Phew, landscape photography certainly can leave you feeling rubbish at times. Yesterday was certainly one of those days.
I decided to head down to Portballintrae as I had spotted some nice rock formations as I headed for home after a dawn shoot the previous morning. After some research the previous evening I noted that the sun would be rising above the visible horizon just as the tide was starting to go out.
With plenty of interesting looking rocks it was time to bring my filters from Formatt-Hitech out to play. A 10 stop to begin with and then perhaps even the 16 stop.
Working as a landscape photographer means you are constantly thinking. The changing light. Your composition. The camera settings. The elements. Which filters to use. The tide. The mood. I know I've had a challenging time in the field when I arrive back at the house feeling quite exhausted. This was to be one of those mornings.
Despite the 3 hour radar forecast suggesting that the rain had passed I knew as soon as I had arrived that there was plenty of threat of the advancing squalls coming ashore.
Time to get out that one piece of equipment that every outdoor photographer should own - the umbrella. Sadly though the only one to hand was one belonging to my wife, polka dots and all, and it clearly had not been used in a while. Upon opening a gust of wind caught it, turned it inside out then upside down, rendering it pretty useless.
I was now left holding what resembled a rather colourful stick with various bits of wire sticking out like a poor mans Edward Scissorhands.
Typically the session went a bit like this;
- Consider a composition and get setup. Dial in the camera settings.
- Rain on the front of the filters. Wipe away the rain drops. Notice that some fluff from my gloves has gotten onto the filters.
- Remove gloves.
- Use blower to remove fluff
- Recompose image as camera was slightly moved as filter was being removed
- Light has changed and now is very flat.
- Put cover over camera and wait for change in light
- Hail starts
- Hands are cold so back to wearing gloves.
- Light starts to change so remove cover and check camera settings
- Take test image and notice some light leaks coming in for long exposure.
- Adjust cover over filters to protect from light leaks
- Take another test shot
- Notice still one or two drops on filter so clean again
- Tide now has moved out and no longer gives a strong foreground interest
- Take a deep breath, pickup camera and move forward to look for another image
As the morning progressed I moved a little on around the coast and noticed again that the squalls continued to toy with me. This time however it would seem they would be moving across in front of me, rather than over me. This could make for some interesting conditions on the far end of the image. The sun, from time to time, would poke out from behind the clouds lighting the foreground and more importantly a few cottages around half way into the image. This could work I thought, and certainly on the back of the camera I was reasonably pleased. I was shooting RAW but with the Film Simulation B+W(+R) applied to give me a feeling of how the final image would look.
I really liked how the sun highlighted the cottages, and then how the squalls of weather were moving over the land in the distance. Sadly however upon my return and viewing the image full screen I just don't think it's as strong as I had hoped.
While I was disappointed not to come away with a shot I realised that the morning had actually be a very valuable lesson. I talk about that more here on my YouTube channel.
And what about those Sausage Rolls I hear you say? After coming home I decided to make some and they were pretty tasty indeed :)
There was more to come from the shoot, later that evening. Plenty of ups along with one major down .... but I'll leave that for another post.
Right, time to have another one of those Sausage Rolls .. just the one of course :)