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