Posts tagged “Sunset

On the beach from Dawn until Dusk..

A Postcard or two from Fuerteventura

Regular followers of this blog will know that I love the sea, I love the coast and I love the beach.  Whether visiting the beaches around the coast of my home county of Cornwall, the black volcanic snow and ice covered beaches of Iceland or the sun drenched beaches of the Canaries, I’m a happy man.

Here a few picture postcard beach shots from my recent visit to Fuerteventura, I hope you enjoy them..

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Home.. Höfn

A trip to Iceland, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a place that has really captured my heart, Höfn.  As we were driving down the east coast from Akureyri to Höfn, I found myself asking ‘what time will we be home’.  I have made such good friends here and for a photographer, Höfn and the surrounding area, really takes some beating.

As we approached ‘home’ after a day photographing back along the east coast, the sun was low and preparing to set.  The light was magical.  I knew immediately that just after the tunnel, I would have to turn left and take the gravel road to Stokksnes.  The last time I visited I was with my good friend Ronnie and being with a local, I was spared the 600 kr per person entry fee that Omar, the land owner has imposed on tourists.  I must point out that this is extremely un-Icelandic behaviour and something that local people are horrified by but Omar is known for his love of the Krona so there it is, you pay to continue along the gravel road to this amazing beauty spot.

I paid my 600 kr and continued on my way but quickly became aware of someone in a pick-up truck persuing us.  I pulled over and the truck pulled up.  A man leaned out of the window claimed I hadn’t paid.  This must be Omar I thought.  He’d certainly checked that honesty box smartish.  I did pay I explained, I put the money in your honesty box’.  There’s a box outside the small cafe for you to pay should the cafe be closed.  However what I hadn’t realised was Omar was now charging 600 kr per person and there were two of us in the car.

I handed over the money and asked ‘last time I was here with Ronnie from the village’, someone Omar knows well, ‘he took us to an old fishing boat’.  ‘You want to take more pictures’ Omar asked.  ‘I do’ I replied.  ‘Follow me he said..’  He drove round the gate to the left that had a handmade sign strung across it.  A read circle with a white band across it, ‘No Entry’ had been added at the bottom just in case someone might not have got the message.

We followed Omar around the gate and through a puddle that came half-way up Omars wheels so I was guessing a little higher on my rented Kia Sorento.  Both myself and my passenger looked down to see if we were about to get wet feet.  Not this time thankfully.  On down the track Omar pulled up at the edge of the very shiny black sand.  It was high tide.  Something I only realised when we got to the edge.  I could see the surf crashing not too far out.

‘I’ll leave you here’ Omar said. ‘Keep within 50 metres of the green and you’ll be OK’, the green being the marsh grasses to our left, ‘but don’t stop mind’ at this, Omar made gestures that left us in no doubt that we’d sink if we did.  He reversed, smiling and waving.  Did I detect a certain mischievousness to that smile?  Surely not.

Behind us the sky was an amazing pink, ablaze as the sun was sinking lower.  I took a deep breath, I’m a photographer, I need to get my picture, and drove onto the wet sand.  The 4×4 was managing well, traction was good but the car felt the same way I’ve felt when walking across a very deep pile carpet, it was decidedly spongy.  As I made my way from one raised bit of dry sand to another, I was beginning to think that maybe this time I’d gone too far..  I should have waited for Ronnie except Ronnie was in Paris.  I was beginning to worry a little.  We were driving through porridge.  The spongy, squidginess of the going beneath us seemed to be increasing.  I checked my distance from the ‘green’.  I was about 25m away so apparently safe, nonetheless, I pressed the gass.  Did Omar send us out here only to charge us an exorbitant fee for rescue?  I banished the thought.

Thankfully, off in the distance I could see the track emerging from the sand and I knew we’d soon be on terra firma once more.  I drove on to the small cove where I knew the boat lay.  We made it!  The light was beautiful but we were very aware of the crashing surf.  It really looked as though the tide was still coming in..  Extra porridgey, spongy, squidginess to come.. Hmm.  I didn’t relish the thought.

Below is one of the pictures I took that white knuckle late afternoon.  I didn’t hang about.  I was keen to get back across the sands.  I began to worry that I’d never find that exit track in the gloom and we’d be left searching in the dark for a way off the sand.  I was comforted, sort of, that Omar would still be watching.  He wouldn’t wish us any harm I was sure.  We set off back across the sand, hopping from one small island of higher drier sand to the next.  Searching the horizon for the ‘exit’ I began to enjoy myself, weaving this way and that.

Passing the Viking Village on the right (A film set waiting for a film apparently) I knew it couldn’t be too much further when out of the gloom, I could see what looked like a track.  Sure enough, in no time at all I was off the sand and on our way ‘home’.  It was a big relief.  At no time were we in physical danger I’m sure.  Just in danger of getting stuck on the sand.  Not a welcome thought as it was a lot further than I could manage to walk.

As we passed the cafe there was no sign of Omar’s truck.  We hadn’t seen headlights departing as we approached dry land and we hadn’t passed it as we passed what I think was his house so at what point he’d left we just don’t know.  I must add again, Omar is very much an exception.  The Icelandic people are warm, friendly and extremely eager to help their ‘guests’ get the very most from their stays in Iceland.

Fishing Boat, Hofn, Iceland

14mm f/8 1/15 ISO-100.

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Haifoss, Iceland

I posted some pictures from a previous visit to Haifoss (pronounced How-a-foss) at the end of last year.  This waterfall is so high, the gorge so deep, it would have been meaningless for me to put a human being in the picture to give a sense of scale as they’d appear as a meer speck and would be difficult to find.  You can see the solution I came up with for my last post below.. I hope you enjoy these latest pictures of this magnificent waterfall.. oh and by the way, these pictures were taken between 11pm and midnight. :-)

Haifoss, Iceland14mm f/22 1/2 sec.ISO-50

SpacerHaifoss, Sunset, Iceland14mm f/22 0.8 sec. ISO-50

SpacerHaifoss with statue of Liberty, Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral.. And for scale :-)

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Cornish Sunset..

It feels like an age since I posted some pictures from Cornwall so here are some pictures I took last evening.  As the sun started to go down, it really looked promising so I suggested to Poppy of (who is visiting at the moment) that we go over to Constantine Bay to watch the sunset.  We were not disappointed!

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We were not the only ones to head to Constantine Bay.  The beach was lined with people just watching and taking pictures with just about every device capable of taking a picture imaginable.  This person was happy just to sit on the fence and watch however..Constantine Bay35mm f/11 1/6 sec. ISO-100

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Eastern Fjords..

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As The Sun Goes Down..

..On our last day in Iceland, where better to watch the fiery colours than from atop an active volcano, billowing steam and sulphurous gases, before our descent into Reykjavik for one last night before an early flight home tomorrow.  It has been an awesome journey; Poppy and her BB, C and Me on an excellent Icelandic adventure, circumnavigating the island of Iceland in the middle of a winter that, even by Icelandic standards, has seen super low temperatures and very high levels of snowfall.

We spent this afternoon battling through blizzard after blizzard in an attempt to reach Haifoss, a real highlight from my last visit here and one I wanted to share with Poppy and her husband on our final day.  Waist deep snow at our final turn from route 31 made the ascent to the waterfall impossible.  A foot or two of snow had been neither here nor there up to that point (well mostly neither here nor there*), but four and five feet of snow was a bit much to ask of our Jeep Cherokees..

I have a lot to share over the coming weeks and lots of blogs to catch up on.  Thank you so much for your patience.. See you all back in Cornwall.. :-)

Volcano70mm F/4 1/125 sec. ISO-50

*While driving down a steep mountain road in your lowest gear, you brake and turn the wheel to make the tight turn necessary to avoid the precipitous drop down the mountainside (no barrier) that lies before you but, the car keeps going in a dead straight line (despite the ABS, sending its gravelly feedback to the brake pedal beneath your foot) and when every cell in your body is screaming to keep braking and keep turning the wheel away from the edge but that one sober brain cell sparks a synapse that sparks another and another that at lightening speed brings about an almost instintive flick of the steering wheel towards the edge whilst coming off the brakes to recover the skid before I have time to consciously come to the conclusion that this is the only way to keep the car on the road.. this is what I meant by mostly neither here nor there.. :-0

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Beware the Amazon Gift Card Upload..

This photograph was taken just outside Geysir, in Iceland.  I’m not sure if the town gives its name to the jets of hot water and steam that burst forth from the ground at regular intervals or not.  Needless to say such things are to be found here.  This was one of those places we didn’t beat the tour buses to so were happy to drive through and enjoy the steaming streams and plumes of steam rising from various point in the ground from afar..

Landscape photograph, Geysir, Iceland Sunset, Iceland70mm ff/11 1/80 sec. ISO-100

The main point of this post is to highlight an issue I came across this afternoon that I felt really needed to be shared.  It’s Christmas time and our thoughts turn to relatives that we may or may not be seeing over the Christmas period.  Perhaps a gift card is the answer to your gift buying nightmare.  Faced with this dilemma we might then turn to a company like Amazon and note that they kindly provide us with the option to upload an image from our computers to decorate the gift card we intend to send.

This was the case I faced this afternoon. I uploaded my image and as with all things, I had to agree to Amazon’s terms and conditions.  Having a good idea about the way these corporations operate now I thought I better read said terms and conditions before I agreed to them.  I was extremely disappointed but not at all surprised really to see that by uploading an image to Amazon you

hereby grant to Amazon, its Affiliates and sublicencees a worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, right and licence to (a) reproduce, distribute, transmit, publicly perform and publicly display the Materials, in whole or in part, in any manner and Media, (b) modify, adapt, translate and create derivative works from the Materials, in whole or in part, in any manner and Media, and (c) sublicense the foregoing rights, in whole or in part, to any third party, with or without a fee.


grant to Amazon, its Affiliates and sublicencees a worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, right and licence to use all trademarks, trade names, and the names and likenesses of any individuals that appear in the Materials.

Always worth checking the small print.  I’ll certainly not be uploading any of my photographs.  Why would Amazon assume to take ownership?  Because they can is the answer I guess. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.  I’ve heard a lot about Amazon lately that makes me less and less inclined to warm to them as a business, not least their very successful tax avoidance strategies and the way they treat their staff.  It seems they’re not above ripping off their customer’s artwork either.





The Remains of the Day..

A week or so ago, this windmill appeared on my horizon.  I say my horizon, this is the view from my patio.  The wind turbine is about half a mile away so that should give you some idea as to the size of this thing.  I can’t say I mind it particularly.  It’s certainly preferable to the landscape being smothered in solar panels..

This is an HDR image made using Photomatrix.  There are 4 exposures combined here with exposure times ranging from 1.3 seconds to 30 seconds, all at f/8 and ISO-100.  The focal length was 66mm.  I hope you enjoy the sunset as much as I did.. :-)

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There’s nothing worse than taking a beautiful sunset shot and then processing it to find that Photoshop or Lightroom has been really lazy and lumped lots of subtle shades together to create bands of colour, totally spoiling your photograph.  Here’s an example of what I mean.

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The algorithms that work these things out are designed, I guess, to save on processing but it’s a disaster for those of us wanting to create photographs with nice smooth gradients.  The workarounds are very simple and only take a minute or two.  It’s not ideal but it certainly helps.

The first thing to check is if you really have a banding problem.  The resolution of the photographs from my Nikon  D800 is 7360 x 4912 pixels.  These are big pictures and when editing in Photoshop, I’m usually working on the images at about 12% of their actual size.  This means that banding may be evident that isn’t evident if you view your pictures at 100% or when you print.  If this is the case, you can reduce the resolution of the picture to fix the issue.

If you’ve looked at your pictures at 100% and there is still banding evident, this is what you can do.
It goes against the grain (pardon the pun) but adding a little noise to your images can make the banding simply disappear at best or reduce it significantly in images where contrast and brightness setting make the problem particularly bad.

First things first, duplicate your layer and making sure the layer is selected.

I wouldn’t recommend adding noise to all RGB colour channels, perhaps just to the channel where the noise is most evident.  This will in all likelihood be the blue or green channel if the banding is evident in the sky.  The RGB channels can be accessed by left clicking on the channels tab next to the layers tab in Photoshop.  Adding between 4 and 11% I’ve found works pretty well.  The less the better obviously.

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If the problem persists, again duplicate your layer add a gradient of another colour by clicking the fx button at the bottom of the layers palette.  I’ve found that adding an orange gradient, set to around 2 or 3 % so it’s barely perceptible works well, being the opposite side of the colour wheel to blue.  Plus, if it’s a sunrise or sunset shot, any slight colour cast may well add to the impact of your shot.  Select ‘overlay’ as the blending option.Noise 3These fixes, and they may take a bit of trial and error to get right, should give you markedly smoother gradients on your sunrise and sunset shots.  Despite exaggerating the problem with this image for demonstration purposes, you can see that adding noise has improved the banding problem with this shot considerably..

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