Iceland Adventure

I have recently returned from an inspirational trip to Iceland, I went with fellow photographers Antony Spencer & Aaron Bennett. We picked up the hire car at Keflavik airport at 1am and headed south east to Jökulsárlón glacial Lagoon. It was not long before we spotted the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and what should have been a 5 hour drive soon turned into an epic 9 hour journey stopping off to photograph waterfalls &  Aurora Borealis underneath light provided by the full moon. When we did finally reach the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon  it was time to wake up and get stuck in to this beautiful place.


Aurora Borealis over Jökulsárlón glacial Lagoon

Its not easy photographing this beautiful event as you want to keep your shutter speed fast to retain the detail in the dancing Aurora but a higher ISO means more noise, and a smaller aperture causes loss of sharpness throughout the image and vignetting. You need to split the difference on all the settings to strike the best balance for the scene.

While photographing the Northern Lights over the glacial lagoon you would think it would be silent but the playful family of seals had other ideas. I wished I had a 500mm Lens to pick up some pictures of the seals relaxing on the icebergs. Maybe next time…..


This was one of the 4 hour long sunsets I really liked the contrast between the frozen iceberg and the golden sunset rays. The colours may look stong in this one but I have actually reduced the colour as it was clipping!


I really tried to get some nice detail shots of the shapes sculpted in the ice. I used my Nikon 200mm to get as close as possible. again something longer would have come in handy.

If you ever get the opportunity to go to Iceland grab it with both hands it is indeed an amazing place, as are the people. I just love the hotdogs they serve in the petrol stations!
On the long journey back to the airport we stopped off to quickly shoot the sea stacks at Vik even though it is indeed a cliché shot its always nice to have your own version to hang on the wall at home.

I am looking forward to getting some of my Aurora images printed it will be interesting to see what paper will suit them best. I am sure my printer Jack Lowe will have lots great advice on this matter.

Tech stuff
On this trip I was mainly using a Canon 5dii with Nikon and Ziess Lenses with an adapter in the middle to make it all work. I am not a big fan of the 5dii as I find it very noisy even at low ISO’s compared to my Nikon D700 but I really wanted the extra resolution that the 5dii has to offer to make slightly larger prints.

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The Joy of Low Light Photography

Recently I have been involved in projects that involve some serous low light photography. I thought I would write a quick blog about the equipment & software I have been using to help me get quite usable results.

The most recent project was Unfolding theatre’s Building palaces. This was a very dark multi room promenade show with the light going from very bright to complete darkness. It was a challenge so I decided to arm myself with a 2x Nikon D700’s both with Nikkor high quality fast primes. Camera no1 was fitted with the New Nikkor 24mm ƒ/1.4  G ED and Camera no2 was fitted with the classic Nikkor 85mm ƒ1.4 AF D, Even with with using very fast glass my ISO was between 100 & 6400! so no matter what camera you are using with maybe the exception of the D3s I was still going to get bags of noise. But thats where the amazing noise reduction from CS5 comes into play. I am extremely impressed with this software it is amazing just watching the noise disappear,

Below are some examples of my lowlight work for Building palaces.

ISO 1000 ƒ/1.6

ISO 1000 ƒ/1.6

ISO1600  ƒ/1.8

ISO 1000 ƒ/1.8


Beautiful | Norway

I recently returned from beautiful Norway after a 4 day trip organised by Antony Spencer The plan was to photograph the Northern Lights but sadly the cloud and sometimes rain set in during the dark hours making it impossible to see them yet alone photograph them.

Even tho we did not get to see the lights dance we still did plenty of exploring and photography during the daylight hours. Norway has so much to offer with stunning mountain’s and Fjord’s everywhere you look. We were also very lucky to have been there when the autumn colours were at there best with lovely oranges and browns like you have never seen.  it really its Large format camera territory as my SLR ‘s just did not have the resolution to capture the amazing detail that this landscape has to offer during the daylight. I will definitely return again probably during the winter when the landscape is transformed with a layer of snow and the light is more subtle making it much easer to photograph.

Antony Spencer will be running trips to Norway throughout the year so get in contact of you are interested in going out to Norway to see the lights for yourself.

Below is a small selection of photographs taken during my stay.

Grøtfjord Ripples

Summer Island


Update

First of all sorry for the lack of posts on here , I have had a fair bit going on and couldn’t decide on the subject. So I will give a quick run down of what has been done and what is coming up in the near future.

I have been doing quite a fair  bit of wedding photography recently I covered Julia + James Wedding party in Whitley bay I also covered Robin + Emma’s Wedding at Crook hall in Durham, I was also assisting the very talented Katy Melling with some weddings back in July it was a really great experience for me. I recently also did a pre wedding shoot for my friends Gavin + Jane who will be getting married at the start of September.

I have also been doing some promo portraiture work for some fantastic musicians that include Kathryn Tickell , Brian Finnegan , The Monster Ceilidh Band , and my beautiful and very talented girlfriend Katie Doherty,

In other news I am very excited to be heading out to Tromsø in Norway with some other great photographers that include Antony Spencer for 4 days in September in search of the Northern lights I am very excited about this trip and hope to bring back some stunning images. I will be running a Twitter update during the trip (Phone Signal depending) I am also hoping to do a video diary to document my experience.

I am am going to strive to be a more active blogger so watch this space…….

Below is an image taken at Sandsend North Yorkshire.


It’s been awhile!

I thought it was time for a quick update.

*Photography, Well I have been doing a fair bit. recent projects include,

Press pack photos for Ubisoft’s new Driver game,  a set of portraits of the game designers and a large group shot of the whole Newcastle team. I can’t show you any of the photos until the game is released.

Another project called “HOUSEWARMING” took place at Seaton Delaval Hall, conceived by November Club and created with young people from Astley Community High School and National Trust volunteers’ I was there to photograph the activities taking place. My aim was to capture the magic and creative work of the tours while still showing off the beauty of the building and gardens and also capturing peoples reactions to the stories told and the theatrical work that was going on around them whether they knew it or not.

click here for more photos from the housewarming project.





DIY Filter Holder for Nikon’s AF-S 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 G Lens

I have had this wonderful lens for sometime but I am never able to use it because I love using filters but this lens has no standard way of fitting a Lee or Cokin Filter holder. I know Lee will be launching a new filter system for this lens  in June but I am a very inpatient person and I think it will be over £300+VAT just for the holder and maybe 1x filter!  So I was thinking I can make one for much less and still decent quality. and it can take the 130mm / 170mm Grad filters that Lee & Cokin Make. below is a list of key ingredients you will need.

1x Cokin X Pro Filter Holder

1x Cokin Universal Adapter ring

black Telescopic Circular Tubing

thin Black plastic sheet / or black card

Thin foam + spray adhesive

I have posted some photos of my filter holder below, I have only had a quick test and there is no cut off at 16mm on a FX Camera so a DX would be ok for sure.

I am going to head out tonight and get some landscape test shots so will post the results later.


10 Stop Filter what & why?

What is a 10 Stop filter ?
Think of a 10 Stop filter like a pair of sunglasses for your camera but the only difference with a 10 Stop is that you would be lucky if you could see through it. Photographers use these filers for all kinds of reasons but I use it for what I call “Slowing things down” because when it is placed in front of the lens it lengthens the exposure time greatly;  for instance if I took a photo without it, my  shutter speed would be for example  a 30th of a second, if I attached a 10 Stop filter the shutter speed would need to be increased to 30 Seconds to get the same exposure. So when shooting moving water or cloudy sky’s everything changes,  moving water gets turned into milky smoothness and fast moving sky’s get stretched out! the results it produces look almost unworldly.

My Experience with 10 Stop filters.
I have been using extreme ND filters for over a year and I have always loved the results they produce, but also  hated all the messing around that had to be done to use one. This is because the only decent 10 Stop filter you could buy was a B&W Screw in one and it was plagued with problems from the start, the first being if you wanted to use GND (ND Grad filters) you have to attach your preferred filter system and set up your GND’s to the desired settings, then remove the system without knocking your filters out of position, then screw back on the B&W 10stop without knocking the camera out of focus,  then reattach the filter system and finally take the shot! the second problem was the awful brown colour cast this filter produces. Most of the time it can be corrected on the computer, but sometimes when reviewing your shots in the field it can be a disheartening looking at a brown photo and trying to have a vision on how you will fix it before you end up deleting it !

New amazing product.
Well, there won’t be anymore messing around thanks to Lee’s New “Big Stopper ” Extreme ND 10 Stop filter. For me this is the best product I have seen so far this year and as soon as I heard it was launched I was straight on the phone to my supplier! The “Big Stopper” is a 100mm / 100mm Glass ND filter that slots into the first slot of any Lee or Cokin Z pro filter holder. You may worry about light sneaking in from the back and causing problems with your long exposures? This is not the case as it has a square foam seal around the edge that meets up perfectly with the filter holder. Colour cast doesn’t seem to be a problem with no brown cast detected whatsoever, also I think it is optically better that the B&W getting slightly sharper results. The filter also comes in a nice padded bag and a exposure chart to help  calculate your exposure times, an all round great product in my opinion!

Below are some recent photographs taken with the “Big Stopper