STAYCATION PHOTO SKILLS
Photography week|October 21, 2021
Our pro takes a keen photographer to the holiday hotspot of Anglesey in Wales to prove that you can get great photos without travelling to exotic locations

THE PRO DREW BUCKLEY

CAMERA: CANON EOS R5

Drew is a professional photographer based in Pembrokeshire, Wales. He shoots just about every genre, from landscapes to wildlife and weddings, and his images have appeared in a wide range of publications. Drew runs workshops throughout the year, and he wrote and took the images for his book Photographing South Wales, and took the pictures for the book Wilder Wales. https://bit.ly/3mt7H1O

THE APPRENTICE ANDY FULLMAN

CAMERA: CANON EOS 5D MK III

Andy is a 58-year-old civil servant who lives in Conwy, with the stunning North Wales coast on his doorstep. He loves landscape photography, and he wants some tips to help him get the most out of his recently acquired Canon EOS 5D Mark III full-frame DSLR.

TECHNIQUE ASSESSMENT

Drew started out by setting up his and Andy’s cameras, ready to take some captivating coastal shots

MANUAL MODE Drew shoots in Manual mode, which allows him to dial in the shutter speed, aperture and ISO values he wants, overriding his camera’s built-in metering, which would alter his settings if filters were added or the lighting changed. He set up Andy’s camera to also shoot in Manual mode, and advised Andy to regularly check the exposure of images on his rear screen, and make adjustments to settings as and when needed.

LONG EXPOSURES In Manual mode, Drew locked the aperture at a narrow value of f/16, which would let in a relatively small amount of light, and set the ISO to 100, meaning that the camera sensor was at its lowest sensitivity level. For our first Hot Shot (see next page) this gave an exposure time of one second, long enough to capture a bit of motion in the moving waves without a filter – Andy then used a neutral density filter to extend the exposure time.

LENS 24-105mm f/4 EXPOSURE 20 secs, f/20, ISO100

HOT SHOT #1

ANDY SAYS

St Cwyfan’s Church, also known as the ‘the church in the sea’, is situated on an island that looks best at high tide, when it’s surrounded by water. We approached from Aberffraw onto a beach that would give us the perfect viewpoint to shoot from afar, zooming in with a long telephoto lens. Drew used his 70-200mm lens, while I zoomed in to 105mm on my 24-105mm, which was still long enough to make sure the church was a decent size in the frame. I then positioned the horizon about a third of the way up the frame and used some of Drew’s neutral density filters to achieve a long exposure of 20 seconds – long enough to add strong motion blur to the waves and clouds.

PRO TIP

CHANGING LENSES

Drew switches between his wide-angle and telephoto lenses when shooting landscapes, but taking the lens off on a sandy beach isn’t without issues… To avoid sand getting into the camera, which could cause dust spots or damage the sensor, Drew finds a place where he’s shielded from the wind, puts his back to the wind, and points his camera body down to avoid dust or sand getting blown onto or into the camera. He then switches lenses as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of dust and dirt getting into the system.

LENS 17-40mm f/4 EXPOSURE 25 secs, f/14, ISO100

HOT SHOT #2

ANDY SAYS

Anglesey is dotted with lighthouses, including this fantastic one at South Stack. I spread out the legs on my tripod for a wider and more stable stance, and propped it up on the wall of the pathway, so it wasn’t in the way of any visitors. I wanted to try out a portrait composition this time, as this made it easier to include a good chunk of foreground in the bottom third of the frame, using the path as lead-in lines towards the lighthouse in the middle portion, with the sky take up the top third. I wanted to blur the water to add a sense of motion, so I used Drew’s LEE polariser to cut through the reflections on the water, and a 10-stop ND filter to achieve a long exposure of 25 seconds. This blurred the water, and any people walking down the footpath were blurred out too, which was a bonus.

EXPERT INSIGHT

BULB TIMER

30 seconds is the longest exposure time possible for most cameras. To capture longer exposures of up to several minutes you’d normally use Bulb mode and a remote shutter release cable to lock the shutter down for your desired length of time. Drew’s R5 allows him to set longer exposure times in the Bulb Timer menu, which means he no longer needs to carry the extra shutter release cable.

PRO TIP

DEPTH OF FIELD

PREVIEW

When you shoot through the optical viewfinder of a DSLR, the aperture of the attached lens is usually opened fully to allow as much light in as possible, so you can see your framing clearly. The aperture then briefly snaps down to your set value when the exposure is taken. This means the depth of field in your pictures can look wildly different to what you see in the viewfinder, so when using higher aperture values like f/16, Drew suggests using the depth of field preview button to see the actual depth of field you’ll be getting through the viewfinder.

LENS 16-35mm f/4 EXPOSURE 30 secs, f/16, ISO125

HOT SHOT #3

DREW SAYS

After shooting along the path that leads to the lighthouse I took Andy to another vantage point. The sea cliffs were alive with this wonderful heather, which would add a much needed splash of colour to our photos. I set up on a tripod and set a low ISO value, then closed the aperture down to f/16 to restrict the amount of light coming into the camera. I used my polariser to cut out some glare from the water, added a graduated neutral density filter to make sure the sky detail wouldn’t be lost and, finally, attached my LEE Big Stopper filter to turn my shutter speed of 1/30 sec into a much longer 30 secs. The camera then had plenty of time to record the motion in the waves, while leaving the lighthouse pin-sharp.

PRO TIP

GRADUATED FILTERS

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