to­genic so I de­cided to use an ex­po­sure of 2 mins for each of the four ex­po­sures to turn the choppy waves into a smooth sur­face. I had no idea how the clouds would re­act over such a long ex­po­sure, and this is part of the ex­cite­ment of us­ing a long ex­po­sure. The Lee Big Stop­per 10-stop ND fil­ter made it pos­si­ble to ob­tain a long enough ex­po­sure at f/8. I al­lowed enough time for the sun to rise above the hori­zon and break the edge of the is­land, and cal­cu­lated back to the time when the first ex­po­sure should be­gin.

Af­ter stitch­ing all of my im­ages to­gether, I was pleas­antly sur­prised how the clouds were mov­ing to­wards the is­land and drew the eye to the light­house. I com­posed it so the coast­line led in from the cor­ner, sweep­ing around to the is­land. I love it when a plan comes to­gether!

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