Stair Hole, Dorset

Longish exposure of Stair Hole next to Lulworth Cove. I thought this looked like a laughing clown drowning. Not that I have any particular hands-on experience....
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Longish exposure of Stair Hole next to Lulworth Cove. I thought this looked like a laughing clown drowning. Not that I have any particular hands-on experience.
Read less





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1 Comment | Report
jackhall_9918 PRO+
jackhall_9918 July 10, 2016
Awesome photo! I like the colors, the soft waves and especially the lighting. Well done!

Behind The Lens

This was shot just after dawn at Stair Hole near Lulworth Cove in Dorset.
I shot it at 8 in the morning in February, it was still quite dark at that time and required a three minute exposre at f16.
Stair Hole is a fairly dark location with the cliffs facing north, which tends to make them fairly flat and dark, but the arches let through the southern light making for interesting lines and shapes on the water.
I shot this with a Canon 5D MKIII on a Really Right Stuff tripod. It was shot using a Canon EF 70-200L IS USM lens with a Lee Big Stopper filter.
I was particularly drawn to the craggy shapes in the arches and the water swelling through them from the channel. It seemed to me as though there was almost a face in the rocks, rather like that of an eerie smiling clown slowly drowning in the water.
It was post processed in LightRoom. I applied some clarity and a 1/2 stop exposure increase to the rocks to bring out their texture.
In my camera bag
Too much! Of course my Canon 5D MKIII body, at the moment my only one (I'm eagerly awaiting to hear the specs on the MKIV!), a Canon 24-105 for when I'm being lazy, a Carl Zeiss 21 2.8 for when I'm not, the Canon 80mm 1.2 which is a stunner for portraits but I don't use much for landscapes, and a 70-200 2.8 which I've started using quite a lot for ICM work. My 'Go-to' filters are a set of three soft ND grads (Lee 1.2, .9 and .6), Lee Little Stopper, Big Stopper and Super Stopper, and a polariser which I hardly ever use. I also carry a cable release, a rather temperamental RF release which I wish was more reliable (am awaiting a new one called a Pulse which I recently backed on Kickstarter and promises to be superb for a range of uses!). A head-torch with a red light (essential), a blower, a shaving brush and countless lens cloths (I never seem to have enough - shooting by the sea means I need them a lot), a rain cover for the camera, pens, model release forms (you never know). Basically way, way too much stuff!
As we all know you have to get up far too early for your own good in order to get great light for landscapes. I'm always up way before sunrise on shoot days to ensure I'm on site with plenty of time to find the perfect spot. If I don't need a torch then I know I didn't get up early enough! The light on the water changes fast at that time of day, both in texture and colour, so you need to keep you eyes peeled. It's always worth scouting locations in daylight so you don't end up walking miles to a location only to find you're in the wrong place. I use a tide tables app to make sure the sea is where I want it to be, and I prefer shooting on falling tides rather than rising ones. The problem with rising tides is obvious, I shoot long exposures and even light waves hitting the tripod or just a gentle ripple disturbing the sand can ruin a shot with movement. Key thing to remember if shooting long exposures are, make sure you have a very steady tripod, if it has a central column don't use it - they're always wobbly, a cable or RF release are a must, ALWAYS turn of auto-focus and if your lens has vibration reduction turn that off too (the motor driving it will stop your images being sharp). With landscapes, and especially abstract ones, it's key to think about what you envision for the final result, rather that what you're actually seeing through the camera. It's all to easy to enjoy being in a lovely location at a wonderful time of day and think it will just 'happen', it very rarely does. You have to hunt hard for your pictures and focus on the end result.

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