After my first visit to see Sarsia, I had an idea – what would the scene look like using a long exposure? For that I’d need a cloudy, dry weekend day, which as the summer progressed were annoyingly infrequent, however a careful eye on the weather showed one to be upcoming.
I was quite happy with the composition from my first visit so really it would be a case of replicating that. Care would be needed though as I’d have to set the tripod up very close to the edge of the dock and I didn’t fancy the idea of me / my gear crashing onto the wreck and into the water. I’d also need my Lee graduated and ND filters to get the effect I had in mind.
The day turned out to be rather breezy, which was far from ideal for a long exposure as a) you don’t want any movement in the tripod and b) did I mention that I’d be very close to the edge of the dock?
I don’t use my filters very often, certainly not often enough really to have justified their high price, but not being a landscape photographer I knew when I bought them they’d not get that much use. To that end, I don’t use them often enough to become proficient so I adopt a very much hit and hope approach to their use.
The tripod was set up on the dock, the scene was composed and the focus locked, and then the filters slid into position (I used a 10 stop ND filter to freeze the water and a graduated filter to darken the sky). I also had a remote control shutter release and timer which allowed me to activate the shutter without touching the camera.
Keeping the tripod still was a challenge in the wind, as was stopping the camera moving on the tripod mount when in portrait format. I do have an L-bracket but not an adapter for the tripod I took – note to self, take the other tripod and L-bracket next time! But I managed to get a couple of usable images out of it.
The image I had in mind wasn’t achievable without some image manipulation. The ship lies in a commercial dock, in the background is a steel stock yard with a gantry crane that was busy shuttling back and forth, but I envisioned the ship on a flat calm sea.
To that end, I had to remove the stock yard, in fact the entire horizon. To do this I;
Converted to black and white on the background layer.
Duplicated the background layer.
On the duplicated layer, i cut out the detail around the mast that was on the horizon and copied the mast to a new layer. I then carefully erased all the dock around the mast.
On the duplicated layer, cloned the sky over the mast.
I then made a selection of the sky and dragged it down to cover the dock. I then applied some vertical blur to soften the horizon.
As the cut out mast was on a different layer, this was made visible and now appeared over the new dock-free horizon.
I then merged the layers, and exported to jpeg.
By way of comparison, here are the original images!