October 07

My First Landscape…

Now believe it or not, in the years of photography, I have never shot a landscape!! Well unless it has a client stood in front of it or a motorbike flying through it I don’t shoot them, use them all the time as backdrops, tracks, landscapes, sunsets… love em… So why would I now shot one, well after shooting as an event photographer you do get a little tunnel vision, or as I call myself, an extreme portrait photography. You lose a little of your arty side, so I joined my local photography club, why? Mainly for inspiration, other peoples view point, and I must admit its given me so many ideas & have even learnt a few very handy tricks. Well, one of the things with photography clubs are the competitions, some are set subjects, this year one was Landscapes…

I did cheat a little, but this was my approach to the project.. So firstly I decided to approach this the same as a location model shoot, instead of the model, I’d find a landmark, that was the cheat, not a huge one…

Step 1.. Find a local landmark, I came across aPitstone Windmill - Colin Brister lovely windmill not far from me, bonus.. Pitstone Windmill it was, so a google search through the images gave me a good idea of what was around, where the sun set & what other photographer had tried. Nothing with lighting, perfect.

Step 2.. Check weather & wait until the right day, it’s not worth a wasted journey. Equipment was checked & packed, for this I was taking 12 speedlites & 2 portable heads (600w), tripod, light stands…

Step 3.. On arrival, I unpacked & took the equipment to where I felt the shot would be taken. For this project I wanted to build the image a part at a time, it’s something I do when shooting a client or model. Light the subject, then start lighting the background a little at a time to bring out what I want to see. This was undertaken in a very similar way.

Pitstone Windmill - Colin BristerStep 4.. Firstly I decided how I wanted to compose the shot, wanting to get the sunset in as one of my main parts & the windmill as the other, both balanced & with no one thing other powering the other. First I took test shots & metered for the sunset.

Pitstone Windmill - Colin BristerStep 5.. Once happy with the sky, it was time to light the Windmill, a beautiful structure in a pretty setting. I used the 2 600w Portable heads for this job, using reflectors aimed upwards & place on the rear & the side of the building gave me a soft enough light without blowing out the white brickwork & leaving some shadowing of the texture.

Pitstone Windmill - Colin BristerStep 6.. Now the foreground, the stubble kind of fitted in with the image, nice colour when lit, great lines & went well with the end of the season feel, autumn’s coming… So for this I decided to place 3 speedlites to the right of the camera, firing across in fornt of the camera, the first was placed half way between camera & windmill, 2 meters up on a stand, the next half that distance & height, the third about a meter away from camera. The idea was to have stronger light leading away from the camera to the mill, wider & softer. The reason for firing across was to increase the shadows between the line, bringing them out more… as mentioned before, shadows are just as important as the lit bits…

Step 7.. Go home happy & process. Now I am a little anal about shooting, as an event photographer you try to keep everything perfect in camera, cos you ain’t gonna get time to put bad images right when you have a queue of people waiting.. simples. On this I did have to do some PS, mainly for the graffti, it had to go. Other then that, a little bit of levels & that was about it…Pitstone Windmill - Colin Brister

I will revisit Pitstone Windmill, not sure I did it full justice.. Will let you now when I do… Thanks.

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