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Fluid Tides

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 28 December 2020 in Landscape & Rural.


A dreamy long exposure from the south west coast of Western Australia to finish the year. I took this one back in March just before the Covid lockdown when we were able to get away for a weekend before the pandemonium began. The south west region abounds in wonderful shores and beaches and it was our first time at Conto Beach, which I had on my radar for a while. Luckily we could get close enough to the beach without a four wheel drive vehicle. There are many other fantastic places to see that require a 4WD to access them. I am hoping that it will be possible to make a switch to one such vehicle in the future and then we can explore more of our beautiful backyard.

The opposite of what usually takes place happened for once when we arrived at the beach. We started out with a clear sky, however, within a matter of about half an hour wonderful clouds arrived. Normally it goes the other way for me. At first, it was looking like a colourful sunset was going to take place but soon the clouds covered the horizon and I decided to take some long exposures, especially since the rocks formations allowed for some interesting compositions that I felt suited that kind of photography.

That time there was not mad rush, no last second adjustments and I had lots of time to find a composition and set up for the photo. I was looking for a spot where I could achieve the smooth milky water effect that you can see in the image. I wanted to feel like the rocks were rising up from a pool of mist. I also wanted to catch the movement of the clouds in the frame to complete the mood and this angle worked very well for that purpose. Previously my go to exposure would be around 180 seconds but I tend to run longer exposure times these days (unless I can see that the clouds are moving very fast). This is to ensure that the streaky movement in the sky is visible rather than just having blurry clouds above the water.

What helped me further when taking this photo was that the light was very consistent for almost an hour before and during the sunset. I could take some test photos and work out correct exposure time without worrying whether the light would get brighter or whether it would fade during the extended time it took to get the image. With the improvement in sensor technology, it is not a big drama now to underexpose a photo by a stop or two as the shadows can be easily recovered with minimal noise, however, I do prefer to get my photos as right as possible in camera. Other than improving the quality of the file, it also makes it so much easier to work on the image in post processing.

As this year comes to its conclusion, I think most of us are happy to see the back of it. In terms of photography, it was a year with limited opportunities for extensive photo taking for me. I spent this year concentrating mainly on improving my post processing skills and taking the time to slowly process photos from 2019 and also any that I took this year. The positive I am taking out of 2020 is that I am very happy where I am in terms of my photography. I am really enjoying the final images that result from my work in the field and at home. It is a magical moment when you see and feel each image come to life. Previous photo of Eystrahorn is a fine example (in my mind) of that and it is probably my favourite of 2020. Hopefully next year will have more photo possibilities and I am looking forward to share more images with you, as well as to see more of your excellent work too.

I wish you all a great New Year and hope that 2021 is a bit more kind to us than 2020 was. Stay safe and stay well. I will see you in the New Year.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 359 seconds F/16.0 ISO 50 16 mm

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