Levanter! by Stephen Ball

Yesterday (Sun 13/08), there was a good Easterly wind blowing, generating quite a good Levanter over the Rock.  So, I headed up in to the nearby Sierra Carbonera to get a shot of the Levanter streaming right out across the Bay.

The road up to the top of the Sierra Carbonera is pretty rocky in places and 4WD is very helpful.  Fortunately, after a few hundred yards of tricky dirt track, it becomes a much smoother road.  I parked up at a good vantage point near the top with a full, unobstructed view of the bay.

The plan was to take a couple of images and also grab some timelapse footage showing the Levanter ebbing and flowing off the Rock as the wind changed subtly.  The wind up at the top of the Sierra was quite strong, but luckily I was able to set-up behind the shelter of an old look-out post.  I set the D800 up on a tripod and attached the Nikon 24-70 lens.  Unfortunately, I could only get out around mid-afternoon so the light was quite harsh and the Levanter was giving a lot of haziness which sucked most of the blue out of the sky.  With ISO100, an aperture of f/8 gave me a shutter speed of 1/800, however I shot at 1/1000 as there were a few very bright highlights in the sky coming off the Levanter and I didn't want to blow these out.  I knew the shadows could be lifted later in Lightroom, along with a bit of dehaze (around 25 on the slider) to sharpen things up and remove some of the 'fuzziness'.  The dehaze slider also has the effect of helping a bit of blue back in to the sky too.

Having secured a few still images, I then set up for the timelapse.  Again, the camera was on the tripod and I set up the intervalometer on the D800 to take 300 shots at 2 second intervals.  This took 10 minutes and it was good to have the tripod in the shelter of the look-out post as the wind was very gusty at times.  I took the timelapse images in RAW, so I could adjust the first image in Lightroom later and then synch the settings to the other 299 images very easily.  Having done this, the images were then exported as jpeg's, which were then imported in to Photoshop and converted to a timelapse at 1080P size in a 16:9 crop.  I chose to use 15fps for the timelapse as I wanted it to be slighter slower (normal videos are generally 24 or 30fps, or even 60fps) so that the evolution of the Levanter as it ebbed and flowed to be more visible.  This gave me a 20 second timelapse at 15fps, plenty of time to see the evolution and development of the Levanter and associated rotor clouds.

Dolphins! by Stephen Ball

The weather was perfect on Saturday in Gibraltar for a little boat trip out in to the Bay to do some dolphin watching.  We booked on the 2:00pm boat trip on Saturday with Dolphin Adventure (the yellow boat!) and headed out in to the Bay.

It didn't take long for dolphins to be spotted and we were soon surrounded by a dozen or more - the skipper cut the engines and we just drifted for a while as the dolphins put on a show for us.

It was a very bright day, however dolphins move very fast so I knew I needed a fast shutter speed to freeze the action.  A big depth of field wasn't crucial so I set the lens at f/5.6 and ISO200 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/1000 or better which was my minimum benchmark for sharp photos.  I was shooting with the Nikon D800 with Nikon 24-70mm lens attached.  Focus mode was in continuous focus and I had the camera set to CH (Continuous High) so when I pressed the shutter the camera would take a few rapid pics and I could choose the best one later when I got the photos in to the computer.  As always, I was using back-button focus.

It was quite tricky getting good shots of the dolphins as they just suddenly appear out of the water so you need to be quick.  When they dive back down it is also difficult to predict where and when they will re-surface!  So, it's a matter of being prepared with your camera settings and grabbing pics as best you can.

I have attached below a couple of the best images from Saturday.

I will update the blog again later in the week.

Thanks for reading,

Steve

04 Aug - Practising Panning Shots... by Stephen Ball

Hi,

Not much going on at the moment as it's now the middle of Summer and many people are on holiday.  Plus it's hot!

Anyway....I had to walk over the border the other day but when I got to the runway the barriers were down.  Luckily, I had the old 'office camera' with me - a Nikon D7000 with Sigma 18-250mm lens and decided I'd practice my panning as the lunch-time Monarch departure took-off down the runway heading for the UK.

This shot was taken hand-held at 1/80 at ISO100 with a focal length of 90mm and aperture f/20 as it was a very bright day out there.

Have a good weekend,

Steve

_DSC2844-Edit.jpg

18th July by Stephen Ball

Hi everyone!

I thought it might be interesting to blog in here from time to time to let you know what I'm up to.

Over the last week or so, I've done photo shoots for a couple of Clients in Gibraltar.....one a professional Rock tour company,  the other a large construction company that has built two new tourist attractions in Gibraltar - the Windsor Bridge and also the soon to be opened 'Glass Skywalk'.

Tomorrow morning I'm off on another photo shoot for the construction company and tomorrow evening I'll be at the top of the Rock shooting the glass skywalk at sunset and blue hour.  Should be fantastic!

I'll post again in another week or so with an update. 

Steve