How I Shot It / by Dermot McElduff

Easter Monday 2016, 6.30am, 3°C, the last day of our family camping adventure. I left the family sleeping soundly in very snug tent to have a wander around the beautiful Port Sorell in North West Tasmania, in the hopes of capturing some sunrise shots on the water. After 30 minutes stumbling in the dark along the beach, something finally caught my eye, with numb fingers I start shooting, I cant say why the boat and pontoon drew me in, I just had a gut feel that it would produce some nice images. 

General Gear

All of the below were shot on a Nikon 7200, with a Nikon DX 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 kit lens, and post processing was done using Adobe Lightroom, no presets on any of these just very basic spot removal, and some small subtle white balance and colour adjustments.

General Thought Process

I usually try to follow some basic composition rules, mainly the rule of thirds, and leading lines, but my biggest rule is always to only have the minimal number of elements in the photo possible. If something doesn't add to the photo then it takes away from it. And generally I spend much more time on the composition than the technical aspects.

First Image

The image below took around 25 minutes to capture. Mainly moving up and down the beach to get a composition I was happy with, in the end, this image is pretty much as in camera, some slight horizon adjustments, settings are f4.2, 1/200s and ISO-1000. Ideally I would have used a tripod, and lowered the shutter speed and a smaller aperture, and I didn't want to push the ISO  any hire, so the result is the image below, not quite sharp all the way through but I feel it works.

Second Image

The wonderful thing about sunrises is that the light changes every few minutes, a short walk to the end of the pontoon in the above image and I managed to capture the image below.

This time the settings where f16, 1/200 and ISO 250, I selected f16 to push out the depth of field, a low ISO to keep noise at a minimum and the shutter speed to balance those. I did play with some other ISO/shutter speeds but found this gave me the best result for this image.

Again not much post processing, very slight white balance adjustment, and a very very small colour adjustment.

Third Image

Finally the below image, topped off a productive morning on the beach. For this the settings where f8, 1/100 and ISO 250. the f stop choice was mainly as it seems to be a nice sweet spot for the lens I was using. Shutter speed was actually accidental, I was playing with movement with some birds near buy then turned to see these colours, and only had a split second to grab the shot, no time to quickly whack up the ISO, so I steadied myself adjusted the shutterspeed a little and click. I feel it worked.

Hope you found this post useful, or at least enjoyed the images!

Cheers

Dermot