While I was visiting Porth Nanven in the Cot Valley last week, waiting for the light that didn’t materialise ( it was overcast and the light was very flat) I had a bit of a zen moment.. My balancing pebble installation would naturally be temporary with a rising tide.. Hadn’t realised how temporary mind you..
Here’s a few more pictures from my recent dawn shoot at Porth Nanven in the Cot Valley, Cornwall. This really is a very special place and needs very little help from the Photoshop toolbox but in the third image posted today, I let my imagination run just a little bit.
There is always a lot of talk about post processing pictures. Otto hosted a very interesting discussion on the subject recently of lines and boundaries and definitions of photography in the digital age. For me, shooting RAW, I always post process my images, it’s a requirement. I like to have that control. If you shoot jpegs and are happy to let your camera do the processing for you, that’s fine but of course the pictures are still processed.
There does come a point however when a post-processed photograph becomes something more and here I like the way the Royal Photographic Society categorises images such as these for the purposes of gaining distinctions from the Society. These images come under ‘Visual Art’ category.
To make the image below, I took one of the two original photographs. I then went through my archives digging out photographs with really nice clouds in them as well as photos with birds. I then created some Photoshop brushes, quite a simple process for which there are many tutorials, and ‘painted’ the clouds and the birds onto the image. The moon was added in exactly the same way. You don’t need to make your own brushes of course. There are many out there freely available but I wanted to work with elements added from my own photographs. I then spent some time with gradient maps, adjustment layers, luminosity masks and rendered lighting effects to create just the atmosphere I wanted.
This was a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I could have kept going, I was at the tip of an iceberg of possibilities. Is it cheating? Only if I pretended it was something it wasn’t. Is it photography? It is in my opinion. Just a very exciting extension of traditional form made possible and very accessible in the digital era.
By the end of this process I was left pondering the question as to why anyone would get up at 2 am to take photographs when 9 am would do. Any photograph, with some work, can be made to look like it was taken at any time of day. I can create any mood or atmosphere I like in a photograph and it can all be done from my desk in front of my PC.
I’m very excited about the boundless opportunities that this photographic visual art presents. One is limited only by one’s imagination and skill both as a photographer and as a Photoshopper.
I know why I get up at 2 am to take photographs however, and that just isn’t going to change. I’m in love with the landscape I photograph, I love taking pictures of it, I love capturing its many moods first hand. If I don’t get the photo I want one day, I come back the next. It’s all part of the challenge and the joy of photography. There is nothing to match waiting for first light, crouched with your camera, listening as the birds start their dawn chorus. Waiting and clicking the shutter, composing and readjusting and being 100% immersed in the landscape and absorbed in the process of taking photographs . For me that beats the hell out of ‘making’ them in a computer.
Porthnanven is somewhere I’ve been before. The dinosaur egg beach as it’s affectionately known is one of my favourite places. There is something really special about this beach and it’s what got me up at 2 am and out the door by 2.30 to travel an hour’s distance to be on the beach at half past three, waiting for first light.
It came surprisingly quickly as it would this time of year but before the sun rose too far, I was able to do some painting with light. The flashlight that had got me onto the beach at low tide, in the dark and in one piece, became a useful device for lighting my scene.
When I was processing this shot, I couldn’t decide between the blue hour, ‘straight from the camera, no white balance adjustment’ photograph or the one where I’d adjusted the white balance to compensate for the light at the blue end of the spectrum that dominates at this time of day. This has the effect of warming the picture slightly. Which do you prefer?
Click on the images for a sharper, clearer view ;-)
This is a photograph I took at Porthnanven (Dinosaur Egg) Beach in the Cot Valley..
This photograph was taken on a recent dawn visit that I made to Porth Nanven, with fellow blogger Poppy. Porth Nanven is a beach at the end of the Cot Valley that runs down to the sea at the very western tip of Cornwall. Porth Nanven is sometimes referred to as the dinosaur egg beach because of the giant pebbles to be found there. These pebbles are regularly dislodged from the cliff face where they were left 120,000 years ago when sea levels receded.
My new site is up and running and I’m working hard on my Google page rankings. It’s an uphill struggle in a very crowded marketplace so if you enjoy my photographs, it would really help me a lot if you could give this link a click and have a look around. Perhaps click on the gallery page, sit back and enjoy a collection of my most successful pictures. Thank you. ;-)
24mm f/11 1/13 sec. ISO-100
By the time I took this picture, the last in this series, the water was lapping around my feet and I was being splashed with salty water each time a wave crashed in. Although the sea appears misty calm in these long exposures, the waves were probably 4 or 5 feet in height and were breaking over the smaller of the two larger rocks. It was definitely time to pack up and retreat a little. Well a lot actually. The tide was rising almost faster than I could move over these oversized pebbles with backpack, tripod and crutch.. ;-)
24 mm f/11 1/30 sec. ISO-100