I’m definitely not a long lens photographer and mainly use wide angle lenses. Embarrassingly I thought zoom lenses were for wildlife or shooting on top of a mountain at distant peaks. So how did I capture this image of these timber remains of the old Swanage Pier in Dorset? It certainly wasn’t a planned classic composition I had seen on social media sites.
I arrived at the new pier before sunrise but had no idea where to shoot from. The pier was closed to the public so I naturally thought the view was from another angle. I saw the weathered wooden structure from a small beach but soon realised I had to be on the pier looking down so would have to wait for it to open to get the planned photo.
As usual I only had my canon 5D mark II and 16-35mm f/4 lens which was no good with the tide being and the subject too far away. After much thought and not wanting to waste a early morning visit I decided to go back to the car and get my 100-400mm lens and Lee filter Big Stopper. I swapped the tripod ball joint to a gimbal for stability for the long lens. I set up quickly noticing the soft light on the water. I picked out a section of the old timber uprights zooming in to frame the shot. It looked quite a unique composition with Old Harry Rocks in the distance. The tripod was very stable enough for a long exposure.
All my jumping, waving and shouting did not frighten the seagulls off the posts so I had to accept them. After several attempts I managed a motionless shot I was happy with. This was my first attempt at using a long lens for a seascape.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor