1. New ebook

    Several years ago I produced an ebook, with a difference, titled The Backstory: Creative Close-Ups. This came about as a result of noticing that there were more than enough ‘how to’ books to satisfy the demands of wildlife and landscape photographers but very few, if any, dealing with the process leading up to the making of the image. I also found that through leading hundreds of workshops there were two things that most photographers wanted to know, which is – how and why did YOU take that photograph? In the ebook I described, in detail, the story behind each image, revealing both the technique and thought process that led up to it with the latter, I firmly believe, being the key ingredient in producing creative and memorable photographs. Four years on, and I have produced another in the same vein, this time dealing with landscapes.

    Landscape photography ebookAdobe Acrobat PDF document
    17 case studies
    20 high-resolution images
    22 pages. £4.50 + VAT

    Purchase here

    Creative Close-Ups has been revised and there are 3 new case studies. 

    Purchase Landscapes and Creative Close-Ups in the same visit, and receive a free copy of Autumn in Finnish Lapland, which includes a comprehensive guide to photographing the northern lights. 

    Purchase ebooks here

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  2. A marginal shift

    At the beginning of last month I held a 5-day workshop in the Yorkshire Dales. The first two weeks of June is a wonderful time to visit with meadows full of buttercups and trees displaying a lime-green freshness. The Dales has an abundance of waterfalls and these, of course, featured heavily on the workshop schedule. I’d visited these particular falls (West Burton Falls) a number of times previously so I was keen to produce something different to that which I had created previously. I left the tripod in the car, purposefully, to force myself into seeking compositions and utilising techniques that were only possible while hand-holding the camera. It was a dark, gloomy afternoon (perfect for waterfalls) and rather than fighting against the light forcing me to increase the ISO to give me a sufficiently fast shutter speed I went in the opposite direction and selected an ISO and aperture setting which gave me a slow shutter speed, in the region of 2-4 seconds. During exposure I would move the camera intentionally (known as ICM) to give a soft, ethereal quality to the photograph and upon inspecting each image on the camera’s LCD I would adjust the direction or speed of movement (sometimes both) until I arrived at an image I liked. In many ways, when photographing such subjects, I think this technique results in a much truer and accurate representation of what we are witnessing at the time than a more traditional photograph. Do we, for example, really take any notice of all the small details in such a scene or are we moved by the sound and sight of the waterfall?

    _RMC7859_RMC8003_RMC8050J.M.W.Turner visited Aysgarth on July 28th 1816. He was making illustrations for  ‘A General History of the County of York’ by Thomas Dunham Whitaker and, apparently, stayed that night in Aysgarth Village. As a homage to my favourite of all artists I produced the image below.

    _RMC8669

    I adore hawthorn blossom! Perhaps it’s because I spend so much time on the north and south Kent marshes when, in the middle of May, its blossom fills the air. Indeed, I would go as far to say that it’s intoxicating. I have found, when mentioning this to others (not my usual topic of conversation, I hasten to add!) that the same opinion isn’t held by everyone. It’s, clearly, an acquired scent!

    While photographing Aysgarth Falls, on the opposite side of the river stood an extremely tall hawthorn. I wanted to fill the frame with its blossom and keep out all signs of green vegetation that surrounded it so I attached the longest lens I had with me – a 70-200mm with 1.4x tele-converter – and set the camera to Multiple Exposure / 10 frames. I, simply, hand-held the camera and took a series of images, moving along and up the tree and then assessed and tweaked each attempt. The resulting image you see below has had very little post-processing done to it, aside from Split Toning. The technique, along with the effect of the lens attached, produced the vignette.

    _RMC8575I think it’s natural for a photographer to feel the desire to develop – both technically and, perhaps,  artistically and over the last few years I have found that I have leaned more towards producing creative images both of the landscape and of the natural world. I can’t explain it. It hasn’t been a conscious move just something which has emerged organically which I believe is really the only way it can happen if your work is to have some authenticity and credibility. Don’t get me wrong, not every image I produce from now on will be tackled in such a way as I enjoy all forms of photography but there is something very satisfying and ‘true’ about recording a subject that has been repeatedly photographed in a refreshingly new way which, believe me, is incredibly difficult these days!

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  3. Aurora borealis time-lapse

    I’m currently in the process of compiling a blog on my recent trip to Lapland but thought in the meantime I would post this audio visual time-lapse of the northern lights which we witnessed on our second night. It really was quite a show – I can tell you – and it doesn’t matter how often you see them you always get excited, especially when it dances across the night sky.

    Over a period of, approximately, 1 hour just under 400 images were taken using the camera’s built in Interval Timer. I used the following settings: Nikon D750, 14mm, ISO 1600, 6 secs. f/2.8. I selected an  interval of 8 seconds which gave 2 seconds between each capture, time enough for the image to be written onto the memory card. It was then processed in Lightroom and the time-lapse put together in Windows Movie Maker.

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