CHAL­LENGE 3: SUN­SET

Digital SLR Photography - - The Photo Workshop -

No pho­tog­ra­phy trip to the coast would be com­plete with­out a clas­sic sun­set shot, and that was ex­actly what we were aim­ing for. And with the pier per fectly po­si­tioned for a set­ting sun this was go­ing to be the fo­cal point of Tony’s third and fi­nal im­age. At this point the waves were still quite fe­ro­cious and the tide was as high as it was go­ing to get, so we had to set up fairly close to the sea de­fences to avoid get­ting wet.

The clouds that had greeted us when we’ d ar­rived had all but gone so we knew sun­set wasn’t go­ing to be clas­sic with lot s of in­ter­est above. How­ever, the sk y was glow­ing a beau­ti­ful orange hue and warm light was catch­ing the other side of the pier, cre­at­ing a back­lit ef fect. The light s on the pier weren’t on yet, but it wouldn’t be too long un­til they ap­peared, which makes the pier re­ally stand out as the sun sets.

Tony framed up and ini­tially be­gan shoot­ing with his Big Stopper on the lens, along with an ND grad. Luck­ily the Live­view of his Canon EOS 6D can still ‘ see’ through a ten- stop ND fil­ter, which makes it easy to drop a grad into po­si­tion. He fired of f a few frames but with light lev­els drop­ping fast it wasn't long be­fore ex­po­sure times ex­tended into min­utes. Tony abor ted the Big Stopper and en­joyed the nat­u­rally long ex­po­sures that the low light lev­els of fered.

The first com­po­si­tion was a lit­tle un­tidy and in­cluded a cross­over point on the groyne. The waves were al so cre­at­ing a lot of foam that was build­ing up at the edge of the tide and didn’t look prett y. Tony re­alised the com­po­si­tion wasn’t work­ing so moved to the edge of the tide to cut out the foam form­ing slightly fur ther up the beach. It re­ally didn’t look great and created an un­nec­es­sar y dis­trac­tion.

In this new po­si­tion Tony’s first shot in­cor­po­rated noth­ing but blurred wa­ter in the fore­ground, which looked fan­tas­tic. But he re­alised that if he moved back just a lit­tle and timed his ex­po­sure care­fully, he would be able to use the large peb­bles on the beach as fore­ground in­ter­est. It took a few at­tempts to get the shot he was aim­ing for, but the re­sult was fan­tas­tic with the peb­ble beach clearly vis­i­ble and the blurred wash of wa­ter grad­u­at­ing in den­sit y from the edge of the tide and back to the sea.

Tony’s fi­nal im­age was taken at 10pm, when it was dark and there was just a hint of colour lef t in the sk y, so it ’s es­sen­tially a night shot. He was im­pressed by the length of the ex­po­sure and how this was pos­si­ble with­out the need for an ND fil­ter to lengthen ex­po­sure time.

1) The duo wait for the pier lights to be switched on. 2) Which one to pick… Tony makes his fil­ter se­lec­tion. 3) Tony lines up his ND grad fil­ter to hold back the ex­po­sure on the sky. 4) James is on hand for ad­vice, but Tony is in his el­e­ment now. 5) Tony moved back slightly to in­clude the peb­ble beach as fore­ground in­ter­est – a great fin­ish to a fan­tas­tic day!

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