CHALLENGE 1: ABSTRACT
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.
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.