A couple of weeks ago I was away from home and while travelling wanted to stop at a location I’d been tipped off about. I arrived, parked and walked in, following the directions I’d been given.
My pace walking up the hill quickened as I knew the light would be fading within the hour. As I came across the scene of the Scare Haw Force waterfall on Hebden Beck near Skipton I knew the effort had been worth it. I was quickly able to assess the scene and pick out a spot to shoot from, using my experience and knowledge of the effects lens choice can make to place the tripod in the right place and set up the camera.
Knowing the depth of field I wanted meant I knew what aperture to set on that lens. The dwindling light provided the right conditions to give a slow shutter speed so there was no need for neutral density filters to slow it down. ISO, as always, was a low as possible.
Initially, I thought of a square composition but there was a fallen trunk on the opposite bank from me that provided a lovely lead in line from the right-hand side, which also provided some balance to the cascading water so I altered my idea to shoot in landscape orientation.
As I knew I would most likely be converting to black and white I have the camera set up to RAW + Fine with the film simulation Acros + R switched on for the preview to enable me to really see the form and texture rather than be distracted by the colour.
All these decisions were made in less than five minutes of arriving. I was confident in my choices and captured the image fairly quickly with only a few minor compositional tweaks – it is always worth checking the edges of the frame on the playback screen to be sure there are no distractions. With the image caught, I did play around a little with other compositions and viewpoints but the original was the best of the (small) bunch. With light fading fast it was time to head back to the car and continue on my journey, happy to have bagged the image I had visualised.
In order to do this, you need to know and understand the creative tool that is your camera. Trial and error, with what I call “spray and pray” technique may bag you a decent shot if you’re lucky but surely it’s better to nail it swiftly rather than have to trawl through tens or even hundreds of images for “the” one when you get home. How confident are you with your camera to know what settings you’ll need to create the image you have in your mind’s eye? Do you have the camera on automatic and hope for the best or find that you get a good shot but have no idea how you achieved it and how to reproduce that effect again? To have an instinctive and almost subconscious ability to create with your camera takes time, effort and perseverance. The starting point of that should be getting to know the camera and how it functions. This is what the Fujiholics novice one day workshop is all about – giving you the information you need and practical help with your X-series camera to start you on the road to creating the images you have in your mind’s eye.
Dawn will be running Fujiholics Novice Workshops in the New Year in Scotland:
Sat 27 Jan 2018 Aberdeen Click here to book
Sat 24 Feb 2018 Dundee Click here to book
Sat 24 Mar 2018 Aberdeen Click here to book
Sat 21 Apr 2018 Dundee Click here to book
There are also one-day workshops in London and Liverpool – go to Fujiholics on Eventbrite to see dates and times.