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.
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.
I am not really a fan of photos taken with a mobile camera. My biggest concern isn’t that it is a camera in everyones hand, but more the fact that the photos are not really that great unless they are presented at that screen or as a tiny web image.
On the other hand is todays DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras totally overkill for most usage, you will never really need 20+ Megapixels for presenting a 72dpi photo in normal resolution online.
Nevertheless it isn’t really the camera, it is the one taking the shots. Some days I was out doing a different activity then photo, and the weather changed fast and turned out to be a storm with thunder and lighting in the horizon. As I was playing golf, I was really hoping it would stay away. And fortunate it never got closer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not my best genere. I feel that if I take photos of people I invade their lives, even though the expectation of privacy should be rather slim out in the streets. As I also have a rather bulky and large camera rig I do not come off as a random tourist either, and I tend to get reactions; Some very positive and some negative.
Well enough excuses.
What street-photography is very useful for is to learn yourself to see interesting moments, and then to frame them. To be able to talk to people and make them help you creating the expression you want to.
In the one below it was a street musician who for the easter occasion had taken on ears.