What photographer can resist a few godbeams? For some reason I have found the coast to be a far more reliable source of crepuscular rays than inland, though perhaps this is simply because one is more likely to get an unobstructed view of the sun when looking out to sea during the crepuscular hours. I was particularly struck be the way these were coming towards me and were just in front of the horizon.
This was taken on the South West Coast Path near Gara Point, where it follows Lord Revelstoke’s Drive near Noss Mayo. This was a 9 mile carriage drive around the estate built in the 1880s for the banker Edward Baring, later Lord Revelstoke, with which to impress his guests (reminiscent of the famous Hobby Drive at Clovelly).
The sharp eyed will notice a little line sticking up on the horizon at the far left of the photo. This is the famous Eddystone Lighthouse, a full 14 miles (22km) out to sea, now in its fourth (1882) incarnation (its predecessor, the eponymous Smeaton’s Tower, now lies on Plymouth Hoe).
Gara Point, Noss Mayo, Devon, UK
Camera: Olympus E-M1
Lens: Olympus M 12-40 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 40mm
Shutter Speed: 1/800s
Amazingly, with a relatively minor tweak to the highlight recovery slider in Lightroom, the E-M1 had managed to capture almost the entire dynamic range of this shot. My main aim in processing the image was to reduce the glare so once in Photoshop I deployed my standard weapon for crepuscular rays, Nik Silver Efex Pro. Yes, that's right, a black and white toning plugin! Nothing I know of brings out the detail in the rays better than its High Structure (Harsh) preset. This is then blended back into the image as a Luminosity layer with masking such that only the rays are affected (the effect is too harsh on the rest of the image). It was cold when I took the shot so to suit my memory I wanted to cool the image down a little whilst still maintaining a little pre sunset colour, which I did with a combination of Topaz Restyle, a hint of LAB saturation and a little graduated neutral density filtering.