In mid October my girlfriend and I were invited to join her parents for a long weekend in the Seaside town of Lyme Regis. An early finish on Friday, a detour to High Wycombe to deliver a framed print (see Paul Rivett Special), and 4 hours in the car got us there safe and sound and in good time to enjoy the weekend. Although not specifically a photography weekend that didn’t stop me from packing camera, tripod and lenses with the hope of getting some shots of the picturesque harbour and town. Unfortunately the weather conspired against me and I only had a 2 hour window on Saturday afternoon to go out and shoot, however for just 2 hours I was delighted with the results.
My aim was quite simple “Walk down to the harbour a take a series of shots showing the harbour at sunset“.
Having walked past the harbour last evening, and checked the location out before hand using the internet I knew the types of shot I wanted to get and hoped to be lucky with the weather. The evening immediately showed great promise with the harbour being spread out before me bathed in the golden light from the setting sun. However the light was changing so quickly that before I could assemble my tripod the moment had been lost and the harbour was now illuminated with flat light from the light clouds that drifted overhead.
In the hope the light would improve I kept my vantage point high above the harbour for several minutes and took the opportunity to photograph the pleasure gardens beneath me and the beautiful light which had escaped me lighting the far side of the bay. Since there was no immediate sign of the light improving I then walk down the surprisingly steep Cobb Road, into the harbour taking some shots of the buildings as I went.
Once into the harbour I moved around the harbour wall known as the Cobb taking a variety of shots including the one on the right of the harbour showing the boats and the sunshine that was eluding me. I made a concious effort to use a tripod for all of the shots to ensure I got really sharp images. I also chose to bracket all of the exposures so I could assess the images later and possibly clone elements in where I needed additional dynamic range.
Once I moved got round to the outer wall, I changed to plan “B”. I’d always fancied having a go at using a Neutral Density filter, but baulked at the price and unavailability of the Lee filters, so I’d wisely invested (or perhaps not – I was about to find out) in a cheap ND filter. My theory being;
- If the optical quality was poor I’d only lost a few pounds but at least I could try it out and see if it was a technique I’d like to use.
- If the colour correction was poor I could fix most things in Photoshop, but it if was really bad, a black and white conversion would save me.
As it turned out the image quality was pretty good, and although the filter gave a strong blue cast I was still able to dial enough correction in to give a reasonable colour balance. The result is the featured image at the top of the page.
The final part my plan was to then shoot back towards the town with the lights reflecting on the still waters of the harbour, and some shots around the town before a well earned meal out. The meal was duly delivered in the form of some excellent river Teign mussels cooked in a garlic and white wine sauce.
I hope you like these images. Please feel to contact me if you’d like to buy prints of these, or would be interested in licensing these images for your own use.