September heralds the start of the busiest season at f11 Workshops and, this Autumn, I’m running more workshops than ever before. So, yesterday being the first of the month, it seemed like a good day to head down to the coast to check on the locations for the first workshop. Places can change, even in a few months, and pre-workshop recces are one of the hidden but essential expenses of this business.
Well, it’s never exactly a chore to spend time at the coast and I also felt obliged to check that standards hadn’t fallen at various essential eateries, so I can’t complain! My son had lost a bet with me and I called in my marker, so he became my ‘photo-slave’ for the day, providing kit-carrying services and witty banter in equal measure.
I don’t usually bring my camera when leading workshops as I prefer to concentrate on the clients rather than making my own images but, of course, this doesn’t apply to recces and, once all the essential business stuff had been taken care of, I had half an hour before last light. Luck was with me and the evening turned out nice, reminding me why I bring clients to this beautiful place.
All is ready for my busiest workshops season yet – bring it on!
We’re just back from a short trip to Wales. I have a lot of images to upload but thought I’d start with the most recent, from last night. We found a super sunset spot for Lilly, our camper van, looking over Freshwater West beach, Pembrokeshire. I was so busy looking West that I almost didn’t notice a rainbow appearing behind us.
f/11, 16mm, ISO 100, .8″
It just got better and better as the setting sun turned the clouds pink. By the end, I’d had a good soaking (well, you can’t have rainbows without rain) and I was very glad of my camera’s weather seals. We loved what we saw of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire and have already agreed to go back as soon as we can.
f/11, 16mm, ISO 100, 1.6″
By the way, the small triangular structure in the first shot is a seaweed drying hut. More on that anon.
I recently enjoyed a day out capturing images in the South Downs National Park, with my friend, Asmita Kapadia. Asmita runs photography workshops in the area and showed me some marvellous locations. More information about her tours can be found on her website. She also has a page on Facebook
In August we spent a week in Mudeford, Dorset. On the day we arrived it rained without respite. I knew that the next day would be my best bet for a decent sunset; the light is almost always at its best after heavy rain. So I headed down to the harbour edge and scouted around for a composition. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be in luck but, as the sun started to dip below the horizon, things started to get interesting.
I often find that the best shots happen just after the sun has set. Then it throws its rays up into the atmosphere, catching the undersides of clouds and, if you are lucky, bathing them in pink.
Mudeford is at the mouth of Christchurch Harbour, a natural harbour just on the Dorset side of the Dorset/Hampshire border, with the New Forest National Park and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site practically on the doorstep. We loved it there and will definitely be back, soon.
There has lately been some interest in seeing my shooting and processing data. All of these shots were taken at 16mm, ISO 100 and f.16 using 2/3 bracketed RAW exposures ranging from 1/8 to 2.5 seconds, with tripod, remote release and circ. polariser. Blended in CS4 using layer masks. Correction of lens distortion also in CS4. Colours straight out of camera.
This is Lihou, a small island off the coast of Guernsey and the Channel Islands’ most Western point. It is a nature reserve and only accessible by the public via a tidal causeway for two weeks each month. Our visit sadly was outside this period and the causeway was underwater at sunset so my composition lacked the leading lines I was hoping for. I wish I could convey with this fairly basic shot just how beautiful it was watching the sun set behind the island and listening to the chorus of seabirds. Nature put on a magnificent show that night; these colours are as nature made them – no saturation required.
Another shot of my lighthouse muse, La Corbière on Jersey in the Channel Islands. Better compositions are to be had on the rocks below but high tides coincided with sunset during my recent trip so I had to make do with a higher vantage point. The long exposure time needed for the low light has softened and muted the waves. You will just have to take my word for it that they were crashing onto the rocks below and I would have been inundated had I stayed down there. On the upside, I enjoyed seeing how different the same composition could look at the same time on successive days.