simonmerriman
simonmerriman

Stevington Mill



This is my first star trail photographed at one of my favourite local windmills.

I have not been taking photographs for very long but have fallen i...
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This is my first star trail photographed at one of my favourite local windmills.

I have not been taking photographs for very long but have fallen in love with it as an art form.

In 2014 I bought my first mirrorless camera as a result of having inherited a little money for which I wanted to have something to remember good times. I replaced the camera in 2015 with an Olympus OMD-M1.

The photograph is largely unedited and was one of my first ventures into long shutter speeds - I had only ever taken pictures up to 60 seconds before. Again, it is a style of photography which I have a love for and I am determined to get a picture of Stevington Mill where I can naturally capture a full light trail.

Thanks for reading and looking.
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4 Comments | Report
AliAlzuhair
 
AliAlzuhair January 29, 2017
Amazing!
andrewhosegood
 
andrewhosegood April 24, 2017
Great work Simon ????????
zanodalipi
 
zanodalipi May 01, 2017
amazing ????
heardaboutphotography
 
heardaboutphotography October 15, 2018
Wow!!!

Behind The Lens

Location
This is a photograph of Stevington Post Mill in Bedfordshire and I wanted to try my first ever star trail. I took the picture as being a newly self taught photographer I am keen to learn and push myself as often as possible and to try different styles. I have photographed the mill on a number of occasions over the last couple of months and am now beginning to feel that I understand it a little more - where the light comes from etc.
Time
I have children and so need to fit in some of my photography once they have gone to bed - they're not too patient and would probably use my tripod as a goalpost! On the night that I took this picture I was hoping to capture the sunset. Unfortunately the road I wanted was closed so I needed to find another way there. By the time I arrived I was too late for the sky that I had hoped to get so altered my plans and decided to try a light trail. This picture was a 45 minute exposure which was by far the longest I had ever done at the time.
Lighting
The lighting was natural and just used what was available on the night. Using lighting, reflectors and flash are all still alien to me and an area that I will want to explore in the future but there is still so much for me to investigate first.
Equipment
My camera is an Olympus OMD-EM1. The lens I used was a Olympus Zuiko 9-18mm. Its essential for any long exposure photography for a tripod to be used. My tripod is a pretty small travel tripod that I managed to purchase from a friend of mine. It's now my favourite piece of equipment that I couldn't leave the house without.
Inspiration
I really enjoy the work of photographers such as Thomas Heaton who has been inspirational and invaluable in my learning. I also have friends that love to gaze at the stars and so this was definitely taken with them in mind. Finally, looking through sites such as Viewbug there are so many skilled photographers who make me want to getup and get out and to just try something new.
Editing
The post processing on this image was quite minimal - a crop, a reduction in the noise and a improved balance of the exposure really was only done. Whilst I am not perfect - a long way from it - I do try and get as close as possible to getting it right in the camera. There is a simple reason for this and that is that I am lazy and prefer to sit and take the image that I want to try and get.
In my camera bag
My kit is continually expanding and my bag has changed a lot over the time. Currently my bag is a Jack Wolfskin ACS 2015 Photo backpack. This allows me to take more equipment more comfortably and also for me to be better prepared for being outdoors. My equipment itself is an Olympus OMD-EM 1 mirrorless system. In addition to the body I have spare batteries, cable release, tripod, Olympus Zuiko lens (9-18mm (f4.0-5.6), 12-50mm, (f3.5-6.3) and 40-150mm (f/4-5.6 ) and a Panasonic 20mm (f1.7), Lee Filters, and a hotshoe spirit level.
Feedback
Have a look at what your peers are doing, find something you like and research how to do it. Then work out how you need to use your camera to get the effect before practicing - a lot! Plan the image and be very patient. Get to the location in plenty of time and set up your equipment to capture a scene you are happy with. When taking a night image don't be afraid of changing your position if you need to in order to improve the image. Where you can, plan the photograph where you minimise the light trails from planes. Finally, enjoy the peace and the solitude that the night can bring and make sure that you don't glimpse at a mobile phone - the light from the screen will stop you seeing for a few minutes afterwards.

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