If you have been following me for a while you will know I love trees. I have lots of forest photos but have always wanted a forest photo with SNOW! I finally had the opportunity to do so and it meant wading through knee deep snow to get it. Imagine living in here in a wee log cabin with a camp fire and some tinned beans. Got to watch out for wild animals! I even found some yellow snow. Not mine.
I cannot remember the location because it was a case of abandoning the car and climbing some fences.
I took this photograph on my phone.
I really want to climb this. Scotlands most photographed mountain. Always beautiful no matter the weather. I just want up it now. Who fancies it? Seriously.
Tried to find my own take on this beautiful scene and found some large puddles further up. No deer though ☹
I took this on my TZ70 point and shoot.
It always looks magical under a blanket of snow. I love the little boat shed and the wooden bridge that crosses the loch in the middle. If you ever get the chance a visit here during the Enchanted Forest is highly recommended. The forest is transformed into an amazing light and sound art installation.
I shot this on my phone with frozen fingers.
What a morning this was. Whenever I go out for a road trip to a specific destination I honestly can’t think of a time when I haven’t stopped to take a photograph of something that’s caught my eye. Normally this means running out of time or cutting it really fine when trying to get to my ultimate destination. But sometimes it’s just too good to miss a moment. Seeing the mist rolling in off the surface of the River Tay and almost enveloping the trees on the banks of the river we just had to stop and take photographs. The soft snow, the frozen plans and ice crystals everywhere this tree was awesome. Bare of any leaves but adorned with large ice crystals reaching out in every direction. Just behind this tree is the river bank which leads down to the fast flowing River Tay. I have another photograph of the tree close up but I liked the composition of this with the fence leading the eye. Could have stayed here for longer but had to get back on the road!
I shot this on my phone.
This has to be a dream surely. I mean this looks edible. Ginger bread house? With a thick layer of butter icing everwhere waiting to be devoured. Get in my belly! Butter icing is my favourite. Road trippin’. I shot this on my phone.
When I posted this photograph on my Facebook page quite a few people were quick to point out the location as I had no idea where I was at the time. Arverikie Estate is where this house is situated. Near Glenbogle. Beautiful isn’t it?
Sunset from Tioram Castle was all sorts of special. Having driven through ice and snow for 5 hours and getting there just at the perfect time, the sun was setting and the tide was out but fast approaching. The castle sits on a tidal island in Loch Moidart.
Almost turned back at one point as the road deteriorated. But it was worth it to see this. The snow was beginning to fall and the mist was starting to reappear and just like that it was a great ending to the road trip. I make the drive sound arduous but in fact it was one of the best road trips I have ever done. I cannot wait to visit this part of my country again in the near future.
I captured this with my phone.
When I look back on 2017 I surprise myself by just how much photography I managed to do with just my mobile phone. I get frustrated by my perceived lack of photographic activity but I have only just realised that by carrying a phone with a camera I have actually taken more photographs than I thought. It could be because it’s just what I do without thinking because it is so easy to pull a phone out of a pocket and snap some photographs and put it back and continue doing what I was doing as opposed to having to carry a big camera around like I used to when you knew you were taking photos because it hurt my back!
Because most of my images are taken on mobile phone I nearly always post them to Instagram before anywhere else due to its convenience and my followers who continue to encourage and support me. So I have decided to put together 10 of my best photographs from 2017 to share with you.
Thank you for your continued support and I hope to continue in 2018.
The new V&A Dundee looked just something else this morning. Got off my bus a few stops early to go for a walk along the riverside. We have had some beautiful sunrises and sunsets lately and today was no different. Imagine being inside this building at this moment. #dundee #vanda #rrsdiscovery #historicship #kengokuma #lovescotland #visitscotland #instascotland #insta_scotland #explore_scotland #scotspirit #scotland #clouds #dundee
Some Autumn light to break up the India photos #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland #instascotland #insta_scotland #explore_scotland#scotspirit #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors#rsa_outdoors #tentsmuir #walks #exploretocreate#tree_magic #tree_brilliance #rsa_outdoors#rsa_vsco #silhouette #ferns #divine_forest
I bumped into a good friend of mine on my way out for a walk. She made for the perfect model for this photograph. Thanks @carolinemcclelland ! Most of my photographs have no people in them. I like this particular photograph because it shows the scale of the trees that feature in so many of my photos. #scotland #forests #forestpaths #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland #instascotland#insta_scotland #explore_scotland #scotspirit #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors #clouds #summer #park#tentsmuir #tree_magic #tree_brilliance #rsa_outdoors #exploretocreate #rsa_vsco #tree_devine #thisisscotland #earthcapture
Mammatus over Auchmithie. I cannot get over these clouds. I want to buy a van and become a storm chaser now. #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland#instascotland #insta_scotland #explore_scotland#scotspirit #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors#wanderlust #fields #em5 #barley #mammatus#cloudappreciationsociety #cloudporn #thisisscotland #earthcapture
Throwback to a few winters ago. It ain’t all bad at that time of year. #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland #instascotland #insta_scotland #explore_scotland #scotspirit #atthebeach #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors #clouds #wanderlust #wanderlustscotland #castles #scottishhistory
Claustrophobia ……… What an amazing walk on the East coast of Scotland with @ardentform tonight. Never before had I witnessed a cloud like this. #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland#instascotland #insta_scotland #explore_scotland #scotspirit #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors #coastalwalks #cumulonimbus #wanderlust #blackandwhiteclouds #thisisscotland
The Tay Bridge Effect. #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland #instascotland #insta_scotland #explore_scotland #scotspirit #atthebeach #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors #clouds #railways #railbridge #bridges #river #reflections #mirrorimage #ripples #clouds #whispy #thisisscotland #scotsmagtour #engineering
The fern can be your shelter. #3glassesofwinein #igetemotionalwhendrunk #scotland #forests #forestpaths #lovescotland #igers #igersscotland #visitscotland #instascotland#insta_scotland #explore_scotland #scotspirit #scotland #letsgosomewhere #liveoutdoors #clouds #summer #park #tentsmuir #tree_magic #tree_brilliance #rsa_outdoors #exploretocreate #rsa_vsco #tree_devine
I’ve been downsizing a lot recently and rediscovering some of my old digital cameras. I use my mobile phone a lot these days, probably around 80% of my photography at the moment involves using my mobile phone. I wanted to try and find a way that I could use my old cameras to capture the photographs and the mobile phone to process them and I did some searching online and discovered Eye Fi cards. They seemed great and come in different flavours but the basic Mobi version was all I really needed.
After placing an order for one I discovered that they have actually removed some functionality from these cards which means you cannot selectively download images from the card to your mobile device. What happens is instead that all images are transferred to your mobile device. Ever single one. This is potentially bad news if you’ve got a mobile device with limited storage capacity. This put me off and I immediately regretted placing the orderer. Thankfully I was able to cancel and continue my search.
Up stepped the Toshiba FlashAir WiFi cards. This seemed more like it. When you connect to your camera and the memory cards WiFi signal through your mobile device and go to your web browser it automatically takes you to a web interface that allows you to explore the contents of your camera. You can browse folders and images. At this point nothing has been downloaded other than the image thumbnails in your browser cache. To download your full resolution image you just click on the thumbnail and it loads in the browser allowing you to choose to download the image or not. Simple. And half the price of the Eye Fi card.
Connection is secure and you are able to set your own WiFi network name and connection password when setting up. And it’s pretty easy to set up.
I’ve been using it this weekend and have been really very pleased with the performance of it in my Panasonic GF1 camera. I managed to take some photographs on the camera and edit them on my phone and upload to social media from my car in the middle of the Scottish country side.
I bought the Toshiba Flash Air 32GB Class10 Wireless Memory Card/ Wifi SD Card but they do smaller and bigger capacities also. As long as your camera supports SDHC cards you’re good to go.
If you have an dSLR you’ve probably got a dial that lists all the different modes that your camera can work in. This will include 3 modes; C1, C2 and C3. Some smaller cameras only have C1.
Well, these are not set to anything when you get your camera out of the packaging for the first time. In fact they don’t really do much until you start to explore why they are there in the first place. These 3 modes are actually empty. They are there for you to store your own settings so that you can quickly switch into them by assigning them to one of the C modes.
Bells should be ringing in your ears now and you can probably see the usefulness in these custom modes already. If you are like me and you tend to take photos of anything and everything you’ll probably have some settings that you return to again and again for certain situations.
For example, you might want auto bracketing turned on for landscape photography. You might want to set a minimum shutter speed for wedding photography with an automatic ISO. You might want to have some custom flash settings saved for use when you’re doing off camera flash work. The great thing about your camera is that you can have these settings saved to one of the custom functions ready for use the next time you need them.
I’ve started to use them a lot. I’ve got one Custom function set to minimum shutter speed of 1/60 and an auto ISO setting for weddings and events. For landscape I’ve used my second Custom function to store auto bracketing settings as well as fixed ISO of 100 and an aperture of f10. My third one is set for strobe work.
Making use of the Custom functions can be a huge timesaver, particularly when you know you’ve got some settings to fall back on when you feel things are moving faster than you can work with. Also, when the weather has been as cold as it’s been lately, knowing that you can turn a dial instead of fiddling about with buttons in freezing temperatures can be such a boon!
I bet there’s been times when you’ve gone out shooting only to later realise that you’ve been firing away completely oblivious to the fact that you’re in ISO800 or higher. Imagine all those unnecessarily noisy images. You could convert to black and white to give that grainy film look but then why be forced into that position in the first place. If you have all your settings saved in a Custom function you KNOW that the settings are going to be correct or at the very least close to what you need meaning that you don’t need to spend much refining them to your particular situation.
Long exposure photography can offer views of landscape or urban environments in ways that are impossible to see with just the naked eye. However, there are still some myths surrounding long exposure photography that get brought up during conversations that I hope I can address with this list.
The first thing you think of when you hear the term long exposure photography are landscape shots of star trails and frozen mountains or waterfalls. Depending on the time of day you can turn dark into light. You can also turn sprawling urban environments into lifeless scenes reminiscent of disaster movies.
This image was shot in the afternoon under bright skies and intermittent cloud cover.
By using ND filters you can reduce the amount of light that hits your sensor in order to increase the exposure time. This means you could take a long exposure of a city center on a busy Saturday afternoon and have an end result that gives the feeling of isolation. Because the people are moving most wont stay in the same place long enough to be exposed in your image.
This is the same myth that surrounds many aspects of photography. You do not need expensive equipment. In fact my first forray into long exposure photography involved making my own filter using welders glass.
The image above was taken using a DIY welders glass filter.
You can buy squares of welders glass which you can attach to your camera using elastic bands or in my case using the ring from an old UV filter and attaching it with bluetac. Welders glass is normally around 10-14 stops and can be bought for £5 or less on ebay. And this can still give results on par with branded 10 stop filters and is the perfect way to experiment before forking out on expensive filters if that is what you want to do.
If you want a 10 stop ND filter then you can get the cheaper threaded ones that mount onto the front of your lens. Haida do a great one for £35 which works a treat and you can find them on Ebay. The image of the Forth Road Bridge above was shot with one. I’ve seen photographs of the same bridge shot with the expensive Lee 10 Stop filter which retails around £120 and usually has a waiting time of a month or two. That’s a big financial commitment to make to something that you might just be getting started with.
In fact sometimes you don’t even need filters to do a long exposure. If it’s dark or the light has started to fade you can get a shutter speed of a couple of seconds simply by setting the ISO to 100 and the aperture to anywhere between f11 and f22, and then changing these settings to get the length of shutter speed you desire. It should be noted that changing these settings should largely be creative decisions. Normally for landscapes I’d recommend f8-f16 and nothing smaller* as you introduce diffraction and chromatic aberration.
Excess doesn’t always mean better. For example, you could expose a scene too long that the end result is actually detrimental to what you were trying to convey. For example a long exposure of the sea could result in a scene that resembles an ice rink or a sea of milk with very little movement and a smooth level surface. This takes the life out of the scene and reduces interest. This is particularly problematic if the sea is taking up the majority of real estate in your photographs composition.
Long exposure photography and regular photography both require the same understand of the basics of photography; composition, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and the ability and willingness to get into position to get the photograph. The only difference is long exposure photography takes longer. If you understand how to compose a photograph and can visualise an image then you can do long exposure photography.
The only extra equipment you might need that you don’t carry with you normally would be a tripod and a filter. Oh, and maybe a flask of hot tea or coffee depending on the time of day and season you venture outdoors. I’ve been out a few time shooting castles at night and wished I had some hand warmers and a cup of tea.
This might surprise a few people but in terms of necessity you don’t really have to have a tripod with you to try long exposure photography. There are a few ways in which you can stabilise your camera when you’re attempting long exposure photography. In the past I’ve used car bonnets, car roofs, rocks, camera bags, planks of wood, tree branches. Once I even used a carrier bag laid on top of a sandy beach and moulded the wet sand into position, using the carrier bag to keep the sand off the camera. Now obviously the length of exposure will determine which DIY method you want to use or what you have available to you but for the most part these work out well if you’ve forgotten your tripod at home. So if you do find yourself without a tripod then all it takes is a little ingenuity and imagination. No reason to miss out on the shot. Gorillapods are great kit to carry around with you because they can be relatively small compared to full size tripods and can be used to mount cameras to tree branches, fences, car windows, poles and a few other things. Always good to have as a backup.
Long exposure photography is a technique and one which can be applied to different styles of photography. You can use flashes to light up people / models, the same as you can use them to light up buildings, cars and forests. It’s just how you apply them that matters. The same applies to long exposure photography. A great example is to record the movement of people. I was once asked to photograph some new maps and signs in Glasgow and rather than having the exposures too long that you couldn’t see the people I decided to have exposures of a second or two that would allow me to capture people interacting with the signs, moving around, looking and pointing. Long exposures allow you to capture energy and in this case kinetic energy.
Another example is capturing light trails of cars on roads; catching streaks of red light as cars go past you and light streaks as they come towards you. I’ve seen great examples where people have taken long exposure from the tops of multi-storey buildings and captured the movement of cars around large swathes of the city.
* the smaller the aperture the higher the f number. Yeah, it a funny one to remember,
Ever noticed that when you’re going somewhere, coming back from some place or have watched people at train stations coming and going, how no one ever stops to look at their surroundings? I mean, why would you? You’ve got a place to be and you want to get there in the quickest time possible. But what if every day you were walking past one of your city’s little treasures? Treasures that very few people know about.
When I lived in Glasgow I used to be like that. Walking to the train station, getting on a train, getting off, and walking to work. And then doing to reverse when it came to home time. Then I started carrying a camera with me and all of a sudden I started to look at this commute in a different light… as an opportunity. But even then I never really stopped to look or think about my surroundings entirely. I was always linear in my thought process. What is ahead of me? What’s behind me?
Then one day I was waiting for someone for a social drink and while walking toward the meeting point I looked up. I still don’t know why but I did and that’s when I noticed something I’d never noticed before. There was a building that I’d walked past so many times on the same side of the street but now here I was standing on the opposite side looking at this building from a different angle and I was just amazed at how easy it had been to miss this architectural feature.
I’m talking about the Glasgow Lion Chambers building on Hope Street. The top half of this building could easily have been used in a teen horror flick. It’s almost like someone has taken a haunted house from a Hollywood film studio and dropped it on top of a building in Glasgow. There are gargoyles, spikes, arched windows, bay windows, external ironwork and a host of other architectural features that you just wouldn’t notice unless you looked up.
I decided to do some ‘Google’ research on the building to find out more about it as it looked unused and found a great article on the Independent website.
The top half of the building was made up of lawyers offices while the bottom half was used as artist space. It seems to have been a bit of an experimental building.
Lion Chambers was built by the Yorkshire Hennebique Contracting Co Ltd of Leeds, using the system pioneered by Franois Hennebique and promoted in Britain by his agent, LG Mouchel. The reason for experimenting with it was the small site, 33ft by 46ft; conventional masonry construction would have restricted the internal spaces. Hennebique’s system was also fireproof, and obviated the necessity of erecting scaffolding in busy Hope Street.
The building, in consequence, is entirely framed with 21 continuous columns, rising from 13sq ins in the basement to 8sq ins on the upper floors. The intervening non-loadbearing walls are only 4ins thick, permitting the maximum amount of well-lit internal floor space.
But Glasgow is full of features like this. You’d be forgiven for doing a double take when seeing unfinished motorway overpasses and pedestrian crossings that lead to nowhere. Even roads that end abruptly with a building that looks like it’s been dropped there such as The Atlantic Chambers in Glasgow.
My point is every city constantly evolves at eye level. Shop fronts come and go, doors and windows get replaced, things get painted and signs change. But above eye level it seems things rarely change and, for me, that’s where the gems are. But they are to be found everywhere if we just took a moment to stop in our tracks to take a look at our surroundings when going from A to B.
Would love to hear about some of your uncovered architectural gems.
With the emergence of mobile phone photography, digital SLRs and phone apps the art of film photography is going through a bit of a resurgence lately… a bit like vinyl records. I’ve been capturing images with my phone almost as much as my dedicated camera and one of the things you notice most about the photography apps is nearly all of them offer some sort of filter. Most of those filters are based on film formats from years gone by. The problem with the filters is that though they might improve your image, and in some cases completely ruin them, they don’t offer the same experience as shooting film did.
One of the reasons I started shooting film is because I felt I was missing out on 50% of the fun, the experience of using film cameras, and so I wanted a way to do that in a way that was accessible and cost effective. Developing your own black and white film is a good way to do this. There are so many cameras out there that shoot 35mm and 120 each of which has it’s own style and personality which is embedded in the finished image. Ranging from ‘toy’ cameras like the Holga and Diana cameras to the more expensive Bronica, Hasselblad and Mamiya medium format cameras there is something for every one at every entry level.
I wanted to write a guide that would encompass some of the main aspects of shooting and developing black and white film because I remember when I was beginning I had many questions and found the answers scattered across the web and I want to compile those answers in a nice friendly article that my friends and anyone else interested can use to get their feet wet, so to speak.