Richard L is a photographer who has taken some striking pictures of famous landmarks in Ireland.
We recently spoke to Richard who told us about his life as a photographer, and gave us some great advice on how to take stunning pictures like the ones below.
Ireland Calling: Why did you want to be a photographer and how did you get into it as a profession?
Richard L: As long as I remember I was always interested in photography. When I was few years old I got my first analogue camera from my father, this is how it started. I am a person who likes contact with nature, this is why photography is so important for me, this is how I can show to the others all this places which amaze me and help them to feel the atmosphere of the place at that moment and time.
IC: What training did you do?
RL: All my knowledge is based on books so I can say that I am a self-taught.
IC: What attracted you about your particular field of photography?
RL: Amazing places as Cliffs of Moher or many, many more, with long exposure can be changed in something absolutely unreal. All the places I’ve seen and I can show to the others are being frozen in time. This is absolutely fantastic technique, and this is why I like it so much.
IC: What would you say are the main challenges in getting the best pictures in your particular area?
RL: As a person which deals with long exposure photography I have to say that in this area a lot depends on the equipment and particularly on the filters, and tripods. Poor quality filters can cause discoloration and bad picture quality. Tripod has to be very heavy and stable so the camera won’t move even on very strong wind. For me very important is to find a good location and this is sometimes quite a challenge, very often I have to go off the tracks to make a nice shot 🙂 This is also extremely important to appear on the place in suitable weather conditions.
IC: How important to you are issues such as location, subject, lighting, time of day etc.
RL: As I said before place, lighting, time of day, weather conditions are most important for me. The best time of the day will be one hour before sunset and sunrise so called golden hour. For long exposure photography I will get the best effect when sky is quite cloudy and day is windy. For me there’s nothing more beautiful in Ireland than amazing coastline. To get really nice picture of the sea big waves are highly demanded.
IC: What would say are the top two or three pictures you’ve taken and what is that makes them so good or special to you?
RL: ‘Poulnabrone Dolmen ‘ at first place is absolutely amazing in places like this one I could almost feel that I am travelling in time and I’m standing there right beside very first people.
I was very lucky to be there at very beautiful sunset. I had perfect light to make this shot.
‘Dun Briste, Downpatrick Head’ I like this picture for the character of the place, wildness, this place is just amazing. One person after seeing this picture couldn’t believe that such a place really exist. I have to say that in my opinion sometimes when it comes to the pictures cloudy and heavy sky is so much better that beautiful sunny views.
‘ Giant’s Causeway’ again amazing place, and what I like the most rocks, sea and sky. The weather wasn’t great but the final effect is really nice. Really long exposure (about 360 seconds) helped me to catch the sky really dynamic.
IC: What cameras and special equipment do you use?
RL: – Canon EOS 6D
– Canon EOS 30D IR
– Canon EF 17-40L f/4
– Canon EF 24-105L f/4
– Canon EF 70-200L f/4
– Canon EF 50 f/1.4
– Samyang 14mm f/2.8
-Samyang 500mm f/8
– Filter Lee Big Stopper
– Filter Lee Little Stopper
– Formatt Hitech 100mm ND Graduated Filters ND 0.3, 0.6, 0.9 Grad Hard and Grad Soft
– Filter Hoya HD Circular Polarizer (CPL)
– IR filters 590nm, 720nm, 950nm
– Remote Shutter Release
IC: Everyone can have access to good cameras nowadays. What does it take to stand out as a professional?
RL: To be really good in what you’re doing you really need time to master your skills, maybe not in every domain but in photography for sure. There’s no way that everything will come easy straight away. My knowledge is based on books as I said before, but before I found my own field in photography and before I felt that the pictures are finally good I spent long time to grind my skills. As you said everyone can have a good camera nowadays, but being a good photographer means spending hours over details sometimes, what you need is to have a heart for that as well. Being a photographer means that you need to have a knowledge in many areas, composition, exposition, light, etc. good camera is also important but it’s not a key to your success.
IC: What tips and advice can you pass on to any of our readers who might be interested in photography, especially those in your specialist field?
RL: Long exposure photography will require specialized equipment such as filters, tripods, and remote shooters. Long exposure photography is just about capturing an image that will require a shutter speed that is usually too long to hand-hold. This is why you should use tripod, that’s what I am doing. Filters will help you to reduce the amount of light entering the lens. For long exposure photography you would use ND 3.0(NDx1000) filter which allow you to maximise the exposition time. Time of exposition should start near the value of 30 seconds. ISO should have minimal values around value of 100 for picture of really good quality. Aperture more than f/11.
In long exposure photography place, lighting, time of day, weather conditions are very important.
When going for photo shooting remember about taking spare batteries 🙂
IC: What kind of projects are you planning next?
RL: I would love to make some time lapses from most amazing places around the Ireland. I am pretty excited about that. In this project I was thinking about Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, Dingle Peninsula, specially Blasket Islands and Skelligs Islands.
IC: Is there one special picture you’d like to get that has so far eluded you? Tell us about it and how you plan to get it in the future.
RL: Weather conditions are sometimes difficult and the shoot I am planning to take is jut impossible. This is the biggest problem for me so far.
IC: What advice would you give to people wanting to become a professional photographer?
RL: You have to constantly improve your own skills. Be patient and take it easy.
Thankyou to Richard for taking the time to answer our questions. If you would like to see more of his work, visit his Facebook page