Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Piha Beach at sunset.

This has just been a plain crappy week at work so far. I do realise that it's only Tuesday, so I suppose it has the potential to get better (or worse!!).

12(20)mm, 1/20s, f/20.0, ISO 100


So after a late meeting, I decided to race the sunset - on the winter solstice - to get out to Piha Beach. Thankfully it's on the west coast, so I had a few extra minutes. The sun sets at about 5pm! Today was the first day in ages when it hasn't rained, and I badly needed the fresh air and a quiet place.

50(103)mm, 1/40s, f/22.0, ISO 200
Look! Crepuscular rays! (what a terrible name for something so beautiful)

12(20)mm, 1/250s, f/10.0, ISO 200
I was surprised how many people came to chat while I had my camera set up on the tripod. There were a few people walking their dogs, families making the most of the late sunshine, and the odd tourist. I must look approachable. It's my aim to try to take interesting photos of locals while I'm overseas - if I don't intimidate them, it's probably a good start!

I'm slowly getting used to my ultra-wide lens. I definitely need to include more things in the foreground with the ultra-wide, or the photos will just be all background! It's awesome, because it focuses easily on everything from about half a metre to infinity, at any aperture.

12(20)mm, 1/250s, f/10.0, ISO 200
It's amazing what a difference it makes to have some people in the landscape shot. I really like the sense of scale, as well as the hint of movement (they were running around and playing).

24(39)mm, 1/160s, f/22.0, ISO 400
I even managed to learn some stuff:

  • Shooting in RAW really does make it easier to do tiny modifications to light, white balance, etc.;
  • You don't need Photoshop (thankfully, because it's ridiculously expensive). I just used the software that came with my camera - this was my first attempt at using RAW;
  • Tripods are great (and necessary!), but the weight of a DSLR tends to slowly push them into the sand;
  • A spirit level would be useful - wonky horizons look crap;
  • I should wear waterproof pants. I'm a grub;
  • I set my ISO to automatic - even if it had maxed out I doubt that it would have mattered;
  • Shooting towards the sun makes it challenging to get the exposure right - I didn't entirely succeed here;
  • People give a great sense of scale in a landscape;
  • Clouds are pretty!
What do you think about landscape photography? It has the potential to be crashingly boring, but then there are definitely some amazing landscape photos out there.

3 comments:

  1. Boooooooo to sucky weeks... *hugs* That IS a terrible name for something so pretty. Who the hell came up with that one?!

    My tripod has a spirit level built in - who thought a $12.50 tripod would have actual features?! :)

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  2. Wow, you captured a beautiful sunset! Love the photos. I really need a decent camera :) Hope the rest of your week is much better!

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  3. Kirsti - that is a useful tripod feature! I think I should get one of the spirit levels that sits on the flash connector. Amazon probably sells them for $2 or something.

    Shannon - thank you! It really was a lovely evening. I was fortunate to receive my camera as a Christmas gift. Getting a little fresh air and sunshine has already improved my week :-)

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