Well, it has been that time of year again, when my diary goes a bit bonkers and the current workshop cycle comes to an end. Barring the annual weekend workshop which runs in Northumberland during June, thats me pretty much done until the middle of August. It is also exactly why, I decided to do the Alphabet Challenge this year.
The last blog entry was on the 11th March and since then, I have been to Northern Norway, had a weekend workshop and some commission work to do. That's on top of the day job which is also really busy at the moment. However fear not, I have still been doing the Alphabet Challenge, I just haven't had time to write about it. So over the next few weeks, you will hear all about:-
F is for Fjords
G is for Geomagnetic Storm
H is for Hamnøy
Ok, a moment of honesty here - this blog and the next 2 were all done over an eventful 5 days in March in Norway, but I knew that this was going to be the case, as I have mentioned already. I have a few ideas about I, J and K and am looking forward to getting out by myself with the camera over the coming weeks.
You will all know that Norway is famous for its Fjords. Many cruise ships do trips down them and they are one of the many reasons why tourists visit this amazing country. The Lofoten Islands has their fair share and whilst they may not be as big as in other parts of the country, they are still amazingly beautiful. Come to think of it, the Lofoten Islands are just amazing. They are not the easiest part of the world to get too - if you are flying there from the UK then you are probably going to be booking 3 flights. ( also if you do go, make sure that your passport has a minimum of 3 months left on it !!! )
From a photography perspective then to capture the Fjords then you are probably going to shooting with a wide angle lens or making sure that your tripod is perfectly level and then doing a panorama. A drone can be a good idea too as it gives you a totally different perspective. Just remember to fly it sensibly and don't do so in high winds or it could be a very expensive mistake.
When taking images with your camera, there are a couple of tips that I would give you.
Firstly if you are find yourself on the shore of a fjord then look for some foreground interest. You will all know that due to how a wide angle lens works, if you told it forward then it will have the effect of enlarging features in the background, for example a mountain. If you tilt it upwards then the reverse is going to happen. Secondly if you can't get to the foreshaw then see if it is possible to gain some elevation as this will enable you to show more scale.
Finally, if you are going to take a panorama then it is vital that your tripod is perfectly level. You can't just use the internal spirt level on your camera. Secondly make sure that you before you take an image that you have checked your histogram across all of the image that you want to capture. You may be taking as many as 10 images and although your histogram may not be clipping any of the highlights or shadows in the first image, it probably will move either to the left or right as you take your shots. Thirdly, check you focus after each panorama that you create. There is not a lot that you can do in post processing if your images aren't sharp. Fourthly, make sure that you are over lapping each image by about 25%, there is nothing worse than think you have created a great pano only to find out it won't stitch together when you come to edit your images. Finally, give your camera time to settle. I always use the 2 second timer and when I move the camera between images, I also count to 2 in my head before pressing the shutter button.
The final piece of advise that I would give you is know where the light is going to come from. You should already be thinking about this in all of your landscape photography. There a lots of great tools to assist you with this, PhotoPills and The Photographers Ephemeris are just 2 of them. By understand where the light will come from, even its a brand new venue that you are visiting, it will greatly assist you in getting to roughly the right place at the right time. I constantly tell my clients that 90% of my planning takes place before I even leave the comfort of my own home, follow that advice and I guarantee you that you will have more days when you get the light just right. Of course it can never be guaranteed 100% but you do greatly increase your probability of getting that amazing image.