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.


  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?! :)

  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!

  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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