CHAL­LENGE 1: AB­STRACT

Digital SLR Photography - - The Photo Workshop -

It doesn’t mat­ter how much you pre­pare for a land­scape shoot, you’re al­ways at the mercy of the lo­ca­tion, and of course the weather. On this oc­ca­sion, that was go­ing to be the case for Tony and I. We met up and made our way to Wells- next- the- Sea on a beau­ti­ful sunny day. There were clouds in the bright blue sk y, but we knew there was a good chance that they would dis­ap­pear as the af ter­noon went on.

We ar­rived in the town and made the roughly one- mile walk to the beach. To cut a long stor y shor t, within 30 min­utes the clouds had passed and the sun was too bright – the sit­u­a­tion was look­ing ex­tremely tough. Think­ing on my feet, I sug­gested Cromer, and we made the walk back and headed along the coast to a smaller beach with more fo­cal points we could work with in the con­di­tions.

When we ar­rived at Cromer Pier it was im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous that we’ d made the right de­ci­sion. There were still clouds in the sk y, and the tide was in with large waves crash­ing into the beach. The first chal­lenge was to shoot a long- ex­po­sure coastal ab­stract, and Tony was im­me­di­ately drawn to the stones in the tide to the lef t of the pier. We headed over, and as soon as we put our bags down it be­came ob­vi­ous we were in a place that would be cut of f by wa­ter.

We quickly moved to the safer side of the pier and Tony now set his sights on the groynes. To find a com­po­si­tion he liked, he be­gan with the cam­era hand­held and tried dif fer­ent view­points to see what worked best. The tide still had a lit­tle way to come in, so he had to work fast with the po­si­tion he’ d de­cided to shoot from. Tony quickly set up his cam­era and took a test shot to then cal­cu­late ex­po­sure time us­ing the Lee Fil­ters app. He then at­tached his Big Stopper fil­ter and fired his cam­era us­ing the Canon smar tphone app via Wi- Fi. The ex­po­sure time given by the app was over­ex­pos­ing the scene, so Tony took a se­ries of test shots to ob­tain the cor­rect ex­po­sure.

Ex­po­sure prob­lems with Big Stop­pers can oc­cur when there are changes in light bet ween tak­ing a test shot and us­ing the ex­po­sure cal­cu­la­tor app. To get around it you can ei­ther use the cal­cu­la­tor again, cal­cu­late ex­po­sure man­u­ally or take ac­tual long- ex­po­sure test shots. Tony opted for the third op­tion and within three shots he’ d nailed the ex­po­sure time. The sk y looked too light so I sug­gested he at­tach his t wo- stop hard ND grad to hold back the sk y de­tail . An­other test shot later and all the el­e­ments were there. With the first chal­lenge com­pleted in record time de­spite the slow star t, Tony was rein­vig­o­rated and ready to move on to the next chal­lenge.

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1) Tony sets up quickly to cap­ture the scene be­fore the tide pushes him back. 2) Care­fully slot­ting the ten- stop fil­ter into place. 3) When us­ing a ten- stop ND fil­ter it's im­por­tant to set up the shot cor­rectly be­fore fit­ting the fil­ter. Here, Tony uses Live­view to per­fect his com­po­si­tion. 4) Tony uses his smart­phone as a re­mote re­lease to trig­ger the ex­po­sure.

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