Today’s Photo: The Dark Lighthouse
This photo makes me want to get back to Iceland as soon as possible. The plan for my next trip is to turn up there for a longer period of time with a tent and not much of a plan. I want to wander, go to where the good light is and wait for the good light in places that deserve it. There seems to be campsites everywhere in Iceland so finding somewhere to crash should be easy as plugging campsite into the satnav.
This shot is from my first night in Iceland. After arriving at midnight, I discovered that this beach was just a short walk from the guesthouse I stayed in. It was handily scouted by my travel buddy who had arrived a day earlier. The lighthouse is actually no longer used so it seems fitting to leave it in the dark. A newer one is located just off to the right. You’ll get to see photos of it one day as well.
The Technical Bits
Camera: Canon 5d Mk II
Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Exposure: 1.6, 6, and 25 at f/18
Taking the Photo: I wandered the beach searching for a good foreground for this shot. The rocks looked promising and when I stumbled across this patch of larger, moss drenched stones I set up my tripod. The camera was placed at about half my height to get close to the rocks and capture the detail in the moss. You’ll have to click the image and view it larger to see the details. I actually shot bracketed shots from -4 to +4 because the sunset was so intense behind the lighthouse. As you can see above, I only went with -2 to +2, which I’ll explain next.
Processing: This is one of those photos that I’ve tried to process numerous times but failed. I have a similar shot, here, that I was never quite happy with. The sky and the lighthouse just never looked quite right. I felt like I was sacrificing colors and detail in the sky to bring out details in the lighthouse, which just blended into the sky. This time, I took a different approach and decided to let the lighthouse remain as a silhouette. The rocks in the foreground are much more interesting than the details of the lighthouse anyway. Now, I’m very happy with this shot.
I probably could have achieved this affect with an off camera flash, which I don’t yet own. One of the useful parts of HDR is that you can adjust your lighting once you’ve gotten home. Of course, this has limitations so I’m planning on buying a couple of off camera flashes and figuring out how to use them. That way, in a situation like this I could take my usual bracketed photos, but also use a bit of flash. Then, I can just use whichever method worked out better and maybe save me a bit of head-scratching once I get home.
Software: Photomatix, Photoshop, Topaz Adjust, Noiseware Pro