Sunset at Ballintoy

Spurred on by the sunset featured in my last blog I decided to make the journey to Ballintoy on the north coast.  This location is rather spectacular, especially if the light is right.  I knew from previous visits that the sun sets over the sea and a projecting headland.
 
Arriving at about 5pm the sky was overcast, nevertheless I decided to wait until sunset.   Surprisingly the overcast sky began to break up revealing the setting sun.  There is no substitute for patience in landscape photography.
 
In trying to find the optimum position to shoot from I pulled a calf muscle while climbing over rocks, which reduced my mobility.  So these images was taken from a bench at the car park, as indeed where most of my images.  Photography is not a painless process in more ways than one! 
 
Shooting straight into the sun does present it’s challenges.  I used a 0.9 hard graduated filter to try to balance the extremes of light.  The biggest problem is lens flair and it was not always possible to avoid it, we just have to live with it I think!
 
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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Wait until after sunset!

This is an image I could not resist posting!  Its nothing new in that I have photographed from this very position many times before.  The composition is not brilliant, so why blog it?

It was the pink sky that caught my eye and indeed the opportunities that are available to the photographer after sunset are fantastic.  What I like best about this picture is the quality of the light, taken about half a hour after sunset.

Whiterock, Strangford Lough, Co Down

Whiterock, Strangford Lough, Co Down

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Some comments on landscape photography

I don’t really regard myself as a landscape photographer but I do like to dabble now and again.  In seeking to get the best results I have found that changeable climatic conditions offer the best opportunities.  Those occasions when the weather is due to breakdown produce wonderful skies.  So I tend to pay attention to the weather forecast.

The time of day is also important and in the case of the featured image in this blog evening light produced a nice quality of defused light.  With composition I tend to comply with the standard conventions, foreground interest and the rule of thirds!  For this image a 14mm wide angle lens was fitted to my Fujifilm X Pro 1, which equates to 21mm on a full frame camera.  I think the lines in this image work well.

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St John’s Point, Co Down: Fujifilm X Pro 1. 14mm 1.4 lens @ f9, 400iso, 1/125 second.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballintoy Coastline Images

This week end I visited Ballintoy on Northern Ireland’s north coast.  It is a spectacular area for photography, but when I arrived I was disappointed with the quality of the light. However it is a beautiful area and I was content to wait for the sun to sink in the sky before taking any images.

The problem I was faced with was shooting into the sun, which rendered part of the scene in silhouette.  The following image illustrates the point!

Ballintoy Coastal Shoot

I used a Lee .09 Hard ND filter to mange the highlights created by the sun, but this also added to the silhouette problem.  On balance I am content to run with the silhouette, particularly if its a moody shot your after.

Now comes the next question!  As the image is almost monochrome anyway would it be better to process it as a monochrome print?  Only one way to find out!

Ballintoy Coastal Shoot

 Which works best?  Perhaps you can give me your opinion!

 All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Painting with light (continued)

Following on from my last blog in which I discussed recognising light quality and how special light can produce great images.  In this short blog I am looking at the light produced by sunsets.  Here is an example that I have not published before:

Sunset from Mahee Island, Strangford Lough

Three great effects are created by the setting sun, firstly the light of the sun picks up dust in the atmosphere giving it that great golden glow.  Secondly long shadows are produced giving a sense of depth and shape to the landscape and lastly, the clouds are lit from below giving an edge to the clouds.

The final touches in this image was to produce the starburst in the setting sun, this is simply achieved by selecting a small lens aperture, in this case f20.  Secondly there is as much interest in the sky from the horizon upwards as there is in the low portion of the image, so the horizon was purposely set less that one third from the bottom of the frame.  In taking this type of shot we are looking to create some drama in the image.  I hope you agree it has succeeded.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

 

Painting with light

At this point I am working on collating my landscape photographs.  While not professing to be an accomplished landscape photographer I have been asking the question what makes a good landscape shot?

They say the quality of light makes the difference between a great shot and a pretty average shot and I fully agree with this.  It is also said that great shots are to be had in the hour before sunset and after sunrise.  But I have also taken very acceptable images at other times as well.

I think the more you take photographs the more you recognise good light.  You don’t want strong sunlight or clear blue skies.  Instead look for well defused light, interesting cloud formations and often sudden changes in weather produce interest atmospheric results. One such opportunity arose when visiting Stroove Beach, Co Donegal.

Stroove Beach

Stroove BeachStroove Beach

The incoming low pressure and rising winds produced very different images to what you would capture on a sunny day.  Photography is about painting with light and one objective amongst many is to bring out the texture of what you are taking.  Both the rock formations and the colour hue of the clouds are both vital elements in these photographs.   Strip these elements away and you would be left with very bland images. 

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Post Production Technique

I have never written about post production techniques before in this blog so this is a first! Over the past couple of months I have been reviewing older photographs, some like this one have been forgotten about, so it is pleasing to rediscover older images.  This one was taken in April 2011.  The image was initially disregarded because the tide was out and I did not like the electricity poles in the distance.  However I have given the image a second chance!

Strangford Lough at Sunset

Strangford Lough at Sunset

Post production of this image was straightforward using Lightroom 4.  To improve the image all I did was to crop out grass along the bottom of the image.  Secondly to give the seaweed in the foreground an extra stop of exposure and a little clarity.  The final step was to bring up the sky.  The water line neatly divided the image in two and I brought the graduated filter down to the waterline in much the same way as you would use the ND graduated filter on the camera lens and to allow for the over exposure.  The result slightly darkened the sky and brought out the thin cloud.

This is all there is to it, the adjustments described above were all minor tweaks to the image.  Hope you like the image despite my initial observations!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

 

Repeat Visits

At the risk of boring readers I am returning to yet more images taken at Whiterock.  But as a photographer I have come to value the habit of making repeat visits to a particular location, sometimes visiting just days apart or at different times within the day.

Most photographers like to pay a great deal of attention to light and more particularly to the quality of the light.  The quality of the light can make a huge difference to the final photograph.  It creates the atmosphere whether that be a cold feel or a warm glow.  We should keep a keen eye on weather and atmospheric conditions and exploit them to the limit.

So far in January we have enjoyed periods of clear sky, still winds and at other times stiffening winds.  Cloud patterns keep changing providing good detail in the sky and the atmosphere has been clear producing crisp images.  The following two photographs were taken from the same position just one day apart.  The first image was taken on 14 January when there was a bitterly cold wind making the water just a little choppy, the second taken on 15 January when as you can see it was calm.  The different effect is plain to see.

1/60 second, f10, 400 iso, 29mm

1/60 second, f10, 400 iso, 29mm


1/60 second, f10, 400iso, 26mm

1/60 second, f10, 400iso, 26mm

The point therefore is to make many repeat visits to the one location and keep taking photographs; pay attention to climatic conditions and learn how the quality of light changes and how this effects the photographs you make.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

More on reflections

Readers of my previous blogs will know that I tend to spend a lot of time in the Nendrum and Whiterock area of Strangford Lough, so it will be no surprise that the image featured in this blog was taken today at Whiterock, looking across the bay towards Strangford Lough Yacht Club.

Nikon D700, 1/40 second @f16, 200iso, 29mm

Nikon D700, 1/40 second @f16, 200iso, 29mm

So how was it taken?  Obviously it was the reflection that I first noticed, then it was the line of the cloud dividing the sky and its reflection on the water creating a ‘V’ shape lying on its side.  As for selecting the exposure settings, I was guided entirely by the histogram on the back of the camera and the final exposure had no highlights or lowlights clipped.  This also reduced greatly the post production processing in Lightroom.  The only other innovation that I employed was a ND2 filter, but to be honest it could have been taken without one!

One final comment.  We are told that the best time to take landscape photographs is during the golden hour, either at sunrise or sunset, to get the best light.  Well this photograph has broken this rule, it was taken at 11.35am.  As a friend of mine often quotes; ‘rules are for fools and the guidance of wise men’!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Don’t waste that winter sunshine!

I am sure that I have posted images from this place before, Whiterock, Co Down, if I did its worth the duplication.  Today was a beautiful day with bright winter sunshine and it would have been a shame not to go out for a walk.  As is my habit I brought the camera with no particular purpose in mind.  So these shots are just snaps, but they do convey a sense of peace and tranquility in what is presently a very troubled Province.

Whiterock, Co Down Whiterock, Co Down Whiterock, Co DownWhat attracted me to take the images was the stillness and peace of the scene.  But I must confess that I broke my new year’s resolution by not bringing a tripod!  All images taken with a D700 and a prime 35mm lens.  First two images taken at 1/50 second at f14, White Balance temperature 5400 and the third image at 1/60 second at f11, White Balance temperature 5900.  ISO rating 200.

Notice where the child’s wellington boot is in the middle photograph?  

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.