Return to Swanage

It was my birthday last week (side note: all of your birthday cards, and the cheques they contained, appear to have gotten lost in the post). To celebrate, my wife and I decided to stay in Swanage, one of my favourite places in the world, and have a nice relaxing time away from everything for a while.

For me, it wouldn’t be an enjoyable break if I weren’t taking photos. Fortunately I was prepared for this, and brought all my gear, including my tripod and variable ND filter.

We arrived late on Wednesday evening, too late even to eat –  but we woke the next morning (my actual birthday) to a brilliant cooked breakfast (including black pudding, which all true cooked breakfasts contain) and went out for a walk into the town.

It wasn’t particularly cold, but it was windy, grey and overcast, so there wasn’t much light about and the sea was a bit choppy. Above all it was quiet, so I didn’t feel too self-conscious in setting up my tripod and taking some long exposures.

4sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm
4sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm

4sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm
4sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm

A few of the exposures I put through Silver Efex Pro 2 to make them a dramatic monochrome.

5sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm
5sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm

I also grabbed a closeup of the rocks at the side of the slipway, which when framed out of their context just look like an outcrop in a foggy swamp.

10sec, f/11, ISO 100, 60mm
10sec, f/11, ISO 100, 60mm

Looking back at these shots, it’s literally only just occurred to me I had a lot more leeway to close up the aperture for even longer exposures. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that at the time but it apparently occurred to me not long after as the rest of my shots are at a tighter aperture.

I walked a bit further along the promenade and took some shots of the same slipway from the reverse angle.

13sec, f/22, ISO 100, 24mm
13sec, f/22, ISO 100, 24mm

I followed this up by photographing the quayside along the other direction.

20sec, f22, ISO 100, 24mm
20sec, f22, ISO 100, 24mm

The sun then started to peek out from behind the clouds, so I returned to my original spot to shoot into the sun and get a bit of colour in the shot (especially in the rusty railings).

6sec, f/22, ISO 100, 24mm
6sec, f/22, ISO 100, 24mm

With the sun out we headed to the pier (my wife happily finding spots to sit down and read whilst I was taking photographs). Before that, as we started our stroll along the pier, I took a HDR shot back towards the town.

f/16, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)
f/16, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)

And also a shot of my colourful wife.

1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm

Partway along the pier you can see the remnants of the old pier, which fell into disrepair earlier in the last century. The sun had mostly returned to behind the clouds at this point, but there was enough of it around to give a bit of colour to the water.

10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 40mm
10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 40mm

I’m sure these have been photographed many times over the years but the shot I had in mind when I was shooting here was this great shot I found on Flickr a while ago. I wasn’t expecting to get anywhere near that sort of image – my ND filter is cheap and the light wasn’t as good, but I wanted to capture what I could regardless.

Whilst I was playing about with this shot, Holly pointed out a sight further along the pier, so I quickly left my tripod where it was, unscrewed my filter, and grabbed this shot.

1/640sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm
1/640sec, f/4, ISO 100, 105mm

And then I went back to the old pier.

10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 40mm
10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 40mm
10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 28mm
10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 28mm
15sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm
15sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm

The latter image is my favourite, it’s the sharpest of the photos I got, the colour looks nice and I got a decent length of exposure too.

I also tried a slightly different perspective on the ruins of the pier, ignoring the larger two sections and focussing more on the individual poles.

10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm
10sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm

We finished our walk along the pier and headed on to Peveril Point, the first place I’d tried out my ND filter. This time there was hints of sun peeking out from the clouds, so I once again used some HDR to bring out the details.

f/4, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)
f/4, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)

This also worked pretty well in harsh monochrome.

f/4, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)
f/4, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)

I also tried some bracketed shots which showed a bit more of the foreground.

f/4, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)
f/4, ISO 100, 24mm (HDR)

Meanwhile nearby some canoeists braved the water.

1/800sec, f/4, ISO 100, 65mm
1/800sec, f/4, ISO 100, 65mm

When the clouds came in, they were thick enough to rob the sun of most of its power, allowing me to get this moody, night-like exposure.

1/400sec, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm
1/400sec, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm

And similarly, this HDR bracket.

f/4, ISO 100, 32mm (HDR)
f/4, ISO 100, 32mm (HDR)

I also tried something I’ve not done very much at all in the past – a multi-shot panorama with my DSLR. Stitched together in Photoshop, it didn’t come out too badly.

PeverilPointPano_MASTER-Edit

We climbed up to the clifftop for me to get some more traditional shots of the rocks at the Point.

1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm
1/1000sec, f/4, ISO 100, 32mm

Also atop the cliff is a signpost, showing the coastal path routes both back towards Swanage and along Durlston Bay to Durlston Castle (which is one of my favourite walks in the world).

1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/500sec, f/4, ISO 100, 24mm
1/640sec, f/4, ISO 100, 50mm
1/640sec, f/4, ISO 100, 50mm

I soon broke out my variable ND again.

75sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm
75sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm

As you can see I pushed it a bit far for this shot, using the filter beyond its max setting, which allowed me a 75 second exposure but has darkened the top left and bottom right corners. For this particular shot it’s not so noticeable – unless you compare it to this next shot, which is at a more normal setting for the filter.

8sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm
8sec, f/22, ISO 100, 32mm

A lot of photographs taken, we strolled back to the hotel at a leisurely pace, where we sat in the bar and relaxed for a bit by a fire where I edited some of these photos on my laptop, before going for a very nice three course dinner.

The next morning was quite a bit more breezy, and with that the sea was a lot choppier. We checked out of the hotel then headed into town, where I got a few shots of the sea’s fury.

1/2000sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 60mm
1/2000sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 60mm
1/3200sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm
1/3200sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm
1/640sec, f/5, ISO 400, 40mm
1/640sec, f/5, ISO 400, 40mm
1/640sec, f/5, ISO 400, 28mm
1/640sec, f/5, ISO 400, 28mm

There was just enough time for a catalogue shot of my wife’s hat before we decided to make tracks home.

1/500sec, f/5, ISO 400, 50mm
1/500sec, f/5, ISO 400, 50mm

All told it was a great couple of days  and I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate my thirtieth birthday.


CreativeSplatLongBlackVertical
Related Posts:

Swanage
Random Images from Dorset and Devon
Peveril Point
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6 Comments

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  1. Happy belated, bro. My hearty thanks for the, as always, beautiful pics! I put a card and cheque in the mail. (Sorry, I’m lying, but I wish I could. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? It seems like everyone in the world is unemployed or struggling right now. Everyone except that mythical 1% I guess. 😉 ) Anyway, I hope you made it a good one!

    Like

  2. I love how you have integrated all of your techniques so that on any given shoot you can choose the right one to achieve your artistic statement. That is really impressive!

    Like

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