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The Chalk Cliffs of East Sussex

Looking east from Birling Gap.

Looking east from Birling Gap.


Not Cornwall!  Part of the Seven Sisters, on the edge (literally!) of the famous South Downs of England.  The photo above is looking east (note the landslide) and the photo below is looking west.


Looking west from Birling Gap.

Looking west from Birling Gap.


I was here for a very short time ten days ago on a very hot, sunny day.  I don’t normally take landscape photos under such harsh lighting so I thought I would add some atmosphere by sticking a 10 stop and a 6 stop ND filter on my lens and take a long exposure image.   Unfortunately, when I got the photo on the computer I could see some “banding” going diagonally from the left hand corner across the sea towards the far headland.  I have never had banding issues before with very long exposures but they have always taken place when the ambient light levels were low.  Below is a Jpeg of the unprocessed RAW file.  The shutter in the viewfinder was down (banding often occurs because of light entering the camera through the viewfinder), so where has the banding come from?   I have been doing some homework and apparently under bright conditions stray light can enter the camera through the body (quite often through the remote cable release connector) and even the lens body.  So next time I will cover the camera (and lens) with a black cloth.

Unprocessed RAW file: Nikon D800, 25mm Zeiss lens: 4 minutes at f8.

Unprocessed RAW file: Nikon D800, 25mm Zeiss lens: 4 minutes at f8.


The banding does not look too bad but unfortunately when I started to carry out my usual post processing edits the banding effect was magnified and no matter what I did I could not tone it down.


6 responses

  1. Great shots!
    I wonder if there are fossils in that area?

    July 15, 2014 at 3:09 am

    • Apparently it is a very good area for fossil hunting. The UK Fossils website give it a 4 star rating. Due to erosion the seven sisters are now eight!

      July 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

  2. That’s a shame about the banding Malcolm. I’ve found it very difficult to use the 10 stop filter in very bright conditions. I’ve had similar problems. I think your idea of the black cloth is perfect and I will do this myself next time.. A different but very beautiful stretch of coastline! 🙂

    July 15, 2014 at 9:18 am

    • Thanks Adrian. Very long exposure daytime photography is something I’m going to play around with but maybe not under an intense sun…..

      July 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm

  3. Impresionante El Desnivel Tan Cerca Del Mar, Muy Buena Serie… Un Saludo.

    July 20, 2014 at 10:14 am

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