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Behind The Shot: Intentional Settings for a Storytelling Landscape


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Could contain: Nature, Outdoors, Sky, Scenery, Horizon, Sunrise, Building, Lighthouse, Tower, Landscape

Angie Purcell is a landscape and nature photographer based in northeast Pennsylvania. She enjoys photographing everything from grand landscapes to tiny macro details. She is especially fond of experimenting with shutter speed to produce different qualities and feelings in her landscape photos. Angie shared this stunning shot in our recent Golden Hour Challenge and we immediately wanted to learn more about the story behind the image! Keep reading to hear Angie's perspective. 

I was on a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine and took a side trip to Portland, Maine along the way. I was aware of this lighthouse, the Portland Head Light and knew I wanted to photograph it while I was there. Since it faces east it was an obvious choice to shoot at sunrise. 

I used my Sony Alpha 7RIII because of its capabilities for high dynamic range and resolution. It's a great camera to handle nearly any light Mother Nature may throw at you. The Bright Monitoring feature was helpful in arranging my shot before the sun rose. I used the Sony 16-35mm GM lens because I wanted a wide angle shot to capture the lighthouse, ocean and sun but enough zoom to be able to adjust my composition to my liking.

My Sony Alpha 7RIII and Sony 16-35 GM were mounted on my tripod and I began by using Bright Monitoring to compose my shot. I utilized Photopills to double check sunrise time and the sun position within my frame. The morning was calm and still and I decided I wanted to try to capture that peaceful feeling so I elected to apply a circular polarizer and a 6-stop ND filter to slow the motion of the waves. I selected a focal length of 29mm to capture all the elements I wished to include. I set my aperture to F22 and ISO 100 to produce a sunburst on the horizon and keep my image free of noise. After some experimentation I settled on a shutter speed of 20 seconds to produce a dreamy blur in the water but still be able to see some slight motion lines on the break. 

To edit the photo I utilized Adobe Lightroom to make minor adjustments in vibrance and white balance and Adobe Photoshop to edit out some dust spots.

Thanks for sharing more about how you created this shot @apurcell!

And make sure you check out our latest photo challenge here!

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