The Christmas break has meant I have had time to look over some of the many personal images I have shot over the last few months but not had time to process. This one title “Casting Into The Dawn” was captured at dawn on the cliffs close to Albufeira on Portugal’s Algarve coastline.
The last few weeks have been pretty busy with a rather diverse mix of assignments both here and abroad.
Rather than wind down and take an early Christmas we are currently preparing to complete some shoots for one of our ongoing personal projects (See The Cider Orchards & Withy Centre Posts).
Personal work is and always has been a very important part of my photography. For me it’s an extension of my commercial work except I have complete creative freedom to cut loose,experiment and generally create whatever inspires me at the time.
A couple of things that do get me excited to go out and shoot are exploring new places and it’s people. Fortunately last week after completing an assignment in Rotterdam I had a few hours the following day to explore the city and I and set myself the challenge to come home with a few shots to sum up this very interesting and modern city.
The image here was captured at dawn and combines several iconic elements of Rotterdam including the huge Nieuwe Maas river, the beautiful Erasmusbrug Bridge and lighting up the horizon the very modern De Rotterdam building.
Another recent image captured in the beautiful light of the Algarve Portugal.
This one titled “The Headland Path” was captured on the cliffs close to the coastal town of Albufeira.
I have always lived on or very close to the beach and to be honest it used to concern me that the coast appeared in so many of my images.
Over the years however I have come to understand my work/vision in much more detail and what drives it and I know you can’t force or control creativity you simply just have to follow what inspires you.
It seems a distant blur since my week in Portugal probably partly due to being very busy completing a couple of commissions since returning home.
Now these jobs have been completed I finally had time to start going through a few of the images from my trip and managed to complete this one titled “Perigoso Path” (Dangerous Path).
The light in Portugal was stunning and produced some of the most colorful sunsets I’ve experienced for a very long time which of course I captured for my composite archives to be used at a later date if needed.
The cliffs in the image here where captured at dawn which is often my preferred time to shoot as it usually means less people around to spoil the view !
The coastline here provided me with several interesting locations to capture over the week and I plan to add a couple more of the images to the blog as when time permits.
This week the weather finally looked perfect and we got to shoot the old Cider Orchard I mentioned in a previous post.
I arrived on my own at the orchard just after sunrise and spent nearly two hours in the beautiful autumn light capturing all the images I would need ready for the composite.
I should explain again that the plan was to capture the orchard now while full of Apples and then photograph the guys from Richies Cider when things quieten down for them after the harvest.
The shoot was pretty simple and most the time was spent trying to create nice clean compositions as there was just so many trees full of fruit close to each other that it was a little too much !
We now have to create our backdrop from the images captured and arrange to return to Richies Cider Farm in a few weeks to capture the images of the guys to complete our vision for the final image.
Who does not love Cornwall? I even love the picturesque A30 despite the fact it can be a bastard if you get caught in a jam.
I’ve lost count how many times I have visited since a kid and I even did what most have thought of doing and lived there for a short period…great in the summer not so easy in the winter!
Needless to say, I have photographed most of the more familiar spots over the last 18 years and many charismatic fishermen most of which are no longer with us.
So it’s sometimes either not really appealing to revisit places already well photographed in favour of somewhere new or a challenge to look at places with fresh eyes and creativity.
Having said that as photographers as with most things in life we grow and our vision grows and changes so the images I shoot today will not be completely the same as those captured previously.
I captured this image “A Tranquil Mooring” at dawn at Cadgwith on the Lizard a few weeks ago, it’s a place I’m very familiar with and happy to revisit with or without my camera.
On this visit, I noticed a new bench near the spot I was photographing dedicated to a young lad called Toby who had very sadly died aged just 16 and had no doubt loved Cornwall as much as me.
Reading that inscription on the bench certainly left an impression on me and I’ll be sure to return next time and leave a few flowers.
A Tranquil Mooring.. Dedicated To Toby
I’ve been shooting and editing video for a good few years now for the purpose of presenting and illustrating Photography & Retouching training.
This year however I find myself shooting more and more creative video type work which blends stills & video.
Some of this work is nearing the end of production for a client so I’m unable to publish just yet but here is something similar we shot for our Studio based Cafe
Something else we have started to play with is Time Lapse photography which once again blends still photography with video.
Below is a short video titled “Dancing Shadows Over The Crops” we shot last week on a glorious summer afternoon in a beautiful field of crops and Butterflies.
This was our first attempt at Time Lapse and it requires a lot of images,batteries and most of all patience !..more to follow.
I know I have mentioned this before both here and probably many times on my photography training site but I love the Somerset Levels.
Somerset has been my home since the age of seven and the Wetlands are where I spent many many hours shooting and mastering my photography.
These days most of (but not all) of my photography tends to be planned in detail rather than simply exploring and capturing what I find although this often more fun!
Following some extreme flooding in late November here in the U.K I decided to take a trip to some of my favorite areas of the levels with just a single camera and a single 70-200mm lens. I occasionally reduce myself to a limited amount of equipment to kind of stretch/exercise /challenge my creativity.On the day in question the winter light was beautiful combined with a striking cold frost that barely shifted all day.It’s days like these that there seems to be an image waiting to be captured around every bend.It’s also days like these that reminds me of all the years of learning and why I’d do it all again in a flash..pun intended 🙂
I’m pleased to announced one of my images has received an Honorable Mention In IPA Awards.
The awards which are in their 10th Anniversary Year received over 10,000 entries and judged by over 80 international photography professionals.
The image which was entered into the Advertising self promotion category is Untitled is one of my Life In A Somerset Landscape series.
The image features a Fox in a spring dawn at Burrow Mump at Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels.
Photography Location “Preparation” for successful Landscape Photography
I don’t normally post any kind of tutorials here they are normally posted on my Digital Photography site but I’ve been asked a couple of times how I approach some of the work in my Travel Photography Portfolio so thought I’d add a short post here.
A Photography Location is not always the easiest of subjects to capture unless you do a little bit of pre-planning.
That’s not to say I don’t sometimes just stumble across a well-lit scene or just head out and explore an area without any planning because sometimes I do.
However, a professional vacation photographer will almost always do some scouting before shooting.
Weather can be unpredictable especially in the U.K where it changes very quickly and of course, we can’t be prepared for that!
I’ll often research the area via good old Google and Google Earth to get ideas of the locations terrain and possible shooting angles.
I’ll also phone local tourist offices who can often be invaluable in recommending good vantage points or even specific times of the year they believe are best to visit although they are rarely photographers themselves and their idea for a chocolate box image/vantage point will rarely be yours!
Looking at books or local postcards can also help show the more popular spots and this can be a good starting point but I’ll always search out a new angle where I can and try to make the image my own.
If you are out scouting locations consider using a compass or better still a smartphone app like Focalware.
I use Focalware on my iPhone and it tells you the sun/moon angle during various times of the year which can be extremely handy especially in hilly areas where parts of your scene could fall into shade.
Another way to find out what time the sun rises and sets for the chance to create some creative travel photography is a site like Time & Date and of course, check the weather forecast while you are online too!
Even after viewing forecasts the weather can be unpredictable so be prepared to have to wait around for the light so perhaps pack a good book or a laptop to entertain yourself.
Travel and landscape photography can mean early starts or a late finish so a flask and a snack are other items I never leave home without especially when I’m out shooting at dawn.
Stay close to your chosen viewpoint and be prepared (especially if the wind is up and clouds are moving quickly) to grab the unexpected change in the light.
Early morning and dusk can also mean unexpected wildlife too so again be prepared for a few grab shots.
Landscape photography is not the hardest subject technically to capture but sometimes does take a bit of planning to get the best images that the location has to offer.
Be patient and be willing to cut your losses and return another time (if that’s possible) if the light or weather is too poor for the image you want.