Patience and perseverance – How I Got the Shot

By Ian Middleton

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Zaosiri Beach, Losinj, Croatia.

I had originally chanced upon this scene and this composition in 2013 while on my first visit to Losinj Island in August with my Slovenian wife who, like many Slovenes, had holidayed here while growing up. We had been looking for an apartment to rent in the nearby town of Mali Losinj, but most had been either booked, or outrageously overpriced. An internet search had come up with a lovely little place in the nearby village of Cunski. We booked it, as it was nearby. However, it soon turned out to be a fortuitous move.

The first evening we took a walk down a small trail that led to this little beach and cove. Upon spotting this boathouse and realising its orientation, I had immediately envisioned this image. A quick check on the photographer’s ephemeris confirmed that in high summer the sun would rise just where I wanted it. But I wanted clouds, and it was summer after all.

So every morning I dutifully got up before dawn and trudged down to the beach with camera and tripod. The first morning I was rewarded with some cloud, but the shot still wasn’t quite how wanted it. This was followed by a week of blue skies! My wife was happy, but I was not.

Back again for another try

We returned again in 2014, a bad year for weather all across Croatia. That week I was rewarded with a full week of cloudy mornings and days! I got everything from dramatic sunrises, storm clouds and even lightning. I was happy, my wife was not!

However, despite this wonderful week, I still wasn’t getting the right clouds for this shot. I got great images every morning of the two nearby islands, but none of the cloud seen from the perspective of the boathouse was right. It was either too much, or not enough.

Finally on the last morning, which started off with virtually zero clouds at dawn, but then as sunrise approached cloud started to build. I watched like an expectant child as the cloud built on the horizon, the sun rose above the mountains, the cloud edged ever closer, split apart and cradled that rising sun in just the right place. Mother Nature had rewarded my patience and perseverance at getting up at 5am every morning!

Everything fell into place. Not only did I get some great cloud effects, but that little crevice in the cloud was just the right size to create that sunburst.

In order to capture this scene I needed to make two exposures to capture the range of brightness. I then layered them in Photoshop and blended in the lighter parts of the shadow areas.

Also lying offshore are two picturesque little islands. Again, the week of unsettled weather and stormy nights resulted in some great mornings. Just have to take my wife back for a week of sunshine to make up for it!

More from this shoot can be seen here:

This article was originally published in Landscape Photography Magazine

Sunrise over a boathouse on Zaosiri Beach on the coastal area of Cunski, which lies just 8kms north of Mali Losinj on Losinj Island, Croatia. The strip of land to the left is Punta Kriza.

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