People often ask me if the colours in my landscape photography have been enhanced in some way. My answer is always the same - I tell people that if they stop the next time they are outside at sunrise or sunset and take the time to stop and watch the landscape, they will see amazing colours too....Read More
So named because of its dangerous currents, the Murder Hole in County Donegal is easily the most ruggedly beautiful beach that I know of. County Donegal, in which it lies, is a largely overdeveloped area which seemingly has a holiday home built on every hillside. However, the beauty of this beach is futureproofed by the nature of the surrounding terrain.Read More
Urris is a seascape photographer's dream...Read More
2015 has been a reasonably good year for my landscape photography. I have broadened my horizons with several trips to Cyprus, reformed old landscape photography friendships and enjoyed the beautiful scenery around me as much as ever.Read More
A landscape photographer's guide to Dunluce Castle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.Read More
Dunseverick, County Antrim - Northern Ireland Landscape Photography by Stephen Dickey
One of the most important stages of converting your RAW landscape photograph in software such as Lightroom is determining your white balance. The white balance you choose determines the colours in your image. Think of it as the foundation of all your colour work that follows - saturation, hue etc.
My own experience as a landscape photographer has taught me that, during the golden hour and onwards into dusk, the camera's automatic white balance struggles to find a useable white balance. It often leaves the image with a very strong colour cast, typically cool in tone.
In the slideshow above you can see a landscape photograph I captured at Dunsererick Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. I have converted the RAW file several times, altering only the white balance. The best way to show the difference in white balance is to show you visually.
You can see that the 'as shot' white balance, which is what the camera automatically determined, contains a lot of magenta and doesn't feel like the sunset I was fortunate enough to enjoy.
Next is the 'auto' setting. Note that this is the automatic setting in Lightroom, not the 'as shot' value which was determined automatically by the camera. This makes the situation even worse and moves the colours further away from what I remember the scene looking like.
One might assume that by choosing a white balance setting which matched the weather conditions prevalent in the photograph, the correct result would be obtained. Whilst the 'cloudy' setting is closer to reality is still isn't quite warm enough.
I have found that in most circumstances, taking a custom white balance from a white breaking wave produces a very good result. I use this technique in many of my landscape photographs. If that fails then taking a reading from a grey cloud also works well. However, in this case I feel the best result was obtained from the wave.
In conclusion, don't feel tied down to choosing a white balance preset for your landscape photographs. Take the time to experiment and build that strong colour foundation that your work deserves!
The landscape photograph above was taken from Portstewart using my Canon 6D and Canon 70-300mm L lens. I was facing west towards the hills of northern County Donegal, Ireland.
As a landscape photographer I often experience spectacular light. However, it isn't very often that I experience light as unusual as in the shot above.
Throughout the afternoon the weather over the north coast of Ireland had been mixed. Scattered cloud rolled lazily through the skies, as did overcast and clearer patches of weather. For landscape photographers this is ideal, it adds variation and interest to compositions.
The closer it got to sunset, which was at 19:20 on this late September evening, the cloudier it got. About an hour before sunset it was totally overcast and I couldn't see a single clear patch in the sky.
I decided to drive to Portstewart Strand, with the aim of photographing the wooden posts on the beach there. I thought that even if I couldn't capture any dramatic light then the strong shapes would add something to the landscape photograph I intended to take which was of waves crashing around the poles. Upon my arrival at the beach I was dismayed to find that the tide was too far out for my plan to work.
I decided to head to the rocky shore to the east of the beach. While I had been driving to the beach I noticed an orange glow on the hills shown in this photograph. I thought a large structure must have been on fire due to the intensity of the colour. However, 15 minutes later while I stood on the rocks, the 'fire' in the distance grew and grew in size until the colour started to fill the sky. I then realised that somewhere in the distance there must be a small hole in the clouds letting the last light of the day through.
This was the first time I have seen something like this happen. So, although this landscape photograph is far from being my best, I'm happy to call it unique in my gallery!
A landscape photographer's guide to photographing the Skerries, off the coast of Portrush, Northern Ireland.Read More
Canon 500D, Canon 50mm f1.8, f6.3, 1/60s, ISO 100
Whiterocks beach is a Northern Ireland landscape photography location I return to on a regular basis, especially on clear evenings during spring and summer when the sun sets further to the north.
Sunsets come in lots of different colours, red, pink, orange, or as in this case, a mixture of lots of stunning colours. I love how, in this landscape photograph, the colour changes changes gradually throughout different parts of the image, with the reflections in the water varying considerably.
One of the feelings I always have at Whiterocks Beach is a sense of space, and as I looked through the viewfinder I felt that the couple taking a late evening stroll really added a sense of scale to the landscape.
In landscape photography, and indeed all types of photography, the viewers eye is normally drawn to the area of highest contrast. I intentionally placed the sun in the centre of the image and used the clouds and sand to create a natural frame.