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Lighthouse at Westkapelle (Netherlands):

Hello everyone,

I will take a break from posting images from my trip to Iceland this week, and instead share with you an image I took in Westkapelle (Netherlands).

I visited Domburg, only minutes from Westkapelle, while on my way to the Google+ Euro Photowalk in Berlin (Germany). My 'mission' was to scout for an upcoming workshop there.

In only a few days I will be heading back to this amazing coastal area to host my Fine-Art Long Exposure Workshop that I will be co-teaching with my good friend and award-winning Photographer Joel Tjintjelaar.

This will be the 2nd workshop I will be teaching in Europe together with Joel. If you're not familiar with his amazing imagery, please go ahead and take a look!

The workshop will be based in Domburg, a small coastal town that gives us quick and easy access to locations such as the Westkapelle Lighthouse.

Here's the image I made back in May:

Image Details:

I used my Cambo Wide DS body with a Rodenstock 35mm lens, fitted to my Phase One P45+ Digital Back. Exposure was 8 minutes at F11.

This camera is pretty unique in that it allows you to introduce a substantial amount of lens shift. For this image, I shifted the lens upward by 15mm. This allowed me to keep the architectural lines of the lighthouse straight and in alignment.

While shifted upward (also called 'rise'), the camera also allows for left and right shift which is a great way to create several images that can be easily merged to a single panoramic image. It does so by moving the rear, or sensor plane, so all such movements stay within the image circle of the lens with no need to find the nodal point.

I shot 3 seperate exposures in this case, and merged them to a large panorama with almost 60 megapixel resolution (even after cropping 'double square' as seen above).

Composition thoughts:

While staying in Domburg, I visited this location several times (3 to be exact). One of the tips I frequently give to my students is to make time to re-visit locations and keep shooting until you are completely satisfied.

When shooting sea-scapes like this, elements like water level (tides), time of day, angle of the sun, amount of cloud cover, and even amount of tourists walking around the site are all important factors and will have an effect as to how your final image turns out.

For those reasons, among others, I always try to re-visit whenever I can. It is hard, virtually imposible, to get an image you're really satisfied with in a single visit. When you re-visit you'll be forced to think about your composition and you'll be more likely to try something new. That is when the 'magic' happens, at least it feels like so for me.

To demonstrate this point a bit further, let's consider the following four behind-the-scenes (BTS) images:

The above images show my camera setup during several visits. I shot from several angles, until I finally arrived at the viewpoint I liked the most (first image, top left corner).

A big bonus is a leading line that was created by some wet rocks. On my last visit, I arrived when it was raining. I stayed until the rain stopped and was quick enough to setup my camera to take advantage of the perspective that used the light reflecting of the wet rocks in the foreground. If I hadn't visited several times, I would have never seen this small detail that, in my opinion, greatly improves my composition.

The longer I worked my framing, I also saw myself including more and more negative space. I moved my camera further and further away from the Lighthouse, and by reducing its size relative to its surroundings, I belief I made it gain visual importance and weight within the composition.

The importance of negative space is another tip I often talk about with my students. It's the reason I like to use wide-angle lenses, and using panoramic imagery also helps create wider perspectives.

What I did in Post-Production:

The first step was to create the final image and composition by merging the 3 separate exposures using Autopano Pro. The result was cropped double square in Photoshop CS6.

The image was converted to black and white in Silver Efex Pro 2 and further adjustments were made in Photoshop CS6.

This is actually the first image I ever published that features selective colouration.

Can you see the faint red hue in the lighthouse?

I was experimenting a lot and when my family, including my 3 year old daughter Mila, all agreed that they liked the color in the lighthouse I thought I'd give it a try and wait for your feedback.

The reason I decided to experiment with this was to give the lighthouse just a bit more presence. Draw some more attention to it.

Please let me know if you think it worked.

Upcoming Workshop in Domburg (Netherlands):

As of today, there are still 2 seats left available in my upcoming workshop in Domburg. Remember that you'll get not 'just' me but actually two instructors. 

There are only a few days left, so you got to be quick making your decision. Click this link to see more information about this unique offering.

Thank you for reading. More tk...

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Reader Comments (2)

I like them all :-)
Looking forward to see you this coming weekend! And I know for sure, I will be great, beautiful locations. Lots of questions, haha! I hope to bring some images to give feedback.

July 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAline

Hi Mark, thanks for posting the details on how the image was produced. I have recently started using a Nikon PC lens and just received a Zörk Pano shift adapter to use Pentax Medium format lenses and produce panoramic stitched images. Now I am intrigued about the 8 minute exposure info. The main problem I am finding when doing long exposure-stitched panos is the movement in the clouds (specially taking into account that I need to enable dark frame subtraction NR or my files are unusable at such long exposures), sometimes the patterns in the sky are "funny" or the program has trouble stitching altogether.

Was your exposure 8 minutes PER image ( so roughly 24 minutes for the whole image, plus the in between adjustments) or 8 minutes in total? Do you use any kind of dark frame or inboard NR or do you find it unnecessary with the P45+?

Any info on how you go about the stitching and the possible differences between frames due to the difference in the time of the exposures would be most appreciated!!


July 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErik Ahrend

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