Same place, many interpretations

Every landscaper need a place to learn, practice and improve their skills. The place must be relatively close to their home, maybe not more than an hour’s drive, which they can visit frequently in order to produce one good image eventually.

One benefit of such a place is that you can go back repeatedly, also on different seasons, improve on the goal and work out the final image or images you would like to keep. Also you will find mini compositions along the way.

I came across this place through a friend who lives close by. It’s a long backwater beach and the part which drew my attention is where boats were docked with the backdrop of residential buildings. I knew this place hold at least one keeper from the moment I saw.

My first visit was in a late evening during late 2017 summer. Although I would have loved to do a long exposure (by this time, I am into long exposures), the zig-zagging jet skiers meant that, I will have to come another time, perhaps an early morning. However, I did take a 10 seconds exposure before I left the place.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Ef 24-70mm f/2.8l, f/6.3, ISO 100, 10 sec exposure

It took few attempts and a bruised ego (to let go of 6-stop, 10-stop filters) to come up with the above shot. The only filter I used was Lee Polarizer. Looking through the LCD monitor, I did not like the end result at that time (there is a saying – do not judge a shot by looking at the camera LCD). When I went home and loaded all the images on Darktable, I liked this one the best. I liked the monotonous color in the image, the subtle reflection, the lights, the calm & silent docks (well…).

Few weeks later, I went to this spot again, this time during the sunrise. After wandering through the place, taking few shots on my Google Pixel (I believe it was Pixel 1), I returned home. I looked at the images and it helped me identify the location I wanted to shoot the next time. Then after few weeks, I shot this.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 24-70mm f/2.8, f/5.6, 1/25

For this shot, I went against my desire to do a long exposure (again) and instead, I went for 1/25 with Lee Polarizer and Lee Sunset Orange filters. I liked the blurry buildings backdrops and relatively pronounced docks at the foreground. The docks were the main focus while the buildings giving some sort of 3D feel to the image.

Once I was done with the above, I moved on to shoot a long exposure. This time I decided to shoot from the other side of the dock, carrying some of the backdrops to the long exposure. Loading up my Lee Little Stopper and Lee Mahogany 1 filter, I tried various exposure times before I settled with the one below.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 24-70mm f/2.8, f/10, 40.5 sec

It’s not common to find clouds or dramatic lights in this place. This is probably one of the best long exposure image I have produced till date.

As a new photographer, having few locations close to your home helps to develop a vision and eventually achieving it. Landscape photography is all about skills, combined with the right gear, relentlessness and persistence.

Now in a new country, having many landscape options, I am sure to top it either this or next year.