The difference light makes!  Recently during a workshop to the boatyards the weather was dreadful.  Layers upon layers of thick haze settled over the area and due to a maniac hit and run driver we were delayed several hours arriving at the worst time of the day.  Yet, the show must go on and making the best of conditions is what photographers do must often, so making poor conditions a part of the workshop makes sense.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/125th  20mm  ISO 100

The difference light makes!  Recently during a workshop to the boatyards the weather was dreadful.  Layers upon layers of thick haze settled over the area and due to a maniac hit and run driver we were delayed several hours arriving at the worst time of the day.  Yet, the show must go on and making the best of conditions is what photographers do must often, so making poor conditions a part of the workshop makes sense.

I wish I could say I thought of this shot the first time I visited the place, and in truth I was drawn to these rusty rails in a big way.  So many possibilities.  On my mind from previous visits I knew on this visit I wanted to try something different.  I’d meant to pack along my angle C finder, an elbow device that attaches to the viewfinder of my DSLR allowing me to frame the picture while looking down, instead of laying down in the muck.  When I pointed out the shot to my client I get the “I’m not laying in that oily greasy dirty muck” look and I smile inside.  Every photographer needs a little bit of ‘crazy’ in their bag, but this time I didn’t want to lay in the muck either.  What a perfect time to point out some of the advantages of a ultra-wide angle lens. 

Depth of Field (DOF) can be very deep with an ultra-wide, so I explained how we knew in advance that at F11 and approximately 20mm we’d have an almost unlimited DOF save for the first 4-5 inches.  To get those first 4-5 inches as well, we’d need F32 but then diffraction would impact overall sharpness.  F11 was a good compromise but in retrospect F16 would have been better.   Because we had such a deep DOF, and such a wide field of view, looking through the viewfinder became optional.  With a wink I set my DSLR right on the rail, carefully pointed it in the right direction, and made the capture.  My client looked at me with the “is that all there is to it” look and then quickly made his own capture. 

You can tell from the image we were shooting up a short ramp, what you can’t tell is that we were on the water’s edge and one errant slip would have landed us in the drink.  See the gentle uphill curve?  The boat at the end of the rail was dragged directly forward up the rail.  The boats to the side were dragged forward, and then sideways into their work areas.  I exacerbated the hazy conditions by shooting directly into the sun resulting in a few small flares I had to correct and much reduced contrast 

Still, I like the capture.  Looking up the rail, you see the purpose of the rail, the boats in their proper positions.  The great amount of detail from the rust on the tracks, the small leaves and bits of garbage in the foreground, the rail itself running through the frame from the foreground to the middle ground to the background worked well, and the boats in both the middle and background worked well with the direction of light from the sun getting ready to set in front of us.  What an interesting photograph!

 

I know, if you were thinking what I was thinking.. you were thinking “what if you walked all the way to that boat in the background and shot the other way?” Great thought!  Since you’re no longer shooting into the sun you immediately notice more contrast but I don’t think the image is nearly as interesting.  Without the boat at the end of the rail, the light coloring the rust more orange on the rail, and the little bits of detail, it’s just not the same.  But it has me thinking “what about if they were just pulling a boat from the water down at that end, and it was morning and the sun was rising behind it?”  Yes.. that’s what I’ll watch for on future visits.  Until then..

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F16  1/40th  24mm  ISO 100 

I know, if you were thinking what I was thinking.. you were thinking what if you walked all the way to that boat in the background and shot the other way?” Great thought!  Since you’re no longer shooting into the sun you immediately notice more contrast but I don’t think the image is nearly as interesting.  Without the boat at the end of the rail, the light coloring the rust more orange on the rail, and the little bits of detail, it’s just not the same.  But it has me thinkingwhat about if they were just pulling a boat from the water down at that end, and it was morning and the sun was rising behind it?”  Yes.. that’s what I’ll watch for on future visits.  Until then..