Thursday, 11 August 2011

Dawn, Mont St Michel

The only advantage to setting an alarm for 5am is that I'm far too tired to question it. All my gear was ready, so I threw on some clothes, no doubt inside out and back to front, then out into the first light of the day. It was clear that there weren't going to be any spectacular dawn colours, but the soft diffused light was now from the opposite side so would reveal a different character and more surface detail then the previous night. The main floodlights had been turned off giving lesser lights more status.

First light, Mont St Michel, 60 seconds @ f8
The best part about dawn shoots is having more room to work. Even at such popular spots there are generally few people around. Perhaps the other photographers put one eye to the window and decided there were no fireworks to shoot, so rolled over and retuned to the land of zeds. I took the opportunity to walk around more, get up close to the buildings, and walk around on the causeway. It was on there that I found the ingredients for my almost posterised style of shots that I've used for several subjects including the American Cemetery of Omaha and Ghostly Trees above Grasmere.

Here's one of my favourite shots from the holiday. Aperture cranked right down to f16 to open up the DOF. Cars were already starting to appear, but plenty of time to experiment with a few compositions using the road markings. I'd been up and about for a couple of hours, so headed back to the van and see if there were any zeds left in there for me.

Curve, Mont St Michel, 1/8th sec @ f16


  1. That last one is great! I've seen a lot of Mont St. Michel shots but I don't think I've ever seen this view.

  2. Thanks Michael. Its not an easy place to find new compositions as there are few elements to play with in the vicinity. The road aspect and the parking has always frustrated me in shots that I've seen in the past - it would be a far more photogenic location if it were just a pedestrian walkway (maybe the odd horse drawn carriage thrown in, and why not add a dusting of snow and golden hour light while I'm at it).

    Most shots involve trying to minimise or hide the road, so I quite enjoy the irony of making the road the dominant feature of the composition :~)