Flamborough lighthouse in the landscape

It was beautiful day as I walked around Flamborough lighthouse around the area known as Flamborough head. There was a strong breeze blowing wonderful cloud formations across the sky. With it being such a lovely day there was a lot of people walking about the area. My idea was not to focus on Flamborough lighthouse but make it part of a landscape shot. I wanted to keep the shot free of people. I took a walk round and found a spot about 100 yards from the lighthouse behind a rough grass mound.

The graduated neutral density filter and set the camera aperture was set to f22. The graduated neutral density was required to balance the exposure the ground and the sky, this gives much better detail in the sky. A big depth of field was required for the shot as everything needed to be in focus from the close grass to the distant clouds. With everything set I then just had to wait for a pleasing cloud formation.

Many variations of the shot were taken but I feel this shot is my preferred shot. All three elements of the shot hold interest. The grass is lovely in its own right. The clouds have a beautiful formation with so much detail. Flamborough lighthouse is only a part of of the image but does hold your interest. The lighthouse almost joins the land and the sky together. A man made structure that blends natures elements.

Hope you like the image and go out and create some images.

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Filters for landscapes.

Recently I have started looking at the filters that I use for landscapes. I seemed to have a mis-match of filters in my bag that didn’t represent what I do now and my old ones were worse for wear. I decided to purchase some new better quality ones. The first thing to decide was which filters I actually use. It really has come down to 3 regulars which would always be the ones that are in my camera bag constantly. The next thing to decide is whether to go for my usual circular filters or move to a filter system such as Cokin, Lee etc.

For landscapes I believe the most important is a polarizing filter, experience will teach you the range of uses that this filter will do. Probably the most common uses are removing glare and enriching colors. To be the most effective the light needs to be coming from 90 degrees to the image.

The next filter that I use a lot is the graduated neutral density, a 2 or 3 stop graduation is ideal. This helps balance the exposure between the ground and the sky giving much more detail in clouds rather than being over exposed and losing detail. If you shoot RAW then you can improve this but I believe it is best done in camera.

The last filter which I am using more regularly is my 10 stop neutral density filter. I love the smooth mystical effect that it has on water. It also gives a great effect on moving clouds. This definitely a filter I am experiment more with and the image I have put on below is a shot at iso 100, f22 for 30 seconds. It is shot during a bright sunny day. in Bronte country, Haworth, Yorkshire, UK.

I will decide shortly which filters I choose and how I got on. Some advice that I got was to go for a system. This slows you down and makes you think about the shot but I find this a little irrelevant as for most of my landscapes I have to set up my tripod and put my camera on which I am sure gives me enough time to think.

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In a local park.

You do not have to travel miles to get lovely landscape photographs. The image that I am showing here is from a local park about 3 miles from where I live, it is at Nostell Priory which is owned by the National Trust. It was shot one afternoon on a public holiday, I tend not to travel far on public holidays as the roads are very busy. I went to the park later in the afternoon when I knew the crowds would be dwindling. The light that day was very good so I headed to a part of the park that was fairly quiet. It really is worth getting to know your local area well as you learn when the light will be good and what will look good.

I wanted a gentle stroll so reduced the equipment to just camera and my standard 24 to 85 zoom. The sky was beautiful blue with lovely white clouds. As I walked down to the little pond which is really a drinking pond for cows, I could see that the scene was reflected beautifully in the pond. I usually shoot at 100 iso but but when out just to see what I can come up with the iso is set to 400. The camera was set to f22 for the depth of field, this gave me a shutter speed of 1/2ooth, fine for hand held shots. The tripod is used below 1/60th to be certain to get sharpness in the image.

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Out on the trail.

As I have moved more into landscape photography, I decided I needed to put a little more thought into how I was doing things. Often I am walking solo in very rough terrain, often the trails are strewn with rocks where tripping and breaking a leg or worse is very possible. Often no mobile signal is available so especially as I love photographing waterfalls which tend to be in very inhospitable places. I have decided to put a little more care into the way I was doing things.

The first thing that I have done is purchase a Manfrotto rucksack where the top part is for personal goods and the lower half is for the camera gear. A must is a good tripod carrying facility which this bag does well. I am concentrating on the top half here, first in goes my waterproof coat. I have also purchased a pack of mylar blankets and a safety bivvi bag to put in. In case of emergency these will be invaluable and very cheap to purchase. A few other bits like a torch, a whistle, water and some snacks to eat.

I cannot leave you without an image so as I am talking about safety I have put on a waterfall which made me think about that safety. It is Thomasson Foss at Beck hole in the North Yorkshire moors. The path to it is treacherous with rocks  surrounding the waterfall but the beauty is outstanding and worth the trip.

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Reflections of Fountains abbey.

I am a great lover of reflections, they seem to give an image extra life, though if you know what to look for they are easy to find. Bright sunny days are where they stand out best. The shot that I have put on here is about 100 yards from the abbey so you don’t have to be too close to the thing that you want a reflection of. Sometimes it is a matter of searching out where you will find a good reflection. The problem that I had with this shot was that it was a breezy day creating a ripple on the water. The ripple was spoiling the refection that I wanted so I put a 10 stop neutral density filter on the lens. When using something like this it is better to put the camera in manual, set everything up and work out the exposure then put the filter on the lens. The filter in this case gave me an exposure of 30 seconds at f22, I needed a small aperture to give a lot of depth of field. The effect of the long exposure on the image was to smooth out the water creating a better reflection. Often with filters like this you will get a slight color cast, depends on the image whether you adjust in post processing or keep it in. Also with reflections I often give extra saturation to my images in lightroom to make them stand out more.

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Posforth Gill waterfall.

Recently I have had limited time to get out to photograph. When a day came free recently I went to Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire with the idea of getting off the popular walk through the woodlands by the river to the Strid. I walked the route up to the Valley of Desolation which is signposted to the beautiful waterfall of Posforth Gill. Though the track is generally good, close to the falls however it is narrow and rough so wear good walking boots. Though it is winter and many of the trees are bare, I knew after recent rain there would be a good flow of water off the hills.

As I wanted to include the rocks in the foreground to give the image some depth and add some color variation the aperture was set to f22. This gave slow shutter speed of 1/5th second so the camera was set on a tripod and a shutter release was used. After packing my camera for a trip my tripod is the next most important thing I take with me. I do vary how I photograph water depending on the effect that I want to use. I am not a massive fan of making everything looking like cotton wool so I do tend to use as fast a shutter speed as possible without losing quality. The problem with many waterfalls is that they tend to be in areas surrounded by trees so are by nature quite dark. Long exposures tend to be normal but I like to get some of water looking as it should. It would always difficult to freeze the falling water without losing quality, I would always go for quality but it depends on your personal preference.

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Lumb falls in Yorkshire.

Lumb falls in Yorkshire is a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit if you have chance. Basic directions are follow the Keighly road out of Hebden Bridge then take the Haworth old road after about a mile. This is a single track road and you watch for public bridleway sign on your left. There is only room to park 2 cars. A good pair of walking boots are required to walk down the rocky path. You can get to the base of the falls with care if you cross the bridge.

A plaque at the falls shows that the former poet laureate Ted Hughes wrote his poem ‘Six young men’ at the falls. This is a poem about 6 young men in a photograph that went to war and they had all died 6 months later.

It was using my lightweight tripod and the exposure was half a second at f22. The big difficulty with the shot was the extremes in brightness between the shadow areas and the highlights. I did quite a lot of work in lightroom to balance everything out but do hope you think it was worth it.

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Window and the ivy.

Sometime when you go out for a stroll with the camera you come across a shot that is set up for you. The whole thing is about a feeling, a passion for your art. The window with the wooden shutter is framed by the beautiful ivy. It gives a great contrast between the two but works perfectly together. This shot I spotted at Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire. I have put it into black and white because I felt color detracted from the image.

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Wild flower meadows.

Two shots in this post, when you see beautiful wild flowers which are intended to entice wildlife you have to take a few views. They do create a beautiful splash of colour which brings a smile to your face. On a lovely sunny autumn day they brighten up the day.

These images are for sale as digital downloads at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/andybphotography?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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