Despite the lack of a proper winter so far, we have been blessed by some beautiful light these past few weeks on the North Coast. Of course, it can become the default choice when shooting at the coast to point your camera in the direction of the waves. 

It can be healthy to break with your normal photographic rules

Sometimes however it can help to break from tradition and instead head into the Dunes. Oh, and while you are at it, leave your tripod behind. You are going to want to be free and easy as you shoot. 

I headed across to Portstewart Strand, one of the most popular beaches here on the North Coast in Northern Ireland. And it's not difficult to see why. A vast open expanse of beautiful sand, huge dunes, rolling seas and of course when you are feeling peckish something to chow down on in Harrys Shack

The dunes, a favourite place of mine to bimble with the camera. I often leave the tripod locked up during these trips as, quite often, to find pleasing compositions you need to be rather agile. Given I'm shooting without a tripod I also let the Fuji take care of a lot of the settings, auto ISO (with a top limit of 800 in this case) and auto shutter. I can then play a little with both aperture (quite often choosing somewhere between f5.6 and f8) and of course exposure compensation. If I want to create a bit of movement in those reeds, I limit ISO to 100 which forces a longer shutter speed. Finally on this trip I also shot in jpeg mode.

You may think this is quite a break from what may be classed as normal landscape photography where people stress the importance of low ISO and maximum depth of field. Trust me, those rules are fine in certain circumstances, but live 100% by them and you will never fully explore the beauty of photography. 

Every time I shoot jpeg mode on the fuji I forget just how beautiful they are pretty much straight from camera. 

The light was simply sumptuous and at times I found myself mesmerised by the reeds blowing in the wind and how the light danced amongst them. At this time of year the sun sinks behind the Donegal hills about 30 minutes before sunset and as it did the light slowly slipped away from the Dunes. I found myself following the light until the very last drop had vanished. 

Afterwards I stood at the water's edge, engulfed in a sea of purples and pinks, as the post sun glow reflected across the outgoing tidal range. 

All images shot on the Fujifilm XT1 with the 18-135mm lens. 

Now these next two images in portrait format, I've had to include on this post a little different as for some reason including portrait and landscape in the same media block on squarespace is frowned upon (aka it messes up). 

My Flame

My Flame

Rapunzel

Rapunzel

 

So next time you are at the coast why not turn around and look into the Dunes. Leave that tripod in the car and go have some fun. 

That Post Sunset Glow ...... 

That Post Sunset Glow ...... 

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