Sunset at Kimmeridge in the winter months is a popular spot for Dorset’s booming populace of landscape photographers. I shot it many times when I was still based in the county but I’d never got anything of this view looking west up the coast I was satisified with.
Some free time in my hometown earlier this year gave me the opportunity to achieve the shot I’d always wanted, the weather was looking changeable – always worth heading out on these klind of days. Being a weekday and an early sunset meant I wouldn’t be battling for tripod space with hordes of other photographers, just a few surfers returning from the water for company. I set up further back from the shore than I’d usually be because I wanted to work a longer focal length and bring the distant horizon and cliffs into the frame. (Also meant the camera didn’t get its usual salt wash!), filters – easy – we’re going with a Neutral Density Graduated Lee 0.9 to hold back the sky and an 6 Stop ND to give the long exposure blurring the water. Got this frame just before the sun came under the cloud and got too strong to handle.
The game pauses for 20 minutes while the sun moves through that gap, when it gets back to those low clouds just above the horizon we can shoot again, the clouds are blocking enough of it. Same sort of exposure and filter setup as before, this time I’m showing more of the cliffs on the right side, liking the strong cloud lineup and the diagonals from the rocks leading out into the water. With this kind of shoot the sun is moving fast and the light changing all the time – you need to know where you’re shooting from and stick with it, there isn’t time to be moving or fiddling with equipment.
The sun drops lower and I opt for a wider view, including more of the foreground rocks and shore, I don’t want to go too wide here as the rocks are so dark that they may have little interest in the final composition. However the geology close to the water is getting splashed and the reflections are picking up hints of the sunset above so they’re gonna work nicely. Same sort of filter and exposure setup, watch the highlights / histogram – just a tiny bit flashing around the sun, thats OK we can pull that back later. Job done..