4:45am my alarm went off.
A sleepy look outside from the bedside window, "still dark....great" I thought.
I'd taken my clothes downstairs the night before so not to wake my wife or two sons.
After quickly getting dressed I jumped in the car and set off to my location for the day - a little frequented spot on the River Ancholme, known as Atterby Carr.
With every passing minute the sky lightened more and more and I kept thinking "would I be set up in time for the light to be right".
I soon arrived on site and took my bag and gear from the boot of the car and trundled the 100 metres or so to the river bank.
To the east the sky was bright orange and I hurried to get the camera on a tripod.
I took a few exploratory shots to get my exposure in the ball park then got in position in front of my chosen subject waiting for the light to change as the sun came above the horizon.
This is the first of two articles exploring the preparation and execution of a typical landscape photography session.
I'd walked down this particular stretch of the River Ancholme dozens of times before. Here the River is almost narrow enough to jump across.
Trees line the banks and there is an abundance of wildlife.
One early winter morning I visited the location and spotted a small copse or "Spinney" (there's a good old Lincolnshire word for you!) surrounded by mist and lots of rabbits in the fields nearby. Clouds of redwings flew in from the north while I took a few minutes to enjoy the solitude.
On the drive home this triggered an idea "could I capture the spinney lit in the early morning on its eastern side".
I hoped to be lucky enough to see some wildlife using the spinney for cover in the otherwise flat open farmland. The flat vistas and big skies are a stalwart of Lincolnshire Landscape Photography so its important to know what to expect.
I spent a number of hours planning when to arrive, checking long range weather forecasts and deciding which gear to take.
The plan involved arriving before dawn, in more or less camouflage gear to avoid spooking any wildlife.
The sun would rise over the Wolds to the east after it had become daylight. Dawn in late April dawn takes place at around 6am BST.
Arriving a good hour before dawn would leave plenty of flexibility in terms of setting up, getting the best composition and exploring lens choices.
Gear wise, tripod and cable release are musts. Long exposures at narrow apertures would be the order of the day. This means I would need a stable base with no risk of knocking the camera when releasing the shutter.
A rundown of the gear I commonly carry with me when photographing landscapes:
- Short zoom lens 18-70mm
- Wide angle zoom lens 10-20mm
- Cable release (also known as an intervalometer)
- Carbon fibre tripod with panning head (it's a bit of a walk so a light tripod is a must))
- Polarising filter and step rings
- Billingham bag to put it all in
- Warm clothes
- Wellington boots
If you would like to try landscape photography, the above list of gear is a good place to start. Lens choices are down to your personal preference, there are no hard and fast rules.
Why a Billingham?
My bag choice is great for me because I love vintage looking gear and also the bag has a membrane layer between the internal and external canvas layers. This means it's fantastic at keeping my gear dry especially when putting it down on wet grass, so common on clear spring mornings!
Other similar bag choices are available. The only pre-requisites are:
- It needs tobe big enough to hold your gear
- waterproof enough to stop and damp from getting in.
In my next article I'll go into more detail in terms of how the session went and share some more of the images taken that morning.
Have you got any thoughts/opinions on the article above?
I'd love to hear your feedback and I try to respond to all queries so please feel free to drop me a comment below.
Many people ask what I do when I’m not out taking pictures. The answer is a lot. Time spent snapping is only a very small percentage of the work of a professional photographer. Due to a camera fault i’m unable to take pictures at the moment so I spent some time thinking about what I’ll get up to until it’s fixed.
St Hybald’s Church in Hibaldstow is currently undergoing repair work to it’s tower. As a resident of the village and someone who appreciates having this lovely old building close to home I’ve decided to donate profits from the sale of 3 of my Hibaldstow prints to St Hybald’s Funds. Get your copy here and help save our Church.
A write up of the background and approach behind my latest featured print – Hibaldstow Poppy Field. New from Home James Media – Lincolnshire Landscape Photography by Robin Ling.