Scaleber Force Snapshot

In summer there can be relatively small amounts of water coming over the falls but in winter it is a touch more dramatic!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted on to this particular blog … I have to admit my time has been sparse and despite having quite a few blogs I had recently logged in to this one and realised there were still hundreds of people reading what I have posted day in and day out.  Something jolted me in to realising that I was actually letting a lot of these people down and had clearly lost a lot of regular readers through my lack of participation in writing on here.  It’s reasonably late at night as I write this however I wanted to at least post a photo and promise to be back on the site writing comment on a regular basis.  This particular shot was really just a snap shot taken a few weeks ago at Scaleber Forcer in the Yorkshire Dales.  The weather was pretty rough and I was actually out with my other half doing a few gear test reviews and taking some sample photos of outdoor clothing.  Despite all of that I wanted to sneak a few shots in along the way for myself … this is one of them.  It was taken on the Canon 5D MK2 which remains my favourite travel and landscape camera … 17-40mm lens and 1/4 sec exposure at F13.

Promise to be back soon with posts which are a litte more interesting and educational!

The week ahead …

It’s going to be a busy week ahead … with shoots for Barbour, Helly Hansen, Porsche and a fashion shoot for a major North East retailer. Not to mention we have plenty of trainers that need shooting too!

The new (& awesome) Audi A8 4.2 TDi

One of the pleasures of the job is that we get to spend a good amount of time test driving, reviewing and photographing some of the best cars around.  In this case it is the impressive Audi A8 4.2 TDi … with this model just being released with a list price of around £66,000 it is one of the world’s most advanced luxury saloon cars.  We loved the car and loved writing the review but whilst it was with us we got the opportunity to take some great photos of it.  The images were shot with a variety of lighting including a broncolor ring flash, bowens heads fitted with a large Octbox and also plain old natural light.  As always we like to do something a little different so here are a few of the shots which accompanies the road test in the magazine.

One of the methods we often employ is making the most of the natural light around you.  This is especially important when photographing large objects such as cars.  Although we can correct some lighting issues with the addition of flash, for most outdoor editorial shots we have time and cost limits to bear in mind.  We have used as many as 10 heads before shooting cars for advertising however generally we are making do with 2 or 3 heads and portable lighting.  Getting the car into the right type of light and positioning it so you can see the shape of the car, or to create the impact you want is essential.  In the above photo we wanted to emphasise how aggressive the car looked from the front and also wanted to make a big deal out of the Audi corporate grill.  The shot, with a wide angle lens did everything we wanted … and being shot towards last light we were able to keep it low key and use flash as necessary to highlight the details on the front.  if you are unhappy with the lighting when you are taking a shot … stop, and change it, move the car, move yourself … but don’t settle for second best!

Great North Run

As you may know from its humble origins the Great North Run has become one of the biggest events of its type in the world .. this year was the 30th Anniversary of the run and with over 54,000 people entered the numbers, and atmosphere were as big as ever.  We were there covering the event on behalf of one of our magazines.  Despite an amazing run of good weather in previous years this year took a turn for the worse and we ended up needing weather protected kit at all times …. although the junior run on the Saturday was bright and sunny!  At least the kids got some sunshine even if the adults had to put up with getting wet.  The usual mix of celebrity runners were present and of course tens of thousands of run runners in all manner of outfits.  For the most part we shot on the Canon 5D MK2 … our main coverage was for the charity runners and celebrities, but the shortfalls of this camera do some to light when photographing the faster finishing runners.  This is where the autofocus system just isn’t reliable enough for a pro shooting even relatively moderate paced sports.  Bearing in mind we were there all day keeping the kit light was a necessity and a 24-70mm F2.8 lens with a 70-200mm lightweight F4 canon lens were the products of choice.  Still preferring to keep the flash off camera and generally having a little bit more time to get the shots right we used an St-E2 and 580EX 11 to illuminate subjects where necessary.  Here are a few examples of some of the shots below.  Nothing special in technically but they are fit for the purpose they are intended for and hopefully capture some of the characters on the day.

The junior runs provide much fun for the kids and over a distance of 3 miles they are both testing and enjoyable! The fastest in the 9-11 year old category ran this in an impressive 17.08!!

The fastest three women ... Dulce-Fleix, Adere and Barros pictured at the finishing line.

The lovely (and very fast) Nell Mcandrew who finished in a very impressive 1hr 26m this year!

Haile Gebrselassie coming through the finishing line in 59m and 33s .. the first time he's run the event and he was clearly looking back near his best.

Photoshop Brushes

It’s Monday morning here in the UK and its a week full of opportunity ahead …. this mornings opportunity is to retouch some images for use in a magazine and whilst I don’t have a huge amount of time to post this morning, it reminded me of the importance of Photoshop Brushes in our retouching work.  The pen tool, creating cut outs, and using brushes are some of the most underused techniques adopted by photographers … despite being stock in trade of the graphic design community.  Many clients who come through the door for tuition are at a loss as to how to make the most of these techniques and that renders severe limitations on their creativity.  I’m simply going to start the week off by suggesting a site where you can download some Photoshop brushes.

I’m not going to say anything else.  I just want you to go to the site, download some of them, load them into your brushes palette and use them!  You might be stuck at first coming up with ideas as to how to make them work but keep at it and you will find it relatively easy to start making creative changes to come of your work.  Of course being able to use the pen tool and creating multiple layers will help you to make the most of using brushes in Photoshop however I just want to spark some creativity in those who are perhaps first time users of brushes.  If you’ve used them before and discarded them previously because they didn’t fit into your style then go back and have another go.  Chances are you are now much more competent than you were when you last used them!  Feel free to email me your initial attempts!

Preview – Audi TT Roadster photoshoot

Audi TT Roadster shot using Broncolor Mobil head and A2R powerpack. The single light was moved around the car and then the layers were blended in Photoshop beforea little post processing work to make the image fit the nature of the article we are writing to accompany it.

I have been shooting the new Audi TT Roadster yesterday, and reviewing the vehicle for a road test feature.  Here is the first image from the shoot.  I filmed a short video post too which explains that this was shot using just one light!  We worked around the car and then blended the exposures together in photoshop to give the finished image.  For the purposes of demonstration we shot this using a Broncolor Mobil kit and a Bron Mobil head.  We also shot a number of shots using a lastolite ezybox and Canon Speedlite to show that you can still find workaround solutions when using small flash units too.

Guest Photographer – Mark Tierney: Rock My Dress Shoot

The raised hands and material give a celebratory feel to the shot, and the processing is a little different. It's about giving choice without compromising on quality and style and this image does just that. The composition is simple and shot wider gives a real sense of space to the shot, fully capitalising on the scenery.

Thanks to Mark Tierney for writing this post for the blog: I’ve added comments with a few of the images to explain why these are particular favourites.

This is Joanna having a trash the dress shoot in her red wedding dress, taken at various locations on the Sheffield side of the Peak District.  The first location was shot at the base of the massive dam wall at Derwent Reservoir. This is the reservoir where the famous Dambusters trained during World War II. As we walking up to the dam a RAF Hercules transport plane flew in between the towers and I had my camera in my bag – aaarrgghh! What a great sight though! The second location was further down the Derwent Valley at the Ladybower overspill hole. The last location was high up on a windswept Baslow Edge. The conditions were perfect with some nice moody clouds over the valley.  I must say Joanna was great to work with and it was quite cold up there and she never complained once. Thanks for being a great model Joanna

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