Port­fo­lio re­view

Si­mon Saun­ders slows things down to cap­ture the mood and at­mos­phere of the Northum­ber­land coast­line

NPhoto - - Contents -

One reader’s seascape port­fo­lio re­viewed, plus your let­ters shared and an­swered!

My hon­ey­moon trig­gered my ad­dic­tion to pho­tog­ra­phy. It was the rea­son I bought a new cam­era about five years ago. The morn­ing that my new gear ar­rived, I also picked up a mag­a­zine that fea­tured a list of projects teach­ing you how to shoot in man­ual mode, and ex­plain­ing aper­ture, shut­ter speed, ISO and so on. I was hooked.

I chose Nikon be­cause that’s what my dad al­ways used, but my love for the sys­tem has only grown. The out­stand­ing im­age qual­ity and ease of use of the D810 make it an in­cred­i­ble tool, and I es­pe­cially like the fact that Nikon has re­tained the same lens mount through the years, en­abling me to find some re­ally old high­qual­ity glass that still works on my new cam­era.

My pas­sion is shoot­ing seascapes and land­scapes that in­clude wa­ter in some shape or form. I’m sat­is­fied with the re­sults that I’ve pro­duced so far, but there’s still a long way to go and I’m keen to learn more. The area that I think I prob­a­bly need to im­prove on is

com­po­si­tion, and in par­tic­u­lar find­ing a dif­fer­ent view of a scene that’s been pho­tographed a lot al­ready.

I en­ter quite a lot of com­pe­ti­tions and have no­ticed that the post­pro­cess­ing of the im­ages that get short­listed seems to be quite sub­tle. This is an area I am fo­cus­ing on at the mo­ment, but I would love some feed­back on my ap­proach. I’d also like some ad­vice on how to make my com­po­si­tions more eye-catch­ing.

My im­ages are all taken in the North East of Eng­land and around the Northum­ber­land coast. I feel very lucky to live in this area, as there is an abun­dance of very cool and in­ter­est­ing places to shoot. What I was at­tempt­ing to do with the im­ages here was to not only cap­ture the beauty and the his­tory of the area, but to also use cam­era tech­niques to re­veal some­thing that the hu­man eye alone can’t see.

N-Photo says

Si­mon, your clas­sic land­scapes are a re­minder that we can all work out of our lo­cal area to achieve great re­sults – although your lo­cal spots are to be en­vied by those who don’t have such pho­to­genic sub­jects so close to home.

The Black Rocks com­pos­ite im­age [1] is a great long ex­po­sure; your 100-sec­ond ex­po­sure for the clouds means they have be­come smeared across the sky, while the two-sec­ond ex­po­sure for the sea re­tains def­i­ni­tion and cap­tures the wispy white lines of the waves as they’re dragged down the beach. With The Coast is Al­ways Chang­ing

[2], you’ve clearly made the ef­fort to cap­ture the shot at the golden hour

I was at­tempt­ing to cap­ture the beauty and his­tory of the area, and to use cam­era tech­niques to re­veal some­thing that the hu­man eye alone can’t see

and have great colour in the sky. The shut­ter speed of 15 sec­onds has blurred the wa­ter but it’s still a patchy, busy area of the frame. It’s not as clean and slick as the wa­ter in Dun­stan­burgh Sun­rise [3]. Faced with the same sit­u­a­tion again, it might be in­ter­est­ing to see how the scene looks when cap­tured with a much slower shut­ter speed: four or five min­utes might have re­sulted in very in­ter­est­ing streaks in the sky.

You men­tion that you would like help with com­po­si­tion, and to that end we sug­gest you try to fill your fore­grounds with in­ter­est. You’re nail­ing the light­ing, but in im­ages [1] and [2] your fore­grounds are dis­tant and a lit­tle flat. Even in im­age [3], you could have shot from a lower van­tage point, to re­ally make the most of the fore­ground peb­bles. Do­ing this may have meant in­clud­ing slightly less of the sky in the frame, but that might have ac­tu­ally helped with the over­all bal­ance of the com­po­si­tion; as it is, the hori­zon is a lit­tle too cen­tral.

You men­tion that you would like help with com­po­si­tion, and to that end we sug­gest you try to fill your fore­grounds with in­ter­est

1 The Black Rocks Nikon D810, 24-120mm f/4, 100 secs, f/9, ISO64 2 The Coast is Al­ways Chang­ing Nikon D810, 24-120mm f/4, 15 secs, f/9, ISO320

3 Dun­stan­burgh Sun­rise Nikon D810, 24-120mm f/4, 30 secs, f/22, ISO64

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