Reservoir Sunset

We had been planning to visit the coast, but we were forced into a late change of plan as my partner wasn’t feeling her best. We instead elected to go to Bewl Water as it meant we could get a nice vantage point to watch the sunset without having a huge hike to get there, and it is relatively near our home.

I had seen on Google Maps that there was a new area we hadn’t tried yet, that looked as though it would give a long view down the lake, and lined up well with the sunset position on my sunset mapping software…so that’s where we headed.

We made the 20 min drive and parked on the dam, before heading off anti clockwise around the lake for 15 mins or so to get to the spot. As we approached I could tell we had made a good choice and my map work had been worthwhile. We could see right down the reservoir from this spot, and there was literally no-one around.

First look as we arrived – 18-55mm – F11 – 1/250 – ISO100

I quickly went to the waters edge and set up my tripod, leaving my partner sat on a handy bench at the top of the bank. There was a fair bit of cloud around, and I was hoping to get some varied shots as the sun came in and out. I also wanted to try some long exposure shots as the light faded – and if I could find anything to rest him on, also use Lensball to get some shots. Firstly, I used the tripod to try and make use of the reflections in the water.

Reflections – 18-55mm – F11 – 1/250 – ISO110

I took a few shots – always remembering to check the histogram and to zoom into the shot to check all is well before moving onto the next composition.

Next I searched everywhere for an interesting mount for Lensball – to be honest, the little beach didn’t really have any driftwood or decent trees, so I was a bit stumped for a while. In the end, I somehow managed to balance him on a small branch I had dug in the ground.

Lensball stick mount – 18-55mm – F11 – 1/320 – ISO250

Next I though I would try a few shots with the long lens – I have been trying to mix things up a bit and using the long lens has been producing some interesting results recently.

Zoomed view down the lake – 70-300mm – F18 – 1/60 – ISO100

The sun then came out from under the cloud cover, making a nice reflection down the lake, so I took some more shots with the short lens, and also repositioned Lensball and grabbed another couple of photos.

Sun strip – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/60 – ISO110
Lensball sun strip – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/60 – ISO200

The light had begun to fade, so it was a good time to try some long exposure. I screwed on the 7 stop ND filter and made changes to the settings to give me a longer shutter speed. I tried a couple of different settings and am pleased with the results.

Long exposure – 18-55mm – F18 – 2sec – ISO140
Long exposure – 18-55mm – F18 – 3sec – ISO160

The light was fading fast and I could see some thicker cloud approaching so I fired off a couple more shots.

Fading fast – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/10 – ISO110
Cloud coming in – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/13 – ISO140

I wanted to try and get another Lensball shot – but choice of position was so limited, and I already had a fair few shots from the stick mount, so I decided to try a handheld shot. My partner had already come down to join me to watch the amazing sunset unfold, so I asked her to try holding him still while I took some shots. Without the tripod it was hard to achieve as the shutter speed was so slow – I had to bin the first two attempts. In the end I had to sacrifice ISO to increase the shutter speed to get the shot.

Increased ISO handheld – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/25 – ISO280

The cloud had almost covered the sun by now, so I knew the next few shots would be the last of the day. I took a final shot or two from the tripod, then tried one last handheld shot (1/10th shutter speed!!!) before we packed away.

Final tripod shot – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/10 – ISO125
Handheld last shot – 18-55mm – F18 – 1/10 – ISO125

Probably the best evenings photography I have ever had – I only had two shots (the handheld Lensball ones) that I haven’t kept – the rest are all my best work – my understanding of the what settings the camera likes came together tonight and I was able to experiment and create the shots I wanted. I was very happy and excited to get the photos into Lightroom and see what I had captured.

We did the walk back to the car, and made the short drive home. Already thinking about the next trip.

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