Greig Houghton Photography
Landscape, Street and Travel Photography


Irish Landscape and Travel Photography Blog

Ballydowane Sea Stack, Co Waterford, Ireland

Ballydowane Long Exposure
Ballydowane Long Exposure
And when the day arrives I'll become the sky and I'll become the sea and the sea will come to kiss me for I am going home. Nothing can stop me now" Trent Reznor

Ballydowane Cove is part of the copper coast UNESCO geopark in Co Waterford, Ireland.  This section of the Irish coastline get its name for the mines along the coast which not only mined copper but also lead and silver.

I used a medium telephoto lens to isolate the sea stack with a 10 Stop ND and a 2 stop soft grad to get the shot.  The photo is a 5 shot panoramic which I combined in PTgui pro to get the stitch.  I had to be very careful  when composing the shot to ensure a bit of the sea stack was in each frame to enable the stitching software to be able to do its magic.  This is normally pretty simple but as you cannot see through a 10 stop ND filter I had to eye in each frame by looking over the top of the eye piece on the camera.  You could take the filter off between each frame but this has the risk of knocking the focus ring or accidentally moving the zoom barrel.  Both of these I managed to do when first trying to set up the shot requiring to take all the filters off and start again.  Worse if you don't realise you have done it.

I would normally just output the blended image from PTgui but for this shot I chose to have both the blended image and individual layers as a single PSD file.  PTgui is great at aligning images but sometimes doesn't blend as good as photoshop which was the case with the clouds in this pano.  I opened the image in photoshop and then used auto-blend to blend the individual layers.  The important step here is to select seamless tones and colours to adjust the color and tonality for blending. Once I had this new images I used layer masks to keep the sea from the PTgui pano and then bring in the sky from the photoshop blend.  For comparison purposes, I used tried the same pano in photoshop using photomerge but ended up with a distinct curve in the horizon.