Cemaes Bay, Anglesey / by Neil Alexander

Cemaes Harbour, Anglesey at sunset - 1/60 sec f8 ISO200

 This last weekend I was to be found swanning around Wales for a couple of social occasions, so as always I took an obligatory bag load of camera gear. I also managed to peg on an extra night purely to focus on some landscape work spending my first night under canvas in a very long time, but more on that in another post.

Cemaes Harbour, Anglesey at sunset - 30secs exp f16 ISO200

The two photographs above were made in a delightful little part of Anglesey called Cemaes where some lovely friends have a great little bolt-hole to escape from the madness of a very busy urban life. I can be as lazy as the next man, and as the house is literally only 100m from where I shot these photographs it really was as slothful a landscape photograph as I've ever shot. Still as the opportunity presented itself, I'd have been mad to miss it.

The photographs were only taken 9 minutes apart  - the top one was a fairly regular 1/60 sec exposure as the sun was about to set. I used a 0.9 Neutral Density Grad filter to darken down the sky by 3 stops. For the bottom one the sun had just gone down and I wanted to smooth out the waves in the sea and darken down the sky a bit to even up the light in the foreground. So as well as using the 0.9 Grad, I also popped on my Singh- Ray Variable Neutral Density Filter, dialed it in about half way, stopped down my aperture a couple of stops more and this gave me a 30 second exposure which softened the sea nicely.

I've blogged on the topic of shooting long exposure photographs several times, you can read more here. I'm still undecided as to which of the two I prefer to be honest. Compositionally they're almost identical. I like the way the orange glow of the sun in the top frame is just peeping out from underneath the clouds, but the apparent stillness of the sea is also very appealing.

What do you think?

Incidentally, if you haven't yet downloaded the May 2012 wallpaper, check it out here