Photography tips by Mark Gilligan - Troutbeck

Light and Shade near Troutbeck by Mark Gilligan

Light and Shade near Troutbeck by Mark Gilligan - Credit: Archant

Mark Gilligan goes ‘fishing’ at Troutbeck and manages to capture autumnal light and shade

We now rapidly approach the run up to the yuletide festival (and no,that didn’t start in August in spite of what some traders would have us believe), we find the autumn begins in earnest. It’s a time when photographers everywhere are reaching for their cameras.

Why? because of the wonderful light that turns everyday scenes into ones of breathtaking beauty. It’s their chance to get ‘that picture’ that will sit proudly on the wall.

It’s a seasonal change that presents us with surprises every now and again and for that reason alone it’s good to go out and see what can be achieved.

Sometimes we are just fortunate. We go out and are presented with some incredible views - a clear case of ‘right place at the right time.’ Luck is one thing but the skill is not to miss the magic moment. Preparation is as vital as practice. Understanding what your camera is doing is essential and it will allow you to make quick decisions correctly.

Like a good sunrise or sunset, your window of opportunity can be very small and so if you have the instinct built in, it should start to become second nature. I regularly have people come to me for my workshops who have created pleasing looking compositions but don’t get it spot on. They are often afraid of using the facilities they have paid for. ‘The scene was amazing but I thought I’d let the camera do it for me.’ It won’t unless you are in the perfect setting with the sun directly behind with a nice hard light illuminating the subject.

It is no good having the ability to compose a super shot but not have the technical capability to ‘grab’ it. Conversely it’s no good getting it technically right but failing with the composition. It’s a question of balance and speed is of the essence.

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The previous image I presented in this series was taken on Derwent Water as the mists rose and lifted. I knew that at some point that morning I would manage to get a good picture.

However, this one was taken completely by chance, ‘on the hoof’ late in September as we made our way from Troutbeck over to Ullswater one afternoon.

The journey is nice on the eye with a trip over Kirkstone to anticipate. But before we had reached there, this scene, which is always pleasing, took on another dimension.

It is a naturally beautiful place but as the rain clouds began to subside, the sunlight burst through the ever widening gaps in the clouds and illuminated the landscape before us.

Suddenly we had a fabulous transformation and a great illustration of light and shade. People who come on my workshops constantly refer to the ‘God Light’ and this is a classic example of it. It passed in minutes but enough time to have my camera on the tripod and captured.

On days when the forecast isn’t great but promises a significant change, I will usually try and get to a specific location to see what can be had. Just like the patient fisherman, I will wait.

Let’s get technical

Camera Canon 5dmk2

Canon Ef 24-105 L series lens

F13 @ 1/25th sec,

ISO 400

Lee Mid soft Graduated Filter

Cable release

Giottos Carbon Tripod