LOCATIONS GUIDE

Allt nan Giubhas, Argyll Keen to capture this well-photographed area in an unfamiliar way, Paul Holloway decides to explore its potential as a sunset location The stream Allt nan Giubhas is a well-known viewpoint near Glencoe and forms a great lead in towards the iconic mountaintop Stob Dearg at the western end of Buachaille Etive Mor. Most images I have seen taken, and indeed most of ones I have taken myself, from this location are early morning shots with the warm light of the rising sun playing over the moor and the peak of Stob Dearg. LOCATIONS GUIDEWith well-known locations like this I think it can be good to try something a little different, and it occurred to me that I had never seen a sunset image taken from here. Looking at my sun compass, which plots the position of sunrise and sunset directions, I saw that in late August and early September the sun would be setting behind Stob Dearg. So, provided weather conditions were right, this was potentially an ideal time for a sunset behind the mountain. With this plan in mind I made my first trip at the end of August. After a promising start, however, weather conditions turned against me, with a stubborn grey band of cloud rolling over the horizon obscuring the possibility of a sunset. Nearly a week later, the forecast again looked promising, so I set off to arrive in good time for the sunset. I parked my car next to the bridge over Allt nan Giubhas and set off down the stream to look for possible compositions. I was pleased to see there was plenty of water in the stream following rain the day before, meaning there was a fair amount of white water in the rapids that would add a sense of drama and movement in the final image. As the sun began to disappear behind Stob Dearg, I set up my tripod with one leg on a rock in the river and the other two legs on the bank, to get a viewpoint with the central foreground right over the rushing water. To see into the viewfinder I had to get into the water, so I was glad I had brought my wellies. The most obvious composition from here was a portrait format shot emphasising the line of the stream leading towards the mountain. I could also see the potential for a landscape format image, which would make more of the heather on the bank of the stream. Reviewing my first composition, I saw that I had cut the rock on the right bank in half and felt it would look better to have the whole rock in and lose some of the heather on the right. So, with my wideangle lens at its widest focal length, I recomposed to give this more balanced composition. The heather and the rock made a natural frame for the river. By now, the clouds above Stob Dearg were beginning to take on the warm hues of sunset and the colours were beautifully reflected in the water. I fitted a three-stop ND grad to provide more balance to the exposure. I thought of adding a second graduated filter to bring down the exposure from the highlights further, but felt that would make the water too bright in the image. I could see from the highlight blinkies on my screen that I still had some burnout around the peak, but I reckoned I could correct that in post-processing. I carried on taking photographs along the stream until the last light had faded from the sky. Driving home, I felt that glow of satisfaction you get after a successful photo shoot and was pleased with my attempt to come up with something a bit different from this classic location. Where is it? Allt nan Giubhas is a stream located at the foot of Buachaille Etive Mor, approximately three miles from Altnafeadh in the Scottish Highlands. Planning your trip How to get there Take the A82 north from Tyndrum until you get to the turn off for the Glencoe Mountain Resort on the left-hand side, about eight miles beyond Bridge of Orchy. Turn off here and almost immediately thereparking space on the right side of the road, next to the bridge over the Allt nan Giubhas. What to shoot Shoot down the river towards Stob Dearg and straight across the stream towards Sron na Creise. Best time of day Early morning for first light on the mountains and evening for sunset behind Stob Dearg. What to take Wellies, waterproofs, midge net and repellent, ND grads. Nearest pub & accommodation Less than a mile to the Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe, PH49 4HY, 01855 851259, www.kingshousehotel.co.uk. Other times of year There are photographic opportunities at any time of the year. Ordnance Survey map LR 41 Within 30 miles » Blackrock Cottage (400 metres). Head up the road towards the Glencoe Mountain Resort and youfind one of the iconic views of the area; the cottage, with Stob Dearg in the background. » Sisters of Glencoe (6 miles). For a less photographed viewpoint of the Three Sisters of Glencoe, head north on the A82 and park in the car park below Am Bodach (300 metres west of the house,  Allt-na-Reigh ). Take the well-made but steep Am Bodach path, which gives excellent views across the glen to the Three Sisters. » Loch Achtriochtan (8 miles). Further up the A82, and lying at the west end of Glencoe, this loch gives good views across to Aonach Eagach and the imposing cliffs of Aonach Dubh. Chesterton windmill, Warwickshire With a striking 17th century landmark, a dramatic sunset sky and a strong lead-in to play with, Nick Tsiatinis explores the photographic potential of this intriguing location It was one of those typical late summer Saturday afternoons —cloudy with a touch of rain here and there —and I was glad to be indoors. Nevertheless, I was itching to go out with my camera. For the past couple of weeks Ibeen toying with the idea of visiting Chesterton windmill at night for a star field photograph, but the persistent cloud and rain had prevented it. During previous visits to Chesterton, my attention had been drawn to the windmill, which sits at the peak of a hill, overlooking the village. A well-defined grass path leads up through the crops that grow in the surrounding fields. Checking PhotographerEphemeris’, I found that the sun would be setting along the same line as the path, meaning I could use it as a lead-in towards the windmill, with the sunset behind. Looking out of my window in the direction of the sunset I could see potential as the clouds were starting to break. I quickly made the decision to head out. Arriving at Chesterton, I found the grass path overlaid with a rubber covering, which confused me somewhat. All became clear when I discovered from some dog walkers that, until the day before, the windmill had been covered with scaffolding for renovations; the rubber was to protect the ground from maintenance vehicles. It was obviously lucky timing on my part! I made my way up the path and, while the clouds switched between broken and solid coverage, I set my tripod up at the side of the path. I fitted my lens with a three-stop hard ND grad to hold detail in the sky, combining it with a three-stop solid ND to try and get some movement in the slow-moving clouds. This didnprovide the effect I wanted so I replaced the three-stop solid with the Lee Big Stopper and, as the sun was now hidden behind the cloud with the light rapidly fading, I went for an extreme, five-minute long exposure, which gave me the movement. Pleased with the dayefforts I headed home, having proved to myself that, on occasion, unfavourable weather can produce very favourable results. Where is it? Chesterton windmill is located just off the Fosse Way, around eight miles south-east of Warwick. Planning your trip How to get there From Warwick, take the A425 East on Myton Road, following it past Leamington Spa railway station. At the roundabout with the B4455 Fosse Way take the third exit (right) and travel south down the Fosse Way. After two miles turn left onto Chesterton road. After half a mile turn right onto Windmill Hill Lane and park up on the verge. The gate to Chesterton windmill is just on the right. What to shoot Close-ups of the windmill structure are always pleasing, and there are many options to shoot views of the windmill in the landscape. Best time of day Sunrise and sunset are particular favourites, while dark nights are good for star trails. What to take Tripod and filters, as well as a warm coat for windier days. Nearest pub The Crown Inn, Crown Street, Harbury, CV33 9HE, 01926 614995, www.crowninnharbury.co.uk Nearest accommodation Model Farm B&B, Bush Heath Road, Harbury, CV33 9JH, 01926 613988, www.modelfarm-harbury.co.uk Other times of year In April and May the surrounding fields are full of oilseed rape, and in December sunset occurs behind the windmill. Bossington beach, Somerset Having researched the tide times at a favourite beach, Adam Burton works within a narrow time frame to compose an image that captures the beauty of the location at sunset Where is it? Bossington beach is located on the north coast of Somerset in the east of Exmoor National Park. Planning your trip How to get there Leave the M5 at Bridgwater and follow the A39 westwards, heading for Minehead. Pass through Minehead and continue for four miles until you reach a sharp bend at the village of Allerford. Turn right here and continue down a small lane until you reach the village of Bossington, where you will find a National Trust car park. Alternatively, continue on the A39 until you reach Porlock. From here, take the right turning signposted Porlock Weir, where you will find another car park at the western edge of the beach. What to shoot Beach scenics as well as close-up details of the wooden posts and pebbles. For an elevated view over the beach, climb up to Hurlstone Point. Best time of day Both sunrise and sunset can work well here. What to take Wellies are a must if you want to avoid wet feet! Nearest pub/accommodation Millers at the Anchor, Porlock Weir, TA24 8PB, 01643 862753, www.millersuk.com/anchor Other times of year Any time of the year can work well at this location, but high summer can be ideal to catch the sun rising and setting over the sea. When it comes to photographing beaches, I usually find myself drawn to the dramatic rocky coves that can be found in abundance throughout Devon and Cornwall, around where I live. I guess this originates from a deep yearning for wilder shores, a desire instilled in me from my upbringing near the rather more sedate south coast in Hampshire. Beaches in that part of the world consist mostly of sand and shingle, separated by endless lines of wooden groynes. The posts always made excellent subjects for photographs but, for me, they were usually a compromise for the wilder scenes I really wanted to capture. So, I find it very ironic that, after moving to the south-west in 2008, the beach that I have photographed probably more than any other is Bossington; a location that is full of wooden groynes! LOCATIONS GUIDEThe beach curves in a grand sweep between Hurlstone Point in the east and the village of Porlock Weir in the west. The wooden groynes are the obvious stars of the show, and can be found running towards the sea throughout much of the beach. Some are more photogenic than others; usually the well-weathered posts make the best subjects. There are other appealing aspects to Bossington, such as the large, rounded pebbles, coloured beautifully in pastel shades of pink, grey and blue, which cover the beach. When photographed beneath colourful twilight skies, and especially when wet, the pebbles make gorgeous subjects. Being close to the Bristol Channel with its massive tidal range, timing is of the essence when visiting this beach. Over the years, I have become rather obsessed with recording the tide levels here. Despite sounding particularly nerdy, this has proved incredibly helpful in identifying which specific posts are ideal to photograph at any particular time. When I visited the beach to capture this shot, I timed my visit so that sunset would coincide with a fairly high tide as I wanted these posts to be surrounded by water in my photograph but not completely submerged. The window of opportunity is incredibly small. Just 20 minutes or so later, and the posts would be beneath the sea; 20 minutes earlier they would be surrounded by beach. I used my 16-35mm wideangle lens to include both the posts on the left and the sweep of the shore on the right of the frame. It was important to me to feature the posts in this composition, as they act as a balancing object to the headland on the right. Without them, the picture simply wouldnwork. I attached a Lee 0.9 ND grad filter to balance the brighter sky with the foreground. Noticing that the crashing waves were bringing a wide channel of white water to the shore, I decided to accentuate this by attaching a HiTech 1.2 ND filter to extend the shutter speed to 20 seconds. I had to work quickly as shortly after the posts were completely consumed by the incoming tide. Fortunately my precise recording of the tides had enabled me to capture the exact picture I was after, and I returned home feeling very pleased about the session. Within 30 miles » Watersmeet (13 miles). Beautiful deep wooded gorge following the rocky East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water. » Valley of Rocks (14 miles). Soaring cliffs and rocky tors can be found in this dramatic and unusual coastal valley. » Dunkery Beacon (5 miles). The highest point in Somerset, offering far reaching views in all directions. Its summit, Dunkery Hill, is a heather-covered moorland where Exmoor ponies roam freely. Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent The sun shines down on Clive Minnitt and three OP readers at beautiful Bedgebury, giving them the challenge of finding imaginitive images in high contrast light It doesnmatter how well you think you know your own country, there are always new and exciting locations waiting to be explored. This monthlocation’found me venturing to an area I had never previously visited. Bedgebury Pinetum is the home of the National Conifer Collection, and lies in a quiet corner of Kent. Although its beginnings can be traced to the 1840s, its development was accelerated when the Forestry Commission acquired it in 1925 and teamed up with Kew Gardens in joint management. In 1987, disaster struck, following the infamous Michael Fish weather forecast, and up to a third of the trees were destroyed in hurricane-force winds. This major setback was soon turned into a positive and many new trees were planted and the landscaping improved. The pinetum contains what is considered to the best conifer collection in the world. My first impressions were to wonder why I hadnbeen there before. The horrendous, bland conifer forests planted throughout the UK, mainly for tax purposes, always leave me cold and offer very little to photograph. Bedgebury, on the other hand, is a true revelation and a wonderful location to head to for a day out with the camera gear. There is such a variety of trees, shades and colour; expertly landscaped in such ways that there is always something else of interest around the next corner. Throw in the odd lake or two, a liberal sprinkling of deciduous trees, spring flowers, flowering shrubs and wildlife, and you have what is pretty close to a photographic nirvana. The weather provided Brian, Judy, Matt and I with our biggest challenge. Bland blue skies are not the easiest to work with, and at the time of our shoot, the lofty position of the sun generated high contrast and heavy shadows. It was good to see everyone exploring the many pathways in search of their images. Ia firm believer in changing tack to suit the conditions, and it does us good to step out of our comfort zone and to have to work hard to achieve success with our images. During the few hours we were at Bedgebury, we had to think laterally and imagine which subjects would suit the available light. The general consensus was that close-ups in the shade might be the best option. It soon became apparent that backlit subjects were abundant, too. Thank you to Judy, Matt and Brian for your great company and excellent contributions on what was a very enjoyable day. I must also thank OP Editor, Steve Watkins, and Peter d, Bedgebury Marketing Officer, for their valuable assistance in organising this gathering. Where is it? Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest is located east of the town of Tunbridge Wells, in Kent. Judy Andrews Age 58 Occupation Social Worker/Therapist Photographic experience Two-and-a-half years Preferred subject matter Landscape, macro and abstract Judy s best picture It was a beautiful and hot sunny day at Bedgebury Pinetum, which made it challenging for photography as there was so much contrasting light. I had tried some macro shots of the stunning rhododendrons but was finding it hard to get a sharp image due to the strong gusty wind. So, I decided to slow the shutter speed to get a more painterly effect, which I think shows the smoothness of the forms and subtle colours. Canon 450D with 100mm macro lens, ISO100, 0.6sec at f/11, tripod Clive s comments Judylovely abstract image is a good example of a different approach to adopt when faced with high contrast lighting. I enjoyed observing her working under the shade of a few trees and noticed that the branch she was photographing was dipping in and out of the sunlight as the trees swayed in the wind. The decision to wait until the flowers were in the shade worked in Judy s favour, and by adopting a slow shutter speed she was able to capture movement and create this abstract effect. I think her original plan was to capture every minute detail of the flower but this would have been very difficult, or even impossible, considering the windy conditions. I particularly like the tight composition. By ensuring that none of the background was included in the frame, Judy has eradicated all possible distractions. This image that would work well as one of a series, perhaps using different coloured plants to create a great combined effect. Matt Gibson Age 44 Occupation Print Room Manager Photographic experience Two-and-a-half years Preferred subject matter Landscapes and wildlife Matt s best picture The muted tones in the background coupled with the dark to light gradient draw your eye to the subject; the bright yellow flower. It is such a simple image, and this is not normally my photographic style, so I was very pleased with it. My main criticism is that the depth of field could have been a touch deeper on the flower itself. This image is, however, already printed and on my wall at home! Clive s comments Well done, Matt, for producing this super image. This shows the advantage of adopting a much lower viewpoint. I think the depth of field is fine, but I wonder if the vignetting has been slightly overdone. I hope I m not doing Matt a disservice but, on my screen, the dark shadows draw my eye away from the flower. I would prefer to lighten the corners a tad. The main strength of the image, as Matt rightly points out, is its simplicity. It s great to hear that Matt wasted no time in printing his image and already has it proudly displayed on the wall! We should all take inspiration from his example. Brian Bulley Age 59 Occupation Self-employed Photographic experience Close to 40 years Preferred subject matter Landscape Brian s best picture I chose this image as my best picture because it sums up the two key attributes of the location —water and pine trees —in a strong visual way. I spent 30 minutes at this location waiting for the sun to shine through the trees to hit the pine cone, and tried a number of different apertures and shutter speeds until I got the image I wanted. Clivecomments I only wish I had been there to see Brian working above and beyond the call of duty. Paddling and getting his feet wet shows great determination to capture the scene he had pre-visualised. In an ideal world I would have preferred the cone to have been in situ naturally, but that wasn t to be. On the other hand, that notion hardly sits well with my next suggestion, which would be to go one stage further and remove the submerged stick, which is visible in the bottom right hand corner. Surely, a little ’in either direction is acceptable and totally subjective! Ita great image, Brian, and excellent use of vision, light and time. There is detail in almost all the highlights on the cone, although I think they would benefit from being reduced slightly.

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