Capturing a feeling of serenity

Old Swanage Pier : Canon 5D : EF 17-40mm (27mm) : 103 sec : f20 : Cokin Nuances ND10 and ND3 grad filters

The original Swanage Pier was created between 1859 and 1861, but has long since been replaced by the new pier built just to the side it. What is left of the old pier, are the original wooden pillars, which can make a great subject for a range of different photographic treatments.

Long exposure techniques can be used to create a sense of serenity, especially when the sea is calm and the light is low at either end of the day. This particular shot was taken late in the afternoon towards the end of October. Using a graduated filter to force the sea and sky into similar tonal ranges, and an ND10 neutral density filter to take the exposure up to 103 seconds, the water was transformed into a blanket of calm.

To exaggerate the sense of isolation and space, a fairly comprehensive amount of cloning was utilised in post-processing to remove some of the clutter from the visible sea area such as unwanted buoys, a few birds and a small damaged boat. This it felt was needed to prevent visual distractions from disrupting the unbroken stretch of water. To emphasise the sense of serenity still further, a square format was used with the position of the horizon chosen purposely to create a symmetrical composition.