Last week Sophie from the Wex Photographic team kindly dropped me a line to invite me to do a blog on my previous week's WexMondays photography competition entry - for this particular #wexmondays I'd chosen to enter a picture captured on the stunning west coast of Sweden, having just returned from a two week holiday. WexMondays is a fun and inspiring competition and Sophie's email was lovely so I said that I would be delighted to get involved and share my tips.
Wex's brief for the blog was to describe: where the shot was taken; why I chose the shot in particular; what special lenses/filters/angles were used; tips for capture and, as a guide for beginners, how would I rate the shot in terms of technical ability required to take it, on a scale of 1 to 10. I answer each question in turn below.
Where was the shot taken?
The shot was taken in a place called Väjern on the Bohuslän coast, west Sweden. I had driven 45 minutes South from our holiday cottage specifically to photograph the famous coloured boat houses on the archapeligo island of Smögen. Unfortunately when I arrived the light was not the best and due to the angle of the evening sun at this time of year (mid-summer) and location of the boat houses I decided to take a few photos and move on. It was on my drive back that the sun set and the sky turned a stunning array of pinks, oranges and purples as you can see from the images below.
Why did I chose the shot in particular for WexMondays?
I chose this shot because I had just returned from Sweden that day (memory cards full or great images) and this was the first I decided to edit in Adobe Lightroom due to its amzing light and sky.
What special lenses/filters/angles were used?
I used my Canon 60D and trusty Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens for this shot, taken almost wide open at 11mm. I tried to keep ISO down to 200, to reduce noise on the image and used a sturdy tripod. I will often use ND grad filters to darken the bright sky, but on this occasion I didn't have them in the bag so opted to apply a graduated filter in post processing via Lightroom. I got down low on the jetty I was stood on to get the best angle of the row boat for added foreground interest. The shot was captured at f/11, 1/8th second shutter speed.
How would you rate the shot in terms of technical difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10?
I'd rate this as a '6' as the equipment used is fairly simple and easy to obtain (a second hand 60D is less than £250 now) and the location accessible (if you happen to be in Sweden!) as the jetty was just a short walk from a roadside layby where I parked (i.e. it didn't require a long hike to get there). Editing was also minimal due to the simply stunning light that night and was done in Lightroom CC which I pay a monthly subscription for along with Photoshop. Planning did go into the shot in terms of me driving 45 minutes at the right time of day to get the best light and having scoped out the location two days prior, meaning I knew as I drove back that the light at this location would be epic!
Any other tips?
Yes - With experience you learn to anticipate the light - i.e. I knew that the original location I had chosen would not get any better that evening so I cut my losses and moved on. Sometimes the opposite applys and you need to be patient and hope that the light will improve. I also use a great app called The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) which is very helpful for planning when the light will fall on your subject. Finally for this image I tried to apply the rule of thirds and position the boat to the left hand third of the image creating a lead in line to the stunning sunset behind. I would suggest to anyone starting out in landscape photography to try different angles and compositions of the same subject to ensure you achieve the best possible end result.
Thanks very much for taking the time to read this blog and thanks very much to Wex Photographic for the invite and the weekly #wexmondays competition. The final image and original Raw versions are below to illustrate the minimal editing. If you would like to see more, click on the link to my Sweden gallery.