PHOTO WORK­SHOP: COAST

PHO­TOG­RA­PHERS LOVE THE COAST – SANDY BAYS, SEA- SCULPTED ROCKS, CRASH­ING WAVES AND RE­FLEC­TIVE POOLS COM­BINE TO OF­FER END­LESS OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES. THERE­FORE, THIS MONTH WE CHAL­LENGED READER ROB CRAGGY TO CAP­TURE THREE GREAT COASTAL IM­AGES, WITH ONE SLIGHT CATCH:

Digital SLR Photography - - Contents -

Pro Ross Hod­dinott chal­lenges one reader to com­plete three photo tasks in an hour at Porth Nan­ven, Corn­wall

G RE AT L ANDSCAPES ARE of ten the re­sult of time and plan­ning. The light and con­di­tions have to be just right be­fore you be­gin tak­ing pho­tos. You of ten have to fine- tune com­po­si­tion over a pe­riod of time in or­der to per fect your fram­ing, or ex­per­i­ment with set­tings to achieve the de­sired look. The pic­ture- tak­ing process is not to be rushed – if you do, you are more likely to make silly er­rors. How­ever, reader Rob Craggy wouldn't have the ben­e­fit of time to ful­fil this month ’s chal­lenge. He would have just one hour, and within that time he' d need to cap­ture three great coastal im­ages to sat­isf y the theme. A hard task.

Nor­mally, dur­ing The Photo Work­shop, I would guide the reader to t wo or three lo­ca­tions to pro­vide them op­por tu­nit y and va­riet y. Rob and I would have no such luxur y, though. With time so lim­ited, we would only be able to visit one place. There­fore, lo­ca­tion choice was im­por tant – we needed to visit some­where that of­fered plent y of pic­ture po­ten­tial . Af ter some de­lib­er­a­tion, I opted for Por th Nan­ven – a lit­tle cove, near St Just in West Corn­wall . Although hid­den away, it is well known among land­scape en­thu­si­asts for it s beaut y. The beach is strewn with large, smooth boul­ders re­sem­bling dinosaur eggs. The rocks and cliffs are beau­ti­fully sculpted by the sea, mak­ing it a great spot for cap­tur­ing tex­ture, shape and form. It is a lovely evening lo­ca­tion, with the sun set­ting out to sea. It is al so a small beach, which re­quires ver y lit­tle ex­plor­ing – Rob would not have time to do too much walk­ing, so it s size would be ben­e­fi­cial .

Rob is a keen land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher, with a fond­ness for shoot­ing the sea. How­ever, liv­ing in High Wy­combe, he is about as far away from the coast as he could be! There­fore, hol­i­days to Corn­wall pro­vide wel­come op­por tu­ni­ties to get be­hind the cam­era and shoot the coast.

With an hour to cap­ture three dif­fer­ent shots, Rob would need to work quickly. This t ype of timed chal­lenge can prove good dis­ci­pline, teach­ing you to work ef­fi­ciently, adapt quickly, and ad­just set­tings in­tu­itively. Use­ful skill s in sit­u­a­tions when you can’t af­ford to hes­i­tate – for ex­am­ple, when the light or tide is rapidly chang­ing. I ex­plained that he would need to be de­ci­sive. To help pre­vent Rob wast­ing time, I sug­gested we got down to the beach early and spent time ex­plor­ing and pre- vi­su­al­is­ing shots – this would help him work ef­fi­ciently when the timer be­gan. It was presently low wa­ter, but by us­ing an app called Aye­tides, we were able to roughly pre­dict where Rob would be able to shoot from come last light, when the tide would be over a me­tre higher. I sug­gested Rob got his cam­era out, had a wan­der, and be­gan fram­ing up a few shots. Rob clearly had good cam­era skill s and was ex­pe­ri­enced with fil­ters. He didn’t need me to ad­vise him to wear wellies while work­ing close to the sea and his Canon kit was all se­curely housed in a large F- stop back­pack.

With the sun set­ting just be­fore 6pm, I chose not to be­gin the count­down un­til 5: 1 5pm. By do­ing so, Rob would not only ben­e­fit from the sof t, golden light lead­ing up to sun­set, but al so have the chance to shoot any colour that might form in the sk y once the sun van­ished be­low the hori­zon. I told Rob his chal­lenges would be to cap­ture a great coastal ab­stract, long- ex­po­sure black and white, and a clas­sic seascape. I be­gan the count­down.

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