Scot­tish scenery

Walde­mar Ma­tusik uses long ex­po­sures to un­veil the dra­matic land­scapes of ru­ral Bri­tain, and he does it all with­out masses of fancy equip­ment

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I al­ways try to plan where and what I’m go­ing to shoot, and check­ing weather con­di­tions be­fore­hand is a very im­por­tant part of this

About two years ago, when I was just a be­gin­ner, I bought my first D-SLR cam­era, the Nikon D3200. Af­ter about a year I up­graded my gear to the Nikon D7100. I choose to shoot land­scapes in Scot­land – there are so many beau­ti­ful places and amaz­ing views, it’s a photographer’s trea­sure trove.

Af­ter my Nikon D-SLR, my most im­por­tant piece of equip­ment is, of course, my tri­pod. I have a car­bon-fi­bre AFAITH tri­pod and mono­pod with a ball head. It’s light and small but pretty steady. I wouldn’t do any of my long ex­po­sures with­out it. Be­fore I go any­where I al­ways try to plan where and what I’m go­ing to shoot, and check­ing weather con­di­tions be­fore­hand is a very im­por­tant part of this.

One of my long ex­po­sures was taken at Fin­nich Glen (also known as The Devil’s Pul­pit) [1]. It’s about two miles from Queen’s View to­wards Dry­men. I find that be­ing a mem­ber of Face­book pages like ‘Scot­land’s Land­scape Pho­tog­ra­phers’ is use­ful. On the page peo­ple share lo­ca­tions which are worth vis­it­ing, so I don’t need to ex­plore on my own very much. Fin­nich Glen is not easy to find, and it is pretty dan­ger­ous to ex­plore, so not

suit­able for ev­ery­body. The big­gest chal­lenge in tak­ing this pic­ture was get­ting down the cliffs as the sur­face is muddy and slip­pery. I climbed down for the breath­tak­ing view.

For this photo I used a four-stop ND Cokin fil­ter. The white lines you see are made by the wa­ter it­self. At the bot­tom of the wa­ter­fall there are lots of jagged rocks so the wa­ter froths up as it reaches the river be­neath the fall. The wa­ter flows at dif­fer­ent speeds in dif­fer­ent places and you can’t re­ally see that with the naked eye – I de­lib­er­ately used a long ex­po­sure to re­veal the ar­eas that flow more quickly.

The woods [2] are near my home­town, Bath­gate. This was an ex­po­sure time of around 1.6 sec­onds. I used a longish shut­ter speed be­cause the mist was mov­ing from the left of my frame to the right, and I wanted it to cover the whole frame. With the shut­ter open longer, the mist swept across and filled the whole scene. Orig­i­nally the pic­ture was taken in black and white, but I used Light­room to trans­fer it into a more colour­ful, mys­ti­cal scene.

Four sea­sons in one day

Liv­ing in Scot­land you need to be pre­pared for all sea­sons in one day, maybe even one hour, and my shoot at St Mo­nans Pier was proof of that. I went there a cou­ple of times be­fore I got this shot [3], but the tides weren’t quite right – I needed the wa­ter level to be higher to ac­cen­tu­ate the zig-zag pat­tern of the pier. I left the house in the morn­ing on a sunny day, and af­ter about a 40-minute drive the weather turned dark and windy. The big­gest chal­lenge for me in tak­ing this shot was to keep my­self safe and the tri­pod with the cam­era on it steady. I used a Sigma 10-20mm lens at 11.5mm, with a two-stop ND fil­ter to make the wa­ter more silky and blur the mov­ing clouds. In the end, the ex­po­sure time was eight sec­onds. I would’ve gone for a slower shut­ter speed to in­crease the ef­fect, but the storm was quite se­vere and I couldn’t keep the tri­pod still enough!

2 Bath­gate Woods Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED, 1.6 secs, f/9, ISO100 2

3 3 St Mo­nans Pier Nikon D7100, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, 8 secs, f/16, ISO100

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