Peaks: February 2019

One of our assessments for our second semester magazine project was to produce a full advertorial for inclusion in the magazine and marking. We spent a day with Fujifilm in the Dark Peaks at the Derbyshire/Sheffield border taking images with Chris Upton. Some of the images I took on the day are included here. I particularly loved the quality of light at the site, and the wilderness of it. I have since re-visited the area a few times, but must go back again soon to attempt more landscape photography.

Masters Summer Project

I have neglected to update the site for a while. Having completed our second semester of the masters degree I am undertaking, to be finished in August this year, I have spent almost exclusively all of my time capturing images and editing images, and learning and perfecting layout using Adobe InDesign, Lightroom, Illustrator and Photoshop. It has been a great experience learning to use these tools effectively and efficiently. My second semester final project was a full 96 page magazine, completed by myself using entirely my own photography and my own researched and written, scientific articles. I am very proud of the result and will post up images from the magazine in due course.

Now we are working on our final summer projects for completion of the masters, and my subject is a local National Trust estate, Calke Abbey. I am spending eight weeks taking images at the estate including some of its wildlife – invertebrates, birds, mammals, plants and trees – its old gardens and buildings and some of the internal rooms of the house itself. It is proving to be an enjoyable and rewarding project thus far. The final result will be a book to be printed and submitted for marking by August.

So far I have layout and many of the images needed, although far from all of them. Birds and mammals are proving more difficult than trees, plants and insects, for obvious reasons. Invertebrate photography is not as straightforward as it seems, as they are always on the move and it’s a fine line which aperture to use to capture as much detail of the insect as possible while maintaining nice bokeh and background.

Some of these images were taken while working on the summer project, and I will be adding more in time. They give a general idea of the images which will be included, however none of these will be included in the book, as I have many others.

Budapest: January 2019

We took a short break to Budapest, as it is a city I have wanted to visit for a very long time. Obviously, my camera came with me. I couldn’t possibly have left it behind…

My plans are to travel as much as earning money will allow me in the future, after graduating with my Masters degree, but for now I remain a poor student so any kind of holiday is so much appreciated. Equally, any travel is a great opportunity to learn more, and I try to take those opportunities and use them.

On this holiday, although it was short, I used the hotel location with a window overlooking the beautiful train station building and busy roads to try some long exposure shots of traffic light trails at night. This was my first attempt at light trails and I was relatively pleased that the technique worked and with the results.

Into the woods: November 2018

One of the aspects of photography I have always wanted to be more confident at trying – and really make an effort to master – is landscape photography. Maybe every photographer goes down a similar route – it is the genre of photography that we all know, and see, and it is one in which you can still make a living producing prints for sale. However, I have consistently failed at it at any decent level. Now, undertaking my masters degree, I have finally got the confidence to just go out into the woods or fields, take the tripod, stand and play with settings and try to get it right.

I did a bit of reading and watched some youtube videos to get a good idea of ideal landscape settings. I wanted to achieve sunbursts so that was a specific set of camera settings I had to nail down. Then it was a case of taking my fairly new (second-hand) wide angle lens (16-35mm Canon L) and using it on the tripod, with remote shutter, and trying longer exposures. It seems to be working, and I have of course been motivated to want to catch some colourful images due to the amazing autumnal trees out in the countryside at this time of year.

The leaves are rapidly falling, however, so it will soon be time to try to catch misty or snowy winter tree scenes instead. I’m looking forward to it.

Chasing light: September/October 2018

At the end of September I started a Masters course in Biological Photography and Imaging. This has meant a huge shift in terms of comfort levels when using my camera. My obsession with AV mode on the Canon EOS 5D Mk III has been fixed!

We have a number of assignment deadlines coming up already, but I have managed to get out and about both on the incorporated field trips and in my spare (haha) time. Here are a few images from our various trips and my own trips out.

 

Mull, Scotland: July 2018

I spent a magical week in the Isle of Mull, Scotland, visiting Staffa island and Iona too. It was an opportunity to capture images of Scottish wildlife, and to practice photographic techniques.┬áIn that sense, it was a relative failure. My equipment wasn’t up to my requirements, and my abilities aren’t up to the standard I needed to make the most of photographic opportunities. However, it was a learning process, to some extent, and made me see how much I have still to learn.

Staffa island blew me away – I had not expected to get so close to puffins and was completely surprised by their proximity (and some people’s willingness to get far too close to puffins and their nests), which meant I was then unable to focus on getting the best images possible of the puffins. I would like to go back and re-try. I was fairly unlucky with sightings of eagles and other birds of prey, not getting close to any large birds. Even the herons were determined to make life impossible for me!

However, I loved it in Mull and plan to go back again, very soon. These images were the result of a couple of late night and early morning drives out with my dog to see what we could get close enough to and capture, and some are from Staffa island.