2018 Review – Ups and Downs

Black Beach

It’s nearing Christmas and time for the traditional end of year review, getting in a bit early this year but I’m also going to try and put a bit more thoughtful introspection into this one, rather than just listing all the good things that have happened.

That said, the year did start off with a few highs, writing articles for both Outdoor Photography and Amateur Photographer magazines, my Sherwood book being published then selling out and there were more bits of good news throughout the year too, with a third place in International Garden Photographer of the Year, commended in Outdoor Photographer of the Year, a series of successful talks, three images being included in an exhibition in Nottingham and a highly commended image at the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

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Over Owler Tor and Bolehill Quarry

Rock Face Landscapes

A couple of weekends ago I met up with a pair of Darrens (Darren Rose and Darren Ciolli-Leach) over in the Peak District for a sunrise photography session. We decided to start off at Surprise View and Over Owler Tor, to see if there would be anything exciting going on at dawn, before heading down to Bolehill Quarry as the light came up.

I was at a bit of a loss initially, with a wide landscape view in front of me, it’s not something I’m used to shooting, the horizon was fairly flat and there wasn’t much detail in the sky, so my only real shot from sunrise was looking right down at a puddle of water in the rock at my feet.

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L.Type Prints

L.Type Flyer

Update November 2018: Unfortunately it appears L.Type have closed down, this is a real shame as the quality of the printing and service was outstanding. I’m leaving the review up and if they do open again I would continue to recommend them, but please don’t try ordering or using the voucher code.

Prints of my images are still available to order but will now be fulfilled using Fotospeed Signature edition papers, please contact me via the form on the prints page.

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Palm House

Palm House 4

On Friday I was at Kew Gardens for the launch of the IGPOTY exhibition, more on that in a future blog, but I decided to take my little Fuji X-M1 with the fantastic 27mm 2.8 pancake lens along to take a few snaps of the exhibition, plus I’d left myself a couple of hours extra before my train in case there were any photo opportunities.

A lot of photographers would relish the opportunity to have a couple of hours in London with a camera, but I couldn’t be more uncomfortable at the thought of street photography, architecture isn’t my bag either and flat midday light plus a wide angle lens isn’t what I’d usually choose for photographing trees.

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Saal Photo Booklet Review

Sherwood Book 1

This is now the third opportunity I’ve had from Saal Digital to review items from their print store and I’ve been impressed with the quality of all of them so far, so was very much looking forward to trying another product.

The product this time is a photo booklet, a small spiral bound book in this case 130mm x 180mm containing 50 pages. It would normally cost you £16.45 plus £4.95 shipping and they’re available from http://www.saal-digital.co.uk/photo-booklets/

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Zor-Alu Print Review

Having recently reviewed an Aluminium Dibond print from Saal Digital (review here) I was interested to get a message from another print company I hadn’t heard of previously, this time the company is Zor and they’re based in Belgium.

Zor supply 3 types of print, alu-dibond, acrylic glass and forex/pvc and offered me a sample of one of those in 45cm x 30cm. As much as it would have been interesting to try a different material, I thought it would be more valuable to go for another aluminium dibond print so I had a direct comparison.

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Mountains from Molehills

Mountains from Molehills 07

My local Nottinghamshire landscape isn’t the most exciting for a photographer, especially when you’re seeing epic vistas posted on social media every week from people who can travel a lot, or live with the Highlands on their doorstep. It’s easy to get jealous and blame your surroundings for lack of inspiration. We have plenty of good forests and woodland which I love to shoot, but I wanted to create something different.

Having tried some more abstract techniques including multiple exposures and intentional camera movement over the past year or so I had been playing with the idea of trying to make an alternate landscape from my local area. I’ve done a couple of small projects recently and put some focus into the idea of creating something from nothing, but I wanted to do something bigger this time, I wanted to transport the viewer to one of those epic mountain vistas.

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Northumberland

June - Embleton Bay

Having just returned from a week in Northumberland I thought it would be worth a quick write up alongside some of my favourite images. I don’t often get out of Nottinghamshire with my camera, so a trip to the coast was a big change in subject for me – I was looking forward to the challenge of doing something different. It was a family holiday so most days I wasn’t concentrating on photography but I managed to squeeze a bit of camera time in.

The first day was spent over on Holy Island meeting up with some more family, I just took my little Fuji X-M1 which is my walk around camera for when I don’t want to carry the big Canon, perfect for these sorts of occasions. I had a bit of a play with my body cap pinhole at various locations, but didn’t get anything that quite made the cut. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much photographically from that day, but in early afternoon a sea fret came in, I quickly grabbed a few shots including the two below before all visibility was gone.

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Haida 100mm 10 Stop Neutral Density Review

Haida ND3.0 100mm

It’s all been reviews here recently which isn’t what I intended the blog to be, but I struggled to find much about these filters when I was thinking of buying one, so thought it may be useful to add a few quick thoughts having now used it in the field.

If you’ve seen my last blog you’ll know I recently invested in a new 100mm filter system, so needed some filters to use with it, I’d picked up a set of Formatt Hitech grads on eBay, but a 10 stop ND filter was high on the shopping list.

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