Photography Boat Trip Pictures

Following on from my recent post about taking our friends Jim and Mary on a trip down the River Dee on my boat ‘Moonshadow’. Jim has sent me a couple of his photographs from the trip taken with his Lumix LX3.

I think he’s done a great job – especially considering he had never been on a yacht before and was just finding his sea-legs. I’ve posted the two original pictures below together with my slightly edited versions and a few tips that should help on future boat trips.

Photography boat trip lighthouse

Photograph 1
‘Moonshadow’ was creaming along at almost 8 knots when Jim took this picture of the seaward side of Little Ross Island. That is not the ideal time for photographers –  the boat was heeling over at an angle of some 20 degrees. But Jim has coped well – and managed to hang on without falling overboard.

In the ever-so-slightly edited image below (N02), I have simply straightened the hotizon a little and used the dodge and burn tools to add a little emphasis to the clouds. The seagulls has added to the fresh feel of this bright image.

I also like the way the white lighthouse stands out so clearly against that dark sky.

Photography boat trip lighthouse two
Photograph 3
photography boat trip KirkcudbrightThis photograph was taken as we returned to Kirkcudbright harbour. The light was fabulous and I could tell that Jim had noticed just how it animated the view as we approached towards the marina and the town. So I slowed the boat right down so that he could take pictures.

I found the composition just a tad uncomfortable because there is too much foreground here that’s not doing a lot. It’s empty. But just look at that sky – it’s full of interest.

So I think Jim should have cut out a lot of the foreground and included more sky. Again, just a little straightening and a touch with the dodge and burn tools has given a professional finish to the image. Se photograph 4 below.

photography boat trip Kirkcudbright harbour

I do notice that the white boats on the left of the image are a little over-exposed and burnt out. I’m not sure which exposure mode Jim was using, but I suspect it was fully auto. If so, I reckon the meter has been fooled by the dark hillsides and clouds into over exposing.

Had Jim opted for Aperture Priority Exposure Mode, he could have used the Exposure Compensation setting to under expose by one or perhaps two thirds of a stop. This would have corrected this problem. He could then a lightened the darker areas with the dodge tool in Photoshop.

If you would like to improve your photography – find out more about Photography Holidays and Photography Courses with Philip Dunn

New Canon EOS 60D Camera

As reported in my Photography News section, Canon have now launched the new EOS 60D camera body.

Canon 60D camera bodyThis is now available in the PhotoActive Camera Shop

Latest features include:

  • 18 Megapixels
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • Low light shooting with DIGIC 4 processing
  • Creative filters
  • Movies with variable frame rates
  • Easily take creative control with Basic +

Of all this – I can’t help thinking that the best thing Canon have done is to include that moveable LCD screen to enable live-view shooting from almost any camera angle.

… and when you’ve bought your lovely new Canon 60D, find out how to use it to best effect on a Photography Holiday or Photography Course with Philip Dunn

New Canon EOS 60D launched

Canon has expanded its EOS digital SLR (DSLR) range with the launch of the new EOS 60D.

Canon claim the EOS 60D is the perfect camera for aspiring photographers looking to expand their photographic skills.

The EOS 60D boasts a range of new features with an 18 Megapixel sensor, 5.3frames per second (fps) shooting, in-camera image editing and a brand-new Vari-angle LCD that enables the shooting of stills and HD movies from almost any angle.

It offers a mix of full manual controls and new creative shooting modes, and is fully compatible with Canon’s range of EOS accessories, including EF lenses and external speedlites.

Canon EOS 60D features:

• Capture exquisite detail with 18 Megapixels
• Easily take creative control with Basic +
• Shoot at unusual angles on the Vari-angle LCD
• Great in low light with DIGIC 4 processing
• Customize your images with creative filters
• Shoot movies your way with variable frame rates

Want to learn how to use the manual settings on your camera? Come to a photography weekend with top photographer Philip Dunn.

Photography boat trip down river

We went out on my boat for a short trip down river the other day. Anyone who’s been on a photography course here in Kirkcudbright will know just how beautiful it is down there – especially on a lovely, sunny day.

We left on the early rising tide and pottered gently down the River Dee, whose muddy banks were still glistening and exposed in the bright sunshine before the rising tide covered them.

photography & birdwatching by boat, Kirkcudbright

A ringside seat for photographers & birdwatchers Jim and Mary on the bow of Philip Dunn's boat 'Moonshadow' as she glides down the River Dee from Kirkcudbright. This shot was taken with a Canon Ixus

We took along Jim and Mary, two good friends and both keen bird watchers. They had never been on a yacht before, so I had the added pleasure of seeing their faces light up as they saw the river from a very different perspective.

Jim is also a keen photographer and he took along his little Lumix camera and snapped away at the herons, lapwings, curlews and other waders as we glided slowly towards Kirkcudbright Bay, where we anchored for a pleasant lunch off the beach at Balmangan. At one stage, Mary spotted a porpoise, but it was just a fleeting glimpse and too far away for Jim to get a photograph.

Conditions were just perfect for a first-timers’ trip on a yacht, and after lunch we stood out through Ross Sound and, in a good stiff breeze of wind, gybed around the lighthouse island of Little Ross before creaming back up across the bay and back to our berth in Kirkcudbright.

I look forward to seeing Jim’s photographs – but then he keeps threatening me with a showing of his 700 images from their recent trip to Canada.

Perhaps I’d better not ask.

I wonder how many photographers out there might be interested in a photography trip down river?

Find out more about Photography Courses and Photography Holidays with Philip Dunn

How to Photograph Rainbows

There are lots of photographic subjects that can catch you by surprise – and a rainbow is one of them.

Rainbows can be fairly predictable in certain lighting and weather conditions – but simply capturing a picture of a rainbow is rarely enough to make a striking image. To become a worthwhile picture the rainbow has to be photographed in the right place at the right time – so there is definitely an element of luck involved.

For the competent landscape photographer this ‘luck’ is better described as informed guesswork.

How to photograph rainbows

Typically, a landscape photographer wanting to photograph rainbows over a particular scene might keep a very careful eye on the weather forecast, and time the photography to coincide with the passing of a cold front which is likely to bring crisp clear air and short, sharp showers of rain.

The position of the sun – the light source – is crucial to success. Frontlight is best. The sun must be behind the camera. This part of the exercise is easy to predict. Using Frontlight also has the advantage of removing the shadows from the subject and this will appear to enhance the colours within it.

In these conditions all that is needed is for nature to send a shower of rain directly over your scene. The sun will do the rest and a form a rainbow. The brighter the sun and heavier the shower of rain the better and more colourful the rainbow.

Exposures for rainbows are fairly straightforward. Provided there is nothing glaringly white within the scene that might fool the exposure meter into giving a reading that will seriously under expose the image, I simply point the camera at the scene and take a light reading. However, I always under expose by at least 1/3rd of a stop in order to give more saturated colours. Over exposure will give washed out colours.

The picture above was taken in Laxey Bay on the Isle of Man. Conditions were ideal for rainbows, but until the little boat came along I did not bother to take any pictures.


  • Rainbows are common after the passage of a weather cold front
  • Short, sharp showers and a low, bright sun create ideal conditions
  • Place the sun behind the camera – Frontlight
  • Do not over expose

You can learn how to use light more effectively on a Photography Course or Photography Holiday with Philip Dunn. Philip’s instructional DVD ‘Light & Composition’ will also give you essential guidance