Importance of clouds

When it comes to taking landscape photographs clouds play a very important role. Often a large part of the photo will be the sky and for this part of the photo to offer something that will be of any interest to the viewer it is important that something happens there.

It is said that a clear blue sky is the most boring that a photographer can get. Therefor it is often, not just because of the softness of the light to shoot photos in morning and evening. Different tones of light combined with clouds bring interesting experiences.

My favourite setting is probably heavy clouded sky with some cracks where the sun beams come trough.

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Here are some shots I took this weekend. The first one was a day with a lot of clouds, but also sun and wind. This gives interesting movement in the clouds.

Yesterday it was layers on layers with grey clouds. A lot of rain in the air and still some wind. As the clouds now are more dense less light shines trough and the expression is totally different.

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The visiting ducks

I was out at sunset to shoot reflection and autumn colours at a lake in the forest nearby of the city I live in. When I was shooting landscapes the ducks came really close to the shore and I used the chance to take some photos of them real close with wide angle lens as well as taking a little movie of them.

Duck wide angle

 

Duck II

 

I got some nice landscape shots that day as well, so all in all it was a good experience.

 

Autumn fire

Hvaler – The perfect surroundings for art

Yesterday I was in Hvaler in South Norway. Hvaler is a group of islands that are placed in the Oslo-fjord towards the open sea to Denmark. So it offers surroundings that are quite unique, at least to where I usually am.  Whenever I am at places like that I wish I could quit my day-job and move into a cabin and spend the days creating art in the vastness of the nature.

Although it is only 2 hours with the car each direction I am here way to seldom, something I most definitive have to change. It is also a fantastic place to fish, but that is a different story.

I brought my main camera the 1D Mark IV, the EF 16-35mm F4L IS. I ended up using the Lee Filter Little Stopper and a 0.6 Grad ND Filter. I of course used my Benro tripod to get good stability on exposures that last several seconds, and I used the remote. One reason to use the  Little Stopper over the Big Stopper is that on my camera the light measurer still works with the Little Stopper. I have also gotten myself the “Lee Stopper” app for my phone that helps me exposure the light. However I have experienced that many of the photos come out to dark when I use that app.

I shot a few locations and I shot some of the photos in a HDR style. Or i used different exposures of the same subject and then used Lightroom’s HDR function to knit them together in a good exposure photo.

 

The edge of Stilness

into the eternity

 

Gazing out of the vast horizon line the viewer is drawn into the simplicity yet complex nature of how the rocks beneath the waters edge are captivated as Still-life.

This questions the viewer to consider what is more important to take into perspective, the expansiveness of the ocean or the details of the rocks below. Thus introspecting upon the state of nature we are constantly faced with as human beings we can only take so much in within an instance with the human eye. Reaffirming that photography can do for humanity what nature cannot. Meaning that photos can be revisited and details once missed through living the memory can be experienced.

 

Skilled people have more luck?

One big advantage with doing something regularly is that you in time get better because you know the techniques, because you are better prepared and because you know the surrounding landscape better. I have heard this expressed as that “skilled people have more luck” once.

This evening I was again out, it was a good day, a mix of rain and sun, which means clouds, possible good lights, possible more. This evening it turned out to be a light rain close to where the sun went down.

I wanted to capture cloud movements, colours, reflections, shadows, calmness. The quiet most never experience. I read an article written by a landscape photographer out of NYC, where he said that the beaches usually where empty of people in the early morning and evenings. It hits me where I live that it is like that, most people miss the most spectacular time by the sea.

I mounted my camera on the tripod, added the Lee Filter Little Stopper, and a 0.6 gradient ND filter (as the sky is more light then the ground/sea. Since I knew it was raining I brought an umbrella. Not for me, but to hold over the camera to avoid getting good shots ruined of the raindrops on the lens. I have also found out the Little Stopper is very nice because it enables me still to focus trough it, something which is impossible with Big Stopper.

umbrella tripod

I usually try to place the tripod out into the water to be able to have the photo start of right away with interesting foreground. Well the shot to the right tells I do not always do that.

I was quite happy with the outcome of today.

Horizon on fire
Horizon on fire – 16mm, 10s, f/11, ISO 50

 

horizon on fire II
16mm. 20s. f/11, ISO 50
16mm, 49s, f/11, ISO 50

 

Focus on process

In this blog I have tried to focus on the process behind creating my visual expressions. I want to offer a bit deeper insight in to how I work.

I see myself as an artist using photography as a medium to express what I want to express. In this lies the concept that taking the photos isn’t where the art starts.

Art starts with inspiration and ideas.

An idea gives me the ability to create a concept. With this in mind I plan the elements I want to include in the expression or expressions of the concept.

As I work with nature, I cannot always decide to the specific how I want it to be, I can decide what I want to show.  Be it motions in water, be it distorted water, be it wind, be it stillness, reflections etc.

When working with the concept or sketch as we could call it i decide the elements I want to have added in. Rocks, waves, piers, sea planes, what kind of light, what kind of absence of light, all the elements.

Based on the inspirations I then go to my surroundings or the area I want to use for visualizing this  sketch. I choose the lens, the camera, the filters, etc I have pre-decided upon that I need for the look I want to create.

When working with transferring from sketch to visiualisation or image, I work dedicated and focused. I work on finding the elements I need and use them active.

The result that you can study in a frame on your wall is the result of a process where the idea was created and transformed. The process, the thought behind and the execution of it are part of the art, not just the end result. Audience that appreciates the artistic process will be able to get a deeper experience from art.

As i work with nature I may have several projects running, as I am not the master of my surroundings. So I can switch between projects. If not I will force myself to think outside the box, how can I without the “perfect” conditions still create what I imagined.

When I work to shoot the photo, it is important to me to be able to create as close to perfect exposure with the camera. Not that  modern editing tools do not offer great features. But my experience tell me that if the shot is not optimal it is often hard to make it optimal. I have higher requirements for myself and therefor I do not settle for OK. I think the photos are like music, louder the better or larger the better, and then it falls trough if the quality isn’t there.

So after shooting I import the shots into my computer, I am first importing them as files and then I am adding the files to a secondary location. I use external hard drives as well as cloud storage. After this I import one of the external drives into Adobe Lightroom on my computer, I add tags to the shots and import it into the program. I go trough to look after the ones I like the most. I edit them first with a “Spot removal tone curve”. I remove the spots left there by my camera. Then i adjust horizons, cut out the shot I want, then change contrasts, use predefined presets to achieve different enhancements I want. Use graduated filters and other things.

I present photos on the net, mostly on either https://500px.com/lhegdal , Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hegdal.net/ or my website http://hegdal.net

When it comes to printing them, a whole new area of knowledge gets in. I can cover some of my knowledge around that area another time.

 

 

Panorama

Last evening I was down at the beach at a place I like to go to. A peninsula  called Bygdøy. On the south end you have some distanse to the horizon and can often view the sun going down. This day was rather dark. However as it is with clouded days there are always, or close to, cracks in the cloud layer where sun gets trough and with long exposure this spots or cracks get more visible.

All photos here are shot with Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM, and Lee Filters Little Stopper (6 Stop ND filter) and Lee Filters 0.9 ND grad filter. The Grad filter is adjusted different from photo to photo. The 6 Stop ND filter is used to give me long exposures where I am then able to blur water and clouds and let nature paint patterns and structure based on the movements present.

Often when I shoot the landscapes at sunset or right after as I like to do I think they get a bit to dark blue, so I often add a layer that is a bit coloured to adjust the effect to how I do enjoy it more.

First I was shooting exposures and made some nice ones.

At dusk
16mm / ƒ/11/ 30s / ISO 50
16mm / ƒ/11 / 55s / ISO 50
16mm / ƒ/11 / 55s / ISO 50

I decided as the sky was interesting and there wasn’t to much movement in it that it could be interesting to attempt a panorama. So I shut 4 frames at 34/35s exposure where I moved the camera sidewise with the tripod head so that all other settings where the same. As 35s requires bulb mode it requires some awareness. Then I used the create panorama feature in Adobe Lightroom and the four exposures where aligned next to each other. I then cut the photo so that all edges are straight.

I am very happy with the results of this.

16mm / ƒ/11 / 34s / ISO 50
16mm / ƒ/11 / 34s / ISO 50

 

Baybysteps II

Well I have inspired myself. I liked the video of simplicity I made last time. So I have made more, and they are much like the earlier once rather simple. This is on of the tide rising, and trough the film it rises just about an inch.