This is a new blog adventure for me. I’ve been running a blog on my wedding photography for over 4 years now but I’m a bit of an amatuer when it comes to landscape photography. I’ve always loved landscape photography, I shot photographs in the lake district in college and in my major at university I took landscape photographs around the M25 orbital motorway. This new blog (and website in fact) is of a different nature though.
For years I’d grappled with the idea of what to photograph for an ‘Art’ project. University was wonderful, and it taught me to take photographs for my own sake, as well as to question, challenge and analyse space and time (which is essentially photography). But I became frustrated trying to grapple with thought provoking work and my commercial work. I’m sorry to say that the latter won, but I’m much happier for it. I want to be a commercial landscape photographer, and with an exhibition around the corner, I sort of am now.
So, last April, I made a decision. I wanted to invest in equipment to make my landscape photographs better and to kick start a new direction for my career. The investment wasn’t cheap (but it was worth it) and so I promised myself that if I was to do this then I’d really have to do it. Go for it. Hit the ground running (or rather trudging up hills and through woods.) I promised that, at least once a week, I would go out and take photographs of a local landscape. Keeping it local allowed it to be an achievable goal for me. So far it’s been roughly 44 weeks and I’ve only managed it 36 times (but I want 4 weeks holiday – thank you Europe – and I did get married this year so needed some extra time off! I’ve also only really found the time to do this in the mornings, as I can get up at say 5am, shoot until around 7.30am (depending on the time of year) and then be home by around 9am ready to start a normal day of work in the office. This was great, as I could do this without it impacting the rest of my work and other professional work has always been preventing me from doing this as I just couldn’t find the time.
Lee Filters foundation Kit & The Big Stopper ND Filter
The equipment I bought was a Lee foundation filter system and a Big stopper ND filter. I needed the filter system to hold the ND filter and to hold other filters I’ve since bought to help control exposure. I wanted the big stopper primarily as I’ve always loved long exposure, and as I also have a few other ideas I want to try with this filter when my landscape photography goes in a new direction. I’m also a bit of an old school photographer and prefer to control my exposure in camera rather than in photoshop, and I’ve never gotten on well with HDR (although I’ve tried it a few times) so filters seemed like a good way for me to go.
So, onto my first (official) shoot with the new equipment. Keeping it local, I decided I’d have a wander up to Devil’s Dyke, north of Brighton in the South Downs National Park. I’d also looked on the map and pinned another location nearby called Beeding Hill. I went out at 6am at around sunrise to get a few shots.
The problem I think I’ve since realised with Devil’s Dyke, is that the angle of the hills doesn’t seem to work in relation to the sun’s position. I was drawn to the lines and curves of the South Downs as subject matter and I love the leading line of the pathway here. In the bottom corner of this shot I’ve picked up some lens flare, so here’s my first lesson, keep the sun off the filters!
Devil’s Dyke, 2015
I then went onto Beeding Hill, which is north of Shoreham by Sea. I got my wits scared out of me when a rambler approached me whilst I was busily working in the morning calm and I hadn’t notice him walking behind me! But it was good, there were lots of sheep and I managed to get a few shots of young lambs too. I finally also tried out my big stopper on a Hawthorn tree with some cloud movement in the sky.
Here’s the rest of my shots below. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and if you got to the end past my ramblings, then well done you! Subscribe for my weekly blog posts and for many more tips on Sussex outdoors and landscape photography.