Saturday, 20 December 2014

It was a damp and cold night

Every time I plan to visit Kent I'm convinced it's further away than the last time I ventured forth. And I suppose to be fair, Reculver is on the coast, just outside Herne Bay and perhaps further than previous Kent forays. The plan was to converge on a coastal car park for 2pm, armed with waterproof coat and trousers, warm hat, scarf and wellingtons. After I completed my three hour plus epic (bus, train, train, train and taxi) journey I was encouraged to wear all my spare clothes rather than carry them as its too windy on the beach to take extra items. Having eschewed waterproof trousers, I thought I could protect myself from the freezing, damp, gets into your bones sand with a groundsheet. But the aforementioned wind had other ideas. As try as I might to create a small zone to protect my camera bag, set up my tripod and perch upon, a cheeky breeze would whip it up showering new camera with damp sand and ensuring the merest movement would ruche up the edges until you're sat unprotected sand anyway. I may have to give up and succumb to waterproof trousers. Once the photography was over I still had another four hours before arriving home and able to get into dry clothes. Hmmm. Luckily the photography was pretty good. I've been dying to put the new baby Leica through its paces, perhaps a long shutter speed with a big stopper and ND grads. This seemed to be the perfect spot to play with the dramatic skies. But the Leica was like a sulky toddler. It had mysteriously acquired some sort of limiter that prevented a slow shutter speed, you could have as fast as you like but not slow. Robert suggested I reset back to factory settings to see if that would resolve the unknown issue, but I was determined to fathom it out. I had to just ramp up the more impressive ISO and clean up the resultant noise in post. Very infuriating! The train journey back I could see what was wrong but not how to resolve it. The shutter speed menu setting I wanted to alter, was greyed out so after going round in circles, been totally unable to reveal the hidden menu options, I restored back to factory settings. Annoying I don't know how it happened in the first place, or how to fix if it manages to get into a similar state again.
I'd been meaning to get on one of Robert Canis's workshops to Reculver, we'd been hoping to get our own private group together as a successor to Dungeness. However, the perfect storm of Robert's schedule, all our diaries, the tides, the sunset times and the prerequisite of it being a non-school night hadn't occurred, meant it had been impossible to organise. Luckily a spot became available for this Saturday, which I snapped up just for me and I can try to organise it for the group next year.
The ruined tower of Reculver makes a perfect focal point and I was surprised at what we could capture in the inky darkness after the sun had set and we walked to the other side of the tower. The advantage was that we were sheltered from the wind by said tower and in my case, could try and fathom why everything was so dark. Removing the polarising filter from earlier certainty helped that, but with the shutter refusing to consider the new "bulb" setting, it was all about ISO! I think I managed to whittle down 182 photographs down to a reasonable representative 5. Now to pick my next workshop!

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