Category Archives: Photography

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places and given I was spending the week in Embleton I clearly had to try for a sunrise over Dunstanburgh Castle even with a 0430 start for a 0545-ish sunrise. Plus I wanted to do something different than my trip in January. Google surprised me with an image from 1797! Joseph Turner clearly spent sometime on the Northumberland coast and captured an image in his mind that he subsequently painted (I assume he didn’t do it at dawn?). Lilburn Tower from the North in my mind is the iconic view of the Northumberland Castle and I found this image quite captivating especially thinking of the image of a clear horizon but heavy cloud nearer the coast – I did think there would be some pink in the clouds but hey lets see … tides are not relevant for the shot so out comes The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) on my iPad and it seemed possible – optimist.

Parking at Dunstan Steads on 19th August the horizon looked good and there was some cloud near the coast. As I got to the 13th hole on the Golf Course it became obvious the angle I was going to need for the sun was not the angle I wanted on the Castle the sun was going to come up too far south on the horizon. Plan B climb up to the castle – that is steep in the dark!

Even in the castle the sun is still going to be quite south for the Lilburn Tower. I took a few test shots and realised I was going to have to build a composite of several shots. I wandered down to the main part of the castle to explore angles. As the sun came up this is what I captured.

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland at Sunrise in August

Time as usual was short and ran to the spot where I had lined up the test shots and here is what I could capture (8 shots combined in CS6) … not a Turner but actually watching the sunrise was more impressive than even my Zeiss 21mm captured. Those 4 orange-red rays that beamed through the cloud were utterly captivating. There was the predicted colouration of the cloud – I don’t know enough about Turner but clearly he wanted a muted pallet.

Lilburn Tower, Dunstanburgh Castle Northumberland at Sunrise in

As the sun came up I went for a ‘star’ shot with a tight f/16 and then there was a golden shot of the Tower and Embelton Beach. Looking back at the Turner as the sun comes up the colour shifts from red to orange and is more diffuse … but that’s only present in the vaguest of ways.

Sunrise at Dunstanburgh Castle Northumberland

Golden Morning Light on Lilburn Tower Dunstanburgh Castle Northu

Over the next few days I thought about where Turner got his inspiration so I pulled out TPE and found that in the coming year there is only 6 days (19-24 June 2014) when the angles are right – all not surprisingly around the summer solstice. Looking at the image from TPE the only warning is that the field you need to stand in is often flooded but this summer we haven’t had enough rain so its dry.

Tuner - Lilburn Tower 19-24 June 2014

I thought I would have a look at the map and see if I could get an angle on the whole of Dunstanburgh Castle and the sunrise and I thought there was – so off on the bike for a test shot. The shot below is taken from a second world war pillbox to get the height on the horizon (Map ref 247213 OS332 see map below) with a 70-200mm lens @ 100mm – unfortunately due to sea frets for the rest of the week I never managed the dawn shot. Also for the sun to be between the turrets it is 1-12 Aug with it in the middle on 6th Aug so I was too late! However I think to the right of the main tower maybe more balanced – 19th Aug? Maybe next year – if you have a go let me know.

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland from the West

Map below showing parking and sites of shots.

Open Space Web-Map Dunstanburgh Castle

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Following on from my ‘personal learning notes’ from my Farne Island blog on wildlife photography technique I have some great conversation with Alan Hewitt from Hawkshead Photography. I thought I would update what I have learned.

Prior to my Farne workshop Alan had persuaded me to use my D800 instead of my D7000 which is my normal default for wildlife – of course I did rent a 200-400 f/4.0 which helped that decision. So this blog is the context of EXPEED 3 processing and the 51 point auto-focus. I was really impressed in the improvement with the D800 compared with my D7000 and have been tempted to switch to the D7100 as a consequence as it has the same auto focus and processing. However it seems the buffer on the D7100 is so pathetic if you use RAW you are lucky to get 3-4 sequential frames. I still don’t know what to do as at the moment a 200-400 f/4.0 is out of budget to buy and even renting for a few weeks is expensive and JPEG seems such a retrograde step – off to Africa again for 3 weeks in Nov/Dec this year. I dare say I will blog about this over the next months.

Auto focus update

The Farne’s highlighted that with rapid moving subjects setting up auto focus correctly and understanding the consequences of your settings is critical. In a previous post I asked myself several questions about wildlife photography and resolved:

  • Use single-point AF for “autofocus area mode”.
      • A new thing I have learned is that on the D800 if you click the centre button on the multi selector it reverts to the centre focus point (saving scrolling and time). Also the image size of the D800 enables cropping to give space to the front of the bird and reduce it behind.
      • Not all of the 51 focus points are equal there are two types – cross hatch and line points. The cross hatch points are central and are much more sensitive as these are 2D rather than a horizontal line (in landscape frame).
      • In addition not all focus points remain ‘designated’ as cross hatch, they ‘degrade’ to line points, depending on the Nikon AF lens (or combinations with a teleconvertor) you are using – this occurs were the widest aperture is between f/5.6 and f/8.0 (note: AF lens open the aperture as wide as possible whilst focussing regardless of any setting you have dialled in). The distribution of the points on the D800 can be seen below – see Nikon for more information.

    Nikon Focus Points D800

        • So understanding which focus points are cross hatch for the lens (or lens/ teleconvertor combination) is important so that by default you can use them rather than the line focus points. In other words use centre points and compose the image frame in post-processing.
  • Use AF-C for “autofocus mode”
  • For “a1 – AF-C priority selection” I have been using “Focus” on D7000 and “Release + Focus” on D800. Alan has been great in debating this and the following is how I am going to try in future:
    • On the D7000 and D800 use “Release” this is because it takes significant processing to get focus ‘lock’ and it means you cannot grab a reasonable frame rate – of course some shots will end up out of focus as time speeds by and the animal, or you, moves. I am comfortable with this for the D7000 but I am uncertain that “Release + Focus” is not a worthwhile compromise – going to try though!
    • To minimise the problem of having shots out of focus using “Release” it is important to separate the focusing action from the trigger action. This done by using “AF-ON” alone and disable focus on the trigger (“a4 – AF activation” set to OFF). This means the trigger button will not attempt to re-focus when you take a continuous shot sequence. You are reliant on your depth of field and AF-C tracking (given you keep your thumb on the AF-ON button) to ensure a series of shots are in focus. I am sure this needs loads of practice to get “rid” of years of learnt behaviour.
    • Using “AF-ON” as OFF is also meant to switch off VR which saves battery and I have found to be limited help if not handholding – the D800 and D4 firmware don’t do this at the moment (they should) so if you can remember turn it off – do so.

Flash Sync Speed

The D800 normal flash sync speed is 1/250s and I found this to be too slow when taking flash enhanced bird shots on the Farne’s.

Artic Tern on the attack in Farne Islands

However using “Custom Setting Menu > e1 Flash Sync Speed” it is possible to change this all the way to 1/8000s.

Choose “1/320s (Auto FP)” or “1/250s (Auto FP)” then use shutter-priority or manual modes to set the shutter speed to anything you want. When you set the shutter speed to faster than 1/250s the camera fires the flash in thousands of short pulses instead of one big flash. Obviously the faster the shutter speed the less power the flash can manage and you are dependent on the ambient light.

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So in the continual search for improving my wildlife photography I decided a workshop on bird photography would be good and Hawkshead Photography day on the Farne Islands on 11 June 2013 attracted me. I have to say it was great fun and Kaleel and Trai we both informative and really helpful.

Whilst I ‘sorted’ my autofocus issues (see earlier blog) I still hadn’t tested the ideas in anger. In addition I thought I would ‘test’ the Nikon 200-400 f/4 that Florian advised he used for 80-90% of his wildlife image and so I rented one from LensForHire (who I can really recommend – a great service). In discussion with Alan from Hawkshead beforehand I decided to use my D800 rather than my D7000.

Out of interest if I sound informed about the birds of the Farne Islands in this blog its because I bought Kaleel’s book Wildlife of the Farne Islands: A Guide to All the Major Breeding Species.Includes professional photography tips – its recommended.

The Puffin’s are what I had in my mind to photograph and I think I got some nice shots with many good take off shots – it was quite breezy and Trai pointed out a spot where the Puffin’s took off into the wind on a headland. I also spotted a nesting area where Puffin’s would come in with Sand Eels in their beaks.

Puffin on Farne Islands Puffin Landing in Farne Islands Puffins on Farne Islands

Puffins in Flight on Farne Islands Puffin with Sand Eels on Farne Islands Puffin in Flight on Farne Islands

Before you get far off the boat however you have to dodge the Artic Terns who nest close to the path and are vicious. We had been advised about hats – I used my Tilly with extra padding in the crown and even then it hurt especially if they got their beak into one of the “eyes” in the side wall of the Tilly – next time I am going to craft something more robust. Kaleel likes using flash to capture the terns going for you I tried this with my Zeiss 21mm set to f8.0 initially though I used my D7000 with a 16-85 on without a flash. I like the flash idea although it has the consequence of a 1/250 shutter which is perhaps a little slow – I am sure there is a way to freeze the action more with the flash.

Artic Tern on the attack in Farne Islands

Artic Tern on the attack in Farne Islands

The other Auks other than Puffins are Guillemots with similar numbers they need a reasonable amount of ‘pulling’ in post processing as they are quite dark! There are also a few Razorbills.

Guillemots on Farne Islands Guillemot in flight on Farne Islands

Guillemonts-Prof Ian Purves-20130611-0942 Razorbill on Cliff in Farne Islands

Another ‘dark’ bird is the Shag and found a lovely shot of one on the nest with a chick – I used my Zeiss 100m f/2.0 Makro-Planner and the boken is great. I must do a blog on this lens I’ve been a bit slack recently.

Shag with Chick on Farne Islands Shag preening on Farne Islands

Shag on Farne Islands Shag with Chick on Farne Islands

The gulls are interesting I particularly liked the Kittiwakes but found myself on a cliff above their nests and the 200-400 is quite heavy to handhold I had been using my Safari monopod technique quite well with the Puffins but this was impractical when shooting below me. In retrospect I should have put my 70-200 f/2.8 on. The other gull of interest, and not that common, was the massive Great Black-backed Gull. There were more of the Lesser Black-Backed ones – though still not many. The Great does a nice line in eating young Puffin’s. I like the shot below with the Puffin’s ducking. Of note this shot had the x2 teleconvertor on (so 800mm) and it worked well with a central focal point.

Kittiwake in Flight onto nest with egg on cliff in Farne Islands

Great Black-backed Gull in flight on Farne Islands

The final shot I was ‘at sea’ with a rolling boat and the birds (Gannet’s) flying across us a 45 degree’s at some distance and hand holding the 200-400 – I got several sharp shots!

Gannets in flight near Farne Islands

Personal learning notes

  • The obvious thing I learned is about understand your “prey” – Scout out the lay of the land and observe behaviours. On the Farne’s wind direction and observation of take off and landing directions is important.
  • The Nikon 200-400 f/4.0 and D800 combination is amazing.
  • I don’t use flash so I need to read up about freezing action with flash. [Update 01/08/2013 see blog]
  •  Trai suggested trying to use the [AF-ON] button for focus and disable focus on the [Shutter-Release]  apparently Alan uses this technique but neither of us could work the settings out – I need to investigate and try it. [Update 01/08/2013 see blog]
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Having visited Sebastião Salgado Genesis exhibition at the Natural History Museum and was mightily impressed I want to understand his approach to post processing. A friend sent me a TED presentation by Sebastião yesterday and I thought I would have a go.

The thing the exhibition gets over so strongly is a narrative that is somehow enhanced by the processing. At the exhibition I wondered whether it was strong processing of digital or was mild processing of a scanned 400 ISO black and white film – I used to use Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and came to conclusion it was film mostly due to the grain pattern. Mistake! Onlandscape came to the rescue and explained it was digital images processed with DXO plugin with the aim of regaining the look of Kodak Tri-X. The style is one of strong contrast, dodge and burn, grain, use of lead lines especially diagonals. The few negatives are some of the images aren’t as ‘sharp’ as they should in key places, one or two are over processed and my main irritant is sloppy horizon angles.

I don’t have DXO but I do use Silver Efex Pro. So I have taken a few of my recent images and I used the ‘film type’ Tri-X then added a little local and global adjustments mostly on ‘contrast’ and ‘structure’, occasionally used an orange filter then added a little ‘vignette’. Hope you find them interesting – listen to the TED, go to the exhibition and get the book it is amazing.

Just to be clear the images below are mine in a Sebastião style ;-)

Himba Woman in Hut

Sanddunes at Gruinard Bay
Bamburgh Castle
Leopard in Namibia
Himba Woman and Hut
Himba Women in Namibia

Lightning at Twilight in Etosha National Park Namibia
Himba woman putting otjize on in Namibia
Papua New Guinea Bride in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Scavaig River going into Loch Scavaig
Sheep at Mellon Udrigal
Star Field and Northern Lights over Cullins in Skye from Elgol
Six Zebra drinking in Etosha National Park, Namibia
Himba Child

Papua New Guinea 'War' in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Papua New Guinea Man in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Dune 45 in Sossusvlei Namibia in a style of Sebastiao Salgado by Ian Purves 1983

Sunset at Spitzkoppe in Namibia

On a final note as you leave the exhibition Lélia and Sebastião have placed a call to action that mirrors his presentation at TED. In one word everyone has a responsibility for reforestation.

Sebastiao Salgado - Call to Arms

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Well there was a stable high pressure system over the UK, a great forecast with some cloud but little if no wind! Reflections came to mind and given an abortive attempt a few weeks ago on this front at Buttermere I thought we would have another go. My Zeiss 21mm was still in Germany getting repaired and broken Lee filters on back order, after my fall in Skye, so I was stuck with my Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6G VR ED AF-S DX Lens for wide angle and Cokin filters. I packed my D7000 but was determined to use my D800 with Nikon 50 / 1.4G or the 70-200 / 2.8 … all best plans.

We stayed at the Bridge Hotel to give easy access to the lake and Mountains. We walked round the lake on the Saturday afternoon and I soon started to get irritated with the D7000 – it was a high contrast situation and the blinkies were going wild and I had to knock the EV down so I switched the 16-85mm to the D800 which automatically shifted into DX mode and the blinkies went away. Initially I was irritated by the severe vignette in the viewfinder, which is not present on liveview but I was walking. After awhile I noticed the thin black line showing the DX frame area in the view finder – all was well and I easily adapted. Unfortunately even the slightest breath of wind create ripples on reasonable size lakes so no reflections.

Tree Old Stump

Trees at Buttermere
Sunset at Buttermere

Got up 0530 for dawn and trotted down the lake – bugger slight breath of wind but nice sky. As it turned out in the next hour the cloud was all to the East – bugger. So mediocre images – plus chromatic aberrations or what thank goodness for Lightroom – come home Zeiss. I was just going to go off for breakfast when the slight breeze ended and within 15 minutes a mirror lake – but no dawn light. I’ll just have to got back.

Single Tree Buttermere Frozen Lake - Buttermere

Reflections Buttermere Reflections Buttermere

Spent the day walking up Haystacks which I haven’t done for years – all the tarns where frozen so no reflections – LOL. Also the 16-85mm kept disappointing so only going to show you one image – however what a brilliant day and its a fantastic walk – happy man.

Blackbeck Tarn

Click icons to see Bridge Hotel and photoshoots – zoom out for Haystacks and tarn

Open Space Web-Map builder Code

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So I have just spent a week in the Scottish Highlands at a photographic workshop – The bigger picture – photo book and portfolio making workshop – it felt like a month (in a good way). What a great venue in Mellon Charles at the Perfume Studio it is amazingly equipped and reviewing an OS Map doesn’t prepare you for the beauty of the surrounding landscape – breathtaking.

The Team

The team of tutors were fantastic and friendly and I had a great laugh! Joe Cornish needs little introduction not only is he a deeply knowledgeable person but a great artist and I learnt a lot about light. Eddie Ephrams seems to be Mister Publisher in the photographic world and introduced me to layout and style. Paul Sanders having spent 10 years as the Times picture editor looking at thousands of images a day summarises your efforts in seconds but in a fashion that feels great and leads to support in the field next day fixing that ‘issue’. Owner of the studio, Adrian Hollister,  was also helping out brilliantly until he tried to take his head off with the garage door – nice one Adrian glad you were OK.

My fellow tutees’ were a great mix of professional and amateur photographers who all had varying learning goals. We all collaborated brilliantly and we really had some belly laughs, drank a few glasses of wine and worked and worked (sometimes from 0530 to 1900 !).

The Workshop

I choose to do the portfolio group, led by Joe, which involved creating a selection of 5 images which for me summarised the area. I am also going to use these images and a few more to create a book with InDesign and publish through Blurb – coming soon.

I arrived in Mellon Charles from the Isle of Skye after a few days taking photo’s in Elgol and the Cullins (see my Scotland gallery). There was a lot of snow on the mountains and the drive takes you through beautiful but desolate landscape. By the road there are intermittent remnants of a past age which seem not to be cleared presumably due to their isolation and they obviously rust. So I decided to take my theme from ‘Breathtaking Beauty and Dilapidation’ the hardest part was capturing alluring images of dilapidation and this was a challenge for me – Joe and Paul where a fantastic help and very supportive. In the end the beauty was ‘easy’ but these images are coming in the book matched with dilapidated  (Beauty and Beast) – you will have to wait and see in a future blog – sneak preview in gallery!

My Portfolio

So here are my selection – thanks to everyone who helped.

Old-Boat-at-Cove

Old Boat at Cove

Lobster-Pots-at-Cove

Abandoned Lobster Pots at Cove

Old-House-at-Cove

Abandoned House at Cove

Petrol-Pump-at-Aultbea

Disused Petrol Pump at Aultbea

Fishing-Boat-at-Aird-Point

Harbour at Aird Point

Of course it wouldn’t do not to tell you what, Sharon (wife), my greatest ‘critic’ had to say:

Well I wouldn’t give them wall space

Update 24th July 2013: Book now published

Personal learning notes:

  • Feel the landscape and explore not just the geomorphology but at your feet and the sky.
  • Spend time exploring the composure of each image – though in great light just take it – and then carry on reflecting on the composure.
  • Painting with light (dodge and burn) is such an old part of our craft and the new tools in Lightroom and Photoshop are easy to use.
  • Take on a challenge and don’t stay in your comfort zone.
  • Be careful – I slipped and damaged my Zeiss 21mm and smashed my big stopper – a few days later the wind also blew over my tripod when my back was turned.
  • Fundamentally find a group of like minded photographers, have fun, share and collaborate.
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Skye is probably my favourite place in the World! For the last 30 years I have returned many times and enjoyed the Isle especially the Cullins and my favourite whisky Talisker. I have done several winter ascents and scared myself on a few occasions the last interesting moment was in summer a few years ago with Sharon climbing Sgurr Alasdair on a windy day – you have to take the Cullins seriously but boy are they rewarding!

So I have never been to Elgol but stayed nearby when I did a winter ascent of Bla Bheinn – anyhow with my photographic workshop coming up I thought I would drop into Elgol given its ‘fame’ and get the boat across to Loch Cornisk where I have never been but seen from above. My real hope was a star field shot of the Cullins from Elgol.

Shore Cottage at Elgol in Isle of Skye

It was impossible to find a B&B with space so I really ended being very lucky to stay at Shore Cottage in self catering – Joanie McKinnon made me very welcome and I had the freedom to come and go at all hours plus it is a fantastic place and right on the beach above the pier!

I have to say Elgol lives up to its reputation with the Cullin backdrop and great beach and shoreline. Met several photographers on the beach include some great blokes from Essex who were telling me about the JCB (Joe Cornish Boulder – named after the shot on the front of First Light: A Landscape Photographer’s Art) and where it was – cool.

I got the Misty Isle Boat across to Loch Cornisk and was rewarded by some great panaroma’s as well as sightings of red dear and common seals.

Loch Cornisk

 

Scavaig River flowing into Loch Scavaig in Isle of Skye - B&W

Cullins in Skye over Loch Cornisk with  Scavaig River

The beach has large pebbles and rocks but are not that slippy and nor are the rock past the point – the point is navigable with any tide except with a high spring with low pressure and given I was round it several times, including at 0230, this was great.

Sunset at Elgol in Skye

Cullins in Skye from Elgol

Not only did I get the shot I went for but I caught the Cullins with the Northern Lights behind them – I spent two hours marvelling at my D800 as whilst I could see the Cullins were back lit it was confusing until I got the exposure right, as I could not distinguish the Northern Lights with my eyes and there is no light source North of the Cullins!

Star Field and Northern Lights over Cullins in Skye from Elgol

Anyhow hope you enjoy some my other shots below.

Sunset at Elgol in Skye Elgol Elgol Sunset at Elgol

Cullins in Skye from Elgol Cullins in Skye from Elgol Elgol Beach with Cullins Behind
Lobster Pots on Elgol Pier

Click icons on map below to see Shore Cottage and photoshoots – zoom out for Loch Cornisk

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Can you believe it Josh got up at 0545 to go take photo’s – well done dude. He’s been talking about learning photography for sometime now and the start was this morning.

It was a cloudless morning so nice sunrise and catchlights.Josh Purves

Teaching Josh I managed to get most of my pre-sunrise (bar one) and actual sunrise out of focus I opened the aperture a touch and forgot to shift the focus anyhow as you can see I swapped lens just after sunrise and spotted the error when I stuck the Zeiss 21mm back on – what a numpty – I ordered new glasses last week!

Josh’s shots

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn Old Harley

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn North Pier Tynemouth

Not a bad start he even did his own edits in Lightroom going to pick up on some of learning needs tomorrow.

My shots

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn

 St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn St Mary's Lighthouse at Dawn -Prof Ian Purves-20130302-0825

The second of the right was my first shot with a Lee Big Stopper had to adjust white balance a bit – I must get round to that filter blog I keep talking about.

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It is said that persistence is one of the greatest attributes that a landscape photographer can posses. Having discovered yesterday that there was a cave to get past the point from Byer’s Hole (or The Wherry) that might give access into the bay at 2.1m over datum it seemed obvious to have another go if the weather forecast look good – which it did.

I got round the point at 0630 with 2.0m over datum hanging onto the cliff to steady myself and timing the waves – the last 2 meters involved bolder hoping to avoid going over my wellies. The cave was easy and I was on the beach with more water than I had seen before and off to the arch for 0739 sunrise. There was a dark cloud but a free horizon so a nice sunrise but no post glow as the sun then went ‘into’ the dark cloud.

Off Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Off Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Rangefinder at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

Arch at Lizard Point below Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn

By 0840 (low tide 1.0m over datum) I was at the point on the entrance to Byer’s Hole taking a photo Byers Hole-Prof Ian Purves-20130209-0840and met a nice local bloke who was heading off to winkle ‘harvest’ just past Lizard Point. I mentioned the tide and seemed to have no anxiety so we got talking – he regularly uses the cave then climbs the cliff – he also comes down this way! He also mentioned you can walk to Marsden Rock but once past Lizard Point the rocks get bigger and its a bit of a scramble – might have a go.

In post processing I noted some diffraction again – I have got into the bad habit of using f/16 in the dark as it gives more chance of getting foreground and horizon in focus plus it gives slower shutter – comparing one shot when I opened up to f/8 from f/16 and took the identical shot you can see the blurring.

Personal learning notes

I was using the D800 and Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21 ZF.2

  • Diffraction can be seen in the images over f/8.0 (especially f/16) – got to stop using apertures over f/8.0 unless I really need to
  • The Lee filters are great – whilst I can apply a grad filter in post processing you get some noise pulling the foreground – note the images with 18 point star on the sun (from Zeiss 21mm) this was missing with the Cokin filters.
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Having been to Lizard Point a few weeks ago I had been disappointed that the tide prevented me from taking a set of dawn shots of the arch. Today was the return trip with the only favourable tide in 2013!

The upside was that I discover that maybe it is possible at other times of the year – more of in a moment. The downside was it was a cold miserable dizzily day and the sun was nowhere to be seen – not anything vaguely resembling golden hours – except a bit of glow from Sunderland. So I took few long shots then raced back to the point for the tide – I only had 1hr 15 mins on the beach as the low tide was 1.28m at 0750 with sunrise at 0744.

I got round the point at 1.5m over datum with a 60cm swell – had to time it between waves at the apex.

Lizard Point

Coming back I noticed a cave in the rock above me and so explored it – it comes out where the blue circle is (on the iphone photo below) – its a bit tight but its a good 4m above datum.

You can go up to where the blue arrow is and you are faced with the rock face in the inset its a ‘difficult’ climb and a bit loose, there is a metal stake hammered in where the red circle is – that helps. If you are competent scrambler you might risk it? … coming down is another thing I wouldn’t recommend it especially in the dark … plus the top is very loose.

Route

The route round I have been using is the red arrows – below where the head of the second red arrow is where the tide is lowest.

Rather than climb up you should come back onto the beach, if you can, and then lowest point is mid the first red arrow – maybe 1.8m above datum though its protected and in wellies I bet 2.1m is OK.

On my way back to the car I noticed this sign naming ‘Byer’s Hole’ (as on OS Map) as The Wherry – the sign is right above the entrance to the beach.

The Wherry Whitburn

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