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Richard Wheeler - Timing is everything...

Blog Posted on 07 Apr 2011

Today I thought I’d talk about timing and patience in photography. A single 10 seconds of light can make such a difference to a scene and can turn an average photograph into something special. My first visit to Three Shire Heads demonstrated this perfectly. Three Shire Heads sits on the on the Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire border and sits on the River Dane with some cascading falls, packhorse bridge and panniers pool.
I’d seen photographs of these falls before, but normally focusing low down on the falls and looking up to the larger bridge.  What I didn’t realise was there was actually two bridges and two sets of falls. I couldn’t believe what a beautiful location this was and instantly knew I wanted to capture the wider view.  On arrival, the day was quite dull and very cloudy. I spent some time working out my compositions and trying different views.  I kept checking the sky for any breaks in the clouds, and it was apparent there could be a small break which could light the scene up perfectly.  Getting into position I composed and took a test shot to make sure I was happy with the composition.  The shot was obviously dull and lifeless:


A couple of minutes later the light started to break, just clipping the top of the hillside so I fired the shutter to capture the golden light.  The scene was instantly transformed but still needed light further down to balance the dark foreground:


Literally a few seconds later, the light broke completely through the clouds, flooding the entire landscape in light. This also created a problem as the light had come too far down casting my shadow over the foreground as you can see in the photo below in the bottom right corner:


I did manage to capture one shot which was the perfect balance between the two.  Here’s the finished processed image. It has had a small tweak to the levels, saturation and colour temperature for final output.


After that, I waited around for another 45 minutes but the light never came back.

Camera: Canon 5d
Canon Lens: 17-40L @ 21mm
Lee Graduated Filters: 2 stop soft
Aperture: f16
Shutter Speed:  0.6 secs
ISO: 50

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Make of Camera: Canon 5d
Lens: 17-40L @ 21mm
ISO: 50
Aperture: f16
Shutter Speed: 0.6 secs

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