This morning, I met up with my friend Howard to take photo's of South Parade pier on the sea front in Southsea. I was feeling lazy (I didn't have a good nights sleep) and didn't want to move around too much. I know that goes against all my own best practices and I would be tutting and frowning at anyone else not experimenting with different compositions but it is what it is.
I framed the shot that I liked whilst Howard was doing similar and set about getting some nice long exposure shots of this iconic and much loved pier.
Now, seeing as I didn't move during the entire shoot (I know, I know) my only variable was the light that was constantly changing due to the patchy cloud cover. I started playing around with different filter combinations, exposures, aperture settings and here are three very different views with the camera being in the same place.
Moody black and white
My camera settings for this one were as follows (for those of you interested in such things). I was at ISO 50, F/11 and my exposure was 182 seconds. I was using a circular polarizer(a CPL), a 10 stop ND filter and 4 stop graduated filter attached to my 24-105mm L lens. The sun was coming up over my shoulder so my CPL had a significant effect on the blue sky. along with the solid Neutral density filter and the graduated filter I was getting some lovely movement in the sky and that silky look to the sea.
Now you might have noticed that I'm a bit partial to black and white images and that's what I had in mind for this shot.
During post processing (I'm a Adobe Lightroom user but you should use whatever you feel comfortable with) , after the usual lens corrections and white balance correction I set about making a black and white image. I think it looks great as a black and white but seeing as it was such a beautiful Southsea morning, I really wanted a colour one as well.
Bring me sunshine
The only setting I changed for this photo was my exposure. The sun had risen in the sky so the light hitting the pier was much brighter. Seeing as all my other variables had stayed the same, to get a correct exposure I had to speed up my shutter speed to avoid over-exposing the image. I shot this at 90 seconds. In lightroom I did little more than boost the contrast, adjust the whites and blacks and give it a little kick of the clarity slider. I had already boosted the sky by using the polarizer and graduated filter at the time I was taking the image so my lightroom work was pretty minimal.
For this last shot, I took off the filters (with the exception of the CPL) and again the only thing I changed was the exposure - in this case it was 1/15 of a second. Notice the people by the pier? In the two photo's above, there were people in the shot as well but because my shutter was open for so long and they didn't stop moving they don't show in the image. I didn't "Photoshop them out" or anything. This was again fairly minimal work in lightroom because my CPL had already done a great job at the time of taking the photo. I added a graduated filter and dropped the exposure slightly on the sky, did some other basic adjustments such as white balance and contrast and boosted the clarity a bit.
So there you have it, three different photos from one view point. I hope you liked reading this and if you'd like to know more about how I process images or how I approach a subject, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment!