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Evocative Photographs celebrating England's beautiful north country

Landscape Photography Blog


One Second

13/04/2010 16:40:00
by Andrew Whitaker
Angel of the North, Gateshead
One second is sometimes all you get!

Sometimes with landscape photography a couple of seconds, a moment in time, is all you get and your job is to capture it, be in the right place at the right time. This is where planning and preparation are of key importance. You can imagine the scenario waiting with patience for a couple of hours for that moment, then suddenly it is presented to you briefly and for some reason you have the camera in the wrong settings or your memory card is full! In my case photographing the Angel of the North I was ready and waiting for that said moment to arrive. As the light suddenly changed and made a dramatic sky out of little I was presented with a message on my camera saying memory card full. This is where preparation is essential and my biggest downfall, for some reason I had no back up with me and so had to frantically cycle through previous images deleting quickly the ones I didn't think useful. Fortunately for me, although I wasn't to know this so be warned, I had already taken the shots that were going to get me the image I was looking for.

Continuing the theme of one second, on this occasion I actually had 30 seconds to get the image I wanted. However what I hope to highlight with these two images of the Angel is that getting to know an area and being able to predict where the light is going to be are key to composing a good image. Looking at the mackerel sky the sun was hidden above, there was a band of clear sky on the horizon which I knew, partly from past experience, was going to give me an opportunity. A brief all too fleeting moment which I would have to be prepared for if I was going to get the shot I wanted. With this in mind I quickly calculated and composed the two positions I would like to be in when this happened. Without doing this I would probably have only managed one of the two shots you see on this blog. This too highlights that despite the probably common held notion about low light landscape photography, you often have a long period of nothing happening followed by what can turn out to be an immensely intense period of anything up to an hour of creative photography, where there often has to be a lot of improvisation to make the most of the conditions you are presented with. With the angel I knew that the sunlight was going to hit the back of the angel and hopefully make it glow, once this started happening (as you can see in the shot at the top of the page) I then had to get around to the other side of the angel in order to catch the shot below of the angel with the sun on the horizon. On this occasion 30 seconds was the period of time that the sun stayed out for and 'luckily' I managed to get the shots. Without the planning beforehand and a little bit of thinking on my feet this wouldn't have happened.

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