For some time now I’ve had my eye fixed upon a derelict patch of what I can only assume was once a functioning boat dock. Now this Dock Road quay long defunct presents a photographic opportunity; its still remains offering a henge of sorts for a silhouette sunset shot. The scene was aided by an astronomically low tide where all rows of wooden teeth were laid bare, enhanced still by the dead calm water. Just about all conditions were met to make this shot happen now. With that quick mental calculus I abandoned my more familiar spots and decided to ditch all my standard protocols. Instead of the tripod I went handheld. Instead of HDR I went single brackets. Instead of low I went lower than low. I shall explain—
Considering the near cloudless sky pumping in direct sunlight the contrast between the light and dark areas of the photograph would already be extreme—a desired backdrop for making a silhouette exposure. My standard protocol would have me make upward of seven brackets such that color, light, and detail of the overexposed brackets would fill in the otherwise blackened fore and middle ground during HDR post-processing. Because of this I would of course have to use a tripod to ensure perfect stillness throughout the brackets—note it’s generally good practice to shoot your landscapes on a tripod regardless of your number of brackets. But today day I needed to ditch my tripod altogether as I wanted to get lower than low. About two inches off the ground low. Shooting blind I go about this by feel, balancing my hands trying to keep the camera as level to the flat ground as possible such that the horizon will at least be mostly straight (whatever little corrections for getting fully level can also be handled in post processing, but you still want to get as level as possible so as not to crop out desired compositional elements in your photograph).
I’d be lying if I claimed to be 100% satisfied with this attempt, but it’s certainly a good starting point. A photograph to build on. Probably one of the most rewarding aspects of photography is that you don’t have to get it right the first time. Like anything else repetition, patience, and consistent effort over time afford the opportunities to capitalize on the shots we want to make. For this reason I’ve been kicking around the idea of putting together a personal photography bucket list of sorts. A place where I can get my thoughts down to bring focus on the future photographs I want to make, and maybe even some of the past ones I want to remake. It’ll never be a one and done, but it will at least be a real fine place to start.