Local Icon Photography – read all about it! The Story Behind – Sunset Weld
So this is an occasional series where give a full account of a particular image… in this case it’s all about trying, trying, and then trying some more… to almost(!) get a result
My original photo story went something like …
Local icons. As a photographer do you shoot them, or do you shoot the less known areas? Do you shoot in a picture postcard manner or do you shoot all fine-art? There are many answers to that question – all I knew is that as ‘a local’, I was getting many requests for an image taken down near Kangaroo Point. As always, I listen to people. I had tried the weekend before and taken dull flat images in dull flat colour that were also – my goodness! – mostly out of focus. Happens to us all sometimes. In this instance, though, I got lucky, and the sunset in many ways looked like multicoloured weld sparks or lines coming off the bridge. Hence the title – Sunset Weld.
It was lovely just spending time down at the water’s edge with the bustle of the traffic so close, yet a million miles away from how I felt.
A few more details:-
What you don’t see.
You have seen your Local Icons a thousand times, but maybe never really looked at them?
It’s not really that I didn’t see it this time, it’s just that I had been here soooo many times and walked away with nix. It’s a local icon and that meant I – as the local Landscape Photographer of course ! – had overlooked it up until now. On some attempts I drove from Berowra to Kangaroo Point with good high cloud cover in Berowra. Then I arrived at Kangaroo Point to no cloud, and did not even take a location scouting shot as it was that un-interesting. To proverbially do landscape photography, I know it’s hit and miss, but I was getting an awful lot of misses. And – as noted on the previous weekend, being right on the top of the landscape photography do’s and don’ts list – I ended up with out of focus photos!
The area I shot from is a narrow strip beside the water, steep in places, really quite rocky at the waters edge, and also very slippery. The main challenge for me doing landscape photographs is a lack of known foreground options due to tides and a bit of swell. Also – fisherman also have as much right to be there as I do, and if I was fishing I would wear a Hi-Viz jacket too(!) – doesn’t help me though as they walk around in and out of my frame. So the usual bending, stooping and trying to get Great Foreground, and also to use the trees whilst framing the bridge nicely.
The Great Light came and went very quickly – it usually does. Lots of quite high pinks – though more on that later. I had planned to take some panoramic landscape photographs as well as single frames, but I had no time with good enough light.
What I saw Afterwards
Back in the warm in front of the computer it’s always different. I had taken a few variations on the theme, but was only left with one or two potential ‘Hero images’ that had processing possibilities. I always try to have ‘landscape photography prints for sale’ in the back of my mind as a prime focus of a shoot. This means I try to think of a real connection to a scene – this is more likely to make people buy it. And I am always happy with just one hero image from a shoot as are most Pros are that I know. It used to be one print in thirty-six (the old 35mm roll) – these days it’s one image per shoot. It helps me try to stop making silly mistakes, and really focus, if I think ‘Buy Landscape Photography’. That’s not saying I am a salesman but the way – I’m not – it just helps me focus when I am in the moment. I don’t let my customers buy landscape photography online with my errors visible!
A fair bit of tweaking was needed to amp up the colours to those that people are used to seeing in the year of writing 2018. Not at Instagram filter level tho!
Am I Happy?
Well. That’s about five dawn and dusk visits recently and this is the first time you will have seen any images. I am happy, but I still think the challenge of shooting a local icon hasn’t been met. In terms of composition, I would need a walkway out over the water to get the bridge to ‘sit’ perfectly and also probably need to plant a few more trees. In this instance I would have loved to had some nice wide foreground at the bottom of the frame. To balance the bridge.
I did however use the Rule of Thirds with the bulk of the bridge – more on that here. I also used the top left corner with a strong line and a much weaker and shorter one bottom right – again more on using the corners here.
The sunset angle has now moved to further South, so I will diarise for next winter to re-visit. And some panoramic photography to be done next time as well!
As an icon it really needs an absolute screamer of a sunset to set it apart. I am however happy with it as Local Photography – maybe rather than quintessential Australian Landscape Photography.
Canon EOS5D Mk III ~ Canon 16-35 F4 @ 16mm (of course) ~ 1/3s ~ F11 ~ ISO 100
The Berowra Photographer. Well, the Kangaroo Point Photographer this time