Taking a tumble for art?
Getting up early - really early - is probably the toughest part of landscape work as well as the most rewarding. And timing is everything! Some days promise much and deliver little. Checking the forecast is helpful, although in Northern Ireland hardly infallible!
This particular dawn was the most spectacular in recent memory, according to the friendly gentleman I met later as he was out walking his dog. In my haste I parked at the 'wrong' end of the car park. I had a choice: walk the (considerable) length of the car park to get to the start of the path leading to where I needed to go, or take the short cut straight down the grassy bank. As I dithered I noticed, to my left, another photographer already in position with tripod and long lens set up. To my right the ripening of a raw red sky. I was late. The shot of a lifetime was beckoning. I plunged straight down the bank.
I can only imagine what my fellow photographer captured through his lens as a largish man of a certain age, clad all in dark green, somersaulted down the bank, white hair and glasses flying, camera held out sideways for protection. I didn't stay long to find out. Gathering the remnants of my dignity, I made off towards the water's edge, pretending not to notice the mud and torn up grass splattered all over my back.
My glasses were thankfully intact, as was the camera. Once the shock had subsided I set to the task, only to discover that I really needed my tripod. It was safely tucked up in the boot of the car. I couldn't face the long path just yet, let alone the grassy bank, now scarred by my early attempt. So with camera perched precariously on my camera bag and making use of the timer I managed a couple of exposures.
Now I really understood the lessons so often emphasised by landscape masters such as David Noton: scout the location in advance; give yourself plenty of time so that you are at the location before the light; and always bring your tripod. Lessons learned? We'll see.
As for the art part... this morning I think there was more drama than art.
This was the result. Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20 at 15mm, 0.5 sec.
Keywords: Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland, dawn,
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