2.30pm and I’m leaving my house in Weston Super Mare and heading to the Dorset Coast. Portland Bill is one of those locations that provides a multitude of options when it comes to subject and composition and so its a place that I have and will continue to return to.

The weather is less than perfect and there will only be 45 minutes to an hour of light left when I get there, but the plan is to grab a few shots and then stay over night so I can get up early and catch the sunrise. I love the light in the morning, its my favourite time to shoot and hopefully if predictions are right It could be a good one.

Upon arriving and parking up it looks like both me and the camera are going to get wet. It’s high tide and the rain combined with the spray from the sea is going to be a challenge. I do try to photograph in all weathers, so this is just part of the fun and good practice. One thing that the weather has reminded me of is the need to purchase some clear filters for my lenses. I don’t usually use filters but when conditions are rough and the salty spray is constantly hitting the front of the lens it pays to protect expensive equipment.

Shooting a nice sunrise or sunset can appeal to a lot of people and the light is always good during this time but I feel that I need to photograph the not so pretty things as well. We live in a less than perfect world so there isn’t much point in trying to maintain a blinkered vision of perfection and beauty when it comes to shooting landscapes. I personally find a moody landscape far more powerful and evocative than a pretty sunrise or sunset.

I made a few exposures in the 30 minutes or so I had. This is my favourite of those. I feel it captures the mood nicely.

Well after a pretty crap nights sleep due to a spirited saxophone player its up at 6.30am and down the road to the Portland Bill car park. The postcode for this pay and display car park is DT5 2JT. If you pop this postcode in your SatNav it will take you straight there. Bring plenty of change if you plan to stay for a while. Winter charges are £1.50 for two hours up to £6 for 24 hours. Summer charges are around 50p per hour extra.

The wind has dropped off a lot from what is was last night but it is still far from calm. Where I am heading I should be able to get out of the wind behind the rocks and hopefully the spray from the sea will be minimal.

The main attraction for this particular location is the lighthouse. As with most of the places that I visit though, I intend to ignore the obvious and look for compositions in other places. It’s not long before I spot a small cove that looks ideal and so I set up my tripod and wait for the light to be just right.

The GFX 50s Is capable of capturing stunning levels of detail. For this shot I used the GF 45mm f/2.8 lens with a LEE 0.6 very hard grad filter to darken the clouds a little. The detail and tones captured in the rocks is superb and far superior to any camera that I have used before. It will be interesting to see how this translates into a large finished print. The end goal is always the print. A photograph isn’t a photograph until it has been printed so If you haven’t already got a dedicated photo printer or don’t regularly order lab prints of your work make, it a priority to change this.

After taking this shot I climbed back up the rocks and headed towards Pulpit Rock. Another well known photographic location. I won’t be making the rock the subject of my photo though. I simply want to get up a bit higher and capture the view out to sea and the white tops of the waves in the distance. This will be a very simple composition that I hope conveys the vastness and wild nature of the sea.

This was taken using the GFX 50s combined with my favourite lens at the moment, the GF 110mm f/2. I used a LEE ProGlass IRND Little Stopper (6 Stops) to give me just the right shutter speed to capture movement in the sea. The LEE ProGlass filters are superb, they are colour neutral so no colour correction is needed in post processing and the reduction in transmitted light is accurate. If it’s a 6 stop filter it will reduce the transmitted light by 6 stops, 10 stop by 10 etc. Both of these features are particularly handy when shooting film as calculating the correct exposure and not introducing a colour cast is critical to getting good results. I will be doing a short review on the ProGlass range of filters in the not so distant future.

Although only a quick trip, is was great to get out with the camera. The GFX is continuing to wow me each time that I use it and with the promise of some exciting new features such as focus stacking in the March 2018 firmware update, things can only get better.

Matt.

www.shootprocessrepeat.com