Monthly Archives: January 2015

Fall Bay, Gower Peninsula – neglected, but rediscovered.

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It was a windy old day when I headed out to Fall Bay. I haven’t visited the bay as much as I should, so having walked across it with some friends a few days earlier, I realised I needed to visit it more. The surf was up, so quite a few surfers were enjoying themselves out at sea. Red always stands out in landscape photographs, so as soon as I saw the red surfboard, I knew I had to make an image with it in the scene. I am finding more that the presence of a person really helps at times with giving the viewer a better idea of the sense of scale of the landscape.

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Further out to sea, closer to the western end of the bay, the sea was flowing over a flatter, rocky section that extended out from the headland. At this point the sea would change from a flat surface with normal swell to a single solitary wave. The occasional periods of sun breaking through the clouds would really highlight the spray and top of the wave, before and after it broke and disappeared back into the swell.

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When the sun disappeared behind the headland to set, the scene cooled off in colour and temperature, flattening the contrast of the scene at the same time. I liked some of the colours in the clouds at that time, but also wanted to show the effect of the approaching tide on the rocky outcrops in the sand. A little bit of motion blur helps the wave movement, but is not too blurred to make if difficult to work out what it is.

Winter sun at Mewslade Bay, Gower Peninsula

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With the recent sunny spells during the cold weather, the air as been quite clear of haze or visible air pollution. I tried to take advantage of this by wandering down to Mewslade Bay for a few hours recently. The tide was coming in which helped wash away all the footprints in the sand of walkers from earlier in the day. Even though the sun was relatively low on the horizon, it still was creating a high contrast in the scene between the shadows and highlights.

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With the sun setting out to sea, it always produces a great backdrop to the bay, but on some occasions the backdrop is interesting in it’s own right. I liked how the clouds were quite small, but similar in size as the wind blew them from right to left.

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Earlier on with the higher contrast scene, the back lighting emphasised the spray at the top of the waves as they rolled towards the beach. This separated them from the shaded part of the wave and really made the top of the wave standout from the wave behind it, helping promote the layered look of the waves.

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I always prefer to keep some detail visible even with motion blur, especially with moving water. I think it helps reinforce the viewers understanding of the image, plus I prefer how it looks in the final image. As I have mentioned before, when photographing waves it is important to take lots of pictures and if possible at different settings. This helps you when you are editing them as you will often find that only one image will have the correct composition, amount of motion blur and visual balance that you feel is needed for a successful image.

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