Wildlife fine art photographs can be ordered direct from my website
And not just wildlife; landscape fine art photographs, and seascapes also. I am continually adding to the photographs you can buy as prints direct from my website, as wall art for home or office.
Okay, so what are the steps? How do I buy fine art prints?
So I thought it might be useful to break down the steps, from selecting and image all the way to getting the final print delivered. So the first thing is to head to https://www.colinmunroimages.com. I use one of the best professional print houses in California for my printing and delivery. If you live in the UK or Europe, heade over to www.colinmunrophotography.com to check out my fine art prints produced in the UK.
Currently I use professional photolab Bay Photo Lab, in Santa Cruz, California, USA, as my primary print producer. I consider them one of the best print labs in the US, with a long history of supplying exceptional quality prints and an excellent service to professional photographers. If you use the automated ssyetm on my Colin Munro Images website (detailed below) the prints will be made and delivered by Bay Photos. They are also part of the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Programme, and actively working to minimise their environmental footprint. They will also ship internationally. If you are outside the US the shipping will be calculated on my website (see example below).
How can I buy fine art photographs if I am not in North America?
I also use excellent printers in the UK, and Bangkok, Thailand. If you are in Europe or Asia, please email me with the photo code, the print style and the size, and I will arrange for it to be delivered from either UK or Bangkok. If you are elsewhere in the World, and would really like to buy one of my images as a fine art print, drop me an email and we’ll see what I can work out. (My www.colinmunrophotography.com site showcases my fine art photographic prints printed in the UK).
Clicking on the Buy Photos button will take you to the next screen, where you will have the option to chose between Wall Art and Digital Downloads.
So, let’s assume you are looking for a photography to have on your wall, maybe a framed canvas print or acrylic on metal or an aluminium print.
So let’s say you chose Acrylic Metal. The sidebar will change to a menu of sizes and prices. As you scroll up and down you will see also that the highlighted area of the image will change as the aspect ratio of the size selected changes.
And the process is pretty much the same which ever media you select.
At the next screen you will be able to change the selected area of the image to be made into the final print. The white border can be cropped in or moved out, or re-positioned (depending on the aspect ration chosen).
You will then proceed to the checkout process, where you also have the option to chose the currency.
The next screen allows you to submit your billing information. You can chose to pay with most major credit cards, or with PayPal.
Hopefully that’s fairly straightforward. Don;t forget, you can always email me with queries about prints if I haven’t answered your question here.
An account of photographing blue sharks off Cornwall, Southwest Britain, a few years back, and a link to buying blue shark fine art prints of these amazing hunters of of the oceans at colinmunroimages.com.
On a clear July morning I stumbled out of my bunk (I was living on a boat at the time) at 5.30am, forced out my the insistent buzzing of my phone alarm. One hour, and one strong coffee later, I squeezed my dive bag into the back of Ritchie’s car and we were off. We had over a hundred miles to cover, and a boat to catch.
Charles Hood runs the best, and most successful, blue shark snorkelling operation in the UK. His boat, a large rigid-hulled inflatable (RIB) operates out of Penzance, almost at southwesternmost extremity of the British mainland, so that’s where we were headed. The boat is a fast open boat, perfect for getting us 10 miles offshore quickly, but small and devoid of any shelter from the elements. So we changed in to wetsuits on the quayside, packed our camera gear in dry bags carefully padded with towels and sweatshirts for the bouncy ride out, and we were off.
Each year blue sharks arrive off the coast of Southwest Britain, normally sometime in mid-June and remaining until mid-October. Blues are true oceanic sharks; they inhabit deep water, only infrequently venturing on to shallower, continental shelf waters. They are found in tropical and temperate oceans around the globe. However, in the tropics they tend to stay in deeper, cooler water but are often observed in surface waters in temperate seas. They feed on fast moving prey such as squid and schooling fish. Much of their feeding appears to be done in deeper waters. We know this partly from studies looking at gut contents, identifying the hard tissue remains of the prey species, and knowing where those prey species live, and partly from small data loggers, recording depth profiles, that are attached to sharks and then recovered at a later date. Below 100 metres, it seems they predate mostly on squid, in particular those belonging to the Histioteuthidae family, more commonly known as cock-eyed squid. Cock-eyed squid are bizzare creatures that inhabit the twilight zone of the oceans, so-called because their left eye is around twice the size of their right. Observations with deep water remotely operated vehichles (ROVs) have shown that they swim with the left eye facing upwards, and the right facing down. It’s believe the the huge left eye is used to pick up the faint sunlight coming from far above; the smaller right eye, staring into the depths, serves a quite different purpose. It picks up bioluminecent glows and flashes from prey (or predators below). But blue sharks are not fussy eaters. Studies off the coast of Brazil have found they eat large numbers of oilfish (a deepwater member of the mackerel family) but will also sometimes grab seabirds such as shearwaters. Those off Southern Brazil were found to be mostly scavenging on dead baleen whales. But I have digressed somewhat from our trip. Some ten nautical miles out Charles stopped the RIB and allowed us to drift. Sure we were a fair way from shore, and in pretty deep water, but still well within continental shelf depths, probably 50-70 metres, as we drifted. The 100 depth contour was still over 20 miles distant. So what tempted the blues, normally oceanic species, this close inshore? As we drifted Charles began to prepare the chum bag that hopefully would draw nearby sharks to our boat. A small hessian sack was filled with chunks of mackerel and mackerel guts, including some caught angling off the stern of his RIB. Tied just off the side of the RIB, a slick of fish oil drifted away down current. This is the clue to why blue sharks arrive in coastal waters of southern and western Britain. Mackerel also arrive around British coasts during the summer months, often found in huge shoals numbering thousands of fish. Like their deeper water relatives, the oilfish, mackerel are an oily fish, so a high energy food source for any predator fast enough to catch them. And the blue shark is just that; generally a sedate swimmer it can move with lighting bursts of speed.
Once our bag of chum was positioned, and final checks on cameras completed, all we then had to do was wait. Charles dug out his fishing rod and started supplementing our chum supply with a few extra mackerel. And we waited. There was no wind, and just a slight, rolling swell on the sea. The sun was hot and the sky a clear blue, so it was not extactly a hardship. The sun climbed to its zenith, then slowly fell westward as morning gave way to afternoon. We were woken from our torpor when, around 2pm, a group of three sunfish drifted close. Sunfish are odd-looking disc shaped fish. They feed on There was a flurry of activity as we grabbed cameras and donned fins, but they were skittish and disappeared in seconds. We settled back in to watching and waiting. At around 3.30pm Charles announced that we should start heading back to shore at 4pm. The minutes ticked by; 4pm arrived and still no blues. Charles apologised but, as we were well aware, there is never any guarantee with wildlife. He announced we would give it another 20 minutes. At 4.15 the first blue arrived. Rather than leap in immediately, we gave it time to settle and get used to the boat. A couple of minutes later a second arrived. Charles had been very clear on the safety aspect, wearing gloves, no shiny jewellery. The necessity for this was made abundantly clear when one of the sharks managed to grab to chum bag. Its razor sharp teeth ripped through it like paper, and bits of mackerel guts spilled out into the water. The bag was quickly quisked out of the sea and we gave it a minute for the cloud to disperse. Once Charles was confident the sharks were no longer likely to disappear immediatly, we, one by one, slowly slide over the side of the boat and in to the water.
Once in the water I dipped my head to check all around me, then slowing finned away from the RIB. Once around 8 metres away I stoppped finning, and started checking around. I could clearly see my three companions at this stage, floating 5-10 metres away from me. Every so often a shark would cruise in, swimming below or between us, to to check out us or the RIB. The water was clear, visibility a good 15-20 metres, but the sun was now low in the sky. When the sun is overhead, and light hits the waters’ surface more or less perpendicular, then much of that light penetrates the surface; but late afternoon, when the sun is low and its rays hit the water at a shallow angle then most of that light bounces off the surface and it becomes markedly darker just below than above. My photographic problems were two-fold. The reduced light levels made focussing a little trickier, and when a blue shark came fast out of the expanse of blue water, the camera would struggle to pick up contrast and focus quickly. I fiddled with the settings, pre-focussed using my colleagues as targets, fired off test shots and again readjusted my settings. All the time keeping looking around me. A RIB, with its large surface area above the water, will drift with wind and tide, but a swimmer, around 90% below the water’s surface, will drift with the tide alone. So as I floated I was aware that the distance between was growing. This was not a concern; conditions were perfect and I knew Charles would be fully aware of our positions. On the contrary, it gave me space around me. As I drifted I also became aware that one of the sharks had become interested in me, and was moving with me, not steadily but zig-zagging. It would pass close, then swim off , to turn and pass close again.
This was not in a threatening or aggressive manner, but rather one of curiosity. A couple of times it would swim straight towards me, only to stop maybe 18 inches in front of me. Whether it was seeing reflections in the large glass dome port of my camera housing I am not sure. Whatever the reason it provided me with more perfect photo oportunities than I could have hoped for. Thirty minutes passed in what seemed like three, and Charles was recalling us to the RIB. We may have had to wait, but performace at the end far exceeded our expectations.
Fine Art Prints
I have made two of my images from this trip available as fine art prints and wall art. These are available to be purchased in a wide range of media and sizes directly from my Colin Munro Images website. Media available include traditional giclée prints, stretched and flat mounted canvas, metal prints (dye directly infused on sheet aluminium) and acrylic, from 8 inches up to 48 inches across. My prints are produced by Bay Photo Labs in Santa Cruz, California. I choose bay Photo Labs for the excellence of their quality, with over 40 years providing printing services to professional photographers, their constant innovation, combining the latest technology and innovation with the finest traditional techniques, and their committment to the highest environmental standards using green technology. You can buy my prints directly here at www.colinmunroimages.com.
How can I buy fine art photographs if I am not in North America?
I also use excellent printers in the UK, and Bangkok, Thailand. If you are in Europe or Asia, please email me with the photo code, the print style and the size, and I will arrange for it to be delivered from either UK or Bangkok. If you are elsewhere in the World, and would really like to buy one of my images as a fine art print, drop me an email and we’ll see what I can work out. (My www.colinmunrophotography.com site showcases my fine art photographic prints printed in the UK. You can also buy prints directly).
I am slowly moving my marine biology orientated blogs to my other blog site: www.marine-bio-images.com/blog. I may eventually remove them from this site. This article can now be found here.
Pacific harbour Lagoon, Viti Levu, Fiji. The story behind one of my favourite images and a link to buy fine art prints and wall art of this image at colinmunroimages.com
Some of the photographs I am most pleased with come completely unexpectedly. I found myself in the tiny settlement of Pacific Harbour, on the south coast of Viti levu, Fiji’s largest island, not to take landscape photographs but to try and capture images of bull and tiger sharks with the nearby diving operation, Beqa Adventure Divers. The dives went ahead, and were very successful, the dive operation was extremely professional and I gained some excellent shots. But that story is not what this blog is about. This is about the shot below, and how it came be.
After dinner the previous evening I had retired to my room to begin preparing my camera equipment. For every professional photographer this is a ritualistic affair, and especially so for underwater photographers where one un-noticed hair across an ‘o’ ring seal, or one grain of sand lurking in the shadows of a machined seal groove can not only result in you gaining no images whatsoever, it is also likely to spell the death of your very expensive camera and lens, rendering irretreivably seizing delicate mechanisms and shorting multiple electronic circuits. By the same token, the camera is controlled by a series of sealed buttons, levers and gears, all precisely aligned to facilitate operation through the metal housing. A millimetre misalignment in setup, and one can find oneself frantically operating a control at a crucial moment … with nothing happening and no way to resolve the problem underwater. So cleaning, assembling and checking camera systems becomes a quasi-religious ritual. Once finally satisfied with my endevours, I retired for an early night. Adrenaline was coursing in my veins however, so despite the previous days long road journey I woke early. Through the glass doors of my room I could see it was still dark, with just a slight reddish tinge low in the sky. But I was wide awake and the pre-dawn was filled with sound; frogs, insects and birds I did not recognise croaked, chirped and called, irresistibly beconing me out. So I dressed quickly, grabbed my land camera, my first digital SLR (my underwater camera was still a film camera back then, the iconic Nikon F4). I checked the settings and battery power and headed out. Padding across the dew laden grass I arrived at the edge of the lagoon in only a couple of minutes. I could see mudskippers perched on the roots of mangroves, plopping into the water below as soon as I approached. At that point I had no clear idea what I wanted to photograph. As this was planned as purely a diving trip I did not have a suitable lens for capturing small mudskippers or any shy wildlife with me. It was more about enjoying the early morning and having a camera with me, just in case. As I stood at the water’s edge, watching mudskippers and fiddler crabs feeding on the soft mud, I could also see the sky change. The sky above me lightened to a deep cyan, while just above the silhoutted mangroves and palms it turned deep burned orange while whispy clouds stood out deep gunmetal blue. And all this was reflected in the still lagoon waters. I took shot after shot. Every minute the sky would look quite different from the previous. Back then digital SLRs did not have the electronics to to produce noise free images at high ISOs, so I was shooting at ISO 125 to keep the images clean and faithful. To compensate in the low light I was shooting with the lens wide open at a 50th of a second, stabilising myself against a tree. I remained there for what seemed like an hour but was in fact no more than 20 minutes; the sun comes up fast in the tropics. As the sun cleared the trees I headed back to my room and the breakfast.
The rest of the day was a frenzy of activity. The shark dives can wait for another blog, except to say that I did indeed flood the housing of my underwater video (but not my stills camera) through some carelessly missed specs of grit in the seal. Only the third time in my life I have done that after around a thousand dives. So my video camera became a beautifully machine piece of Sony engineering reduced to scrap metal and glass. It was almost a week later I was finally able to download and start to go through the images I took at dawn. Although many were extraordinarly beautiful, the one shown here, for me, was the stand out. I photograph dawns and sunsets rather a lot, and often in quite remote and magnificent locations, but I have never since observed a dawn quite like that morning.
Fine Art Prints and Wall Art
If you like the image of Pacific harbour Dawn, it is available to purchase in a wide range of media and sizes directly from my website. These include as traditional giclée prints, stretched and flat mounted canvas, metal prints (dye directly infused on sheet aluminium) and acrylic, from 8 inches up to 48 inches across. My prints are produced by Bay Photo Labs in Santa Cruz, California. I choose bay Photo Labs for the excellence of their quality, with over 40 years providing printing services to professional photographers, their constant innovation, combining the latest technology and innovation with the finest traditional techniques, and their committment to the highest environmental standards using green technology. You can buy my prints directly here at www.colinmunroimages.com. If you are outside of North America, and would prefer a printer in your region, please contact me directly. I will be adding printers in Europe and S.E. Asia soon.
Christmas is coming, and with this thought in mind I’ve produced a new range of fine art prints on canvas.
I spent this Hallowe’en in a small, backpacking two-man tent with my ten year old son, near the base of Ben Nevis. It had been a wet and chilly day, with gale force winds howling across Rannoch Moor and through Glen Coe when we passed though earlier in the day. As we sat in a pub restuarant in Fort William, thawing and drying out over large plates of chips, I gave him the choice of bailing. We could stay in a hotel tonight if you like? But no, we had planned to camp and camping was what he wanted to do. I was pleased by his gumption (though part of me was thinking a warm, dry hotel wasn’t such a bad idea). So, by 8pm that evening we were tucked up in sleeping bags listening to the steady patter of rain on the tent walls whilst eating tinned curry by the weak candlelight emanating from a pumpkin lantern.
Tinned curry by candlelight. Hallowe’en in a two-man tent, on a very wet night in Glen Nevis.
Crawling out of our tent to face a sea of mud the following morning was a fairly grim affair. However we managed to pack up with extraordinary speed and after a hot breakfast the World seemed a much better place. The incessant rain had turned the River Nevis, impressive in ordinarly conditions, in to seething cauldron; much of the river was simply a thundering wall of white foam cascading down between the steep side of the Glen. It would have been the perfect location for great photographs were it not for the incessant rain. Each photo-opportunity had to be grabbed during the briefest intermission between downpours. Even so, with everything thoroughly drenched it, lenses becoming fogged or coated with droplets, I was left with only a few useable images at the end of a long and chilly day. Calum, on son, on the other hand stood up to the rigours admirably provided he was continually fed with chocolate. We will certainly be back in 2014, and hopefully climbing Ben Nevis together – in the summer months!
Helping Calum (or Calum helping me?) ford a mountain stream in Glen Nevis
A self timer pic as we headed up the glen.
River Nevis in spate, Glen Nevis, Scottish Highlands. Image MBI001493.
Signed canvas prints
You can buy signed, made to order, canvas wrap framed prints of this image directly from me here by selecting the print size you want using the Paypal drop down menu below and clicking the Buy it Now button. Please note that sizes are approximate; postage costs apply to mainland UK only. If you live further afield please email me directly to get costs, or you can buy through my Esty store (below).
Buy signed canvas prints, signed photographs ready to frame and gift tokens for my photography and Photoshop sessions through my Etsy Store.
The Three Sisters of Glen Coe, Glen Coe, Highlands, Scotland.
The Three Sisters, Glencoe, Scotland.
The Three sisters are three steep-sided ridges forming part of the mountain complex Bidean nam Bian along southern side of Glen Coe. These ridges are Gearr Aonach (Short Ridge), Aonach Dubh (Black Ridge) and Beinn Fhada (Long Hill). The summit of Bidean nam Bian lies at 1150m (3773ft) making it the highest mountain in the former county of Argyll (regional boundary changes in recent years means Argyll no lnger exists as a county). Bidean nam Bian is popular with walkers and Munro-baggers (Munros are Scottish mountains over 3000ft) summer and winter. The most popular route passes down through the col (low gap between two peaks) between Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach, more commonly known as the hidden valley or lost valley. The name derives from it’s reputation as a hiding place for rustled cattle taken by the Clan Macdonald in earlier times and the fact that the valley is all but hidden from view until one is in it.
Glen Coe is an awe inspiring landscape of looming mountains, the soul of which is most clearly seen on darky and stormy days. It is sometimes known as the ‘Glen of Weeping’ in reference to the Massacre of Glen Coe in February 1692 when Thirty-eight men of the Clan MacDonald were killed in the night by soldiers from the Earl of Argyll’s Regiment of Foot who they had accepted in as guests. Many more died of exposure on the hills as their homes had been burnt down. The soldier in command of the Foot Regiment was Captain Robert Campbell of GlenLyon; this fact, allied to an existing history of feuding between the Campells and MacDonalds and attempts by the Government of the time to deflect blame and have this seen as no more than inter-clan feuding. The orders for the massarce were in fact signed by King William II (King Willaim III or England).
The dramatic scenery of Glen Coe has formed the backdrop for many big budget films; these include Highlander, Rob Roy, Braveheart and, more recently, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the summer of 2003 vistors to the glen occasionally stumbled across Hadrig’s hut nestly behind the Clachaig Inn.
The picture. I took this image at 16:45 on the 31st of October 2013 (Hallowe’en). I was on a brief walking and camping trip with my ten year old son during school half term. It was a wild day; storm force winds were battering the west coast. The wind was literally howling down through the glen driving needles of rain before it and forcing me to keep one hand on my camera tripod at all times lest it was blown over. At 15 minutes to 5pm the sun had just set, though this was not obvious through the thick black cloud overhead, but an already gloomy day was darkening rapidly. As light was disappearing I dispensed with the polarising filter I had been using earlier but kept the gradient nuetral density filter. The image is a composite of three seperate exposures, ranging from a 1/60th to a 1/15th of a second duration, to capture detail in both the dark mountain shadows and the clouds overhead. Between each exposure rain droplets had to be carefully dried off the filter in front of the camera lens and the entire camera covered by my jacket (taking care not to accidentally jostle the camera or tripod) until the next brief gap between squalls allowed another image to be taken.
As Christmas draws near, why not give a photographic art of local landscapesas a gift? My Dartmoor images are available as art prints and cards. These can be purchased dierct from me (see below). As a long term Devon resident, and keen supporter of Devon Wildlife Trust and its work, 10% of all purchases made before Christmas will be donated to the Devon Wildlife Trust. All images on my website are watermarked. This will NOT appear on the print.
I’ve been taking a few Dartmoor images recently. The moor always looks more interesting as the weather turns colder and the days shorter. This has resulted in a few nights camping out. Sometimes chasing the elusive sunrise that remains hidden behind a thick blanket of grey cloud; sometimes up to mid-thigh in freezing fast-flowing rivers. So I’ve decided to pull a few together, some old, some new. I try and steer clear of well worn styles and try to capture the feel and atmosphere of the moor, the bleak, harsh beauty and the wide open spaces. As ever, all my images are available to purchase as fine art prints, each printed to order to specific requirements. If you’d like to know more then email me here.
Image 1346. Lichen covered granite boulders of a dry stone wall. Dartmoor Devon.
Image 1002. The glow from a lantern inside a dome tent on a starry, moonlit night on Dartmoor
Image 1054. Icicles and ice formations around a fast flowing stream on the steep-sided Teign Valley, Dartmoor, Devon.
Image 1019. Boulders and small waterfalls on the East Dart River, high on Dartmoor above Two Bridges. Dartmoor National Park
Image 1057. Icicles form along the lip of a rocky overhang on the steep sides of the River Teign Valley, East Dartmoor, Dartmoor National Park.
Image 1348. The East Dart River tumbles through a boulder strewn valley, East Dartmoor.
Image 791. Icicles over a moorland stream, Dartmoor National Park, Devon.
Image 41. Icicles above a small waterfall on the South Teign River, Dartmoor.
Image 1349. Wind dried bones picked clean by ravens and foxes. Dartmoor National Park.
Image 1020. The boulder-strewn steep sided valley of the East Dart River above Two Bridges, Dartmoor National Park, Devon
Image 1021. Boulders and small waterfalls on the East Dart River, high on Dartmoor above Two Bridges. Dartmoor National Park.Fine Art Prints.
FINE ART PRINTS All of the above images can be puchased as Fine Art, archive quality prints on high grade paper or canvas.
Prints up to 10×15 inches (25x38cm) size are produced on Fuji Crystal Archive DP Professional Paper using the latest Fuji Frontier Digital Wet Photographic processing. This system produces rich, vibrant colours and has an archival life of up to 35 years, making ideal for producing long lasting prints. They are available in Pearl or Gloss finish.
8×12 inches (20x30cm) prints are available for only £22 per print.
10×15 inches (25x38cm) prints are available for only £32 per print.
If you are interested in purchasing one or more prints please call or email me stating the finish (pearl or gloss) and the size required. Currently I am happy to accept PayPal, bank transfer, cheque or cash on collection. Cheques will need to clear before delivery.
Please add £2.50 for postage and packaging to mainland UK, worldwide postage on request.
Larger prints, up to 62 inches (1075cm) across are available.
These can be printed on photo gloss or pearl paper, fine art rag paper or on canvas.
Block mounts and backlit
Again the prints can be supplied in block mounts or as a print for backlighting. Please contact me for details and prices.
HOW TO BUY. If you are interested in any of the above options please email or call me, 07926 478 199, stating the Image Number (given in caption), image size, finish (pearl or gloss) and number of images and how you would like to pay. I will then reply confirming the amount.
Paypal: To pay for prints by simply log in to paypal and make the payment to colin (at) colinmunrophotography.com. Bank transfer: To pay by bank transfer simply let me know in your email and I will include the account details in my response. Cheque: To pay by cheque, let me know and I will include the postal address in my reply. Please note that you will need to allow extra time for cheques to clear on delivery times. Confirmation:Once I receive payment I will email you confirming this. Prints should then be despatched within five working days.
You can search my blog for prints for sale by typing ‘Prints for sale’ in the seach box at the top, or simply by clicking this link.
Email me or telephone +44 (0)7926478199 for prices and delivery details.
More... See more of my Devon images fine art prints here
Old wooden boat trapped in ice covered mudflats
More of my Dartmoor images are available on Photoshelter, where prints can be bought or images licensed click here
A selection of my images are available on Redbubble (Australia) as prints, posters and cards here
Dawn over Cockwood Harbour on a frosty December morning.
Courses, Classes and Workshops. If you like my Dartmoor images you may be interested in my one day landscape photography courses for individuals and small groups autumn/winter 2012. These will be based around the Exe and Teign Estuaries and East Dartmoor. More info here.
Enfield Bullet 500cc at sunset.
Photoshop is an essential part of my toolkit for successful landscape photographs, in the same way we used to dodge and burn prints when working with film. If you would like to learn more about the potential of Photoshop to enhance your images why not sign up for one of my one to one (or small group) Photoshop sessions. These are economical and targetted at exactly what you want to learn. More info here.
A small stream Dunsford Wood, Teign Valley, Devon, England.
Like all photographers I am sometimes asked how I created certain images, and how difficult getting certain pictures were. The answer in most cases is ‘not that difficult provided you’ve planned it and are well prepared’. But sometimes I just make things difficult for myself.
The above picture is a long exposure, 30 seconds in this case, used to blur movement (in the above picture the flowing water) producing a milky, fluid and slightly surreal look to the flowing stream. Obviously the amount of light hitting the camera sensor has to be limited to compensate for such a long exposure. Stopping down to a very small aperture helps but will only get you so far, rarely all the way to 30 seconds exposure. Stacking neutral density filters in front of the lens is one way, but a simpler way (especially this time of year when days are short) is to shoot at dusk, when light levels are naturally low and long shutter speeds are not merely desirable but also necessary.
Late Christmas Day I made a snap decision to get out on to Dartmoor, go for a walk and get some nice images. I left in a rush, trying to multi-task ineffectively as usual. The moor was not inspiring – low grey cloud and steady drizzle do not make for great pictures, so I turned around and reluctantly headed home. Light was fading fast when I found this little stream in the steep, wooded valley of the River Teign. I pulled over and decided to try and get some shots. This was where my rushing and lack of preparation came home to roost. I realised I had left my walking boots by the entrance to my boat and had only the city shoes I was wearing with me. Worse still, upon opening my tripod case (not checked before I left) I discovered that somehow the tripod head had snapped in two (I’ll be writing to Manfrotto shortly). Luckily I also had a small, six inch, tabletop tripod with me, but that meant actually getting in to the stream and perching it on top of boulders if I were obtain any useable shots. By the time I found a suitable spot along the stream it was about 4:15pm and getting gloomier by the minute. A quick scan around confirmed that there were no suitable boulders at the edge of the stream on which to mount the tripod; there was no alternative, shoes and socks had to come off and I had to wade out in to the middle of the stream. Thirty minutes later I stumbled to the side. The light had well and truly gone, so it was time to pack up. I had by then also lost all feeling below the ankles. It was not until i started driving home again that feeling began to return to my feet, doing so in painful waves as flow returned to constricted blood vessels. I had ample time to reflect on the stupidity of my lack of planning. My first actions the following day were to buy a spare tripod and place wellingtons and thick socks on the boot of my car in readiness. Hopefully that is at least one mistake I won’t repeat. Meanwhile I have now place some of these images in my art images of Devon Landscapes Gallery. This can be viewed (and prints purchased) here. Hopefully it was worth the effort. Colin