After getting pretty decent results playing about with my new ND filter at Peveril Point in Dorset I decided to take a stroll down to the Twickenham Riverside to play about some more with the technique. It’s been a couple of years since I photographed around that area so it’s good to return with a bit more experience under my belt.
When I first got down to the Riverside I headed towards the newly refurbished bit, which truth be told looks just like it used to, only cleaner and with less trees. I found a bit with some trees and boats over the water and took a test shot to see how the image looked.
What I wanted to do is get some of the stairs leading into the water in the shot, but this is one of the first times I’ve found my 24-105mm lens to not be wide enough for what I was trying to do (and I was reluctant to use the 10-20mm lens I’ve borrowed as it didn’t seem to work so well with the filter). I tried to squeeze the stairs into my long-exposed shot but somehow managed to miss it.
One thing that’s not entirely clear from this image is a problem I faced that I somehow managed to completely not think about until I’d done some long exposures: boats on the water bob about a bit. You can also see darker areas in the top left and bottom right of the frames – I think I might have been able to pass them off as clouds in this shot, but they’re actually artefacts from the variable ND filter – when I turn it up to its fullest, so that there’s barely any light coming into the viewfinder, it seems to create dark patches in these corners. It makes me want to get a non-variable filter to continue experimenting.
Depending on the boat I was sometimes able to get long exposures without them moving about too much.
When I decided to try out long exposures by the river there was one subject I had in mind to capture: the water level pole that I’ve shot on previous trips. It took a bit of playing about to get the right exposure without dark patches. In the end I managed to achieve a nice long exposure, making this one of the closest images to the ideas in my head.
This is the first time I’ve managed to get exposure times over thirty seconds. To do this I finally broke out my Triggertrap to time the shots easily. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned the Triggertrap before but I’ve had it for a while; it’s an app and hardware accessory which allows me to trigger my DSLR’s shutter with my iPhone. It has all sorts of modes for triggering, such as sound, movement, time, distance etc. On this occasion I simply used it to set a specific exposure time beyond the thirty second the manual mode of my camera allows (and then trial and error that time easily). I have some other ideas that use the Triggertrap that I want to play about with so I’m sure I’ll be bringing it up again.
The last long exposure shot I tried was closer to York House Gardens.
This shot also took a bit of playing about to get the right exposure. I again fought with dark patches, and birds standing pretty still but moving their heads, leaving ghostly decapitated birds in the shots. In the end, a minute covered it, but didn’t capture as much movement in the water as I was hoping.
I then entered York House Gardens to have a go at some long exposures of the Naked Ladies, but the fountains seemed to be on a low setting and there simply wasn’t enough water for the photos to look interesting. I did, however, see a flower I thought looked nice.
Having played about with long exposures I decided to spend some time taking some normal photographs of the Riverside, grabbing some of the sights I’d seen whilst wandering around with a tripod and a filter attached to my camera.
The first thing I saw was a guy working on a boat over on Eel Pie Island.
There was also a bunch of people feeding ducks by the river, not paying attention to me.
And other people not paying attention to me either.
A bit further along the river there was a guy fishing. He seemed quite content in himself and so I chanced several shots of him.
I’m quite keen on interesting textures, so this weathered padlock and chain caught my eye as well.
And finally, as I headed back onto Twickenham proper, an ambulance came screaming past, allowing me to grab this shot.
Curses to whoever is driving that car that got in the way of the shot. Curses!
I think the long exposures in this post worked out better than my first set at Peveril Point. At some point I should also be working with light as well as tides and try this stuff later in the day when the light is a bit less.
By the Thames (again…)
Twickenham Jubilee Festival