This is a guest post by Sebastian Crump, who attended the second photography workshop run at Danyfan in August 2011. This is part 2 covering the second day; the first part is here.
Sunday appropriately brought some sun, possibly too much – more about that later. We started the day talking about landscape photography and the common ‘tricks’ of composing the shot – layers, foreground interest, strong lines that lead the eye round the image but not out of frame. And looking at photographers online and in books.
So, with our packed lunches we headed up the hill. Trying to bear in mind the foreground object, the multiple layers are there too, but this first shot probably lacks strong lines to provide much interest.
Looking back down in the other direction however there was a lovely fence for providing foreground and strong lines.
Scouting around for further inspiration at that location I noticed some nice looking thistles…
Richard also encouraged me to use my polarising lens and adjust it to deepen the blue of the sky (I had only used it for reflection removal before) – it works best at right-angles to the sun, so in this show has quite a pleasing gradient to the sky.
We then started the trek up the hill. Unfortunately by the time we got up there the clouds had rolled in, so we had quite a wait to get good shots of the bowl of Pen-y-Fan when there were breaks in the clouds. It wasn’t ideal timing for this sort of photography – mid-day sun very harsh and bright and the cloud-cover providing extra challenges of low light and high contrast. However, I think the course was about learning the theory, rather than being in the right place at the right time to be able to take a perfect shot.
The pools of sunlight did provide some interest though. The difficulty was getting the exposure right, so this was good practise for using the features on my camera for selecting the areas of the frame to get the exposure and focal points and exposure lock.
The individual frames, along with all my decent photos from the weekend, are in a set on the Danyfan’s flickr account.
RAW is definitely something I will use more, but possibly not all the time because of the extra processing (which I still need to get the hang of), and it seems to get the best out of it you would need to think about the camera settings and how you expose the photo slightly differently too.
So, in conclusion – I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Rest assured the stay at the B&B was fantastic too, excellent food and company. I learnt plenty on the course even though I’ve been taking photos for several years. I learnt more about my camera and its capabilities and that it’s worth taking time to make a photo. Richard is an excellent workshop leader and it was fantastic to be able to spend the weekend talking to someone about a lot of different aspects of photography.