Life keeps repeating on me

The best bit about being a landscape photographer is you spend every waking minute in the most glorious countryside and scenery on offer. Still, misty mornings and glowing autumn colours followed by a full cooked breakfast served by a pretty local maiden with sparkling blue eyes and warm smile.

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset, UK

 

The recent reality was yet another motorway service station breakfast thrown in front of me by someone who barely spoke English, and this sadly has been my lot for what seems like an eternity, locked into the humdrum banality of the M5/M6 trudge to Yorkshire and back. I have spent hours on the motorway getting to Yorkshire, had days of rain, wind and general dampness and am now back in Dorset for a brief respite. Because in a few days I shall be heading back to Yorkshire for more M5/M6, more damp and drizzle. I have to; my client demands it of me. I seem to spend more time getting to locations than I actually spend taking shots once there but today I'm taking the short hop skip and jump to the fab Dorset coast to shoot a lighthouse just for the pure fun of it.


Now I know it has been a tad breezy recently but I have to admit I was just very slightly unprepared for the conditions that greeted me. I have never seen waves that big on the normally benign Jurassic coast. Standing up for more than a few seconds was no mean feat, let alone trying to put my trusty Manfrotto tripod into position. A concrete tripod would have been a better bet. Had I even got the Nikon out of the bag there was so much spray that I think the amount of salt in the atmosphere would have corroded it within minutes. By the time you have set the camera up, composed the image, focused, metered and applied a Lee N.D. grad, you'd not only be soaked through but you'd be unable to see through the camera for the spray, seaweed, old fishing nets and anything else the sea could throw at you.


Like all good cookery programs though, ‘here's one I prepared earlier'. This is the image I wanted to try and improve on, which is more often than not a mistake to try and do. This particular shot is three images of 30 seconds stitched together, with a LEE filters hard edge three stop N.D. grad used to control the exposure of the sky, and a LEE mist stripe across the bottom portion of the frame to help give a soft ethereal feel to the water. Shot using a Nikon D700 with the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 and with everything perfectly level. I have metered manually and applied the same exposure to each image. The white balance is also set manually to 5500k.


Can you ever go back to do the same shot again? Not really, as conditions and the light will always be different. I shall ponder this as I trudge wearily back up the M5 and M6 to Yorkshire to repeat a shot for a client.

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