My Favourite Shots

So, it’s pretty evident that the kind of shots that are my favourite photographs are quite different to other peoples. But, that’s what makes the world go around ….

I submitted the following images to the “My Favourite Shots” GuruShots Challenge:

  • River Boyne Estuary at Dusk
  • Beach Pool at Gormanston Beach, Meath
  • Gormanston Beach at Dusk
  • Summer Field at Colp

These photographs were taken in the last week or so and I’ve been practicing my long exposure work hence the dusky pinks and purples.

Gormanston is a tiny village in County Meath, Ireland just on the northern border of County Dublin (which is marked by the River Delvin). There are a number of access points onto the beach including along the northern edge of the River Delvin which runs beneath the Dublin-Belfast railway bridge. The further north you travel up the bridge, the less busy it gets. There is an army barracks at Mosney (between Gormanston and Laytown) with a target range: when the soldiers are undertaken target practice, the beach is closed. Although the gun shots should raise awareness of the ongoing practice, red flags are placed at the entrance points to the beach along with a soldier at most of the points to ensure that any off target shots don’t do any damage to the local population. I’m not sure if there is a timetable as to when the beach is closed – I wish I could find it if there is one as I’ve travelled over a few times only to find myself being stopped by a guy in camouflage gear holding a very large gun.

Anyways, back to the challenge … I was quite disappointed that the Summer Field at Colp has zero votes after 24 hours. I love this image but obviously see it through different eyes than everyone else who saw it. To me, this is a typical view of where I now live in Ireland but also reminds me of where I lived as a young’un back in North Wales. I don’t think the composition is terrible – hardly the most exciting image in the world but certainly not the worst. I can see that the sky has blown out a little – I suspect this image would look a lot better if I’d down a little PhotoShop magic on it. Unfortunately, my current laptop is close to retiring and so the images I post currently only have filters applied via Instragram! :-) Once I get a new computer and install PhotoShop, I think I’ll have a go at editing this image to see if I can improve it. If I do, I’ll blog it here for my reference if nothing else.

Anyways, back to the challenge … I swapped the field image for the Dark Hedges image. I do like this image but the Dark Hedges do look a little light …. I think I’ll have to go back later in the year when the days are shorter to have another go. Anyways, at least this image did get some votes … but not actually that many …. I decided to make another swap and uploaded a photo of Roche Castle which is near Dundalk, County Louth. Built in the 1230s, this Norman castle was built on a rocky outcrop and looks pretty spectacular from a distance. There’s not a massive amount left – it’s an old ruin – but it’s well worth a visit because the drive over there is fab. For more information on this castle, please check out this link .

Roche Castle

There are still 12 days left on this challenge so it remains to be seen how many more votes my images in this challenges get. I may make a swap depending if I can get an decent shots at the weekend (didn’t really get anything sadly this weekend worth trying a swap for). Anyways, as ever, updates will follow.

#Gormanston #GormanstonBeach #RiverBoyne #BoyneEstuary #Summerfield  #Colp #DarkHedges #RocheCastle #Meath #Louth #Ireland #GuruShots

[June2018]

Reflections – I’m a GuruShots Veteran

When the “Reflections” challenge ends later today, I’ll be a #GuruShots Veteran. Ha ha ha …. Anyways, this is the image I uploaded:

Gormanston Reflections

I’m chuffed to bits because I’m moving up the rankings but it’s also completely aware that this is in reality slightly meaningless as a measure of how I’m improving technically in my photography. That said, I’m going to take this as a pat on the back because I do think the quality of my images (in terms of clarity) have definitely improved – probably due to a better tripod so more stability – but also with a massive pinch of salt. I am certainly NOT a veteran so I think it’s the description more than anything that tickles me and makes me chuckle. Still, I think overall pleased with the move up the GuruShots rankings as I have been making an effort to get out and practice more so – as I’ve noted in previous posts – this is my primary incentive in taking part in challenges and on this basis, I’m winning!

I’ve had the DSLR (Nikon D3400 – a decent entry level camera) since around Sept/Oct 2017 and have been using a tripod since the workshop I attended in Jan 2018. Given the freezing cold weather, I didn’t really start practicing in earnest until the weather warmed up slightly towards the end of March (by which time I had to watch a lot of YouTube training as I’d forgotten a lot of the “finer details” of the workshop such as white balance).  The first tripod I bought was a CaseFlex – exactly like this one (https://www.caseflexaccessories.com/caseflex-premium-alloy-camera-tripod-pro-blue). It was and still is mostly a great little tripod but I took it to the beach one day and managed to get some sand or grit stuck in one of the twist locks and now cannot lock the lower part of one of the legs. I can still use it if I don’t need a lot of height but you do get what you pay for and this is a fairly lightweight tripod. I’d certainly recommend it for absolute beginners who only want to use it online and not in the sea or in rivers and when there is no wind. The legs are quite flimsy but if only the higher (thicker) parts of the legs are extended, and provided you’re happy to bend / sit down behind the camera, it’s fine.

The second tripod I bought is a Manfrotto Pixi Evo 2 which I bought for trip to Edinburgh when I didn’t want to take the CaseFlex. This tripod would be best described as a table topper – it’s fine for using with my Nikon D3400 and kit lens and fine with the Sigma zoom but I do notice that it slips a little with the latter. I have used it in the evenings, propping it onto of my camera bag, and it’s excellent for quick filter shots – I’ve enjoyed using it and it’s light enough not to even realise you’re carrying it but unless you’re happy to lie on the floor to take images, it’s no substitute for a regular tripod.

I’ve invested in a new tripod – it’s a Vanguard AltaPro 263 AB 100. This is a blindingly good beginner / amateur level tripod which is super stable and amazing good value for money. Unless the CaseFlex, which has twist lock legs in four sections, the Vanguard has flip locks and three sections which makes is a fair bit taller when collapsed than the CaseFlex – I’m not bothering measuring to get an accurate difference (it’s not that interesting a topic). The Vanguard is also quite a bit heavier: I think I could carry the CaseFlex attached to my camera bag (a LowePro Tahoe HP 150 in “Galaxy Blue” no less – https://store.lowepro.com/tahoe-bp-150) but pretty certain if I tried to attach the Vanguard, the mesh pocket would be destroyed. So, if I go on a hike (unlikely but who knows), I think I probably would take the CaseFlex – and/or possibly the Manfrotto as I imagine I’d be lying down anyways a fair bit.

Anyways, if anyone is interested in a sub-£150 tripod recommendation from a (GuruShots) veteran photographer (LOL), I don’t think you’d need to look much further than the Vanguard … hopefully it’ll be my tripod for a few years to come.

#GormanstonBeach # CountyLouth #Ireland #CaseFlex #Manfrotto #PixiEvo2 #Vanguard #AltaPro #Tripod #LoweProTahoe #GuruShotsVeteran #SpeedChallenge #Veteran

[June 2018]

Centered

The #GuruShots challenge states “it happens sometimes the best composition while shooting is to center your subject”. I’m not sure mine do actually but I’ve submitted images and am currently at the Premier level with 5 days left. A little about the images I’ve submitted below.

IMG_2138

This image was taken on an iPhone around September 2015 (or possibly 2014) just after sunset in in Zadar, on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. It is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town and it’s a fantastic and compact city to explore. The Italian influence is evident in everything – from the architecture to the number of pizzerias (and I tried to taste test as many as I could!). I snapped this along the coast road while walking into the old town for supper one evening. Can’t remember exactly what I had but quite possibly a pizza.

Smart Card 5 1003

This is sandstone butte located somewhere around the Utah / Colorado border – cannot remember exactly where but I do know it was a little before we drove down Monument Valley.

The last two images submitted have been in previous challenges:

The image on the left is one I took a week ago today at Old Mellifont Abbey, Co Meath and the image on the right is one I took over a decade ago at Point Cabrillo, Mendocino County, California.

As ever, I’ll update this post when the challenge ends – not sure I’ll be swapping any images.

Update: I got a Premier ranking at the end of the challenge. I’m very happy with that so off I go and search from more challenges!

[May 2018]

Soothing Places

I’ve joined another #GuruShots challenge a little late but what the heck – I’ll see how these photographs get on vote wise. It’s always interesting to which images receive more clicks – the ones I expect to do reasonably well sometimes aren’t so well received. Anyways, these are the images I’ve submitted:

  • Top Left = Kaibo, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  • Bottom Left = Laytown Beach, Co Meath, Ireland
  • Middle = Rum Point, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  • Right = Baltray at Dusk, Co Louth, Ireland

Lots of blues in these images – blue is soothing a soothing colour, right? Bingo.

There are 8 days left for this challenge. Let’s see how things go for these photographs – as ever, update will follow.

Update: Elite finish – whoo hoo

[May 2018]

Old Mellifont Abbey | ND & Grad Filters

I took myself over to Old Mellifont Abbey in blue hour yesterday evening to practice with my ND and grad filters. The Old Abbey was as noted on the Heritage Ireland website, “first Cistercian monastery in Ireland founded in 1142 by St Malachy of Armagh, its most unusual feature is the octagonal Lavabo c. 1200. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages with fine examples of their craft on display.”

The old abbey is located in a secluded area of County Louth, about 10 minutes from the town of Drogheda. Having done little research before my visit, the site was a complete surprise to me and it was fantastic to have the place to myself, allowing me time and space to practice in the peace and quiet. Not everyone’s idea of a top Saturday night, but I enjoyed it! :-)

For the shots shown below, I used a Cokin ND 8 filter together with a graduated ND 4 filter and set the speed of the shutter to 2 seconds. Given that one of my tripod legs is a dodgy (and I’ll have to invest in a new and better tripod soon), I was limited to how I could set up the shot on it to some extent.

As anyone with a smidge of DSLR interest is aware, filters are used to balance the sky with the ground. By focusing on the abbey, the colours – I think anyways – blend in well together and give the sky (in the image on the left) a delicate dusting of pink. Without the filters, the ground and ruins would be silhouettes against a grey sky. Below is a comparison of two images – one taken without a filter (left) and the other with the same set up as before:

The photographs of the field aren’t of particular interest: I just took them to compare the end results. I actually prefer the non-filtered version but it would have been impossible to get a decent image (including the detail of the ruin’s walls) without the filters.

Oh, and I’ve been updating (finally) my Instagram page – you can check it out here (or as the About page of this blog. Comments & constructive criticism welcomed – obviously positive comments preferred! ;-)

#Ireland #CountyLouth #OldMellifontAbbey #Cokin #NDFilters #GradFilters

[May 2018]

Amazing Skies

Another challenge and another one I’ve joined a little late! As you’d imagine, a challenge called ‘Amazing Skies’ will include some incredible images and the top photographs in this category are as ever outstanding.

I’ve contributed the following:

Amazing Skies

From left to right:

  • Sunrise – as seen on my commute
  • Evening in Mornington – I was walking the dogs and saw the sun breaking through the clouds
  • Sunset from Baltray
  • Sunset from Baltray 2 – a slightly closer view of the same area overlooking the River Boyne – also slightly different lights in the clouds.

The key difference between my photos and the top photos (aside from obvious things like quality and composition!) is colour.  There is a lot more purple in my images than the top photos which have a base of pastel blue and then are saturated with warm shades of gold and orange.

That said, my images have done very well – within an hour of uploading, I’d achieved a Premier ranking. I doubt very much I’ll move any higher up the rankings than that but I’ll take that for sure.

I’ve got about 2 days left for this challenge so I’ll vote for more images myself to push up my exposure and maybe this will push up my ranking. This is after all – as I’ve noted before – a game so tactics are required.

Actually, that’s one thing that does make me question that quality of the voting system on this platform. In order to gain views, you have to vote for other images. I suspect that many voters simply vote for the top x number of photos in the listing they are presented with in order to improve the visibility of their own work.

Also, the fact that I’m now at the Advanced ranking and not far off pushing through to Veteran doesn’t actually mean my photography is actually improving. It simply means that I’ve achieved more votes for my photographs which I thought possible and potentially because of the exposure I’ve created for myself through voting. Although some of my images aren’t terrible, some a quite average and I’ve been surprised how many votes they have achieved. I get more of a buzz when someone takes the time to like my photos than I do from the voting number. This is especially true if I visit the profile page of the person who has liked my photo and find that their photos are quality images.

I know that outside the GuruShots world, the rankings and grades achieved are essentially meaningless but I do find it interesting to see how each image submitted fares. Some of my favourites photographs don’t perform particularly well while some of the images I was in two minds to submit, perform very well indeed – I don’t know if that says more about me or the people who vote for the images! J

For me, the available GuruShots tips are useful, the articles are of interest and what I really get out of the app is the immediate access to so many exceptional, great, good and even not so good images. This helps me to identify what works and doesn’t in terms of composition etc. I know I could get similar data from the likes of Flickr and Instagram but rather than snapshots, GuruShots in the main at least has photographs where people have really worked to capture and image rather than just shoot a picture. I also appreciate the image data and camera settings that is usually uploaded with the images – as someone who still has a lot to learn about ISO, shutter speeds and focal length, I find this kind of information very useful.

I’ve no intention of buying “swaps”, “boosts” and “autofills” so at the moment, GuruShots is costing me nothing – if this changes the longer I’m on the site, then that’s something I’ll have to think about when the time comes.

However, I’m currently enjoying contributing and participating in the challenges and the app is doing exactly what I wanted it to – making me get out and practice my photography.

As ever, an update will be posted.

#GuruShots #AmazingSkies #GuruShotsReview #Mornington #Meath #Baltray #Louth #RiverBoyne #Ireland #Sunset #Dusk

Update: the challenge ended a few days back but my laptop wasn’t feeling up to cooperating. My final ranking was Premier – not complaining about that at all.

[May 2018]

Abandoned

It’s been a beautiful day in Leinster today so I took the opportunity to drive up the coast road in County Louth. I wanted to try and capture some photographs for the ‘Abandoned’ GuruShots challenge. The brief simply states “abandoned places or things” and voting starts shortly. I have enough decent shots for some swaps – incidentally, I’m not buying swaps but have won one from the ‘Rocking the Boat’ challenge. I will use it wisely. Or maybe I won’t – we will see! :-)

The first photograph I’ve submitted is a shot of an abandoned cottage which is literally 10 meters from the cliff edge (of all 2 meters) which drops onto the beach. It looks like an old building but it’s not actually in terrible condition – once that roof goes though, the sea winds and Irish weather will quietly go to work on it. I’ve entitled the image “Oh I Did Like to Be Besides the Seaside” and now cannot get the tune out of my head. Check out that blue sky!

Farmhouse By Sea

The second photograph is of a tower of some sorts. I’ve no idea of the history of this building but presumably it was abandoned when the more recent beach buildings (public toilets and a life guard shed) were constructed. I’ve entitled this image “Tower at Togher, Co Louth” and the coloration of the bricks is wonderful.

Louth Beach Tower

The third photograph is of an abandoned house off Marsh Road, Drogheda. The street runs down to the River Boyne and with the right conditions combined high tide, the river can rise significantly – hence the sign. The street is a long block of stone terraces the vast majority have been abandoned, some with sandbags stacked against the door, windows smashed or boarded up and damp creeping up the walls.

Off Marsh St 1

The final photograph uploaded was taken at the end of street above. I walked towards the river onto wasteland which offers possibly the best view in town of the Boyne Viaduct on which the Dublin/Belfast train runs. I guess there is little incentive to develop or even tend to the ground given the floods.

Railway Bridge

I’ll update this post with swap info and the end result.

#GuruShots #CoastalRoad #Drogheda #BoyneViaduct #Abandoned #NoParking

Update: I’ve removed the image of the abandoned house as it wasn’t performing very well. I had a free swap (am not intending to buy swaps on this platform) and replaced it with the following:

Abandoned Car at the Petrified Forest Nortern Arizona

This is a photograph taken of an exhibit to commemorating US Route 66 that ran through the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona until it was decommissioned in 1985.

If you’ve never been here, it’s so worth a visit – it’s desolate and breath-taking. Take a look at the US National Park Service site for more information on the park.

#Arizona #PetrifiedForest #Route66

Update: the challenge has ended and I achieved an Elite status finish and actually got another Top 30% award – Top 30% of Photos. the votes were as follows:

  • 449 for the Route 66 image
  • 60 for the cottage by the sea image
  • 60 for the tower at Togher image
  • 39 for the Boyne Viaduct image

So, there was one clear winner in my photographs! I was messaged by another #GuruShots photographer who had entered the same subject and who pointed out that there was another image of the same subject by a third photographer.

I do believe I could have achieved better scored for the other images had the day I shot the photographs been a bit gloomier and less spring-like. Still, I enjoyed the afternoon and that’s what counts the most to me.

In terms of the levels, this close of this challenge resulted in me moving up from Challenger to Advanced – I’ve a fairways to to reach the next level however ….

[April 2018]

Solitude

I’ve submitted a late entry to the latest #GuruShots speed challenge – this one is entitled Solitude.

There are only around 77 hours to go before the challenge closes and only one photo (swaps allowed) can be submitted / displayed at one time. I’ve opted to submitted a photo I took a few weeks ago of a single tree in the Baltray dunes in Co Louth. This image achieved 1 like and of the 408 views had 246 votes so I’m hoping this speed challenge goes well. As ever, an update will be posted at the end of the challenge.

The image was taken on my Nikon D3400 and I focused up at the bottom third – the lens was the kit Nikkor 18-55 mm.

Lone Tree in Baltray_Vibrant

Update: It’s really interesting to see how other people express solitude in their images.  I think (at least I hope) I’ve conveyed this as simply  being alone. Many people have uploaded images that seems to focus on loneliness and a great deal of these images convey sadness. As I had a spare free swap,  I thought I’d switch the image of the above image of a tree for another one! :-)

Machu Picchu Tree

Taken in Machu Picchu, Peru, the mist rolling across the Andes moves quickly. It is thick, cold and very very damp and can completely blanket this small tree and even the large peak behind the citadel that seems to feature in approximately 90% of all images I’ve seen seen of this incredible UNESCO site. I didn’t walk along the Inca Trail – sheer madness – but took a bus up the side of the mountain after taking a long bus trip from the fantastic city of Cusco.

The image was taken on an ancient but loved FujuFilm FinePix F480.

The ‘Solitude’ Challenge ends in about 50 hours – I think this swap has already been successful but I’ll wait until the challenge comes to a close before posting more.

#GuruShots #MachuPicchu

Update: Delighted that I achieved 600 votes in total which resulted in an Elite ranking. Hurrah!

As ever some amazing Top 50 photographs on display but all those in the Top 40 (bar one which featured an image of a moose and another one of a yacht) had a very similar there. Generally there was a single figure standing in silhouette with their backs to the camera facing a sunrise or sunset. Interesting.

[April 2018]

Rocking the Boat & Street Photography

So there are two new #GuruShots challenges in play.

At the current time, there are 9 days left in the challenge entitled ‘Rocking the Boat’. I’ve submitted the following images – from left to right:

  • Three Rowing Boats on the River Boyne
  • Fishing Boats on the River Boyne
  • The Irish Trader (shipwreck on Baltray Sands) – heavy filter use on this image!
  • The Irish Trader (shipwreck on Baltray Sands) – side profile without the filter!

Rocking the Boat

As you can tell from the votes, these images are hardly setting the world on fire. At present time of writing, I’ve reached Popular (along with 3606 others) but it’s great that people have voted for them at all. What is interesting is that the dark image of the Irish Trader has more votes (albeit a small amount) than the lighter image of the same wreck and I think the one with less votes is better.

I’ve also entered the GuruShots challenge entitled ‘Street Photography’. Like the ‘Rocking the Boat’ challenge, there 9 days to go before this challenge closes and voting starts in approx. 1 hour from time of publishing this post. Shown (in the update below) are the images I’ve submitted – from left to right:

  • Umbrellas in a Dublin Side Street (taken Monday 9 April)
  • A Quiet Sunday Morning in Madrid (taken in 2016)
  • Graffiti on a North Quay Dublin Building (since demolished) (taken 2016/7 through my car window when stuck at traffic lights)
  • Oil Spill on Leeson Street, D2 (taken earlier this year)

Each of the ‘Street Photography’ images were taken on an iPhone 6 and I’m happy enough with the results. These days, mobile/cell phones have great cameras and are perfect for taking quick hassle-free images.

I think my images in ‘Street Photography’ are a little better than those in my ‘Rocking the Boat’ challenge but I’m a lot more interested in the results of the latter challenge because all the images were taken in the last few weeks on my Nikon D3400 DSLR. By uploading these photographs – and trust me, I do know they can be improved upon – I just feel that I’m making (some) progress in my ultimate quest to take great photographs.

In an attempt to try to earn more GuruShots points however, in due course (possibly after the weekend), I’ll try to dig out some other (better?) images that I’ve taken in my pre-Nikon D3400 days and try out a few swaps. As I’ve noted before, GuruShots is at the end of the day a game but it is also an interesting way to share images and measure my own progress at the same time. As usual, updates will follow as relevant.

#Dublin #Baltray #RiverBoyne #Umbrellas #IrishTrader #Shipwreck

Update: The Rock the Boat Challenge has finished and I got a Skilled ranking. Happy with that! :-)

Update: Delighted and quite surprised to have achieved an Elite ranking. As I thought, these images were more popular than those in the Rock the Boat Challenge and the final votes were as follows:

image001

[April 2018]

Beginner Level Photography Checklist

As a novice photographer, and as someone who really wants to try and progress my skills, I am very happy to put in the hours to try to improve and learn. I’m watching a tonne of YouTube videos (probably too many tbh) uploaded by some fantastic photographers and was recently given my first landscape photography ‘coffee table’ book which I’ve already browsed and analysed multiple times. I bought a few magazines to browse through and take inspiration from – much of the information is a few levels above me at the moment but I’m actively seeking out images to review. This is why I’m enjoying #GuruShots so much also – it’s an opportunity to be exposed to some incredible shots and appreciate how (to the best of my current ability) the shot has been set up.

Importantly, I’ve been working to find time to practice at a practical level: with the weather being so poor in Ireland recently, I’ve entered a number of images in two GuruShots challenges where I could “get away with” taking photographs of objects I found in my home. The challenges in question were ‘Seeing Textures’ and ‘Musical Instruments’ – in the latter, I miraculously achieved a top 30% finish. As the weather has been clearing up a little of late, I’ve made time to get outdoors and practice.

However, I’m finding that I’m rushing and not using the practice time effectively. I’m either trying to create a good image between rain showers or while the dogs are racing around my tripod. Although it’s not real pressure, I’m hurrying my shots and I know I’m not achieving the best results. Also, because there is so much to consider even at this basic level, I’m forgetting some basic elements in a rush to capture a shot quickly before a bird moves or the sun dips behind the mass of cloud etc.

A couple of examples of my poor practice ….

Although I recent bought a Sigma 70-300 mm F4-5.6 DG Macro lens, in my haste to grab images for challenges, I didn’t even consider taking interior macro shots with anything other than my kit Nikkor 18-55 mm lens! What was I thinking?!? Oh, I yeah, I wasn’t. D’oh!

Also, last weekend, I trekked down to the wreck of the ‘Irish Trader’ that has been rotting and rusting slowly on Baltray Sands since 1974. The sea mist and tide were both coming in quickly and the results (one photograph shown below) are average to reasonable at best. I didn’t really consider the composition so the image looks like a heap of metal rather than an old ship. I’m thinking about composition at a basic level and didn’t really think about alternatives, e.g. a close up of the rust against the mist. I didn’t really check my white balance or consider the ND grad filter use carefully enough so the image is in my opinion the sky too dark and the colours a little unbalanced. The whole point of the exercise was to try and practice longer exposures, to try to get the streak of soft white lines when the waves pull back down the beach – I didn’t get to work on this because I was ‘working’ on other areas ineffectively and forgot about long exposures! Although I enjoyed the afternoon, from a practice point of view, it wasn’t the best.

Irish Trader Wreck Profile 8 April 2018

The Irish Trader | 9 April 2018

Incidentally, until recently the bow section (which has been slowly peeled back and which is the metal part resting in the front of the main part of the wreck) was intact and it used to stand a good 15 – 20 feet high. It highest point is probably now only about 8 – 10 feet high – it’s still worth a visit but if you search online for images of the wreck, there are some amazing photographs available to view.

On the back end of my ineffective practice, I’m putting together a checklist (which doesn’t include ‘take a deep breath’ but probably should) of what I need to consider on location. I’m not including basics like, has the camera battery got enough charge / power, have I remembered my tripod / filter bag etc. – my memory’s not great but it’s not that bad. Yet.

What I’m thinking about is a composition / technical checklist at a very basic level so I can better consider my shots before I take them – hopefully this will lead to better analysis, better results, improved learning and ultimately photographs that I’m really happy with.

This is my first draft – some ideas in no particular order:

  • What is the primary subject of the shot and how do I best emphasize this?
  • What is the background and how do I want to use this?
  • What would I like the final result to look like and how best can I achieve this?
  • Do I need to move around the subject / move to another location to help me get the best result.
  • Do I need to eliminate any objects that might detract from the shot? If so, how is the best way to do this? Do I move closer / further away from the subject or do I simply use the (correct) lens to zoom in / out?
  • Is the lens choice the best one? Would the telephoto lens’ depth of field help to accentuate the subject as I’m told on various YouTube videos?
  • What is the best height to shoot at? Do I really need to extend my tripod to full height – as I do habitually at the moment?
  • Do I need to use a filter / CPL? Why do I need to use a filter / CPL? If I really do, what should I use?
  • Have I checked the white balance?
  • Have I definitely checked the white balance?
  • Have I considered basic composition rules? For example: the rule of thirds, where to place the horizon, are there any leading lines I can utilize, are there key patterns and textures that I want to capture in the shot?
  • What are the alternatives shots? If I’m considering shooting a ship wreck, should I take a shot or two of the whole wreck, part of the wreck (e.g. the bow only) and/or a close up of the metal tarnished with sea weed?

As well as the above considerations, what I’m definitely going to do on my next trip is take my time – I’ll aim to get a couple of good photos from one of my favourite locations and focus on that. Also, I’ll build the image that I want and then reverse it, so, if I’ve decided that I want a wide landscape of the beach with the tide rolling in against the sea wall, I’ll find on element of interest in the shot, for example a point of interest on or around the sea wall, and take an intimate landscape shot focusing primarily of that single element. I’ll even change from colour to B&W to test the different outputs.

Anyways, the above is a basic checklist – if anyone happens across this post and can offer any input, I’d be very happy to hear from you.

When the weather is better, I’ll testout my checklist and my idea to take an ‘opposite’ shot and update on this site.

Surprise, surprise it’s forecast for rain again in Ireland this week.

[April 2018]