Sunday, 14 January 2018

Blowing away the cobwebs

On 4th January I had some new dresses delivered, one of them a layered, lace & part-sheer white halterneck floor-length number which I wore to the beach for my first self portrait. I decided there and then that I would take all, (or most of) my entries to the Dogwood Photography Challenge 2018 as self portraits to make it even more challenging. The theme for the first week was:

Vision: Look AheadNew year. New beginnings. New you. Look ahead. Interpret as you wish.
Luckily my local beach is only a 2 minute walk from my home.. my partner in crime, Simon was with me to make sure nothing blew away. Apart from all the metaphorical cobwebs from the old year.. obviously.. to tie in with the theme.

It was a windy and cold day, but I mostly wanted full-length shots at a low angle so the camera was balanced on my camera bag on the pebbles rather than on a stand to save it blowing over, remote trigger in my hand.. I normally prefer the beach at low tide so there is some wet sand, but I didn't have that luxury today.. the sun was lowering in the horizon by 3pm and the tide was up, but I actually think I prefer the pebbles in these shots. The sun caught them and made them sparkle; that doesn't usually happen. The wind made some great waves too, but it was hard trying to listen to when there was a big wave happening behind me so I could press the shutter at the right time.

I packed a load of lights and stands but figured it wasn't worth setting them up in the end as a) it was too windy and risky to set a light up on a stand, even though I could have probably got Simon to hold a speedlight for me.. (voice activated light stand, hehe!) was also difficult to do anything except stand upright and get hair out of your face in that weather.. and b) the natural light was soft and lovely, so I put the camera on aperture priority and increased the exposure compensation. I had a bit of work to do in Lightroom afterwards to reset the balance between the subject (me) and the backlight, (the sun) but I expected that and think it was worth it. I've also added quite a bit of clarity, not just on my face / hair, but also the dress.

These are all shot on a Nikon D300 with 85mm lens. I usually shoot with a D800 but it's old & faulty and I forgot about the D300 being a cropped sensor so it was actually more like a 120mm lens.. I was lucky there was enough space to put the camera far back enough for full-length shots.
Also luckily, the beach sloped upwards, as beaches do, so I didn't have massive distortion from the camera being too low, even though it was beautifully low enough sitting on the bag.
I recently bought a D850 to replace the D800 and I know the dynamic range is superb.. I can't wait to try something like this out again with this camera to compare the RAWs.

Anyway, I retouched eight images from the 80-something I took.. enjoy!

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