lee filter

Lands End, Cornwall

Day 1 - Lands End.  After Mousehole, we moved on round the coast towards Lands End.  The extreme landscape this far west was striking, with rolling hills and steep drops into the ocean.  People usually claim Lands End to be pretty tacky and a bit of a tourist trap - we stayed away from the attraction itself (a bizarre bright white building perched pretty much on the edge of a cliff) and instead tackled the nature trail around the clifftops. The landscape gave a hint of what the weather was usually like there - consistent high winds has led to a stark lack of vegetation which makes it less interesting as a subject.  We got a taste of that weather, which meant keeping the tripod steady a bit of a challenge, especially during longer exposures with the Lee Big Stopper.  Looking out towards the Isles of Scilly, there were plenty of subjects to photograph.  We chose a perch pretty close to the edge - mainly to avoid the tourists trying to grab a quick snapshot!

Lands end rocks-0858

This is a 15 sec exposure at f/8.0, using my 16-35mm f/4 Nikon lens.  An ND filter was used to minimise the chaos of the ocean and to smooth out some of the waves.  I quite like the white smudge this causes in the water, but of course it always comes down to personal taste...All around this part of Cornwall there are these stacks of rocks jutting out from the water, which always make interesting subjects.

Lands end lighthouse-0860

This is the same rock stack, but this images took in the iconic lighthouse about a mile out to sea (same settings as the previous image).  Again, a Lee ND filter was used to smooth the motion in the sea, creating a nice bright area which draws the eye into the image.  The idea was to have the rock stack point diagonally across the image and direct the viewer towards the lighthouse.

Lands end coast-0862

We switched position to face south, just as the weather changed once again.  The new dehaze feature in Lightroom CC worked great as it minimised some of the spray coming off the ocean, improving the clarity of the rocks - filter management was a pain at this point as they kept getting coated in moisture.

Lands end photographer-0868

In the final image from this location I decided to include a human element, namely a bird watcher in the most brightly coloured coat I've ever seen a wildlife shooter in!  (30 seconds, f/8.0, ISO 100, 21mm)  You can see his motion, moving his camera around to photograph the birds, and this gels well with the motion captured in the ocean.  It's a common issue with landscape shooters - do you include people, or will it make the image cluttered and take something away from the scene?  I'm still on the fence, but in this image I did like how his coat actually made the green foliage stand out more.  As for the best (or right) choice, I'll leave that to you...

Mousehole, Cornwall

August in Cornwall - normally ice creams, packed beaches, sunny skies and cream teas come to mind.  Maybe not such a great location in the height of summer for a landscape photography trip/summer holiday....or so I thought.  Over the ten days we were in this beautiful county, the weather (and lack of crowds) made for some great shooting, and I came away feeling pretty satisfied at the images I managed to create.  Over the next few posts I will be showing some of those images (including ones that in hindsight didn't work so well), and talking a little about how I went about shooting.  I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for more... Day 1, Mousehole.  Mousehole is a tiny village in the south west of Cornwall, more or less as far south and west as you can get in Britain (Land's End is only 20 odd miles away - more from this location soon...).  Its lack of sandy beaches and its exposed position on the east side of a peninsula actually makes it pretty perfect for some landscape shooting.  And luckily, the weather was a bit naff, cloudy enough to give the images a moody, more interesting look (a lot more interesting than a clear blue sky anyway!).  I had treated myself before the trip and added a Lee Filters ND Grad to my kit, so I was keen to see what difference it would make to my images.  I also dug out my Little and Big Stoppers, as my style seems to be veering towards the calm, more minimal long exposure look.  Lots of photographers dislike this kind of smooth water shot, as they think it is overdone and a bit cliche.  Sometimes I agree, but I'm trying to add extra elements to these kind of images to create a bit more interest...

mousehole coast-0832

There were a few things that drew me to make this image.  The bright green algae on the pebbles in the foreground, which leads your eye to the stepping stone layout of the rocks in the smooth still sea, and then the island in the distance, almost appearing to have a halo of light surrounding it.  I was a big fan of this stretch of coast, and the overcast skies created an appealing tone.  One of my favourite images I have taken in the last few months.

A Highland Adventure


We've just got back from a trip to the Scottish highlands, and so begins the big task of selecting and editing the images to share! There were two main toys I wanted to play with on this trip; the Lee Little Stopper and the Nikon 16-35mm f/4. Both of these were bought specifically for this trip, and so most of the images were using one or both of these items!

This image was captured at the Bowfiddle rock formation in Portknockie. A really sleepy fishing town; it was so quiet here we had the little beach to ourselves.

Bowfiddle RockNikon D90, Nikon 16-35mm f/4 @ f/22, 24mm, 2.5 second exposure [Lee Little Stopper].

P.s. To get a really smooth sea, I could have done with the Big Stopper...