Turimetta Swell

This is an image I shot in January of 2012 at Sydney’s well-photographed Turimetta Beach.

Turimetta Swell

Turimetta Swell

This particular scene is further away from the main gorge and rocks featured in so many images.

The morning brought a few successful images, but this one had sat untouched and unpublished for the past three years.

A moody, rain-laden sky combined with a decent swell made for some pleasing cascades and flows along the rock shelf towards North Narrabeen.

Which Filters for Landscape Photographers?

A discussion about creative filters on an Internet forum got me thinking, and prompted me to post a quick article here on a question new landscape/seascape/cityscape photographers often ask: Which filters should I buy?

I personally recommend Lee filters (although I have a HiTech filter in my rig), and use the Lee filter holder and adapter ring.

I shoot cityscapes, landscapes and seascapes, and generally don’t use graduated ND filters for cityscapes, as I tend to only shoot at twilight, or otherwise when the light is soft and low in contrast.

For landscape and seascape images, particularly when shooting towards the brighest part of the sky, I recommend the following kit:

  1. 1.2 (four-stop) soft GND;
  2. 0.9 (three-stop) soft GND;
  3. 0.6 (two-stop) soft GND;
  4. two 0.9 (three-stop) ND; and
  5. ten-stop ND.

Apart from the 1.2 GND, this is the combination I use.  (At the time I bought my filters, the 1.2 GND may not have been available.)

I sometimes stack both of my grads, which provides for a five-stop transition.

My view is that 0.3 (one-stop) grads are useless in harsh Australian light.  For the money a good grad filter costs, I’d recommend something far more effective.

Some people recommend using hard grads for scenes with flat horizons (eg, ocean views), but in my experience of having shot a lot of seascape images, I’ve never found soft grads to be lacking.  Soft grads offer more flexibility and a less-pronounced transition between filtered and unfiltered subject matter.

Now, Lee filters are not particularly cheap, and buying all of the above equipment will be a rather expensive undertaking; so if I had to recommend a single filter to someone whose budget is only so accommodating, I would recommend the 0.9 soft grad.

Similarly, if someone could only have one neutral-density filter, I’d recommend 0.9.

A three-stop filter of either kind provides a good middle-of-the-road approach if one’s limitation is a single filter.

Natutrally, a photographer will quickly find a single filter limiting, but as a starting point it will provide sufficient flexibility.

Web Site Refresh

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found a creative and technical outlet in the form of Web site development, and I’ve been channeling that creative urge in cosmetically (and to some degree, functionally) re-developing my Web site (http://www.xenedis.net).

Specifically, I’ve been mucking around with more CSS (cascading style sheets), and finding ways to use it more for layout, as well as graphical and textual effects.

I have had a Web site of some form or another since 1996, and I was pleased with my 2008 re-design, and the few minor changes in the following years.  However, it needed some cosmetic refreshment to give it a more current look.

My previous design consisted of a black background, which can be great for presentation of images, in that the colours appear more vibrant and stand out; but black can be too harsh on the eyes.

So, over the past few weeks, I’ve come up with a newer look.  The basic structure is the same, but graphically and in terms of layout, I feel it is a more modern look and presents my images and the accompanying text better than my previous site.

I’ve also added some extra functionality to allow viewers to view my images larger by clicking a button, which will then present a clean, simple overlay showing the image in 1,024px format.

Below are some screen captures of how my site looks as of 21 December, 2014 (click the previews for a 1,600 x 1,067px full-size view).

This is the main page:

Main Page

Main Page

This is the view presented when selecting an album:

Album View

Album View

This is the album menu:

Albums

Albums

This is the image display page, showing an image in 3:2 (landscape) aspect ratio:

Image View (3:2)

Image View (3:2)

This is the image display page, showing an image in 2:3 (portrait) aspect ratio:

Image View (2:3)

Image View (2:3)

This is the image display page, showing an image in 1:1 (square) aspect ratio:

Image View (1:1)

Image View (1:1)

This is the large view display page, showing an image in 3:2 (landscape) aspect ratio:

Large View (3:2)

Large View (3:2)

This is the large view display page, showing an image in 2:3 (portrait) aspect ratio:

Large View (2:3)

Large View (2:3)

This is the large view display page, showing an image in 1:1 (square) aspect ratio:

Large View (1:1)

Large View (1:1)

I am quite pleased with the new look, and I’m sure my experimentation and enhancement work is not finished yet; in time to come, I’m sure I’ll make more changes here and there.