Words by Nathan Rea
Edited by Eryka Bagwell
Hi, my name is Nathan, I'm a landscape photographer from Northern Ireland. I recently purchased the Platypod eXtreme and the Platyball Ergo from the NEC Photography Show in Birmingham. It was recommended by my good friend Cathy Weatherston, so I decided to go for it, give it a try and put it to the test.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for taking landscape photos because the final capture is just bursting with multiple colors and it always looks so magical. One of the locations I shoot at fall is Glenariff Glen, (between Waterfoot and Cushendall) on the Antrim coast. It is truly an alluring location packed full of waterfalls that spiral down throughout the glen.
This particular photo was taken at one of the waterfalls within the glen. As I approached the waterfall, I was searching for a stable surface that had good composition and luckily, I found this rocky area at the front of the waterfall with some really lovely autumn leaves. This gave me some inspiration to use them as interest in the foreground of my photo. It also provided me with the perfect opportunity to get low and try out the Platypod. This shot was taken with a Sony Alpha A7 mark 1 with a 28-70mm lens along with a lee 100 polarizing filter to help remove any reflections.
I set my shutter speed set to 1-2 seconds with an aperture of F16 and an ISO of around 100. White balance was set to 6000k. My camera was mounted onto the Platyball Ergo ball head which was mounted to my Platypod. I rotated the spikes on the Platypod extreme to help stabilize and level the tripod base to prevent any unnecessary motion blur. I found my composition and locked the Ergo ball head in place and focused the camera on the waterfall. I took three auto exposure bracketing images which were one stop apart. I took another photo only this time focusing on the leaves on the foreground.
Having taken all the necessary photos, it was now time to post process the images together on Lightroom and Photoshop. I merged the three bracketed images together within Lightroom to help correct the exposure of the final image I wanted to capture. This merged image was then transferred over to Photoshop where I brought in the fourth image as a layer. I then took the fourth image layer, added a mask and achieved the leaves effect in the foreground I wanted. It was then taken back over to Lightroom again for final touch ups with brushes, etc.
So after testing the Platypod system, I must say, what a fantastic piece of gear to add to my kit! I was so impressed the moment I took it out of the box, the eXtreme was incredibly strong, sturdy and finished with a high quality that really becomes apparent once it's in your hands. I find that because of it's light weight, thinner/sleek design and it's portability, it makes for the perfect asset for all my hikes and adventures. The Platypod eXtreme now allows me to take photos in an entirely new perspective, capturing those low hard to attain angles that I’ve never been able to achieve before with a standard tripod. The adjustable spikes are fantastic for mounting it into the ground giving the Platypod system such a solid and level base. The Platyball Ergo is one of the best ball heads I have ever owned; it’s so strong! Once the ball head is locked it won’t budge, it holds a 600mm sigma lens with ease (the lens didn't drop once). When the ball head is locked in place, I noticed it has a very smooth rotation (either clockwise or counterclockwise) which is perfect for smooth panning which I feel is such a fantastic feature. My advice to anyone that has their eye on Platypod gear (eXtreme, Ultra, Ballheads or other Platypod gear), do yourself a favor and grab one today, you won’t be disappointed!
To view more of Nathan Rea's work be sure to click here to visit his instagram account (@theirishgallivanter)
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