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Sunday, 14 June 2015

A dull sunset turned into a lesson in car photography

Myself and my friend Mark from Twiglet Images headed down to Kimmeridge Bay in #Dorset last night to hopefully shoot a lovely sunset involving the "Land" statue created by Sir Antony Gormley to mark the 50th anniversary of The Landmark Trust. 
The weather reports were looking perfect, patchy cloud with sunny intervals which could potentially crest some lovely colours in the sky. The tide was in our favour as well with low tide just after sunset. 
We had hoped that the clouds would break completely after sunset to allow us to capture the Milky Way...but the forecast wasn't playing ball with that part. 

When we were getting close to the village of Corfe Castle we saw a massive amount of pud coming from the direction of the sea so our hearts started to sink, thinking that all hopes of some sky at the cost were now squashed. When we arrived at Kimmeridge Bay we saw some clear sky but that the clouds were being formed right above the cliffs in the bay next to Kimmeridge. The wind coming off the sea was hitting the vertical cliffs and being pushed upwards where it condensed into heavy was pretty spectacular to witness but it meant we weren't going to be able to catch the sun going down because of the angle of those clouds. 

Nevertheless, we clambered done the rocks towards the statue and set up our cameras to see what we could create with what nature was dealing us. 

I found a nice composition that I think works well, even if there was very little colour in the sky. What do you think of the picture below? 

When dusk was over we headed back up to the Clifton car park for a very welcome coffee from the flask I had brought with me. We then decided to turn the car around and play with some shots of that instead. Now, I have never tried any automotive photography before. I have admired the work of Tim Wallace from Ambient Life for quite some time but knew that I would NEVER be able to create anything near his quality of work...he is the master after all. 

We set up our cameras (my Canon 70F and Marks Nikon D600) on high tripods and set the intervalometers to take a succession of shots while we lit the car with a LED torch shone through a hand held softbox. 

This is my version...a composite of 25 shots all merged together. I'm quite pleased with it but I've obviously got a very long way to go. 

Whereas this last picture is Marks version...a 3-shot composite. 

I LOVE Marks version. 

The difference between my crop-sensor camera and his full-frame is quite evident. Wish I could afford to go full-frame! 

Until next time :-)

Monday, 16 February 2015

A lovely February beach walk

Yesterday we went for a walk along the beach at Lee-On-Solent with the kids. There 9 of us in total. 
It was such a lovely day I couldnt resist taking the camera. But, I wanted to push myself to use different lenses than I normally do (Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5), so I only took my Sigma 105mm macro and popped my little nifty Canon 50mm f/1.8 in my pocket. 

After using the 105mm to get some portrait shots of my kids I swapped to the 50mm to get some group shots a dog the boys playing with a rugby ball. 

The sunset started to look like a proper good'un so I challenged myself to get a decent photo of it with the 50mm. Is it possible? Yes :-)

What do you think?

Monday, 9 February 2015

Durdle Door, Dorset

Has it really been 3 months since I've written anything on this blog???

There's been a few things happening since my last post (about my trip to Iceland):
1) I nearly moved house, but it fell through on the day of exchange :-/
2) I moved in with Melissa :-)
3) I bought a Canon 100-400mm lens :-)
4) I spent £1,100 to get my car fixed after it broke down on me :-/

On Saturday 7th Feb I went out with my friend Mark to shoot sunrise at Mupe Bay in Dorset. I had seen a beautiful picture of it on Facebook and wanted to create my own version of it. However...there's alway a "However" isn't there! get there you have to walk about 1.5 miles over military firing ranges which are only open at weekends and public holidays. Little did we know when we arrived there that the military ranges didn't open till about 9am! That'd be no good for sunrise!

Plan B...we drove to Lulworth and parked up with a view to walk over the South West Coastal Path to Mupe Bay. we go again...the path was closed off because of a landslide! It seemed someone didn't want us to get there that day.

Plan C...Durdle Door.
All nicely wrapped up warm, camera bags on our backs and a big flask of hot coffee off we set. Apart from tripping over a rabbit hole when Mark said "Look at the moon" it was a lovely walk down to the Door. We didn't fancy the rough clamber down to the beach so we walked a bit further along the clifftop to be able to get a shot of the sun coming up over the horizon beyond the Door.

I did a few different compositions, but the 3-stitch panoramic I took really pleased me and has been retweeted loads of times on Twitter (it even got retweeted by Boycie from Only Fools And Horses...bragging rights ha ha ha).

As always this image is for sale as a canvas print on my website:

Speak to you soon


Friday, 14 November 2014

Profile Article in Iceland Magazine

Well, here's a bit of a nice surprise :-)

After posting one of my images onto the Iceland Magazine Facebook page I was contacted by them asking if they could do a little profile piece on me and my recent trip to Iceland!

Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!!

Do I call myself an Internationally Published Photographer now??? Ha ha ha :-)

Why not head over and have a little read of what they wrote. Here's the link:

What do you think? Please let me know.

Take care. Speak soon.


PS: I've got a couple more images to be uploaded to my website later today, so keep an eye on there as well.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Iceland - The edited results

Hi everyone,
I've been back from Iceland now a few days, and am back at work today :-(
I have now uploaded some of the edited images to my website for you all to have a look at.

Here's the link to the slideshow:!iceland-2014/cf75

I would really love to know what you think of the images, so please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Don't forget these images are available to buy as prints or canvases, so just drop me a line if you'd like to see one of these hanging on your walls at home.

Speak soon :-)


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Iceland Day 4

The first thing I noticed when I woke up this morning was the sound of rain on the hostel roof...heavy rain! 
Looking out the window confirmed we would not be shooting sunrise today, no matter how long it lasted. 
Our plan was to stop at the iceberg beach near Jokulsarlon and photograph the big lumps of ice which are washed up on the beach after breaking off the end of the glacier. Then we wanted to find the abandoned American Navy DC-3 airplane which crashed in 1973 (no one died thankfully). We were also thinking of making a few other stops while making our way back to Reykjavik. 

Finding the iceberg beach was easy. It was very surreal walking along a beach made of volcanic black sand in between big lumps of crystal clear ice which are just sitting there as if every beach should be like that. 

There were so many options for taking photos on that beach. 

Luckily I brought a cameradom with me because it was pouring with rain the whole time we were there. Freezing cold as well! I was wearing thermal longjohns, my lined hiking trousers and a pair of waterproof leggings, two micro-fleece base layers, a thermal mid-layer, a hoodie and my big coat along with neck gaiter, hat and two pairs of gloves. 

After a couple of hours shooting on the beach we headed off to find the DC-3   That meant another couple of hours in the car towards Reykjavik. 
When we found the turning off the main road we had to travel about 3 miles off-road across more black sand. That wasn't 3 miles along the beach parallel to the sea though. That was 3 miles down the beach towards the sea. Some of the open expanses here in Iceland are simy mind-blowing! 
More heavy rain (again) when we arrived at the plane. Those pilots must have thought they crash landed on Mars (except the sand was black not red). Apart from some mountains in the distance all we could see was black sand in every direction! 

Back in the car and onwards to Reykjavik. The scenery still absolutely astounds me. 

Reykjavik surprised me. I don't really know what I was expecting but it was much bigger than I thought it would be. The apartment we had was stunning as well, right in the 101 district which is where there are loads of bars, restaurants and galleries to keep people interested. It has a really young and vibrant feel to it. 
We were initially thinking we were going to go out for some celebratory drunkeness to round off a fantastic week, but we needed food first so found a chinese restaurant. The food was amazing. And reasonably priced as well. 

The obligatory photo of Reykjavik church. 

Iceland...I love you. I'll definitely be back!

Keep an eye on this blog over the next few days for updates on the proper photos being uploaded to my website.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Iceland Day 3

Day 3 started with an urgent dash to the petrol station to fill up with fuel...for the car and for us. Because we got to our overnight stop after the shops closed (at 8pm) we had no dinner so we were hungry and grumpy (or Hangry as my girlfriend calls it ��).
Once fed and feeling human again we set off for Seljalanfoss waterfall which was only about half an hour away. It was pouring with rain when we got there so initially we thought we'd just do the tourist thing and walk up to it without the cameras, but as soon as the scale of it was realised we knew we couldn't leave without at least trying so we got the heat out of the car and went behind the waterfall to try and get some decent shots. Sunrise was not possible because of the heavy clouds but we had to get something. 
The wind kept blowing the spray from the waterfall all over us so our lenses and filters kept getting soaked. After a couple of shots we gave up and headed back to the car. That was good timing, a coach load of Japanese tourists turned up in the car park just as we got in the car. 
iPhone shot of the Seljalanfoss waterfall. 

Another half hour down the road we stopped at Skogafoss waterfall, but we arrived in the same rainy conditions. I took my camera with me but left the tripod in the car so at least I got some shots and we did a group shot of ourselves and headed back to the car. The coach turned up just behind us again...we had to keep moving to avoid the swarm of bus passengers getting in all our shots. 

Next stop, the black sand beach at Vil. What an amazing place. Absolutely stunning to look at with its jet black volcanic sand, towered over by sheer cliffs and the dramatic stone stacks stood out in the sea like beacons. 
This is where I tested the waterproofing I had sprayed onto my walking boots before I left home. Stood at the edge of the waterline with waves coming up to my shins I pulled off my favourite shot of the trip so far. 

I'll be really looking forward to seeing that on the laptop screen. 
As for the wayerproofing, it worked to a point then I felt my left foot get cold. 
At least I didn't fall over in the water like Adam did. 

The main aim of today was to get to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, a two and a half hour drive from our last location. 
This lagoon is at the bottom of a vast glacier system and acts as the run-off point to the sea for the melt water. 
When we arrived the sky was clear with just some clouds way off in the distance, along the horizon. The sun was beginning to set and that just added to the magic of this place. 
These are all iPhone pictures, I will post a link to the website when I get the proper images from my camera edited and uploaded. 

All alerts were going mad for a good show of the Northern Lights so we were praying that the clouds would stay on the horizon as it got darker. We stayed at Jokulsarlon until well after dark, constantly having to de-ice our camera lenses and keep moving around to fight off the bitter cold. 
Some of the guys say they managed to capture some of the aurora while we were there but I don't think I did. I'll have to wait till I look at the images on the laptop. 
The clouds beat us again so we decided to move east to get ahead of the clouds again. We drove for over an hour and stopped a few times when we saw the lights putting on a show. 

I've seen the Northern Lights with my naked eyes!!!!

I got some great shots on my camera and managed to get this very dark and grainy image on my iPhone 

Believe me the ones on the camera are much much better. The whole experience of seeing the Northern Lights is something I will never forget. 

The clouds caught up with us again and wiped out the whole sky so we decided to find a bar and have a celebratory drink. Then headed back to our hostel for the night and crashed into bed totally exhausted. 

The weather forecast for Day 4 is total cloud and rain. Not sure what sort of pictures I'm going to be able to get but we'll try. 

Keep an eye on for the full images of this trip.

Here is the link to Day 4.