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Anticipation, Disappointment, Perseverance and Cheating
Anticipation, disappointment, perseverance and cheating are probably not the words you would expect me to use in summing up this image. It was taken on a recent trip to Anglesey and it shows Southstack lighthouse which is right at the tip of Anglesey above Hollyhead.
The weather conditions had been dreadful for the two days before I shot this image. Not because it was dull or raining but because there had been intense sunshine in a clear blue sky for about a week. This had lead to a thick haze developing and obscuring much of the distant landscape and this seemed to have got even worse by the time we reached the lighthouse; In fact the landscape just seemed to melt away over 800m. This was the disappointment.
When we set up for this shot I tried to find something a little more interesting than the dead heather in the foreground so included the dramatic cliff to the right. At that point the lighthouse was hardly visible but I could see the light was starting to change. It appeared the haze was melting away as the sun fell lower and if this continued I would get a sunset. My anticipation was rising.
Finally the sun disappeared over the horizon; at least I think it was the horizon. It actually looked like it faded into a bank of mist and was extinguished. This is where the perseverance came in. My friends packed up their equipment and went back to the car. I decided I wanted to hang on to see if there would be an afterglow in the sky and on the mist as the sun moved further round the curvature of the earth. Result. The image you see here was the final shot almost 30 minutes after the sun had set. The long exposure helped intensify the colours in the sky and I made some further contrast tweaks in Photoshop which boosted the colour still further.
The missing element however was the lighthouse beam. Whilst I was taking the picture I could clearly see the beam swinging around and cutting through the mist as it rotated every 10 seconds. It was however impossible to capture as it was just like painting with light on a grand scale. I just couldn’t achieve a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the beam.
Back at home and in post processing I decided the shot just didn’t cut it without the light beam so I added one. Some may call this cheating but I am only adding something that was already there but which the camera couldn’t capture. What do you think?
focal length: unknown
posted by rnwhalley April 22, 2011 6:04