Sunday, 18 May 2014

Straight Out Of Camera Week 19 "Restrictions"

This weeks theme was "Clouds" and was chosen by John. Living in the UK this isn't normally a problem, as we often have endless weather systems blowing in from either the Atlantic or the European mainland. This week however, summer has hit full flow (and will hopefully continue to do so) This means that firstly, the heat has meant the clouds have been scarce most of the week, and secondly, that the bright light along with the atmospheric haze has killed a lot of the contrast in images.

These factors coupled together with the fact I have a gear limitation as I am currently without a graduated ND filter means that the following shot is not the best I've produced. For those of you who aren't to knowledgeable about how a camera works it's like this: The little computer in the camera that works out how much light to let in isn't able to cope well in situations like the one below. The computer tries to let in enough light to make the clouds, which are very bright and the power station, which is very dark look right in the resulting photo. Because there is such a difference in the shot between the light and the dark areas the camera balances the best of bot. So in this shot I took the computer out of the equation and told it which part to take it's reading from. If I had a graduated ND filter, I could have not worried so much, because this filter would block some of the light coming in from the sky, allowing me to leave the shutter open longer to capture the dark foreground properly.
Why the power station ? Well because my kids call the cooling towers "Cloud Makers" and in the right conditions that's exactly what they are, the stem from the towers doesn't evaporate fully when it's cooler, and forms clouds streaming for miles and miles out of the towers.
It's not often I do this, but I've included a post processed image too. I cranked the exposure and contrast to bring out more detail, and added some noise to make the image have a little more impact. I also removed the pylons, cables and the water bowser parked in the field.

As always feel free to tell me what you think about the image or the post, and don't forget to check out the work from the my buddy's across the pond.


  1. I really like the first shot. I really don't like the second shot. I'm not sure what a water "bowser" is?
    I assume that's a nuclear plant? Wish we could get a couple of those over here. Do you mean, in the first shot, that you used spot metering? Does that mean you don't use that every time you shoot? I can't remember the last time I didn't use spot metering, to be honest. The clouds do get a little bit lost and hazy, but your post processed one is just a mess of halos and reverse halos and general shit to be honest.
    I'd really like to see the long trail of steam out of the cooling towers sometime. I think that would be a cool shot, especially long exposure.

    1. No mate, not many nuclear plant's over here. It's a dirty great big coaler, one of many littering the countryside here in the UK. I take your point on the second shot, I hadn't really noticed the reverse halos until you mentioned it, I quite like the shot, it was just a mess around to produce a heavy stylised image, it was never going to be to everyone's taste, and certainly isn't intended to be a true representation of the scene. And yeah I mean spot metering mode. I'm normally always locked into that, but often go with an average metering mode for landscapes.