Malham/The Return

Blog

Posted: 16th June 2019

Location: Malham Cove

The last time I visited Malham Cove, I was met with very wet conditions with the added element of gusty wind. That wasn’t ideal of course as a landscape photographer trying to come back with the goods. I promised a few of my YouTube channel subscribers and viewers that I would return shortly. My eye was attracted by a cluster of tree which had formed some rather interesting shapes. A return to the location was definitely on the cards when the conditions were more favourable. This morning session was about the return and the better light that had come with me.

To be honest, I discovered that the composition I had in mind was not as simple as I initially thought and had visualised. I did however position myself where at the time, I believed led to the best composition. The light was fleeting and on a couple of occasions it had come and gone in quick succession. I managed to capture it both times however. You will see from the gallery below that images I took showed the background lit and the foreground lit. My preference is the foreground lit as it helps to reduce the busyness of the background.

I was blessed with some moody skies later on in the morning but the rain decided to stay away just in time for me to shoot a couple of images to the session, working with the wonderful limestone formations.

Weeks later since the session and reviewing the images, I cannot help to think that the images can further be improved. The tree images with the background of the rolling hills is too distracting for me and would definitely favour a misty and foggy day where the background scene is obscured, allowing the eye to focus on the subject, the trees. The black and white images are pleasing but the background could be stronger. This is a location I will return to….again and again.

Watch the video

Weather – Sealed

Blog

Posted: 2nd June 2019

Location: Malham Cove

I’m not a full time landscape photographer. I cannot always chose the days I go out to shoot. British weather is often lousy. Can you tell where i’m going here?

The rain on that Saturday morning that session was relentless. It was soon accompanied by it’s friend, the wind. This made the session a battle for sure. I had equipped myself with all weather proof clothing but this didn’t help the concentration levels and constant wiping of the front element. I wasn’t too concerned with my camera body and lens as both weather proof. My video camera, Canon M50, was not. This made into a difficult, challenging but yet strangely rewarding photography session.

Part of the reason I opted to spend my money on a good camera body and lenses is times like I had at Malham Cove on this very wet morning. I was confident in my equipment. The vlogging was restricted however. I am a very determined individual and I wanted to produce a video and still come away with some images. Some may say i’m crazy, I have no issue with that. I like my vlogs to have a good story and what the rain did that day is to create interest and hopefully bring inspiration that we shouldn’t stay indoors just because it’s bad weather.

The trees in the images below were a good selection of opportunities in the area. The place is not just about the limestone path and 80 metre drop. There are plenty of knarly trees to be explored. I will return here very shortly to have another go when hopefully the weather will not be as distracting.

Mono in the Mountains

Blog

Location: Barrow and Outerside, Lake District

Posted: 26th May 2019

This session started in the afternoon following a visit to the Northern Photography show held annually at Rheged centre near Penrith. It was a very tiring hike from the moment it started from the small village of Braithwaite. Although Barrow and Outerside were relatively small fells at 455 metres and 568 metres respectively, it was still a challenging walk as I was both tired and the fell was warm and sticky. The clouds however were very interesting and broody. My waterproofs were at the ready. It had been a while since I had focused on black and white photography so this was a good opportunity with so much mood in the skies.

With black and photography, there are different approaches to be taken. One is to decide to convert to black and white once in post and Two, go out intentionally to shoot black and white photography. The former is no doubt the option that the majority of landscape photographers take. The latter helps to focus on what works and what doesn’t and is helped by the changing of my camera profile to monochrome.

Contrast is key in a good black and white photography which includes blacks, whites and mid tones. A good range of tones therefore often leads to success. Shapes as with all landscape photography plays an important role but in a mono image can really add more impact. Post processing is key here. The afternoon delivered minimal direct light so I had to add increased exposure to the areas of the image that mimicked side light. All but one of the images shot in the session were subject to a light dusting of the adjustment brush and radial filter. I find that I have more fun in post processing with black and white photography. I always aim to increase the black and whites with minimal clipping. This helps to achieve a good tonal range.

I was thankful that afternoon and evening that the rain didn’t arrive. It was a long and tiring day and one that added a couple of new fells to my list of Wainwrights ‘bagged’ If you reading this and black and white photography doesn’t interest you then I beg you to rethink. Mono photography has a certain timelessness about it and is a good genre to focus on if the creative juices have dried up. I will always have that passion and will no doubt continue to add black and white images to my portfolio.

Watch the video

Time to move on

Blog

Location: Ullswater, Lake District

Posted: 19th May 2019

Landscape photographers are often faced with the burning issue of deciding whether to move on from a location or to give it more time. These decisions of course can result in a better image or time wasted. During my recent visit to Ullswater, I was faced with this dilemma.

It is a beautiful location and one of my favourites in the Lake District. I was at this location, specifically Glencoyne which is on the Northern side of the lake last year and captured some wonderful scenes armed with my telephoto. This time was different however. It was the middle of the day and there no colours in the sky or mist hovering over the water so it was time to move on. Being a video maker and attempting to speak at the side of a busy road was also proving difficult

A stones throw away from the road was an area full of the joys of Spring with it’s luscious greens, white blossoms and photogenic gnarly trees. It was definitely worth an explore. I quickly discovered that the area was difficult trying to find seperation and compose a shot excluding distractions. I was also battling the rain…i’ve been there before. All was not lost however. Some good timings with my cloth and I managed to bring home the goods. This was another moody day, full of atmosphere but at the same time full of challenges.

Watch the video

Your time will come

Blog

Location: Near Skipton, Yorkshire Dales & Kirkstone Pass, Lake District

Published: 12th May 2019

Patience is a gift and also a very important attribute to have in landscape photography. There are many times when I have been disappointed but this has been balanced with the few occasions that I have been pleased. Happiness comes in all forms but for me in landscape photography, that feeling of elation is when the conditions and composition fall into place at the right time. I do believe I shot my favourite image of the year.

En route to the Lake District, my eye brows raised as a scene was developing in the corner of my eye, through the front passenger window to be exact. The mist was rolling over the hills and on those hills stood faint outlines of trees, a landscape photographers favourite models. To my astonishment a lay by appeared at the side of the road. A hard foot on the break and with a swift steer of the driving wheel later, I pulled up and assessed the scene in front of me. I had made the right decision but what’s this? The clad was rolling in and my hopes were being rubbed out as if it was a pencil sketch in front of me. Could it be happening again? I was hearing a faint voice in my head saying ‘maybe another time’ Surely not.

My adventure continued from my next destination, a lay by off Kirkstone pass in the Lake District. Misty moody conditions were all around me and distant silhouettes of our favourite models could still be scene. Another moody day. I needed to find a composition and again, hope the misty mood would hang on until my conquest is complete. The journey continues.

Watch the video

Exmoor ramblings

Blog

Posted: 21st April 2019

Location: Near Porlock, Exmoor

This was a morning of hope more than a precision planned photography session. I had in mind an area where I would park up, sort of. I also had a few subjects I wanted to photograph, sort of. I headed up from Porlock, Somerset on the coastal road, driving West towards Lynmouth. I was in the middle of a family trip and the Mrs had so kindly agreed for me to enjoy myself with my camera for a couple of hours, sort of. It was a fleeting mention the previous evening during Coronation street. Very tactful. I honestly believe she has finally accepted that when we’re away, my camera bag will follow. The sessions are still timed however.

It was a very early morning start driving, stopping, driving stopping. From my first parking location I headed towards the coastal view. There was no potential due to the view being obscured by hedges. A careful cock of the leg over the barbed wire didn’t prove to be successful, the views were there but lacking anything in foreground interest. I got back into my car and ventured to the next parking area.

Stop! A knarly tree that resembles something like those found up North. I decided to take a chance and see what I could find. The clock was ticking but still I was confident. I had to make a video with at least 1 photograph that I liked. This is the pressures of vlogging. Looking back at my past videos, I felt that I have posted images that I am not proud of displaying. It is with time however that I have discovered the importance of producing videos of landscape photography sessions. It is simply fact that not all sessions produce content in terms of a good photograph. Going forward I will stick with this mantra and continue with the story telling. That is what vlogging is about, it’s a video log. The photography will always come first however but to not film an outing without the camera is proving difficult.

The morning went on and the return to the Mrs alarm was getting closer and closer. I was still relaxed however as I always am when when producing my videos and searching for that composition that I am proud to be on my sensor. I was pleased to discover my first and second images. This was the icing on the cake. I returned later in the morning to a fine welcome of a devils stare. I had over ran by half an hour. The rest of the holiday was very enjoyable albeit the weather and I have fallen in love with the area, having been on a few occasions now. Porlock is a small village, set in a leafy valley, where the locals smile and say hello. I will no doubt continue my discovery of Exmoor and it’s surrounding areas in the future. Before I go, a thank you to my brother for allowing me to stay in your wonderful little cottage.

Watch the video

Improve photography/composition-part 1 of probably alot

Blog

Published: 31st March 2019

Location: Blea Tarn & Lingmoor Fell

The day started at Blea Tarn, Lake District as part of my first introductory workshop with co host Chris Sale. This was a thank you session for our subscribers. A day of excellent views, banter and conversations of composition. Taking a decent photograph is as if not more important to getting the best photography gear. It’s about what you put on that sensor.

In this episode, I briefly touch on the importance and use of lines, whether it be man made or natural and how to place them in the frame. Lines in landscape photography is such a dynamic element and can often make or break a photograph. Foreground and background are also deal breakers but also the inclusion of a middle ground element that helps to guide the eye through the composition is equally as important in landscape photography.

Watch the video