Watching the Horizon.
I love the sea. I’m not sure if that has come across in my other posts, but I am fascinated by it. I find the watching the waves hypnotic, whilst the sounds are so relaxing. I don’t mind if it’s the calmest day and the waves are gently lapping on the sand, or if it’s the middle of a storm and they’re crashing against the rocks. I could literally sit on that bench for hours – in all types of weather. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in central England – and couldn’t have been further from the sea – I always loved family holidays to the coast, and now I’m less than five minutes away, that love has yet to dwindle.
All that being said, it is due to rain this evening so I wanted to get out at lunch and take todays photo so I don’t have to risk my camera in the torrential downpour later. So that’s why I’ve posted this a bit earlier today.
The shot itself was a relatively straight forward one – just needed to adjust the aperture to ensure the background remained sharp, and try to compose the shot so there was some distinction between the bench and the sea. The settings for this shot were; f/7.1, 1/400 sec, ISO-160. As it’s a bit of an overcast day, the colours were a little washed out. So I decided to add a bit of drama into the shot by turning it black and white and giving it a bit of punch.
So when I got it opened up in Photoshop, I played with the usual settings to get the image up to standard (Levels, exposure and vibrance). Then instead of applying a black and white filter, I applied a Channel Mixer instead. That gave me a lot more control over the contrast in the colours. The problem I had was that I wanted to darken the clouds without darkening the rest of the image – so after selecting the sky, I created another exposure layer for just the sky and ramped up the contrast. I think did the same for the grass in the foreground, to except this time I increased the exposure slightly to brighten the grass. To keep the bench nice and dark and to keep it the focus of the image, I think applied a mask to the bench to remove the brightness that had been added by the increase in exposure. Et Volia – a pic that I’m rather proud of. Some good techniques used in Photoshop that I don’t use too often, and I like the overall composition and sharpness of the image. I really like the horizon is so crystal clear – it’s as though someone has drawn a line with a marker pen to split the sea and the sky.
The last few shots have been good fun – I’ve really enjoyed getting out and using my camera, and also playing a bit more in Photoshop. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts too!
Tonight I had the opportunity to get outside and practice my night photography. The wife was nipping out for an hr or so, so I got dropped off at the local beach and started snapping away. There wasn’t much of a moon to provide any lighting tonight, but I was still keen to see what I could capture with a longer exposure time. I am still sans tripod (going to order is next week I think) I had to make do with balancing on top of a concrete bench. That gave me the stability, as long as I was gripping the camera as tightly at possible to avoid any camera shake.
At first I was struggling to focus on the bridge – as it was so dark the autofocus couldn’t pick it up, so I was focussing manually by trial and error with reasonable results. It wasn’t until my wife returned to pick me up that I was able to use the car headlights to light up the bridge so I could focus correctly. Todays shot is one that was taken while the headlights were still on. Unfortunately for the shot I took without the headlights I’d set the ISO to 3200, which was really too high, and the image is really noisy. So for todays shot I’m plumed for this. I actually quite like the effect the car lights have given the bridge – even thought its slightly over-exposed. I do love light bouncing off the clouds, and also that I’ve managed to capture the stars through the break in the clouds. The settings for todays shot were; f/8, 25-sec exposure, IS-3200.
With hindsight, I’d have turned up a bit earlier (with a tripod) while it was still light to get the focusing correct – then it would have given me more time to play with the camera settings, and I’d have definitely used a lower ISO. But I guess that’s what this entire project is about – making mistakes and learning from them. I’ll definitely be retrying this shot (or one similar) when my tripod arrives.
Didn’t want to do too much in Photoshop today, so just the usual levels, contrast and exposure settings were slightly tweaked, and also slightly cropped the image down to bring the bridge away from the centre of the image. So overall, very happy – learnt more tonight in an hr or so that I have done for a while so a productive night I’d say!
Thanks for reading everyone.
Tick Follows Tock.
Today I wanted to get out, further than I would normally venture to get my photo. The local coastline is perfect for inspiration when it eludes me at home. High tide is a magnificent time to be at the beach. I could sit and watch the waves crash in forever. If todays title is confusing anyone, it’s a line from one of my all time favourite adverts for Guinness. I’d recommend anyone take a look – its brilliant. Here’s a YouTube link > Guinness Surfer Ad. Hopefully after watching you’ll see why I chose the title.
As usual, my challenge today was lighting. As I can only get out towards the end of the day I’m often struggling to get enough light. Today I needed to use a slow enough shutter speed to brighten the image, but also a quick enough shutter speed to freeze the motion of the wave. I wanted to keep a pretty sharp background, so a high aperture was out, so in the end I used f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO-100. Once I’d got the setup it was just a case of waiting for that big splash and avoiding the waves as they ran up the beach. Fortunately I managed to get a few shots before I thought I’d chanced my luck too long and escaped without getting wet.
Once I was home and opened up my shots in Photoshop it was just a case of playing with the levels, contrast and gamma before applying a black and white filter then a slight sepia tint to warm up the image. Overall, pretty happy with the shot. I like how I’ve managed to freeze the wave and also that I’ve kept the houses in the background sharp and in focus. By increasing the contrast I’ve also managed to bring out the detail in the clouds too. If you look closely you can just about see the horse’s breaking through the waves (Hint: don’t look too closely!)
Thanks for reading!
You’ve Been Drifting for a Long, Long Time.
Today’s title is brought to you by Travis, and their track Driftwood. Excellent tune. Excellent band in fact. Anyway.. Photography..
Finally, another chance to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors! This afternoon we were out at the local Country Park. The weather was great, beautiful sunshine and just a slight chill on the breeze. It was the perfect day to go out and get some photographs, and fortunately I did get quite a few nice ones. (I’ll do another post with those shortly). I’ve seen a lot of these kind of shots, but never had the opportunity to capture one myself – normally my beach shots are of sand, sea and sky – and not a lot else. So I glad I was finally able to get some foreground elements in my beach shots. It’s a shame the sky is bit bleached out, but it was a really bright sky, so I’m not overly surprised. Not a lot of touching up needed in Photoshop today, just a bit more saturation and adjustment needed to the contrast, and that was it really. Nice and simple – it’s nice to be able to get a shot just straight out of the camera. It feels a while since I was able to do that! Another short but sweet one today – but I’ll post up my other images from today in a separate post.
It’s been a pleasure keeping you entertained for two minutes! Thanks!