Brecon Beacons, Waterfalls, Spelunkers and a fashion model shoot

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Well there are two things that I think make a great image, these are a great subject and a great location and the marrying of the two. Location shooting is a passion of mine, apart from the heavy bags, long walks and if in Wales and sometimes the UK getting soaked to the bone.

So on a predicted dry Sunday Mola and I set out to shoot. A seven thirty start and bleary eyes we started to drive to the location, this is 80 miles journey but the majority is motorway so 90 minutes we were there and ready to start the heavy lifting and get to the locations. The furthest planned location is about an hours hike over sections of rough ground and ankle breaking cobbles and roots with some steep descents and ascents. But a positive attitude and the allure of the possibility of great images was more than enough motivation.

So the essential kit that I have brought was my four favorite lenses, 16-35mm f4.0, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8 and 70-200mm f2.8 and my trusted Elinchrom Quadra to add to the affect. Well the sun cannot be relied on and this location is in a steep valley so quite over cast.

So the first location was great and got some great images but I kept seeing people go past and looking, this was a little unusual as previous time it has been only a few hardened walks venturing out. So location one was shoot and moved on to the next one. So 30 – 40 minutes later the next location and there was a crowd. It was not an actual Laugh Out Load moment but with 20 very wet blokes in wet suits under the waterfall this was going to be a challenge to get the intended image. This was really not a problem as they just passed through and while they were I was setting up and working out angles and after the occasional photo bomb all was good. Really great guys.

Shooting wise I shot at quite large apertures of f3.5 – f5.6 as I wanted to balance the natural light with the additional flash and not rely on Mola to keep perfectly still. Shooting in this way did present one issue and that was frozen water and I wanted to go for a more tranquil look with a milky look.

So with this in mind and the idea that I was going to need to blur areas of the image to get the desired look I searched for a method. after tapping on google for five minutes, path blur was going to be my weapon of choice. So I started by selecting the relevant sections, duplicating them on to another layer, applying the path blur. This tended to darken the water, so I applied some brighting to the layer then mixed the altered layer with the background using masks and opacity. The foreground I altered using a gaussian blur and did not re- brighten.

Overall I really like the images and totally pleased with the results and did not require too much post processing to achieve the desired look. Thank you Serge Ramelli for your helpful tutorial.

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