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How To Capture Lighthouse Details - Zooming in with a telephoto and picking on detail is fun to do.
Lighthouses are fascinating buildings and well worth aiming the camera at. For details of your nearest lighthouse visit: lighthouses in England, Wales and the Channel Islands and lighthouses in Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Gear Suggestions:Your normal kit is fine for many shots, but if you can't get close you will find that the telezoom might be worked harder than your wide-angle or standard zoom. Because the sky will almost certainly feature in your compositions, you should find room in the camera bag for a polariser. A warm-up would be handy too.
If you're taking shots inside a lighthouse there may not be room for a tripod, however there should be plenty of room for a support outside it. Something light-weight will be easier to manage than a heavier model, especially when walking upstairs with it in or fastened to your bag. Models such as those found in Manfrotto's Compact Travel tripod range offer support without being too heavy and the Compact is also available as a monopod - the most compact and versatile support photographers can use.
LightAt this time of year, the light can be too harsh and as most lighthouses are white (and red or black) the high contrast can be a real nightmare. On really bright sunny days, you might be best advised not to waste your time until the sun is shielded by some cloud or just waiting until later in the day. Obviously, much depends on how much time you have to hang around.
Lower, warmer light will undoubtedly give a more attractive end result and you and enhance that warmth with a 81-series warm-up filter while a polariser will enrich a blue sky. Late in the day and exposing for a brightly lit structure you might find that a saturated sky will result anyway so keep an eye on the preview image.
DetailZooming in with a telephoto and picking on detail is fun to do, although if you shooting externally you might find that there is precious little detail to enjoy apart from a few windows. If you are on a tour visit you have more opportunities – except that you might not have that much time and space because of being in a group. Shoot quickly in this instance and do your best to crop out fellow visitors.
Other techniques to try might be to shoot sections of the lighthouse for a 'joiner' image when you get home to the computer. You could also shoot a vertical panorama and merge the images in Photoshop or a specialist stitching software like Panorama Factory or PTgui. For a vertical stitch, you probably need to be further back with the telephoto to get a straight on perspective rather than angling the camera upwards.
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