The power of eye contact – Dean looks up

Boy looking up at first communion

Catching the attention

I had been asked to take pictures at a First Holy Communion by the father of the boy in this picture. I’d done all the usual shots and had more than enough pictures to keep daddy happy. With the job safely covered I was able to hunt out some different angles, and to take a few risks that may or may not have paid off.
I’d reckoned the organ loft would produce a few good pictures anyway, as I could get the children posing for the congregation at the end of the service, and get that wider view to include the families and guests crowding round to give a fuller account of the story. I used a focal length to just include the kids at first, as I wanted to catch some of their excitement and their interactions with each other. For many of them this was the first special occasion in which they had been the centre point, so they were buzzing.
As I framed the group the boy in the middle, who was my subject, looked up and saw me above him. As his eyes met the lens I checked the focus was right on him and I took the shot. All I got was the one frame, as he quickly reverted to facing forward at the crowd of other picture takers.
I hadn’t known that he would look up, and if he hadn’t I’d have just got some nice pictures of the whole environment, but because I was there and ready, when he did look up I got a picture that I couldn’t have prayed for.
His eye contact demonstrates how we react to other humans. The eyes make us look at him first, and we find it hard to look away for a while. We do, and we investigate all the other things that are going on in the frame, but the first and the last things any viewer will see are those eyes. They are only small in the picture, but their power is undeniable.
As usual I shot this in colour, and converted the file to black and white using the Channel Mixer. The more detailed channel is always green, and its more moderate contrast suits this subject very well. I tempered the bias to green with a touch of red and some noisy blue, but the green channel accounted for 80% of the information.

Using exposure compensation – Walking into the light

Walking towards the light, Millenium Bridge, London
 

Man walking into a streak of light early in the morning.

Here’s a simple but effective way of making a small subject stand out from the background. Early in the morning, or actually any time that the sun is low in the sky, we get great shafts of light that streak between buildings to carve streets in two. Usually, if we allow the camera to do its own thing, these powerful beams of light will appear white and burnt out in the frame, but if you measure and expose for the beam instead of the scene in general, you can use them to great effect.

In this instance I was looking for a way to pick out a single person in this very busy part of London. Often I will do this by using a very shallow depth of field, or by getting close with a wideangle lens. On this morning though the sun was acting as a spotlight on a stage, so all I had to do was use it.

The camera was set to evaluative metering, which obviously was reading for the whole scene. With no interference from me the exposure chosen worked well for the scene but left the area where the sun was falling as a burnt-out white line. Obviously this wasn’t making an interesting picture, or illustrating what I could see with my eyes. The excitement of the scene was that the sun could pick anyone out who walked through its rays – and that is what I wanted to catch.

I was using a manual focus lens at the time, so set the focus point for the paving right where the sun was shining. I guessed that I would need exposure compensation of about three stops (-2EV) so I set this and took a trial shot. It looked about right. I could have set spot metering and measured that way, but I would have had to have walked over to the spot to fill the spot zone, and a guess, with the chance to make corrections, seemed a better and quicker option.

Once I was happy that the exposure and focus were good, I framed the shot and waited for the right person to come along. This is a popular route for runners, school children and to workers travelling to the office. I didn’t really know what sort of person was going to make the best shot, but I knew that when that person came along it would hit me. I didn’t have to wait long for this chap to pass by and make the scene complete. The face, the pose of the arms and legs and the outfit all work to tell us the story of the moment.

Samsung NX100, with Samyang 85mm f/1.4 lens in Nikon fit via a Samsung to Nikkor adapter. 1/500sec @ f/5.6, ISO 100.

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

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Walking towards the light, Millenium Bridge, London
Man walking into a streak of light early in the morning.
People walking near The Millenium Bridge, London
Without user intervention your camera will record the scene this way.

Shooting digital infrared – avoiding the obvious

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Infrared picture of a tree in a churchyard

Infrared photography used to be a firm favourite of the darkroom user in a days of film supremacy, but with the advent of digital photography the popularity of infrared capture died away somewhat. It didn’t disappear completely, as it didn’t take IR junkies long to realise that many digital cameras are also sensitive to IR light, and with an IR, or a deep red, filter in place a decent enough image could be captured. The number of digital cameras now that have sensitivity significantly extended into the IR wavelengths are few, as it actually has a detrimental impact on normal daylight photography, but some do still have enough ability to record IR light that an image can be made.

What is infrared?

Infrared is the name given to a group of light wavelengths that extend beyond visible red. The word ‘infrared’ means ‘below red’ in Latin – referring to the fact the wavelengths are longer than those of red. For creative photographic purposes the wavelengths we are interested in run between about 700 nanometres and 1000, but some forms of scientific applications use even longer wavelengths.
In IR photography we capture the infrared portion of the spectrum that is reflected from objects in the scene. In general terms live objects, such as grasses and leaves reflect most IR, and these objects appear very bright in IR images. It is commonly believed that IR photography captures differences in temperatures, or that certain objects emit IR light. Neither of these are true.

Fujifilm IS Pro

For this picture I used a fully infrared compatible camera – the Fujifilm IS Pro. This is a camera built into the body of the company’s S5 Pro DSLR, but with the infrared blocking filter removed, and with menu controls specific to shooting in IR. Originally designed for scientific work, it soon grabbed the attention of creative photographers as an extremely convenient way of recreating what they used to do with a tricky and complicated film process. The camera can shoot in colour as well as black and white, and with a ‘hot filter’ (which cuts out IR) over the lens it acts as a normal camera.

Is your camera IR sensitive?

An easy way to find out if your camera has sensitivity to light in the IR part of the spectrum is to cover the lens with an IR filter and then shine in IR light at it. Infrared filters are not cheap, but sources of IR light are common. A TV remote will work, and aimed in low light at your camera with the IR filter over the lens will record as a bright dot on the rear LCD screen when a button is pressed.
You can have your DSLR converted to shoot IR by having the IR blocking filter removed. Companies such as ACS will perform the surgery for you. Don’t try it yourself.

 

An infrared picture of Tower 42 with white clouds and a black sky

Avoiding the obvious

There is enough IR photography about for the effect to be easily recognisable, and most IR photographers do much the same thing. On a sunny day a blue sky records as a deep black, while clouds reflect large amounts of IR and appear bright and dramatic. Most photographers will try to use these characteristics to create a dramatic and impactful image. There is nothing wrong with that either, but I prefer to use the effects in a less obvious way that still creates an interesting picture, but one that does not scream ‘I’ve been shot in IR’.


IR film used to be very grainy, and could be used to create a coarse textured image that was very appealing. Here I’ve chosen a subject that suits that kind of treatment – an old building – and used the IR effect to have a mildly surreal impact on the grass and leaves to make the picture standout as being a bit different. The effect is very soft and almost dreamlike, without being obviously manipulated or part of a special process. I don’t want the first reaction to the picture to concern how it was done, but what it looks like.


There is no easy way to measure IR light with a normal exposure meter, so we end up having to guess. With film that could be a drama itself, but obviously with a digital IR camera life is much more straightforward – you can view the success of the exposure immediately. Generally small apertures are needed to ensure focus (IR light does not focus in the same plane as the light our cameras and lenses are designed for), and lengthy shutter speeds are needed to compensate.

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

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Fujifilm IS Pro f/11 @ 1/40sec – camera rated at ISO 100.

 

Infrared picture of a tree in a churchyard

Grass and leaves reflect IR and appear lighter in IR images

 

An infrared picture of Tower 42 with white clouds and a black sky

A blue sky turns black in IR photography, and clouds stand out with drama

Colour toning for reality – Palm Tree Reflections

Palm Reflections

Palm Reflections

I took this picture of palm trees reflected in a swimming pool on the last day of a two-week trip to The Dominican Republic. For the whole fortnight I’d been taking pictures of the beach, the blue sky, the swaying palms and all sorts of views and scenes that to me typified the sense of the place. In the end though, looking back over them as the end of the trip came in to sight, I wasn’t convinced that I had really captured what it all meant to me. I had some great images, even if I say so myself, that were laden with messages and atmosphere, but I hadn’t made the shot that reflected my own personal experience of the country or what I would want to remember most.

Sitting by the pool after another excursion along the coast to take more pictures I was wondering what it was I had liked the most about the place and what view I would want to take back with me to remember. It had been a very relaxing trip that was very much needed at the time. I’d been knackered before we left home, and it had taken several days of doing nothing and pure relaxation to bring me around to a normal human state. Work had been pretty hectic and long days had been running into late nights and early mornings, and I’d needed this holiday.


Sitting there, drinking up the atmosphere I realised that what I’d enjoyed most was staring back at me. The reflection of the palm trees in the rippling surface of the water, and the deep blues of the sky enhanced by the blue tiles of the pool’s floor. It is the kind of view you can sit and stare at for hours with nothing going on between your ears.

Adding  the right colour

I made this image to include enough pool edge so that it could be seen to be a pool but with the majority of the frame occupied by the palm reflections and the lines of the tiled floor. I shot in colour, of course, as one would with such a scene, but was surprised when reviewing the images later on at home that the blue I remembered was not as dominant as I had sensed at the time. I resolved this issue by taking a sample of the blue that I remembered from the image using the sampling tool and then switched the colour file to black and white. I did this using the green channel, in Channel Mixer, and then used the Curves tool to lift the contrast a little. Next I created a new colour fill layer, which I flooded with my watery blue, reducing the layer opacity to 10% to allow the detail of the scene to show through.

The final result is not actually a technically accurate representation of the scene I shot, but it is an extremely accurate representation of what I saw, of what I remember and of the essence of being there, in that place at that time. The camera never lies, of course, but it is a dumb instrument that is not capable of understanding emotion and the way the human eye filters what it sees. The camera often needs help to make a picture that conveys what is happening in the mind behind the viewfinder rather than in physical form in front of the lens – and it was one of those occasions.


Samsung GX20 with Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 lens. ISO 100

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

To see more of my pictures
visit my photo galleries site
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Palm Tree reflections - the original version

Palm Tree reflections - the original version


Palm Reflections

Palm Reflections


Be prepared – lover’s hideout

Lover's hideout, by Damien Demolder

Lover’s hideout, by Damien Demolder

Try something out. Put your camera in its bag, and put the bag over your shoulder. Now, pretending you are Clint Eastwood in a cowboy movie, see how quickly you can ‘draw’ your camera, including switching it on and squeezing a shot off. Providing the settings are about right for the light levels and light types you are practicing in, it probably takes about four to five seconds. If you need to adjust the ISO to achieve a shutter speed at which you can hand-hold the camera and lens, that ‘draw’ time might extend to ten seconds – depending on how user-friendly your camera’s menu system is. It’s a good job you are pretending to be Clint rather than fighting against him, as you’d never get that shot off.

Whether you are a fan of Mr Eastwood’s movies or not you will have noticed that when the man himself is sliding round the side of the General Store in search of the bad guys he keeps his gun in his hand, safety catch off, so it’s ready to fire. And if you are into street photography and catching ‘the moment’ you need to take a leaf out of his book.

Keep reviewing your settings
The day I shot this picture it was heavily overcast and dark. It was also very cold, so I was wearing those fingerless burglar gloves, so that I would be able to hold the camera in my hands all day and still be able to work the controls. As the day got darker and darker I had been adjusting my ISO settings so that I would be able to maintain a shutter speed of at least 1/30sec – the camera had anti-shake built-in. I had a 28mm lens fitted, which gave me a 42mm equivalent focal length on my APS-C sensor, and I’d got it stuck wide open at f/2.8 to let in as much light as I could get.

Rounding the corner of a building I came across these two lovers hiding away from the world to share an few intimate moments together. Before I knew it I had the camera at my eye and was focusing the manual lens. As the shutter fired she just had time to look a little bit sheepish, and he just had time to hide his head behind hers.

Ready to shoot
I took one shot, smiled at them as they laughed at being caught, and then I walked on. It all took about two seconds, and I got the shot because the camera was there in my hand whirring and straining at the leash to take a picture. Had it been curled up snoozing in my camera bag this incident would have just been another one of those occasions when the shot got away. I wouldn’t even have drawn, as I’d have known immediately that as soon as I’d started getting the camera out the dynamics of the picture would have changed and the moment would be passed.

Composition in an instant
With practice I’ve learnt not only to get the subject in the frame in a split second but also to ensure I have a composition. I never know what the next composition is going to be, but I do know that even the sort of picture that is grabbed in a fraction of second needs to respect the viewer and respect the laws of image construction. I managed to keep the camera straight so those blocks wouldn’t create a distraction by sloping off to one side, and I positioned the couple at the bottom of a tall frame to prevent a centre-weighted or top heavy composition. I had to keep her feet in too, and his, and frame the pair of them in their alcove by showing some wall either side so the viewer can understand they were hiding away.

Wide aperture
The wide aperture has combined with the overcast sky to create an almost dreamlike softness that works well in the sooty black and white, blue/green channel conversion. There is romance in the softness that adds a fairy tale quality.

Pentax K10D with Ricoh XR Rikenon 28mm f/2.8 at f/2.8. ISO 400.

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

To see more of my pictures
visit my photo galleries site
at www.damiendemolder.com

Lover's hideout, by Damien Demolder

Lover’s hideout, by Damien Demolder

Simple compositions – shapes and tones

simple-compositionsThere is a difference between obvious subjects and those we have to search for. Obvious subjects might be a dramatic sunset, a lit fountain at night, the Eiffel Tower at anytime of the year or a zebra driving a jeep down the high street – these are things you couldn’t resist taking a picture of. Less obvious subjects only appear when you take time to be observant and have your eyes open to patterns, shapes and tones. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain exactly what it is you are photographing, but you can see there is a picture there all the same. And often it is only when you have the time to sit and study the picture after you have taken it that you begin to understand what it was that you saw in the first place.

The great thing about the less obvious picture is that fewer people see them, and so fewer people take them – so you picture will stand out as being different. 

This picture was taken on an overcast day on a ship far out at sea. Walking the decks with my camera in my hand the obvious thing to do was to look outwards to see what was out at sea. But as the answer was ‘nothing’, the only thing to do was to photograph the ship itself. 

Ships, especially old ones like the QE2, are beautiful to look at. They have wonderful smooth curves and endless lines of rivets, panels, handrails and planking. In the low contrast light of the clouded sky the shapes of the ship were revealed in lightly graduated tones, as moderate shadow slipped into moderate highlight and all the details were carefully preserved. 

Exposing a white scene

Shooting a white subject on a white day can create some exposure difficulties. If you let the camera make all the exposure choices you’ll end up with an image that is just too dark and dull. The camera’s meter will only see a very bright scene and will recommend buttoning down the aperture to ensure things don’t appear too bright. The camera doesn’t know of course that you want the subject to appear bright – it is white after all, so you have to take a little control to add brightness. On this occasion I only had to shift the exposure by about 1/2EV. Using the exposure compensation mode I dialled in +1/2EV – but you can as easily do this in manual exposure mode and open the aperture to over expose by ½ a stop. 

Uprights

A scene like this, which relies on its simplicity, requires that you allow the viewer to appreciate the shapes and tones unhindered by distractions. Firstly make sure that are no annoying, eye grabbing, objects in the scene – a cigarette end, a bit of litter or a person for example. Next, make sure you are not creating any visual distractions, such as sloping horizons, converging verticals and lines that are simply not level. You can’t just point and shoot; there needs to be a few moments devoted to ensuring the camera is straight and level. This doesn’t take much effort, but it will make the difference between a pleasing shot and one that does not convey your message.  

After effects – software manipulation

The key to the success of this image is its simplicity, soft contrast, neutral muted colours and smooth tonality. So long as the white balance – I shot this on the ‘daylight’ setting – was about right in-camera there shouldn’t be too much you’ll need to do to the picture in software. I opened this frame and looked for a while, itching to do something to it. I tried a few things and messed about a bit before I realised that what I really needed to do was to leave it alone. So, I did. 

Pentax K10D, smc Pentax DA-70mm f/2.4 limited edition lens at f/2.4 and 1/2000sec, ISO 400. 

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

To see more of my pictures
visit my photo galleries site
at www.damiendemolder.com


 

simple-compositions

The shot looks very nice in black and white too

The shot looks very nice in black and white too

Picking the decisive moment – at the Bank of England

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Give yourself choices • adding depth • simple or complex • when it all comes together

 

Capturing the decisive moment - when is it?

Capturing the decisive moment - when is it?

There’s too much reverence attached to Cartier-Bresson’s mystical Decisive Moment – the moment in which all the elements of a scene come together to make the perfect picture. Of course decisive moments do happen, but there is no witch-craft, spiritual powers or crystal ball gazing required. Any ordinary photographer is more than capable of capturing ‘it’.

The two key skills required are the ability to spot a potential scene, and the patience and foresight to wait until the right people walk into it and occupy the right places. Of course it’s important that they are the right people, as they will be making up a significant part of your image – and they have to land in the right place to create a balanced and pleasing composition.

Everyday scene

I spotted this scene in the late spring on my way to work. I walk past it every day, but on this particular morning the sun was streaking up the street and lighting the columns and pedestrians in a way I hadn’t seen since the same moment last year. I always admire the contrast between the bumpy roundness of the stone columns and the smooth flatness of the walls – they have massive photographic potential, I just had to wait for the right conditions.

On this morning I saw that the scene had been set. I pulled my camera out of my pocket and framed the columns and wall in a way that would show both well, and then wondered at what sort of passer-by I wanted to complete the show. It was just after 7am so the street was still relatively empty. If I waited long enough I would be able to choose whether to have the street occupied or empty, with a few people, a single figure or a crowd, as well as whether I had people only on the other side of the road or close to me; to create depth. There were various traffic options too – vans, buses, bikes…

To experiment I shot lots of options, to study and pick between afterwards.

The background

In this type of shot, where the interest is in the relative positions of the moving elements (the people), you need to ensure the background stays in the background, and does not become a distraction. This is a strong background, but it doesn’t take over – and that’s because I spent some time positioning myself and the camera to ensure that uprights were upright and that I wasn’t going to have converging verticals and sloping horizons fighting for the attention of the viewer.

Below you can see five different versions of the same scene, each of which presents a different view and a different kind of composition – as well as different types of content. Even on the back of the camera I knew which I liked the best; actually as soon as I pressed the shutter I knew that I’d got the shot.

I didn’t know beforehand what I needed to create the ideal frame, but when the right elements came together before my eyes I knew that was the shot to take.

Shooting with a compact

Using a compact camera with an LCD meant I wasn’t holding the camera to my face. This risks camera shake of course, but it also means you are able to see around the camera at what is about to enter the frame and where. You can’t do this so well with a DSLR, so while compact cameras are not necessarily the best option for perfect picture quality they do have many significant benefits that often outweigh the quality issues. This is also a very small camera that is easy to carry absolutely everywhere – including places you wouldn’t normally take a camera.

Which picture do you think represents the most interesting moment?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33, 1/250sec@f/2.8 ISO 100 and 28mm end of the zoom

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

To see more of my pictures
visit my photo galleries site
at www.damiendemolder.com

Photographing the decisive moment - when is it?

Photographing the decisive moment - Lone man

I quite like ‘Lone Man’. I waited for him to be between the pillars before I took the picture, so he’d stand out from the smooth background.

Photographing the decisive moment - when is it?

Photographing the decisive moment - the crowd

Here’s the crowd scene that shows how full the street can be even at that time of the morning. It’s exciting, but maybe lacking in a clear focal point

Photographing the decisive moment - when is it?

Photographing the decisive moment - all on the left

I like the depth the near-and-far people create, but the frame is over balanced to the left – and everyone is walking out of the picture

Photographing the decisive moment - when is it?

Photographing the decisive moment - scooter

Although scooters, cars, buses and vans are a real part of the life on this street for me they spoil the timeless nature of the Bank’s architecture

Capturing the decisive moment - when is it?

Capturing the decisive moment - balance and depth

This is my favourite. It has depth created by the head in the foreground and a good balance of subject on either side of the frame. The people are also ‘right’ for the scene

 Capturing the decisive moment - the next day

Capturing the decisive moment - the next day, different light

I shot this the next day, at exactly the same time of day, to show that when the sun isn’t streaking up the street lighting the building and the people there is much less to photograph. The impact has gone. The decisive moment is as much able the hour, the day and the season as it is about that split second when all the elements gel to make the perfect frame

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What’s a polarising filter – beach at Uvero Alto

Uvero Alto with a polarising filter

Uvero Alto with a polarising filter

A polarising filter is used in photography to reduce the effects of reflections and glare. When these distracting forms of light are removed from a photograph it allows colours to really shine through and appear much stronger. Polarisers are a particular favourite of landscape and architectural photographers for the dramatic effect they can have on a sky – transforming it from pale blue to a dense and impressive navy. Here you can see a ‘before and after’ demonstration of what a polarising filter can do. On this occasion I used the filter to darken the sky, firstly producing a stronger blue and secondly making the cloud formations stand out more clearly. The filter has also cut reflections from the surface of the sea, which again intensifies its colour, and the same impact can be seen on the sand as it’s colour becomes more saturated. While the non-filtered image is nice, the second is much more dramatic and eye-catching.

Uvero Alto without polarising filter

Uvero Alto without polarising filter

Rotate for control

The power of the filtration effect can be controlled at the shooting stage by rotating the filter in front of the lens. For these images I have shown the extremes of the effect, but it is easy to tone things down because the filter allows the degree of impact to be controlled at the shooting stage.

Two types of reflected light

In very basic terms there are two kinds of light illuminating this scene – light that comes directly from the sun and reflects off the trees, clouds, beach and sea into the lens. And then there’s light that’s been reflected from something aready, that goes on to bounce off those same objects, but from different angles. If you take the sand, for example, you can see there is light that’s coming directly from the sun and then there is light that has been reflected from the sky that gives the surface a slight haze. The same is true of the sea; in the non-filtered shot most of the colour we see is the reflection of the colour of the sky. Light that has already been reflected before it strikes the subject can be cancelled by a polarising filter, and thus help improve contrast and colour. The resultant reduced light levels will mean longer exposures are needed so, except in very bright conditions (such as in the case here), a tripod is the natural partner of a polarising filter. The filter I was using, made by Hoya, has particularly good light transmission, and so long exposures are less often required.

The angle of the sun

Polarising filters have most pronounced effect when the photographer has the sun on his or her back. The effect is still visible at 90° to the sun, but as soon as the lens moves to begin facing the sun a polariser becomes less useful.

Samsung GX20, with 16-45mm f/4 ED lens. Exposure without filter f/11 @ 1/250sec, with filter f/11 @ 1/125sec. Both ISO 100, and at the 16mm end of the lens.

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

To see more of my pictures visit my photo galleries site at www.damiendemolder.com


Uvero Alto with a polarising filter

Uvero Alto with a polarising filter

Uvero Alto without polarising filter

Uvero Alto without polarising filter

Using a neutral density graduated filter – Beltany stone circle

• Using neutral density filters • white balance for dawn light •

Neutral density filters help to control brightness differences.

Neutral density filters help to control brightness differences.

Balancing the brightness of sky and land is a regular problem at any time of day, but first thing in the morning, when the weak sun has still to cast its rays across the landscape, showing the detail in the foreground requires drastic action. On this morning I wanted to capture the atmosphere before the sun had really got up and started to shine. With a fine cover of cloud in the east the sun was up but only as a giant red ball with no real power, but its influence was enough to add a golden glow to the heads of grass in this late summer field.

I had been pointing the camera skyward to place the stone circle at the bottom of a frame of ‘big sky’. From the many times I have visited this place I knew there is only one angle from which to shoot this stone circle that allows it to be shown as a ring rather than a fragmented collection of rocks. It’s unfortunate that the only shooting position is in a dip in the land, which means it’s impossible not to be looking up at the subject. But with a wideangle lens aimed upwards to place the stones at the bottom of the frame the picture just looked like many others I had shot before. I was shooting ‘big sky’ because that is what I had in my head before I arrived, but I had to look a little harder at the scene when I realised the ‘big sky’ composition wasn’t going to work.

Looking afresh made me realise that I was missing an important and interesting element of the scene – the grass heads. The naturally low angle also meant I could include the grasses without tilting the camera down – so distortion would be kept at bay as the camera would be absolutely level.
While including the foreground solved one problem it introduced another. In the unlit morning, the grasses were much darker than the sky, and even the stones in their elevated position. The answer in this situation is to use a neutral density graduated filter to reduce the intensity of the light from the sky while allowing the light through from the lower parts of the scene. I used a 0.6 ND grad, and picked one with a ‘hard’ transition from clear to dark as the horizon is pretty straight in this shot.

It’s important in scenes like this, where you want to capture the natural colours of the morning light and sky that you set an appropriate white balance on your camera. I always use the normal ‘daylight’ setting, as this produces colours closest to what our eyes see, and will show those pinks, peaches and reds in all their glory. If you use auto white balance (AWB) the camera will do it’s best to neutralise those colours.

Canon EOS 1Ds lll with EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens and Lee 0.6 ND graduated filter. ISO 100, 1/3sec @ f/16.

Find Beltany Stone circle on the map, and read information about it

See more of Damien Demolder’s recent photographic posts here

To see more of my pictures visit my galleries at www.damiendemolder.com

To see more of my pictures
visit my photo galleries site
at www.damiendemolder.com


 

Neutral density filters help to control brightness differences.

Neutral density filters help to control brightness differences.

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