Behind the Camera: ‘Sunset on Venus’ – Porth Swtan/Church Bay, Anglesey


I’m a bit of a night owl (OK, I’m a total night owl), and that means I see a lot more sunsets that I do sunrises (well, OK, I do, through my eyelids, but I don’t think that counts).

But a sunset is just a sunrise in reverse, right? 😉 If I need to catch a sunrise, the easiest way for me to do that would be to stay awake all night.

I take a lot of shots over at Porth Swtan (if you’re a regular over on my Flickr stream you will already know this). You might think that I get bored with shooting the same place as much, but nothing could be further from the truth. The more you shoot a place, the better you understand it. The light, the shadows, the waves, the wind, the sun, the moon, and the stars.

And what’s the difference between taking a hundred shots of a hundred different places, and a hundred different shots of the same place? One is geography, the other light and shadow.

My take on it is that the more I shoot of the one place, the better I learn what works and what doesn’t so that when I find myself at an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar light, shadows, waves, wind, sun, moon, and stars, I’ll be better able to deal with it and get the best shot possible. It also means I spend less time behind the wheel driving from place to place and more time behind the camera taking shots.

That suits me just fine.

A shot like the one above is all about the light, and so I knew that I wanted not only to catch the sky, but also the reflections off the water and the stones. Fortunately the tide was on the way out so the rocks were still wet enough to act like tiny mirrors. But these reflections were very vulnerable, so care needed to be taken not to lose them to the overbearing sky. With that in mind I kept the sky in check with a graduated neutral density filter, giving my camera time to drink in the light off the rocks.

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