After chatting with a buddy and fellow photographer of mine we decided to venture to the Tasmania ferry area to take a look at the old Princes pier, Melbourne Southern Australia.
Equipment = Canon 70D with Canon 100-400mm usm ii, sigma 10-20mm wide angle, vanguard Alta pro 263AT tripod, ZOMEi NDd10 filter.
We aimed to get to this location for about 13:00 in the day, because I wanted to checkout the location for possibilities of different lighting conditions. This area has an an industrial look. With the wooden stacks still standing proud from the water, an assortment of different birds uses this area as their home, which towards the end of the day becomes apparent when they all take to the air. Cormorants, shags, gulls and starlings all use this place to hide in, avoiding the sky based aerial hunters.
So, after a few testing shots (fig 1) to see what will be better for a soft evening light shoot, I dug out my ZOMEi ND 10 stop filter, couple this with a sigma 10-20mm (right) for a good wide angle, and my trusty Canon 70D.
This shot is very grainy and the reason for this is the high ISO of 1000. This was my test shot just to see via the canon 70D’s viewing window, to get some idea of what I will be able to capture. When taking a test shot, you should bare in mind all elements of the shot. Keep in mind the leading lines what is in the background, foreground shadows how much sky and whereabouts you will be putting the focal point. Using an F/7.1 with a wide angle is enough to give a large Depth of Field (DOF). However, when you are on location you may want to extend or change this depending on how far your nearest object is from the lens. On a chest level tripod, for example, there is rarely any DOF advantage going beyond f/7.1.
I thought the shot had potential, so after setting up and putting on the Sigma wide angle 10-20mm and ND1000 (10 stop), the shot taken in (fig2) has a different feel. It is important to remember to adjust your camera settings when exposing when you put an ND filter on. After thinking about the composition I considered a much lower position. This was to help enhance the leading lines and great reflections. The ND filter takes away the movement and gives a much softer feel to the water. The composition lets the eyes wander around the shot bringing into play the Giraffes (loading cranes top right) I could remove them within various editing suits however I like to keep my shots as true to the location as possible. The sharpness and detail in the closer stacks keep the eye in the frame and is the result of good aperture selection.
In this next photo, (fig 3) I waited ages for the guy in the boat to very slowly drift into the centre of the groins. Why can’t unwitting models be better and in the right place when you need them? The leading lines will hopefully take your eye to the back of the picture, then the picture comes to life with the eye being drawn towards the yacht and speed boat then dropping back down to the various birds within the picture. All of a sudden (now I have said it!) you begin to realise the number of extras within the photograph. The F/5.6 aperture allows the sharpness to almost extend down to the foreground. That was not my intended focus, but you know they are wooden groins/pillars and the minds eye fills in those blanks.
This image has a small amount of de-saturation applied in photoshop. “Why?” I here you say! Well for me I wanted to bring into play the pillars and the wood grain, and once again with the the mottled colours it makes the eye follow the way I want it too. My focus point is on the front area of the shot and do remember that the filters do give a slightly different colour cast on photographs.
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras