Portobello Long Exposures

December 28, 2018

Every photographer needs some local locations. A big part of that is that we don't always have the time or energy to travel. Secondly, it allows you to take shots in different conditions of the same objects and scenes. Mostly, for me at least, it allows you to start to notice the imperfections and get into the habit of looking for these annoyances before you click the shutter. There is nothing more annoying than getting home and realising that a few inches higher or lower or a step to either side would have made a big difference. Shooting the same scene trains the eye and gives you the chance to look out for those elements that can create unwanted tension or unseemly clutter. Photography is certainly an art but like most things practise and study will help you improve both technically and creatively.

So down to Portobello on one of the last days of 2018. The sky was blue and pretty much cloudless but the sun was low and the light good. The shots I had in mind were old photographic friends and would suit these conditions. It had been a few weeks since I have ventured out so this was a warm up on my local patch. Similar to a golfer hitting the range before the golf course but still satisfaction to be had from a well timed shot, either photographic or sporting.

The timing for my shots was long. The sea was calm and boring so no surf to use. Long exposures were the plan and I knew from the tide charts that my favourite Poo Pipe marker would be reachable along the shore and have enough water round it for a composition. The locals refer to the marker as Porty’s Eiffel Tower which requires a fair bit of imagination but on a sunny day I can see what they mean.

The first shot taken had a nice bit of light and I concentrated on getting a featureless horizon with as much negative space as I could muster. The previous shot I had taken some months ago had the Fife shoreline on the horizon and that was an element that could be omitted in my mind for a more minimalistic composition.

Porty's Eiffel TowerPorty's Eiffel TowerPortobello Long Exposures

Next, I ventured along the sand to the Poo Pipe which leads to the marker. It is an ugly cast iron pipe but my timing was decent as the sea had swallowed the majority of the pipe and it was only visible in between waves. Using a 2 minute exposure gave a hint of the pipe and allowed me to use it as a lead in. The photo looked better in mono for me but I never had a choice as I had forgotten to cover the eye piece and had some light leak on the image. Another lesson to remind me for next time.

Porty's Eiffel TowerPorty's Eiffel TowerPortobello Long Exposures

For the last bit of light I wondered round to the Joppa end of the beach and took a couple of shots of the groynes. These are lovely structures that help protect the shoreline and they also feature a marker at the end. I tried a few compositions and again previous experience had told me that images look better when the groyne posts sit under the horizon. A decent effort again but the light had started to hide behind the houses and I could have done with a few rays to reveal more detail and contrast in the barnacle covered wood.

Portobello GroynesPortobello GroynesPortobello Long Exposures
A lovely way to spend a couple of hours and my eye has been sharpened for a wee trip up north in the next week or so.

 


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