Monday, 31 December 2012

Last shots of the year

Thanks to the twin demons of British weather and having to work for somebody else for a living I haven't had much of a chance to get out much, very annoying as the River Trent has burst it's banks a couple of times recently and turned the landscape north of Newark into a lake. My partner and I finally had a bit of the Christmas break to ourselves yesterday and combined a drive out with a bit of photography - just!

The weather forecast promised interesting skies so we headed straight for the north Norfolk coast, ending up on Brancaster beach. I hadn't been there for years and had forgotten how spectacularly huge both the sky and the beach are. I also hadn't factored the wind into my planning - it was, to use a meteorological term, bloody freezing... fortunately the same wind was tearing the clouds to shreds, letting the sun through and sending sand flying like spindrift on a mountaintop. I managed to get a few shots off in the fifteen minutes before the rain hit - my partner did a good spotting job on that one, we were all packed away and ordering coffee from the rather good kiosk near the car park before we got soaked.

All worth it though, the few shots I did take all came out fairly well. This 10-22mm lens is really getting under my skin and I think I'm starting to do it justice:

Brancaster Cloudscape

This is just a quick pre-edit, I need to find a way to enhance the shadows from the stumps and there's a bit of noise at the top right that needs eradicating. But I'm happy with the composition, which is the whole point of going somewhere like this - the absence of major landscape features means that careful and traditional composition dominates the photography process. The 10-22mm really helps here, letting relatively small foreground features become tools for leading the eye into the shot - or for throwing the middleground towards the back, enhancing the depth of the image and giving a sense of space.

And just to prove that the 22mm end of this lens gets used:

Next stop the Netherlands!

Again, a very quick edit (three minutes in Aperture, just now!) - I don't intend doing any more work on this shot as the contrail spoils it for me. But it does illustrate how the bare bones of composition are best for this kind of landscape, as well as the importance of texture to bring interest to what could so easily be a featureless and even bland shot.

In other news, I've just signed up for a free trial with Photium - I've used them before in a collaboration a few years ago so it will only be a trial until I've got the content and layout sorted. Watch this space for a website - at long last.

And finally, given that it is the last day of 2012, here's my equivalent of a bloopers reel for this year. I'd like to say something about even aspiring pros being human, and all of these being part of the learning experience, but I just know that these aren't my last wonky horizons! Happy New Year :)

Oops... one of many...

The light was tricky!
Focusing. Surprisingly difficult...

And the light again... although the horizon would be wonky if it was correctly exposed...


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