Relaxing this Landscape Photography
by Rob Gray
I was driving along The Alpine Way
when I saw these clouds. Damn it I thought, the
heaters just warmed up, The Moody Blues are wafting from
the stereo, Ive just started a new tin of Kool Fruits
and its really cold outside. Time to make a decision?
Not really. There is no choice when faced with the possibility
of a good photo. I pulled over and the events that followed went
something like this.
There was a mad rush to find a good vantage point, then panic
to get the camera set up, I agonised over whether to use a filter
or not and what zone to place the brightest part of the clouds.
Having made these decisions, I inserted a double-dark. In the
rush I pulled the rear darkslide by mistake and found myself staring
at a sheet of FP4. Cursing profusely I reached for another double-dark
only to find that I was already holding the last one. I re-inserted
Now with only one sheet of film left I carefully checked the
camera settings (the settings I should have checked before but
was in too much of a hurry) and found that I had not tightened
the rear standard. It would certainly have moved when I inserted
I opened the aperture, opened the shutter, removed the red filter,
removed the double-dark, put my jacket over my head and checked
the focus. Yep, it had moved.
I refocused, closed the aperture, closed the shutter, cocked
the shutter and test fired it while looking into the lens to ensure
that the aperture was closed and the shutter was firing correctly
I cocked the shutter again, re-inserted the filter, re-inserted
the double-dark, removed the darkslide.
I waited, five or ten seconds to allow any vibration to die while
hoping the light didnt die as well: it was fading fast.
I fired the shutter.
Careful, there are still some opportunities to screw up. I inserted
the darkslide, black side out to indicate the sheet was exposed.
Then I had to re-check everything. I opened the aperture, opened
the shutter, removed the red filter, removed the double-dark,
put my jacket over my head again and checked the image.
It was OK. Thank goodness I thought, now I
"Wait a minute, did I allow for the filter. Bloody hell.
I was in such a hurry I didnt record the exposure details
and I had opened the aperture to check the image. Let me
see now, what aperture did I use? I try to remember before
looking at the meter so as not to have my memory biased by its
setting. Hmmm five seconds at
five seconds at, mmmmm
I gave up and looked at the shutter for inspiration.
seconds at f32. Thats my guess and Im sticking to
it, now lets look at the meter.
The dial read a quarter of a second at f32. Oops.
Dont panic. Allow three stops for the red filter.
Thats two seconds. Allow for reciprocity. Thats five
seconds. I sighed with relief. In the heat of the moment
I must have coolly calculated the correct exposure. Gee Im
good. Lets write that down for posterity, the exposure details
Now I can relax and enjoy the sunset. Too late; its
You can see more of Rob's work at the following
- Rob Gray