Over the summer months when inspiration is low, I like to spend some time on google maps and google earth searching for less popular locations. What this does is, it allows me to build up a log and correspond to that with the weather forecasts and then choose which is the best place to visit.
So this location i have had pinned for a few months, and with some online research and a touch of local knowledge i decided it was time to pay a visit.
Online there is not many photographs of this location but from the few that where i thought it may be worth it.
What i didn’t expect was the sheer numbers of silver birch trees scattered about, which where amazing in the morning light as the light caught their leaves.
After a morning spent shooting this lovely location it was breakfast time. I love a good breakfast and i headed to the cafe Siabod on the A5, where i met Nick Livesey and a few mates for breakfast.
After breakfast we decided to head to a river and walk the up the edge of it to see if we could find anything new. A few snippets but i was really interested in the foliage in the fiver.
The past day it had rained a lot so the rivers where quite full and i took advantage of that. I could see swirling motions on the surface from the foam that had formed. “Foam is a natural phenomenon that occurs on many lakes and streams. Foam is produced when molecules such as fatty acids act as ‘surfactants’ interfering with the surface tension of water and allowing air and water to mix more easily. These molecules often float on the surface of the water as a thin film. “
The motion of the foam is what caught my eye at first, then the colours. To take this image it took a few goes as i broke down the scene to try and create the effect i wanted.
So my point is, if you dont challenge yourself you wont learn or progress by visiting the same spots with the same compositions.
To improve we must move forward, get away from the well shot locations. Venture out into the unknown and create not replicate .
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I like to think i embrace any type of photography, i have no set style no set method i just like to go out and shoot. Yesterday was no exception as i checked the tide heights for my favorite beach in North Wales, i gathered my equipment and set off.
Please note though in adverse weather and extremely high tides as it was yesterday you have to know your own limits and being equipped with the right clothing makes things more comfortable.
As i was walking up the beach to explore an area i had not been before i turned around and noticed a mist from the fine drizzle which diffused the backdrop of the light house.
I’ve never had conditions like this here before so i stopped turned my back to rain and wind and took a few images.
A few moments later i saw this man and his child picking shells together in the rain and i thought it was such a lovely thing that he stayed on the beach in the rain so they could pick shells. I watched for a few minutes as they walked around and as they started to walk away this became one of those moment where you connect with the photograph.
At that moment it didn’t matter if i never got a chance to take the camera out the bag for the rest of the day i knew i had captured lovely moment in time.
After that lovely image, i spent the next few hours walking and battling wind and rain. My headphones no longer work due to the amount of water they absorbed.
I began questioning my sanity as i was alone on the beach, looking down at the water logged sand.
After what seemed like a one shot wonder day i came across a section of the beach that had been cut away by the tide creating an outflow. It’s stuff like this that may only appear after a rough tide and you have to make the most of it.
However it took a while for the rain to ease of enough to be able to capture anything but when it did, it was lovely and soft light.
I spent the next hour working this out flow creating detailed images of the waves and ripples flowing through at an surprisingly fast rate.
Even if i hadn’t got any images yesterday it was still nice just to be out in the elements. So next time you think urgh its raining cant go out, just grab your gear and head out because you never know when than moment of stillness will arrive.
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I’ve just spent a wonderful break in Somerset with my family where i was allocated one day to go out for some photography. As it turned out there was pretty wild weather forcasted for the Tuesday and after speaking to my good friend Adam on that Tuesday morning he said “if there is one place i need to shoot, it’s to Hartland Quay”
At this point it was already late into the morning approx 10AM so i decided i would gather my kit and pack for a wet afternoon then set off on the 2 hour drive to Hartland.
On arrival it was bright but with incoming cloud so i wrapped the Vanguard Alta 49D with its waterproof cover it comes with and set off to explore the area. On first sight i fell in love with this location it has huge seastack’s long rocky coastal outcrops and a pub close by !
I spent a good while walking around the coastal path but it was so windy and the intermittent rain was making taking any photos a chore. After a few hours i retreated back to the car and drove down to the lower tier car park which was closer to the pub !
With high tide due and rain i took shelter in the pub and waited for the tide to turn.
My friend Adam who i was talking to early in the morning was due to meet my for sunset but given the amount cloud about it was looking slim. I wasn’t to fussed as the clouds that where about looked great and combine that with the big swells i had a very nice pot of conditions.
As the tide started to go out and the rocky structures of Hartland Quay started to show i went about my normal routine of capturing the moment.
The swell was quite big and intimidating at times, you have to be focused at all times watching the pattern of the waves and timings.
When waves are this big safety is paramount so choosing to follow the tide out after high tide is the safest option.
Im lucky to be a user and UK champion for kase filters UK. When sea spray is blown onto the front of the filter its easily wiped clean due to their nano coatings.
It’s not often location and conditions meet so when they do you have to take full advantage and at time’s it might seem like you’ve lost you’re head in the moment but on reflection you will come away with some nice images.
I’m really pleased with this set of image and owe a huge thanks to my friend Adam. you can follow him here https://www.instagram.com/lczzzzz/ go check him out he shoots this spot a lot.
Thursday the 25th of July was one of the hottest days on UK record, given that and the convection forecast put out by www.convectiveweather.co.uk it meant that there was a very good chance of some thunder storms.
After work i rushed home to gather my equipment and family who also like chasing storms. I had been tracking a small cell in south Wales and it was moving north at quite some speed.
As it got towards Wrexham it had already out out some bolts of lightning and was growing in size. Lucky enough its path was quite easy to see so i headed north towards Southport thinking it will stay close to the coast. As we drove up the M57 we could see the dark clouds apearing in the mirrors of the car. I was getting excited as Jennifer kept checking the radar and showing me updated images of lightning happening over Liverpool with reports of ice cube sized hail stones.
Just before we got to Southport my good friend Dominic called and said it was heading slightly east, so we changed direction and headed towards Ormskirk where there are flat fields with good lines of sight.
Heavy rains and winds battered the car as the cell moved closer, worried i was in the position and too far into the cell I drove back west a few miles. Satisfied I was in a good location I pulled into a layby and waited for an opportunity to get the equipment in the field.
It was time to get ready as the shower had passed so there i was getting my equipment ready in the boot of the car when a bolt of lightning grounded approximately 50 meters away. The sound was like nothing iv’e ever heard, it crackled in the air around me and shook my body. In a split second i was back in the car, the was open, my camera gear was getting wet, kids screaming because of the sound and Jennifer laughing at me cause i was shaking.
A few moments later i had to go back out and gather my equipment and dry it off as another shower moved in.
After that shower had passed i felt like i was in great spot on the edge of the cell as it was sunny behind us and very dark and moody. Storm clouds are my favorite types of clouds as they are so dramatic looking and can really help engage the viewer and make them feel what i was feeling at the time.
In this post I take you through my choice of equipment that i use for my work.
Choosing a bag can be very frustrating, we all want that one bag that can do it all. In reality we have to compromise and that is why i chose the Vanguard Alta Sky 49D. It is a bag that i can take every where on a daily basis with all my equipment.
I had to compromise and not being able to carry my tripod with this bag which in fairness is much larger than your ordinary tripod. This bag will however carry regular tripods like the Alta pro 2+ and the likes of a manfrotto. My VEO 2 265CB fits perfectly in the front of the bag making it great for a mountain walk, with the two big side pockets for water bottles.
Iv’e been using this bag for a few months now and I am very pleased with the the amount of space and pockets this bag has. I would recommend this bag for the keener amateurs out there who have a few more pieces of kit to carry.
Tripod or pod’s
When you chose a tripod you have to buy the best you can afford, not only for the quality but for the stability. You have to protect your expensive equipment as best as you can and using a cheap tripod with poor quality is asking for trouble. After all you wouldn’t put budget tyres on you’re porsche would you?
Thus leaves us with the whole Weight vs Stability. Again another compromise . In an ideal world we would all have lots of tripods for every occasion but most of us can only afford one or two, so we like to spend time and research before we buy and spend out hard earned cash. In this instance i decided to get two tripods, one for heavy duty and daily landscapes and a light weight tripod for hiking.
Up until quite recently i have always used manfrotto tripods, i went from a old 150 ali tripod to a new sparkling 190 carbon fiber tripod. I hated the carbon tripod from the day i got it, but persevered with it until enough was enough. It was time to jump ship.
I like moody weather and quite often that involves rain and wind, so my choice of tripods was very limited to a few brands. Berno, Gitzo, really right stuff. All of these produce big bulky tripods with 1.75″ legs, no center column, and a big base plate.
For my heavy duty tripod i chose a Benro Mach3 TMA47AXL the reason for this was size. It has a staggering max height of 85.12 in (216.2 cm) . I opted for the aluminum legs as i shoot a lot around the coast, and salt water and carbon doesn’t really go well together.
After using this tripod for a few months now i can happily say that it is an excellent addition to my kit. I have shot in some windy and wet weather and it has held up very well. If you don’t mind the weight for the price is a great piece of kit.
Light weight tripod
I have a Vanguard VEO 2 265CB which is a 5 section lightweight tripod. I would love to say i’ve used this a lot but sadly family circumstances has stopped me from heading into the hills. Hopefully later in summer i can team up with my hiking partner Jake Hilder and really get to grips with it.
I have used it a few times locally to shoot and it does cope with my Sony A7RII and 24-70mm F4 so quite looking forward to using it a bit more.
Everyone has their favorite brands, i used a canon 5D3 for a few years until last year when i jumped ship for a Sony mirrorless body. Not only did i jump ship i sold all my canon lenses and went native sony.
So far there are no regrets the change over was not as bad as all the forums were making out. I personally think the menu system is easier to navigate than canon’s.
So what am i using now? Well im using a sonyA7Rii and i have to say it’s a fantastic tool.
There’s nothing wrong with canon at all, i just didn’t get on with it for landscape’s i found everything way to saturated for my liking. As a mate of mine already had a A7Rii i pinched it for a day and loved it and hey presto. The only downside to the A7Rii is the battery life but its a small compromise for a great camera.
I wont bore you all will with detail’s on lenses so here are what i have to cover my landscape and a bit of astro work.
I use three filter’s,four if you count the CPL. i find for the subject’s and work i like to produce this is more than enough.
Kase K8 100 Slim holder
Kase magnetic CPL filter
Kase ND 1000 Wolverine
Kase ND64 Wolverine
Kase 0.9 med grad Wolverine
I’m very happy to be part of the Kase team and hounded to be around some fantastic photographers. I’m never short of inspiration that’s for sure.
Don’t forget you can contact me for any Kase sale’s you may have.
This year I joined the Vanguard ambassador program and i’m immensely proud to be part of another great team.
Why did i join?
I have been using vanguard bags since I started my daytime photography journey, I knew very little about them but just enjoyed their range of bags.
Over the years I had gone through a number of bags but the one that had lasted was my Vanguard adapter 48. This bag was my go to day tripper bag , just recently i have upgraded to the Alta sky 49 D. This bag is a serious bit of kit, it can hold a lot of equipment and it feel’s like your’e carrying no weight when the waist support straps are on.
After becoming a Kase UK partner I found out that Kase and Vangaurd work very close together and i was recommended to look at Vanguards ambassador program.
After some emails and a few portfolio shots sent over i was on the team!
Being an Ambassador
It is about being part of a team and helping it grow. Compared to the leading brands Vanguard is small, but what you get is customer focused care. The team at Vanguard are extremely helpful, and when you get this type of service and dedication it makes a huge difference.
Vanguard recently attended a joint demo day in North Wales with Kase filters uk where attendees got to sample products from both brands. I was there to help on the filter’s from Kase and Jason Vanguard was there to assist with all things Vanguard.
Being new to the team i haven’t had an opportunity to contribute much to the team but i am really looking forward to helping out in the near future.
If you need any help or advise on any products please feel free to get in touch.
Towards the later part of 2018 i was contacted by Kase filters UK and i was asked if i would like to try out their range of holders & filters. I was excited because i had heard through the grapevine that they were very good.
It wasn’t til mid January until i actually managed to get out and use them. I had got a Kase K8 100 SLIM holder with their magnetic CPL, a ND 1000, med 0.9 grad, ND6400 (16 STOP!! ) and a neutral light filter.
I had come to Scotland with the family for a weekend break in Glencoe, where i thought i could sneak off and try out the filters,while the kids played in the snow.
Before i could even get to my destination that typical Scottish light had me chasing it to Loch Awe. It was here where i first got to test out the filter holder and grad.
From here i headed towards Glencoe on the A82 but only got as far as Loch Tulla, the reflections and light where simply beautiful and i just had to stop.
By this point i was really starting to see how fast and user friendly the system was, i was able to change the holder between lenses fast and efficiently thanks to the geared adapter ring’s.
Over the weekend i got the chance to try out every aspect of the holder and its functions. One of my favorite is the knurled wheel on the side of the holder which allows you to turn the magnetic CPL filter with ease, unlike other brands where the wheels are very small and get jammed with sand or dirt.
The second image shows the filter holder locking knob which is also knurled and easy to find, it also has a back stop so your never going to back it off and then it falls off.
After that Scotland trip i had a wonderful talk with Kase filters UK about their product and how good it was to use and our relationship started from there on wards. I am now proud to be a Kase UK Partner & re seller.
Here are some of my images created from using Kase filters.
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