Monday, October 10, 2016

Dorset: Long Exposure Trip

After several weeks of 'camera inactivity', this weekend was a chance to get away and ‘do some photography’: in particular Long Exposure photography with my new ND filter system.

For the wide angle photographers out there, you know that ‘normal’ ND filters break down as you start to go wide. For instance, my Sigma full frame 12-24mm WA lens, can take a screw in front element ND filter, but only at 24mm, ie at 12mm you just get the circular cut off of an 82mm ND.

To get round ultra wide angle lens problems, I have adopted two solutions. The first is to use a Vizelex M645-EOS ND Throttle adapter on my Canon 5D3, with, in my case, a Mamiya-Sekor 45mm prime. This combination allows me to put a variable ND filter at the back of the lens, instead of on the front. This way, I get no strange ND effects, such as the dreaded X effect. The down side of this arrangement is that I’m ‘limited’ to 45mm focal length, ie not very wide.

The second solution is what I wanted to experiment with this weekend. That is my new Fotodiox Wonderpana system, that puts a 145 diameter filter system on the front of most WA lenses, including my Sigma 12-24mm.

Although I have the 6.6 inch square filter adapter, this last weekend I only explored the 145mm diameter ND1000 filter; and as we were in Dorset, the obvious target was to see what I could do with a seascape. So I chose Durdle Door and St Oswald's Bay, which is sometimes called the Man of War Cove, on the UK’s Jurassic Coast.

This first image was taken, handheld, at F/8, ISO 100, 1/60s and at 24mm. I first used Magic Lantern to establish a RAW ETTR setting and took the image with Dual-ISO switched on, ie an inter-laced ISO 100/800 image. I first processed the Dual RAW in Lightroom and then undertook a round trip to Photoshop to carry out some luminosity mask work.

As for Durdle Door, I managed to get there early enough, so that my photography was not complicated by too many tourists. However, as you can see from the elevated view of Durdle Door that I took walking down to the beach, one family still managed to beat me to the shoreline :-)

For the long exposure, I used my Sigma 12-24 with the Wonderpana attachment, to hold the 145mm diameter ND 1000 filter. I also used the Magic Lantern LE ND Bulb module to make exposure setting easier. For instance, I simple composed and set the exposure without the ND filter, then screwed on the filter and used the ML ND Bulb module to grab the LE. In this case a 91 second exposure, which I processed in B&W.

One mistake I made, was to only take a travel tripod with me, ie not my heavy duty tripod. So I’m aware that the image is soft in places, which I attribute to a small amount of tripod-relate ‘movement/vibrations’, ie the tripod was placed on a shingle beach. This created issues with this second LE, taken at 124 seconds down on the shoreline at St Oswald's Bay.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing in a very nice hotel, The Priory at Wareham,, where we enjoyed great food and wine. It was also a chance to visit Kingston Lacy.

Wiki tells us that Kingston Lacy is a country house and estate near Wimborne Minster in Dorset. It was for many years the family seat of the Bankes family who lived nearby at Corfe Castle until its destruction in the English Civil War after its incumbent owners, Sir John Bankes and Dame Mary, had remained loyal to Charles I.

The house was built between 1663 and 1665 by Ralph Bankes, son of Sir John Bankes, to a design by the architect Sir Roger Pratt. It is a rectangular building with two main storeys, attics and basement, modeled on Chevening in Kent. The gardens and parkland were laid down at the same time, including some of the specimen trees that remain today. Various additions and alterations were made to the house over the years and the estate remained in the ownership of the Bankes family from the 17th to the late-20th century.

For me it was a chance to take a few snaps:



  1. Congratulations. Fantastic photos. Feel really inspired to visit Jurassic Coast now - we've never been before. Interested to know why you didn't remove the family on the beach in post processing. Would have been fairly easy ? Dave Hawkins

  2. Dave,

    Thanks for the feedback. As these were only 'snaps', I didn't put much effort into post processing. I did clean up the people in another shot and I'll be writing about this in a future post.