Here's one especially for my hardy attendees of the Brighton Landscape Photography Workshop I ran last Saturday, indicating that images like this were very much possible in the conditions we experienced - giving you a point of reference for future locations. It was taken using my 45mm lens (remember the discussion about our 50mm vision?) from the top of the pier we were standing on, across the entrance to Shoreham harbour to the other side, it's been cropped down to 16:9 to remove the top of the sky which added nothing further in the image.
I did of course use the Lee Big Stopper here to reduce light to the sensor, and also a 0.9 (3 stop) Lee Soft Grad filter pulled down to the horizon. It was taken just after 10am when the cloud started to move in, but sufficiently covered the scene without being too blotchy.
My approach to subtraction played a big part in the composition of this image, firstly I framed the image up making sure there was no clutter from the harbour to the left or right, leaving only four basic elements to the image: the sky, the sea, the pier and the horizon. Remember that the horizon is a strong competing element in every image so by lining it up with the top of the pier, it jars less and no longer becomes a strong factor in the final image, almost reducing the elements to three: the sky, sea and pier.
Aiming for sheer minimalism like this isn't always easy, but on this day the sea was so calm that large swathes of white water and the problem of breaking waves could be avoided and in this 96 second exposure, the sky has also lost some of its definition, but retaining enough so that we still know what it is. Question marks as to the scale of the scene can also be asked - if you look very closely there are in fact two fisherman on the end of the pier, but other than that we don't really know how big the silhouetted structure is - I love playing on themes like this.