xposure/ E IN
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Fuji XT-1 with 18-55mm lens @ 40mm, ISO 100, Â 2 seconds @ f5.6, Seven5 Little Stopper and Polariser Photograph by Graham Merritt
Welcome Welcome to the fourth issue of Xposure, which, as always, is packed with inspiration and creative images, as well as practical ideas for getting the most from your photography. We kick off this issue with an interview with Guernsey-based Karl Taylor. Full of seemingly boundless energy, Karl is a commercial photographer who is always on the hunt for the solution to his next idea – be that photographing whisky glasses smashing in mid-air, or creating a scenario in which a model is fleeing from aliens. He also heads up a series of extremely successful training courses, in which he shares much of the knowledge he has worked hard to develop during his career – something that many of his peers would be loath to do for fear of losing clients to younger upstarts. You can get an insight into the way his mind works on page 6. Karl is a huge fan of LEE Filters products, but if you find yourself in a bit of a muddle about what you should be using, then take a look at Three of a kind on page 16. In it, we explain the differences and similarities between the 100mm, Seven5 and SW150 systems. By the end of it, you should be confident that you are making the right choice when it comes to selecting which system is right for you and your photography. When it comes to action photography, you’d be forgiven for thinking that filters are a time-consuming and unrealistic luxury. On page 52, Chris Prescott, however, proves that they are as integral to this kind of work as they are to any landscape image. Whether he’s hanging off a rock face in the Alps, or following in the footsteps of one of the climbers who went on to scale Yosemite’s El Capitan, he still has time to make sure his images benefit from thought and consideration. Elsewhere in this issue, we learn how wildlife photographer Luke Massey considers composition when working with unpredictable subjects, head for the coast in Anatomy of a Seascape and get the opportunity to learn from the pros in The Knowledge. Not forgetting the showcase of readers’ best images in The Gallery. We hope you enjoy the issue.
Contributors > Karl Taylor
> Craig Roberts
> Luke Massey
> David Newton
> Richard Hurst
> Sam Jones
> Matthew Wiseman
> Chris Ceaser
> Graham Kelly
> Peter Cox
> Eimhear Collins
> Mark Bauer
> Chris Herring
> Chris Prescott
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
THREE OF A KIND
With a list of blue-chip clients and a dedicated team of people working with him, Karl Taylor is proof that you donâ€™t always have to head for the big cities to develop a highly successful commercial photography enterprise
Confused about which LEE Filters set-up is right for you? Let our guide to the three main types of system help you choose
Feast your eyes on our showcase of fine photography, all shot using LEE Filters
COMPOSITION MASTERCLASS When it comes to wildlife photography, successful compositions rely on a whole lot of planning and a little bit of luckâ€Ś
ANATOMY OF A SEASCAPE
Learn how to make the most of your filters with these hints from the professionals
The sea has been a powerful draw for photographers ever since the first camera was invented. Three photographers reveal their insights into a favourite coastal landscape
ON TOP OF THE WORLD For Chris Prescott, climbing started out as a hobby. Then he picked up a camera to document it, and discovered a whole new passion. Here, he talks extreme conditions, how to travel light and the importance of being able to shoot at 12 frames per second
No man is an island WITH A LIST OF BLUE-CHIP CLIENTS AND A DEDICATED TEAM OF PEOPLE WORKING WITH HIM, KARL TAYLOR IS PROOF THAT YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO HEAD FOR THE BIG CITIES TO DEVELOP A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY ENTERPRISE
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 28mm lens, two minutes at f/11, ISO 50, 1.2 ND soft grad, Big Stopper
Karl Taylor is the sort of person who makes you feel as if anything is possible. Energetic, quick-minded and enthusiastic, he is as passionate about photography as he is about his home island of Guernsey, where he has established himself as a hugely successful studio photographer – while also embracing all the aspects of technology and social media that play such a vital role in making your way as a photographer in the 21st century. It’s all a long way from south-east Asia, where he spent a number of years plying his trade as a photojournalist, before the
pull of his home island became too great. “I loved photojournalism,” he says, “and it was an exciting time. I was in my midtwenties, I was single and travelling – it was all a big adventure. But any money you make in photojournalism is invariably spent on the next project.”
This US plane crash landed in Iceland shortly after the end of World War II. “It had a very surreal appearance in this almost alien landscape,”
Despite his work having been widely published at that time, it wasn’t enough for him. It was when he got a job assisting in a studio in Australia that his enthusiasm for photography was renewed, giving him a fresh outlook on the subject. “I started to learn the tricks of the trade and how you could control >>
Karl says. It was shot around 10pm on a grey June day, so Karl used a Big Stopper and 1.2 ND grad to give him a two-minute exposure that would flatten out the clouds and enhance the strange atmosphere of the place
8 Hasselblad H5D-50 with 50-110mm lens at 110mm, f/10, ISO 50, azure, magenta and blue gel filters
Karl didn’t want any naturally coloured light at all in this portrait, so he fitted his lights with three LEE Filters coloured gels – an azure green for the background, a magenta on the front light and a blue gel on a light that was firing into a white panel to fill the shadows
light,” he recalls. The decision was made, and he took a flight back to Guernsey. But why not London? After all, surely that’s where you have to be in order to establish a successful commercial photography enterprise? “That would have been the obvious place to head to,” Taylor admits, “but I’m not a fan of cities. I grew up surrounded by the ocean. All of my non-work activities revolve around scuba diving, sailing and fishing, so I have to be close to the sea. So I made the decision to try to carve a career for myself where I was born.” This was in the mid-1990s – a time when business in the Channel Islands was beginning to grow – so Taylor couldn’t have timed things better. He now counts
Specsavers – which has its head offices on Guernsey – and the electronics company Polar Instruments among some of his most important clients. Inevitably – this being the Channel Islands – he works for some of the big financial institutions that are based there, too. He’s now in the fortunate position of not having to actively seek out new commercial clients. But that doesn’t mean he rests on his laurels – far from it – because six or seven years ago, he launched Karl Taylor Training, with the aim of sharing his extensive knowledge with aspiring photographers. It took off immediately, with people from as far afield as Jamaica and Canada now flying in to take part in his courses. Launching a business such as this goes against
After all, as Taylor himself points out, you can show an aspiring photographer every trick in the book, every technique, and even if they have the best equipment in the world, they still need their own ideas and their own vision. “You need to understand the basics,” he says. “Like the aesthetics of composition, lighting, and how light affects the mood and atmosphere of a shot. We try to teach people about appreciating the qualities
of light, and that’s not a trick – that’s something you have to learn to see.” And Taylor is far from being concerned that his position may be usurped by one of his students. In fact, he revels in their reactions to the learning process. “You see them getting absorbed in a set-up,” he says, “and when you see that light bulb come on above their heads, it’s a real buzz. I do find it inspiring.” Somewhat unexpectedly, Taylor found that running the training courses had a positive impact on his own work, and he found himself exploring areas and techniques that drove his photography into new realms. “I started to challenge myself more,” he reveals, “and I also began to shoot more personal work that took me out of my comfort zone.” Karl is also a photographer who appreciates the part that others play in realising his visions. Working with a team of people, his is a collaborative >>
the grain of the industry he works in – but this is probably a large part of the reason why it has proved to be such a success. “Advertising and product photography is a very closed shop,” he explains. “It’s difficult to find information about it anywhere. It was only when I assisted that I learned some of the tricks and went on to develop my own. When I launched the training side of things, I knew I would have to give away my secrets and I even questioned whether this was the right thing to do. But it was extremely successful.”
This image was shot using an ultra-fast flash that’s capable of durations as short as 1/15,000sec. It’s a secret how Karl achieved it, but the image took only three attempts to get right, with no Photoshop involved…
Hasselblad H2 with 150mm lens, f/18, ISO 200
xposure 11 approach, which aims to ensure that everything he produces is fresh, challenging and inspiring. “I previsualise everything,” he explains, referring in particular to the high-speed captures of liquid, paint and the like. “Basically, if the laws of physics make it possible to do it in camera, we just have to figure out how to capture it. As a team, we may end up building contraptions, using high-speed lighting or finding a method of triggering the camera. I don’t think I ever used to work that way, and it has made for some very challenging photo shoots.” He cites in particular this example of an eagle with its wings outspread. Before he even thought about releasing the shutter to take the picture, he knew exactly how he wanted it to look. “I researched the way in which eagles fly and the point at which they spread their wings,” he explains. “Then I drew the lighting diagram, and then I found someone who had an eagle that would be happy to fly in the studio. You calculate it, you simulate it, and then you do it. So when the day came, I knew where the bird would be, where the camera would be and what focal length lens I needed. You come up with the idea and then you build the picture around it.” It would be natural to assume, when faced with the sheer slickness of Taylor’s work, that Photoshop plays a pretty >>
shot used a four-light > This set-up, with one on the background, one behind Karl and two either side at the back pointing towards him to backlight the eagle’s feathers. “The bird only spreads its wings out like this when it comes in to land,” explains Karl
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 150mm lens, f/16, 1/10,000sec flash duration to freeze bird
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 150mm lens, f/11, 1/10,000sec flash duration
xposure 13 shot usually takes > “This around 25 to 30 goes to get
right,” Karl reveals. He sets up two ramps at either side of the frame, each with a person holding a glass that contains a predetermined quantity of water. They let go of the glasses at the same moment, which meet in midair at the same point each time. The sound-activated trigger is set to a delay of 1/3000sec, to give the liquid a chance to disperse throughout the frame To create the appearance of a force field, an assistant (dressed in black) walked around the model in darkness, holding a lit fluorescent tube. Once that part was complete, the flashes were fired to light up the model herself
important role in the process. The surprising truth is, however, that the vast majority of his images are conceived and ‘assembled’ in camera, and not in complex image-editing software. He puts this down to the grounding he received in the more ‘traditional’ photographic techniques, recalling the time, many years ago, when he had to create an image on 5x4in film that featured microchips flying off an electronic circuit board. “I’m glad I started my career using film, and medium and large-format cameras,” he says. “I’m glad I started out by working in the darkroom. It gave me a grounding and an understanding that still influences the way I work today. Yes, there are plenty of amazing photographers who have never worked with film, but I’m happy that I came from that background.” One image that very much fulfils the ‘get it right in-camera’ brief portrays two whisky glasses smashing in mid-air
(see left), their golden-coloured contents dispersing in a way that makes them appear frozen in time. “Yes, you may have to shoot it about 15 times before you get it exactly right,” he admits, “but we never, ever give up on aiming to make it look exactly how we want it to look. What you see in that picture is what happened. Nothing is comped in or repositioned – the only thing we did in Photoshop was to saturate the colour of the liquid a little.” Filters are just one of the technical aids that Taylor uses in order to realise his photographic vision and ‘build’ the image – something that often comes as a surprise to those who attend his training courses. “They are a tool – a solution to a problem,” he says. Gel filters play a big part in manipulating light in the studio, and polarisers are invaluable for the effect they have on a bottle or other shiny object in a product shot. “I even use ND grads upside >>
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 80mm lens, 11 seconds at f/22, ISO 50. 0.9 ProGlass ND standard
He also makes a great deal of use of mirrors and reflectors in his set-ups. “They allow me to control light in small areas of the image in ways that a studio light can’t.” Out on location, he uses filters in the same way as a classic landscape photographer might – despite the fact that his images are anything but traditional. “I might use a neutral-density graduated filter to stop the sky blowing out, or a polariser to saturate the colours of a model’s clothing, or intensify the blue of the sky,” he says. “Basically, I feel
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 35mm lens, two seconds at f/22, ISO 50, 0.9 ND standard, 0.9 ND soft grad
far more confident that an image is going to succeed if I can see it 95 per cent complete in camera.” This focus on making sure everything is just right is surely what has won Taylor so many loyal clients and followers. His is a work ethic that many could learn from. He knows what he wants, and if he doesn’t know how to make it happen, he studies, scrutinises and calculates until he finds a way. And once he has created that image, there’s no additional experimenting, just in case. “People may think they’re doing themselves a favour by shooting from lots of different angles,” he says. “But if you concentrate on what you know to be the right image, then you
down sometimes to make the foreground area or reflection darker,” he reveals.
This image and the one opposite were shot for a training DVD called Fashionscape. Karl used a 0.9 ND filter to slow down the shutter speed to two seconds, and a 0.9 ND soft grad to balance the sky with the foreground, as well as a polarising filter. The model was lit by two flashes to make her stand out from the background
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 50-110mm lens at 60mm, 1/800sec at f/8, ISO 100, polariser
It’s this clarity of vision that seems likely to keep Taylor ahead of the game for quite some time to come. He’s aware that he has competition, but isn’t intimidated or put off by it. In fact, his attitude towards it is quite philosophical. “The accessibility of digital has levelled the playing field,” he says. “And people who have access to the equipment and the technology can’t moan if they aren’t as good as someone who has all the same gear. If I get ousted, it’s my own fault for not being better than them.” But it would appear that being ousted is something Karl Taylor won’t have to worry about for quite some time… n Visit www.karltaylor.co.uk
only have one job to do. It makes life a lot easier! If you find yourself trying to cover all bases, what you’re saying is you never really knew in the first place what was going to work.”
The model is lit by flash and the sky underexposed by about 1.5-2 stops so that it appears dark and ominous. “I then got the model to run repeatedly through the frame in order to get the expression and feeling of the image just right,” Karl says
A total of six studio lights make up this shot, while a red lighting gel creates the red highlight down the side of the bottle and an orange gel warms the background
Hasselblad H5D-50 with 80mm lens, 1/200sec at f/3.2, ISO 100, red and orange gel filters
Three of a kind CONFUSED ABOUT WHICH LEE FILTERS SET-UP IS RIGHT FOR YOU? LET OUR GUIDE TO THE THREE MAIN TYPES OF SYSTEM HELP YOU CHOOSE
It’s often said that things were simpler in the past, and in some ways that statement could be applied to the LEE Filters system. Once upon a time, it was comprised of the classic 100mm system and, well, not a lot else. However, camera technology develops and moves on, and so do the needs of photographers. For instance, in recent years, retro-style compact system cameras from manufacturers such as Sony, Fujifilm and Olympus have taken the photographic market by storm. In response to this movement towards smaller, lighter cameras that still pack an enormous punch in terms of resolution and image quality, LEE Filters introduced the compact Seven5 filter system. Most recently, advances in lens technology have led to the introduction of a number of ultra-wideangle lenses that are either too large or too wide to take regular filters. The solution to these, in filter terms, comes in the form of the SW150 system. The purpose of all the systems is exactly the same: to provide the photographer with the tools they need to make sure as many elements of the picture are exactly right at the time of shooting, rather than being adjusted and tweaked later at the computer. Filters aid previsualisation and open up all sorts of opportunities for inspiring photography. In short, they are an essential
tool for the creative photographer, no matter which type of camera they choose to work with. The beauty of the LEE Filters systems, and their advantage over the circular screw-in type of filter, is that you don’t need to purchase different-sized filters for each of your lenses. All you need is an adaptor ring that is the right size for your lens (you’ll need a different adaptor ring for each size of lens you plan to use filters with – more often than not, you’ll find the size of thread on the inside of the lens cap). This screws on to the front of your lens, and the filter holder clips on to this. And because the filters themselves then slot into this holder, they are the same dimensions, no matter what size the lens is. The filter holder is designed to quickly snap on and off the adaptor ring. It can be removed to quickly check focus or composition, and of course to keep your filters safe while moving around. The holder for all three of the systems comes ready assembled with two slots, but on some of the systems the number of slots can be changed to suit your requirements. Once in place, the filter holder can rotate independently of the lens, through 360 degrees, so that filters such as ND grads can be used on their side or indeed at any other angle that may be required. It’s easy to assess the effect the filter is having on your image by looking through the viewfinder or by using live view.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, 2 minutes at f/11, ISO 200, 0.6 ND hard grad, Little Stopper. Photograph by Mark Bauer
The 100mm system This is where it all started. Named the 100mm system because its filters have a standard width of, yes, 100mm, this is the filter set-up of choice for both film and digital photographers, and is compatible with everything from DSLRs to 35mm film cameras and their medium and large-format siblings. It is particularly popular with landscape photographers (respected landscape photographers such as Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite and David Ward have been using the system for many years), who appreciate the systemâ€™s ease of use and the quality and consistency of the filters themselves. The 100mm system features two types of adaptor ring: standard and wideangle. The latter has a recessed thread, and is designed so that the filter holder is positioned a little closer to the lens than it is with the standard type, which avoids vignetting when using filters. You donâ€™t need to buy both types of adaptor ring, because the wideangle version is compatible with all lenses â€“ not just wideangles. When using a standard adaptor and a two-slot holder, you can use lenses as wide as 24mm (with a full-frame sensor) or 18mm (with an APS-C sensor) before the risk
of vignetting arises. The wideangle adaptor allows you to use lenses as wide as 16mm (full-frame sensor) or 10mm (APS-C sensor) without vignetting. Because light in the landscape is often unpredictable and tricky to control within the frame, there can be occasions when not only is more than one graduated filter required in order to balance the light, but they >>
Each different size of lens requires a different adaptor ring. The examples here are for 58mm and 77mmdiameter lenses
Because adding additional holders increases the risk of vignetting, itâ€™s recommended to go no wider than approximately 35mm on a full-frame sensor, or 24mm on an APS-C sensor. Although the 100mm filter holder comes assembled with two slots, it can be adapted to include up to four slots, giving the photographer the opportunity for numerous combinations of filter.
Nikon D800 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 15 seconds at f/11, ISO 80, 0.9 ND hard grad, Little Stopper. Photograph by Jeremy Walker
need to be used at angles that are different from one another. This can be achieved with the tandem adaptor, which is very straightforward to use. Simply fit your first grad in the slot closest to the lens as you normally would. You then slide the tandem adaptor into the second slot, attach a second filter holder to the adaptor and introduce your second filter. Both holders can then be rotated independently of one another, for precise positioning of the graduated filters.
The beauty of the LEE Filters system is that the holder can rotate independently of the lens, allowing filters such as ND grads to be used not only at a variety of points in the holder, but also upside down or at an angle. Below is the filter holder. On the right, you can see the brass plunger that pulls out when the holder is placed over the lens
xposure 19 The polariser
There are two types of polariser available for the 100mm system â€“ a round, screwin type, or a square type. The square type is used in the same way as neutraldensity grads or neutral-density standard filters, in that it simply slots into the filter holder and the whole unit is rotated until the desired strength of polarisation is achieved. However, when used in conjunction with a graduated filter, the square-type polariser can only be used in one of two positions and cannot be rotated independently. While this may seem limiting, the polarising effect will still be clear. The screw-in polariser is circular in shape. To use it, you will need a 105mm accessory ring. This screws onto the front of the filter holder, and the polariser is then attached and can be rotated independently of any other filters you may happen to be using, allowing for precise control of the polarising effect. The accessory ring doesnâ€™t need to be removed from the filter holder each time you finish using the polariser â€“ it can remain attached without affecting the use of the holder. >>
Nikon D3X with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 2 seconds at f/11, ISO 100, 0.75 ND soft grad, polariser. Photograph by Jeremy Walker
circular shaped screw-in polarising filter (left) > The requires an accessory ring before it can be attached to the filter holder. It can then be rotated independently of other filters
Olympus E-M5 with 14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/8sec at f/11, ISO 200, 0.9 ND soft grad. Photograph by Craig Roberts
While it’s possible to use the 100mm and even the SW150 filter systems on a CSC (or indeed any smaller camera, including a fixed-lens premium compact or a film rangefinder), the smaller size of the camera bodies means these filter systems appear disproportionately large and can be rather cumbersome to use. As a result, LEE Filters designed a system specifically for use on CSCs. Known as the Seven5 system, it shares exactly the same robust construction as its bigger siblings,
The Seven5 system
Like all holders in the three main LEE Filters systems, the Seven5 holder comes assembled with two slots
There is much to commend the compact system camera (CSC). Your choice of lens is limited only by the range on offer from each manufacturer (and, in most cases, it’s a pretty wide choice), their image quality is superb and – as their name suggests – they are small, portable and lightweight. And let’s face it, they look great, too, and who doesn’t like a bit of camera candy? It’s no surprise that they have proved hugely popular with photographers of all abilities since they were first introduced.
xposure 21 While all other filters in the Seven5 range work in exactly the same way as the 100mm system, the polariser (below) is a little different. It is large enough to be used without the risk of vignetting, so may appear a little oversized at first glance. However, it fits very neatly to the filter holder. At the front of the filter holder are four lugs. These line up with the corresponding openings in the polariser itself to attach the filter, and then the holder is re-attached to the lens. Because the polariser is fitted
Olympus E-M5 with 14mm f/2.5 lens, 1/30sec at f/11, ISO 200, polariser. Photograph by Craig Roberts
and the filters that fit it are made to the same exacting standards – it simply comes in a smaller package. Smaller cameras such as these are often the body of choice for street photographers, who require something they can use quickly and discreetly to capture action as it unfolds in front of them. They’re also great for urban architecture. While filters aren’t always thought of as
to the holder independently, the two slots remain free for additional filters, allowing you to use the polariser in combination with, say, a filter from the Stopper family and a neutral-density grad. It should also be pointed out that recently some lenses that have filter thread sizes of 77mm have been introduced for certain CSCs – for these lenses you will need to use the LEE 100mm filter system. >>
rings for > theAdaptor Seven5 system are available up to a maximum of 72mm in size
essential for this kind of photography, they can still play an important role. A polariser saturates the sky and cuts reflections from glass, while a long-exposure filter can effectively blur the movement of people on a busy street. Adaptor rings for the Seven5 system are available in sizes from 37mm to 72mm. They fit to the lens in exactly the same way as those for the 100mm system, and the filter holder clips on the same way, too. With its two slots, the filter holder allows the photographer to use a combination of filters, and it can be rotated through 360 degrees to allow for precise positioning of graduated filters.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 35mm f/2 lens, one minute at f/13, ISO 50, 0.6 ND hard grad, Little Stopper. Photograph by Craig Roberts
The SW150 system a protective petal lens hood that can’t be removed. It required a whole new system to be designed, and this comes in the form of the SW150.
If you’re interested in landscape photography, you’ll have spotted the current trend for images made using ultrawideangle lenses. You may even have one of these lenses yourself. Manufacturers such as Nikon, Canon, Samyang and Sigma have between them introduced a number of optics that fall into this category, some with focal lengths as wide as 11mm. When using lenses such as these, careful composition is necessary, but they open up all sorts of possibilities for dramatic results where the foreground looms large and skies are big and dramatic. However, with this type of lens comes a problem that needs to be solved if filters are to be used on it. The front element is large and bulbous, and the lenses come with Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Sigma 12-24mm lens, 15 seconds at f/16, ISO 100, 0.6 ND hard grad, Little Stopper. Photograph by Mark Bauer
Initially, the SW150 Mark I system was compatible with just one lens – the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED – but has now been extended to include several other lenses (see SW150-compatible lenses, right), with more likely to follow. The system is based around an adaptor ring that is slightly different for each lens, so make sure you buy the correct one. Each adaptor consists of a front ring, a compression ring and a locking ring. Instructions
Adaptor rings for the SW150 come in three sections: a front ring (with lugs), a compression ring (which is red) and a locking ring. They are unscrewed prior to assembly
xposure 23 SW150-compatible lenses The SW150 Mark II system can be used with the following lenses: • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED • Nikon 14mm f2.8 D AF ED • Canon EF 14mm f2.8 L II USM • Canon EF 11-24mm f4L USM* • Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC • Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 DG HSM II • Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 PRO FX • Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 SP Di VC USD We expect further lenses to be added to the SW150 range – visit leefilters.com for the most recent list. *Please note that due to the physical size of this lens, and the extremely wide angle of view, the SW150 filter holder will vignette at the widest angles. To avoid this we recommend using a minimum focal length of 13.5mm when using the filter holder with two filter slots and 12.5mm when using the holder with one filter slot.
on how to assemble the adaptor are included in the box, and once the adaptor is assembled and fitted to the lens, it remains in place at all times. There is also a range of screw-in lens adaptors (below), which enable the SW150 system to be used with conventional lenses. They are available in sizes 72mm, 77mm, 82mm, 86mm, 95mm and 105mm.
Nikon D810 with 14-24mm lens, 1.3sec at f/8, ISO 400, 0.9 ND soft grad, Little Stopper. Photograph by Jeremy Walker
as those of the square-shaped polariser for the 100mm system. That is, when it is used in conjunction with a graduated filter, the grad dictates the angle of the holder, and therefore the polariser cannot be rotated independently. However, it can still be used in one of two orientations, and the polarising effect will still be evident. You can observe its effect through the viewfinder or live view, and decide which of the orientations is better. As already mentioned, each filter holder for the SW150 Mark II comes with a Lightshield. This means that it is now possible to use the Big and Little Stopper filters with these ultra-wideangle lenses – something that wasn’t possible with the Mark I version. However, it is possible to purchase the Lightshield separately and retrofit it to the Mark I holder. If using filters from the Stopper family, always fit them in the rearmost slot, closest to the Lightshield, to avoid light leaks and flare spoiling your image. n
Field pouch Screw-in lens adaptor Screw-in lens adaptor Screw-in lens adaptor 72mm 86mm 105mm
The filter holder is purchased separately from the adaptor ring and comes pre-assembled with two slots and a Lightshield. It simply slots on to the adaptor and, in the same way as the 100mm and Seven5 systems, can be rotated independently. Because the filter holder is so much larger, the filters themselves are, of course bigger, too. Graduated filters measure 150x170mm, while standard filters, the Little and Big Stoppers and the polariser are square, measuring 150x150mm. When used alone, without any other filters, the polariser can be rotated freely until the desired effect is achieved. However, its limitations within the SW150 are the same
You can now purchase a Field Pouch for each of the three LEE Filters systems. Constructed of durable, weatherproof fabric, Field Pouches have concertina interiors, and can hold up to ten filters. They come with the choice of a belt loop, a shoulder strap, and a tripod strap – the last of these means it can attach securely to your tripod, leaving you free to interchange filters quickly and easily.
Composition masterclass By Luke Massey WHEN IT COMES TO WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUCCESSFUL COMPOSITIONS RELY ON A WHOLE LOT OF PLANNING AND A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK… It was pretty obvious from a young age that Luke Massey was going to become a photographer. When he was 12 years old, he started to borrow his sister’s Canon EOS 450D with its kit lens, which he took with him on walks. While out and about, he would photograph the wildife that had fascinated him since his very early childhood. Most children of his age would have been put off the subject when they realised the photograph they had taken of a kingfisher showed only a tiny, blurred, blue dot on the frame, but not Massey – the experiences only made him more interested in his subjects, and more determined to improve upon his photographic results. His first ‘proper’ lens was a huge and unwieldy Sigma 500mm telephoto with a barely useable minimum aperture of f/7.3, but he stuck with it for a few years until the earnings from his paper round and part-time jobs allowed him to buy a more manageable 100-400mm. It pretty much marked the end of his school education, in many ways. “I kept taking pictures wherever I went,” he says, “I did well at school until sixth form. But once I learned to drive, I spent more time photographing wildlife than I did going to school.” Although he completed a year at university, where he studied wildlife conservation, it only served to confirm to him that photography and filming was the direction in which he wanted to take his career. Now 23, he has worked on the BBC’s hugely successful Springwatch, and has collaborated with one of its presenters, Chris Packham, in the making of an online video-diary series entitled Malta: Massacre on Migration, which threw a spotlight on the issue of illegal shooting of birds by
hunters on the island. The campaign helped charity BirdLife Malta raise more than 70,000 Euros (£51,500) to continue its work. It also helped Massey understand the influence his pictures could have on a global scale. “I could take a picture, put it on Twitter ten minutes after taking it, and 100,000 people might have seen it by the end of the day,” he reveals. “The feedback was amazing – people cared and wanted to know how they could help. That’s the power of photography.” Now, Massey plans to use his earnings to fund photographic projects on wildlife conservation. He already has a dozen or so ideas in mind, and, as with his project in Malta, intends to harness the power of social media to gain publicity for them. “I recently went to Chicago three times, for ten days at a time, to photograph peregrine falcons in the city,” he explains. “Nobody knew I was there, but once I released the images they went viral and I now have a book deal as a result. That’s how I want all my projects to be – so I’m not going to say right now what they involve!” While his recent projects may have taken him to places such as Spain, the USA and Zambia, Massey is keen to acknowledge and not to forget his photographic roots. “I see a lot of photographers paying to go to exotic places,” he says. “But growing up in England and cutting your teeth on British wildlife, you learn so much. It doesn’t matter what you’re photographing or where it is, you can still learn from it.”
Visit lmasseyimages.com and lynxonthebrink.com
Canon EOS-1D S with EF17-40mm f/4L USM at 40mm, 1/2000sec at f/7.1, ISO 1250
Peregrine falcon Chicago “I wanted a picture that told the story of this peregrine falcon being an urban bird that lived in a city, so I kept it small in the frame and went in close with a wideangle lens. I knew the birds regularly rested on this railing and initially photographed them with a telephoto as I didn’t realise at the time that they were tolerant of people. Once I knew the female wasn’t concerned by my presence, I knew I would be able to get this shot, which was taken from a distance of only 25cm.
opportunities to take similar photographs in the same situation is pretty unusual.
It’s very rare in wildlife photography to have the opportunity to work with a subject in the way I did with these birds. I spent 30 days with them – three lots of ten days – and probably managed to get about 20 photographs similar to this one. To have multiple
Over time, I have had to train myself to detach emotionally from certain images. You can’t get carried away by the amazing experiences you have as a wildlife photographer – it has to be about whether the pictures themselves stand up to scrutiny.” >>
The viewer’s eye is naturally drawn to the peregrine, but everything around her works, too – the straight line of the balcony railing and the splash of green from the trees. Colour plays an important role in composition and can sometimes be intrusive, but in this image the green works well, I think.
Iberian lynx Spain “I’m new to the technique of camera trapping, and it’s a completely different way of composing an image, because you have to work out exactly where the animal is going and where to focus. Basically, you’re composing your ideal shot, but without the subject. Setting up the camera and flash units takes anything from an hour to an hour and a half, and for this scene I had to crawl along the path to work out where the beam would trigger and therefore where to focus. You have one opportunity, as an infrared beam cuts across the path and when the animal goes through it, the camera triggers. I framed it with this very shot in mind, leaving a little more space to the right of the frame to give the sense of the lynx walking through the scene. The aim of this project is to raise the profile of the Iberian lynx. There are only 250 left in the wild, and if nothing changes in the coming years, they will become extinct. The reason for their decline is because of habitat loss. The majority of their diet is rabbits, and there simply aren’t enough rabbits for them. With this picture, I wanted to show that it’s a nocturnal animal, so not only is it taken at night as the lynx heads to a nearby waterhole, but also it highlights the big eyes that characterise nocturnal creatures, and these are lit up with catchlights from the flash. The first time I set up this scene, I left the camera in situ for ten days and got two images – this one, and another of a lynx’s backside! So there’s definitely a large element of luck with camera trapping.” >>
Canon EOS 40D with 11-16mm lens at 13mm, 1/250sec at f/10, ISO 125
European brown bear Finland/Russia border “This picture adheres to the classic, tried-and-trusted rule of thirds, and I don’t have a problem with that – it’s a proven technique. You see a lot of closeups of bears, portraying them as some big, scary creature, but I wanted an image that showed one in its habitat. I took this at around 11pm one evening. The light wasn’t great as it had been raining all evening, and when the rain finally stopped, the wind got up. We hadn’t seen any bears for more than an hour. Suddenly, though, everything calmed, the water became still, the reflections in the water became clearer – and the bear appeared. I knew I wanted a shot of it reflected in the water, but I know from experience that you can picture the ideal shot as much as you like in your mind’s eye, but you might not get it. The animal has to be on your side, whether it knows it or not. In this case, the way in which the bear sat down for a moment, with its back against a tree, was just right. Again, the colours play a big part in the overall composition, with the green grasses creating a dividing line between the land and the water. If I was being really picky and could change one thing about, I’d remove the tree stump to the left of the frame, but it’s still one of my favourite shots from this trip.” n
Canon EOS-1D X with EF500mm f/4L IS USM lens, 1/200sec at f/4, ISO 2500
Gallery FEAST YOUR EYES ON OUR SHOWCASE OF FINE PHOTOGRAPHY, ALL SHOT USING LEE FILTERS
Richard Hurst Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Nikon D810 with 16-35mm lens, 1/80sec at f/11, ISO 100, 0.9 ND soft grad >>
Stokksnes, Iceland Previous page I took a long weekend trip to Iceland purely to capture a good image from this spot. I’d attempted it the year before, but couldn’t even get to the area, because the roads were closed due to high winds – we’d even seen a car blown onto its roof with their force. I had seen some stunning images from here and had a composition in mind that featured the grasses and the black sands in the foreground, with the mountain range in the background holding the image together. On arriving, it didn’t actually look anything like how I had seen it in other images, and I felt a bit unsure and thrown off my game. I decide to take a good stroll around the dunes, trying to pick out a spot that would suit what I had in mind. Once I had found this little mound covered in greenery, I knew I was in the right spot. I lined my shot up and tried out a number of different focal lengths until I was happy with the way everything looked.
Eryn’s Tree, Hertfordshire This image was taken just outside Baldock on a miserable day. When I arrived, the heavens opened and a blizzard struck, leaving me standing in the middle of a field sheltering my camera equipment. But the stormy sky looked amazing – exactly how I had hoped it might when I had set out that morning. It was bitter and bleak, and this is what I wanted to convey. I huddled over my gear, trying to protect it as I set it up. Once the camera was on the tripod, I covered it with a large chamois leather I always carry with me, and which prevented any snow falling onto the camera or filters. >>
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 35mm lens, 1/250sec at f/11, ISO 400, 0.9 ND soft grad, dodge and burn applied in Lightroom to enhance the moodiness of the sky
Kirkjufell, Iceland This extraordinary mountain is situated on the west coast of Iceland, just outside the town of Grundarfjör∂ur. I had been on a trip with a group of fellow photographers, and due to bad weather in the east, we decided on the spur of the moment to head west. This was the penultimate sunrise of the trip and up until this point we hadn’t had any luck with good skies, so I wasn’t particularly optimistic when we headed out. I had
seen many images of this mountain prior to visiting it, so I had a composition in mind already. It’s difficult to be original here as it has been captured so many times in the past and is a real photographers’ honey pot location. Luckily, the weather gods were in my favour and I was treated to an outstanding fiery sky. >> Visit richardhurstphotography.co.uk
Canon EOS-1D X with Canon 17mm TS-E lens, 1/4sec at f/11, ISO 200, 0.9 and 0.6 ND soft grads
Nikon D300s with Sigma 10-20mm 4-5.6 EX DC at 11mm, 1/250sec at f/11, ISO 320, polariser
Dead and Boated, Dungeness, Kent Dungeness is a strangely bleak place, with a vast shingle beach set against the backdrop of the nuclear power station. On a photographic visit to this corner of southeast England, this boat caught my eye. I felt the scene could convey drama despite the static nature of the boat, which appeared to be taking a well-earned rest. At the top of frame, the clouds appear to be moving away, giving the boat a short reprieve. Since the light was very strong, I decided to keep things simple, composing with the boat to one side and excluding all the nearby objects from the frame. My tripod had to be
pushed into the shingle to keep it as steady as possible, as the biggest issue on the day was the force of the wind. After that, it was a question of dealing with the high contrast of shadows against white clouds. I fitted a polariser to keep detail in the sky and clouds. I did consider attempting a longer exposure, with the clouds streaking from rear to front, but the wind had caused me enough pain already. So I stuck with this shot and was very pleased with the outcome. Visit mattwiseman.co.uk
Graham Kelly Drogheda, Republic of Ireland
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim When photographing this extraordinary location, most people tend to look straight down the causeway and ignore the stunning backgrounds to the left and right. The landscape in this area has a hugely prehistoric feel to it and in making this photograph I hoped to create a sense of time passing. The weather on the morning of the shoot was very different to what had been forecast the previous evening. Instead of a glorious sunrise with broken cloud, it was cold, windy and overcast. The waves were so rough, I couldn’t stand close to the causeway for fear of getting swept into the sea, but, having driven for two hours
to get to the location, I had to make the best of the conditions. Using a series of diagonal lines that started at the foreground rock and moved through to the large boulder and rock formations and sky in the background, I hoped to hold the viewers’ attention. The wind was on my back, so I felt a portrait format would work, highlighting the fast-moving vertical cloud streaks. I struggled to find a clean composition, as a lot of rocks jut out of the water here. I am unsure about the small rocks that can be seen breaking the frame along either side of the image. I had a choice to clone them out, but decided not to. >>
Nikon D810 with 16-35mm lens, 312 seconds at f/10, ISO 64, 0.6 ND hard grad and Big Stopper
Eimhear Collins Drogheda, Republic of Ireland
Gormanston Beach, County Meath It was about half an hour before sunset and the tide was fully in when I arrived at Gormanston beach, which is on the north bank of the River Delvin. There were some interesting clouds to the east, and the skies looked promising. I set up my tripod at the shoreline, digging them into the sand an inch or two and then letting them settle. As the sun dropped lower in the sky behind me, the clouds to the east became infused with a beautiful pink light, which was reflected on the silky water. I included the headland to â€˜anchorâ€™ the image and to give a sense of identity to the scene, and used the cloud formation and the angle of the sweeping wave to form a natural frame for the headland. The beautiful light around the headland is what makes this image for me. To maximise sharpness throughout the image, I locked focus on the headland and recomposed. I used a 0.9 ND hard grad to balance the light and enhance the depth of the sky. The Little Stopper slowed down the shutter speed and created a sense of movement in the water. >>
Canon EOS 6D with 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, 1.3 seconds at f/22, ISO 100, 0.9 ND hard grad, Little Stopper, Manfrotto 055X Pro tripod
Skerries South Strand Beach, County Dublin Skerries is a seaside town located in north County Dublin on Ireland’s east coast. It has several beaches and South Strand is a long sandy stretch with three islands situated off its coast. I arrived here that evening about 20 minutes before sunset. The tide was on its way out and the wet sand lent itself to some wonderful reflections. I immediately wanted to create a symmetrical composition for a powerful visual impact. As the light was quite balanced, I didn’t need to use a graduated filter, but I decided to fit a 0.9 ND standard to slow down the shutter speed a little and add some softness to the breaking waves. It was also useful for increasing the depth of the clouds in both the sky and the reflections. The sky was full of drama, with the clouds moving fast, so I had to move quickly to capture the scene. This image was the very first one I took, and is the only one that worked perfectly for me. The viewer’s eye is drawn to Shenick Island in the centre of the image, which is framed by the cloud formation both in the sky, and in the reflection. n Visit eimhearcollins.ie
Canon EOS 6D with 16-35mm f/2.8L lens at 16mm, 1/2sec at f/22, ISO 100, 0.9 ND standard filter
The knowledge LEARN HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FILTERS WITH THESE HINTS FROM THE PROFESSIONALS
This image was taken a few years back at Happisburgh on the Norfolk Coast. The dark clouds, with the much brighter area below, meant getting a suitable image with good detail in the clouds and sun was difficult, so I opted to create a reverse stripe grad using two LEE filters
Expand your horizons Sometimes, when shooting into the sun at sunrise or sunset, the light can suddenly appear in a small strip on the horizon, with darker clouds above. When using a regular grad, it can be difficult to retain enough detail in both areas. To get around the problem, you can create whatâ€™s called a reverse grad. A reverse grad is darker around the horizon area and then reduces intensity towards the top of the filter.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon 17-40mm at 31mm, ISO 100, five seconds at f/22, 0.9 ND hard grad over top part of image, 0.6 ND hard grad upside down to cover bottom of the frame and cross over in the middle
To make your own reverse stripe grad, all you need is a couple of neutral-density graduated filters. Take, for example, a 0.9 ND grad and use this the correct way up. Then take a 0.6 ND grad and place this upside down in the holder. You can overlap the filters so that you have complete control over the stripe on the horizon where the filters meet. Because you are using a three-stop filter on the sky and a two-stop filter over the bottom part of the image, this gives us the equivalent of a one-stop filter for the top of the sky (ie there is a difference of one stop between top and bottom). However, where the filters overlap in the middle, you end up with a darker stripe that has the equivalent of three stops. Different filter combinations and strengths can be used to create different values, and you can adjust the stripe area where the filters meet in the middle to make it bigger or smaller to suit the conditions and scene you are shooting. Chris Herring, Norfolk Visit theuklandscape.com
xposure 43 Olympus E-M5 with 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 15mm, ISO 200, 1/25sec at f/8, polariser
Pull back on the polarisation If you are using a polarising filter with a very wideangle lens, consider dialling back the polarising effect. The wide angle of view can create an uneven effect in the sky, but reducing the polarisation can help solve this. A slightly weaker saturation of the colours is often preferable to an unnatural effect on the sky. Alternatively, use the polariser in combination with a 0.3 soft ND grad, which can be used to counteract the uneven effect. Craig Roberts, Yorkshire Visit craigrobertsphotography.co.uk
Ghost in the machine Many lenses, even those from manufacturers you’d think might know better, feature writing on the ring next to the front lens element. You’ve probably never really paid much attention to this, but next time you’re shooting with filters and looking into the sun at a sunrise or sunset, pay very careful attention. If the writing is light, or white (most is), then you may find it reflects back onto the filter and then back into the lens where it is recorded as part of the image – when it happens, it’s most annoying. If you want to try to minimise the risk, and your lens does have writing around the front element, it’s time to break out the Sharpie. Simply colour in the writing with a black marker and you’ll find it makes a big difference. David Newton, Buckinghamshire Visit photopositive.co.uk
Canon EOS 550D with 15mm lens, ISO 100, 1/30sec at f/22
Combine your filters One of the most effective uses of the Big or Little Stopper can be to contrast movement in the landscape against stationary objects. Water and rocks immediately spring to mind as an ideal partnership, but for me the real marriage made in heaven is between a strong wind and cloud formations. Long exposures of boiling cumulonimbus clouds or of a storm front sweeping across the landscape can not only lend an exciting dynamism to an image, but also a sense of foreboding and a real feeling of the sublime. And as we all know, the most effective photographs are those which evoke an emotional response in the viewer. Using ND grads in conjunction with the Big or Little Stopper will not only help to balance the exposure but also bring out texture in skies. One small health warning, however: beware of objects which appear static but in fact are moving slightly, such as boats at anchor. These will blur during long exposures, but with skill and experimentation this blur can sometimes be used creatively. n Sam Jones, Isle of Mull Visit islandscapephotography.co.uk
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24-105mm lens, 44 seconds at f/10, Big Stopper and 0.9 ND hard grad
Anatomy of a seascape THE SEA HAS BEEN A POWERFUL DRAW FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS EVER SINCE THE FIRST CAMERA WAS INVENTED. THREE PHOTOGRAPHERS REVEAL THEIR INSIGHTS INTO A FAVOURITE COASTAL LANDSCAPE
Saltwick Bay Sunset By Chris Ceaser North Yorkshire, England Landscape photographer Chris Ceaser has visited the Yorkshire coastline around Whitby and Saltwick Bay on numerous occasions over the past ten years. The location has much to offer: sea stacks, the sun coming into play at both ends of the day during the summer and, best of all, an old wreck of a boat to add some moody foreground interest.
“Saltwick Bay is a classic horseshoe-shaped bay,” Ceaser explains. “It offers something on every trip, from moody monochrome close-ups to stunning sunrises and sunsets. To shoot the wreck, it is important to pay attention to the movements of the sea. Look to visit at low tide, so you don’t get cut off by the incoming tide, which moves quickly.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens at 19mm, 0.8sec at f/18, 1.2 ND soft grad
xposure 47 The image was made with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 16-35mm f/2.8L lens. He chose this particular lens in order to give an impression of ‘width’, composing so that he could include both Saltwick Nab to the left and Black Nab to the right of the image. “There are so many options at this location in terms of both composition and subject matter,” says Chris. “For this
shot, I decided to place the wreck in the centre and build the image around it.” Landscape photographers often look for golden sunrises or fiery sunsets, but this image takes on a different feel thanks to the grey, overcast skies that somehow fit perfectly with the powerful North Sea. >>
If composing to include a large area of sky, ensure there is plenty of interest, such as these scudding clouds that appear to be shooting out of the frame. A 1.2 ND soft grad ensures detail is retained in this important part of the composition.
By setting up the camera low to the ground, the stack of Black Nab takes on an importance in the frame, introducing rhythm to the line of the horizon.
Timing is crucial, even in an apparently slowmoving landscape scene. Any earlier, and the sunburst effect of this sunrise would not have been captured. Any later, and the sun would would have been too imposing.
The foreground rocks are left wet by the receding tide, and the light from the sky is reflected, revealing their texture.
Placing the boat almost centrally in the frame is an unusual move, but it is balanced by the cliffs on the left and Black Nab on the right. Together, they create a triangle for the eye to move around.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Chris Ceaser first picked up a Canon EOS 20D back in 2005. Having studied Spanish with the intention of becoming a teacher, his plans were to change dramatically after only a month or so of taking pictures in North Yorkshire. In 2006 he held his first exhibition at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre, near Thirsk, and in 2007 he featured on an episode of The Dales Diary on ITV.
Dales to the ancient castles perched above Northumberland’s powder-fine sands.”
His work concentrates mainly on the northern English landscape around Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Lake District. “I take my inspiration from the stunning scenery that the north has to offer, from the cliff-laden beaches of the Yorkshire coast to the heather moorlands of the North York Moors, from the drystone walls and waterfalls of the Yorkshire
Chris opened his gallery at 89 Micklegate, York, in July 2013 and runs photography courses in Yorkshire and the Lake District.
In November 2014, he also began working in London, concentrating on the River Thames and the landscape that surrounds it. He will be holding an exhibition of his London work at his gallery in York until January 7 2016.
Poll an tSéideáin, Inis Méain By Peter Cox Ireland
Arca Swiss RM3D with Phase One P45+ back, 23mm lens, 1/4sec at f/16, ISO 100, 0.9 ND soft grad
It was during a visit to the island of Inis Méain – the middle of the three main Aran Islands, which lie off the west coast of Galway – that Peter Cox shot this dramatic seascape. He was there to visit his sister, a geologist who was carrying out her field studies there. While they were out walking, he noted that this spot, on the west coast of the island, looked as if it might have potential for a late-evening image. “This was actually made at sunset,” he says, “but there wasn’t much in the way of strong light – it was very subtle.” He readily admits that where he chose to set up his camera involved what he calls “a calculated risk”, and he wouldn’t necessarily advise other photographers to do
the same. And while he was situated on the cliff edge, the most dangerous of the waves were a good 100m to his left. “The sea swell was at about 5m,” he says, “but the waves themselves were much higher, and the cliffs are between 35 and 40m high.” There’s a clever element of illusion towards the right of the frame. The paler area that appears to be lit by the setting sun is, in fact, freshwater algae that is a very vivid green. “I didn’t have many options about where I could stand,” Cox explains. “I tried some frames that didn’t include it, but in doing so I lost the curve of the cliffs, so I decided to include it and it works well – it was something of a happy accident.”
xposure 49 He took approximately 20 frames in the 20 minutes he spent at the location, which is known as Poll an tSéideáin, or The Hole of the Blowing Spray, because of the shelf at the cliff’s base where waves explode upwards when they hit it. When it came to selecting the strongest image from the series, he did what he often The sunset was subtle on this occasion, and a 0.9 ND grad helped to balance the bright sky with the much darker foreground.
does, and took guidance from Lightroom. “When the images are imported, there’s a ‘film strip’ that’s quite small, so the broad strokes of the images are revealed and the good compositions stand out. When you scan them in this way, the two or three that look promising will jump out of the screen at you.” >>
This enormous wave that crests the top of the cliff serves a useful purpose of ‘splitting’ the foreground from the background, introducing a sense of depth to the image.
The limestone on Inis Méain means there is very little surface water – it is all underground. Here, it has seeped out through the rocks and moved slowly down the cliff face, allowing freshwater algae to grow.
The turquoise hue of the waves is entirely natural, and is created by foam just beneath the surface of the waves. This lightens the water, which is naturally dark green in colour.
A shutter speed of 1/4sec has introduced just the right amount of movement to the scene, conveying the sheer power of the raging seas, but not flattening them out in the way a longer exposure would.
Cox always exposes for the highlights, until they are just shy of clipping. The shadow areas are then opened up in postproduction. The camera he used has a very wide dynamic range, making recovery of information very straightforward.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER After working as a computer systems engineer in Chicago for ten years, Peter Cox returned to his native Ireland in 2005. By this time, he had been taking photographs as a keen amateur for a number of years, starting off with a 3MP point-and-shoot camera that he bought in the very early days of digital photography. Frustrated with the limitations of his photographic knowledge and those of his camera, he began to study the craft. “I was incapable of making a photograph that captured what I was seeing and feeling,” he recalls. “My camera wasn’t up to the task and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I took that frustration and taught myself photography, gradually refining it.” By the time he returned to Ireland, he was ready to make the leap into professional photography. He now
makes his living from photographic courses and print sales – the latter are available from his gallery, which opened four years ago in the busy tourist town of Killarney in County Kerry. “I tend to shoot for myself,” he says, “but at the same time I am aware of what will make a photograph that someone will want to buy. What it comes down to is that I love being out in spectacular locations. When something spectacular is going on, I want to bottle it and share it with people who weren’t there – photography is the best way of doing that.” Peter’s latest book, Atlantic Light, which features aerial images of the west coast of Ireland, is available from his website. Visit petercox.ie.
Durdle Door By Mark Bauer Dorset, England
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 16-35mm f/2.8 lens at 21mm, 2.5secs at f/11, ISO 125, 0.9 ProGlass ND standard filter, polariser
The limestone rock arch of Durdle in Dorset, on the south coast of England, is one of the UK’s most iconic locations and has been shot tens of thousands of times. Getting an image that stands out from the many other excellent images is therefore a real challenge. “I’ve shot here more times than I care to remember, in all seasons and from many viewpoints,” says local photographer Mark Bauer. “I probably visit it a dozen times or so every year. Living locally, I have the advantage of being able to get here quickly if the conditions look interesting.”
was for it to clear towards sunset, which Bauer knew from previous experience can produce some of the most dramatic lighting.
This particular image was taken at the end of the day in mid-September, when the setting sun casts a golden glow on the arch. It was a rainy day, but the forecast
The light was dramatic anyway, but the rainbow that appeared was a real bonus. Using a polariser to enhance its colours, he shot as many frames as he could in
“I arrived at the location about an hour before sunset, during a heavy shower,” he recalls. “When it eased off, I set up my tripod and composed the shot with the shoreline curving around to lead the eye to the arch. A 2½sec exposure created texture in the foreground by blurring the waves as they receded.”
xposure 51 the two or three minutes he had before it faded. With no time to shoot a variety of compositions, he simply concentrated on trying to capture the best wave pattern. Processing the image later on the computer was a
The appearance of the rainbow was an unexpected but very welcome surprise. A polarising filter helps intensify its colours. It was essential to work quickly before it faded. Bauer has composed to make it appear as if the rainbow ends on the top of the iconic arch.
straightforward affair, as the dramatic light of the scene had done most of the work for him. After adjusting white balance contrast and colour saturation, all that was needed was to clone out a small piece of distracting seaweed from the foreshore.
The sky leaves the viewer in no doubt as to the stormy conditions in which the image was made. It’s deep navy colour contrasts perfectly with the warmth of the rocks, made golden by the setting sun.
The turquoise area of the sea creates a triangular shape, the ‘point’ of which leads the viewer’s eye to the cliffs of Durdle Door.
The shingle is almost identical in colour to the cliff face, creating a curve around the frame from the bottom left round to the end of the rock arch itself.
A 0.9 ND standard filter slowed the exposure down to 2.5 seconds, which introduces a sense of movement as the waves are sucked back to the sea, creating an almost striped effect in the white foam.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Mark Bauer has been a professional landscape photographer for more than ten years. He is the author of four books and has won numerous awards. While he enjoys shooting in many different locations around the world, it is the landscape near his home in Dorset, with its rugged coastline and unique geology, which inspires him the most. Mark likes to shoot ‘classic’ landscapes and the aim of his work is straightforward: to convey the simple
beauty and drama of the landscape around us. As well as undertaking commissions for clients such as the AA and First Great Western Rail, Mark is a regular contributor the UK photographic press and runs a number of one-to-one and group workshops throughout the year. n Visit markbauerphotography.com
Danny, The Cuillins Danny MacAskill on the summit of the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the Cuillin Ridge, Isle of Skye. The photo was taken at 6am after hiking from the valley to catch the morning light and cloud inversion. Taken during shooting for The Ridge â€“ a short film by Cut Media
On top of the world FOR CHRIS PRESCOTT, CLIMBING STARTED OUT AS A HOBBY. THEN HE PICKED UP A CAMERA TO DOCUMENT IT, AND DISCOVERED A WHOLE NEW PASSION. HERE, HE TALKS EXTREME CONDITIONS, HOW TO TRAVEL LIGHT AND THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ABLE TO SHOOT AT 12 FRAMES PER SECOND
How did you get started in photography?
My background is in sound engineering. I started in the music industry, but then ended up helping out a few friends with sound for films. At that stage, I hadn’t really considered the photography side of it much, and had only picked up a camera a few times. Being around a lot of camera gear helped spark an interest in me, and I first started taking photos to document my climbing trips. Everything grew from there. I’d been interested in the outdoors since I was a child, and most of my time growing up was spent outside exploring and getting into trouble. It progressed into hillwalking and mountain biking, and then climbing and going on expeditions. It wasn’t until I’d been climbing for a few years that I first picked up a camera.
What drew you to the sports you participate in?
CP Canon EOS 6D with 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm, 1/100sec at f/9, ISO 200, 0.9 ND soft grad, polariser
I’m predominantly a climber, mountaineer and skier, although I also bike and kayak when I get the chance. I was attracted to these sports as they allowed me to get into the outdoors and to places I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to experience. I was also fascinated by the history of climbing, and as an avid reader I used to read a lot of stories about the early days of the sport and the exploits of the pioneers. It’s one of the few sports where you can experience the exact same locations and climbs as described by your heroes, >>
How did you start out photographing these sports?
I first started shooting them with a small compact camera, which I’d keep in my pocket and occasionally get out and shoot with when I got the chance. It cost me a handful of lira in Italy and took pretty poor photos. I made lots of mistakes and many of the images I shot were terrible, but it gave me a good basis in learning about composition. I then saved up for about six months and bought my first DSLR, which really changed things for me. It wasn’t only about the massive improvement in quality, but also the flexibility of manual mode and the creative possibilities it provided. Although not related to action
sports, I think a standout image for me was one I took within an hour of owning the camera, when I shot a photograph of light coming through the trees in a park called The Meadows in central Edinburgh (below). The quality of the image as well as the luck of being in the right location at the right moment was a big drive for me to carry on taking photographs.
How did you go from photographing simple records of what you saw to creating strong, standalone images in their own right?
and this was a particularly big draw for me. It would be like a fan of Manchester United being able to play at Old Trafford whenever they wanted!
The transition probably happened when I switched from taking photographs while participating in the sport to going along purely with the intention of taking photos. This really gives you the flexibility and focus needed to achieve high-quality images, as well as letting you get into the best possible position for capturing the action, as opposed to where you would want to be if you were participating.
Early morning light streaming through the trees on the Meadows in central Edinburgh. I’m now based here and it’s great to live in a city that still has plenty of open spaces and I count myself lucky that I can get views like that on my morning walk to the studio
Nikon D7000 with 18-105mm lens at 18mm, 1/800sec at f/16, ISO 640, 0.6 ND soft grad
Canon EOS 6D with 14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/4000sec at f/7.1, ISO 160, polariser
How do you prepare for a shoot? American climbers Tommy Caldwell and Emily Harrington descending the Aiguille du Midi arête above Chamonix. The photo was taken a couple of months before Tommy made his historic ascent of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan, Yosemite
Logistics are a big part of it and I try to spend as much time as I can in pre-production organising as much as possible while still maintaining some flexibility. This is always important in order to take into account unforeseen factors that might arise on the day. I usually have a conversation with the person who will be acting as the subject in the images and we go over what the goal of the shoot is, what the expectations are and any concerns either of us may have. Once this has taken place, I’ll tailor the equipment for the shoot based on this discussion. For example, if the location requires a long approach or is difficult to reach, I’ll reduce the amount of equipment I’m
carrying to allow me to go fast and light.
What are your favourite conditions?
It may sound odd, but I really enjoy shooting in challenging conditions, especially in poor weather and difficultto-access positions where you wouldn’t usually be inclined to get the camera out. Although they can be tough at the time, they often lead to the most interesting and stand-out images, as the viewer can often get a sense of what it would have been like to be in that position.
How did you settle upon your camera system?
My kit has evolved through a lot of >>
trial and error, especially by lugging useless gear up hills and never actually using it. After a while, you start to realise what you need and what you don’t, and streamline the equipment accordingly. One of the biggest mistakes a lot of photographers make is overdoing the lenses. When shooting action sports in difficult and hard-to-reach locations, you want to switch lenses as infrequently as possible while maintaining as much flexibility as you can in terms of composition and framing. Lenses are also heavy, so carrying as few as possible in the mountains is beneficial.
adjust aperture, ISO and shutter speed based on the subject and style I’m looking for. With a lot of action sports, the aim is to freeze the subject in the frame, so a fast shutter speed is needed, although this can often be difficult to achieve in low-light situations. To combat this, I predominantly use wide-aperture (f/2.8) lenses and a DSLR capable of producing low noise at higher ISO settings. I also shoot with a neutral camera profile to allow more flexibility in post-processing.
Aguille du Midi Two climbers ascending the Aiguille du Midi arête, Chamonix, France. Although many of my images require a lot of work to get into position to shoot, this scene is easily accessible from the Aiguille du Midi cable car station and is probably one of the most photographed Alpine features
It’s a fine balance between having enough equipment to achieve the images you want while not having so much that you spend all your time fumbling with kit when you should be shooting. In the future, I may switch to a mirrorless setup, as the cameras are so light, although at the moment I’m too attached to my DSLR to make the change.
How does camera technology help you achieve the shots you want to take?
Camera technology is pretty vital. Although I’d like to say I could shoot the same images on a film camera, this isn’t really the case. The ability to be able to shoot an action sequence at 12fps and then choose the best image in terms of subject composition is a big part of my work process. Often, people’s movements in action sports are very fast, and a subtle change in their limb or head position can entirely change the feel of an image. This is something that wouldn’t be possible to capture without high frame rates and fast buffers.
Do you set your camera up in a particular way for a shoot?
I always shoot in manual mode and Nikon D7000 with 18-200mm lens at 18mm, 1/100sec at f/22, ISO 100
Canon EOS 6D with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 61mm, 1/200sec at f/2.8, ISO 1250, two 0.9 ND soft grads
Aerialist Silks and rope aerialist Sarah Bebe Holmes performing in Edinburgh. The main challenge with the image was the backlit flash producing unwanted light on either side of the stage. This was solved by using two opposing 0.9 ND soft grad filters
What are the most important pieces of kit in your camera bag?
A lot of what I shoot is in difficult-toaccess locations where just getting there is a big part of the challenge, never mind all the camera gear required. Before every shoot, I assess the location and requirements and pack my camera gear accordingly. For me, the most vital pieces of equipment are a standard range zoom lens (Canon 24-70mm f/2.8), a superwideangle (Canon 14mm f/2.8 or Canon 16-35 f/2.8) and soft neutral-density grads to balance exposures. The filters come in particularly useful when shooting climbing on shaded north-facing mountains where the subject is often dark while the background is brightly lit.
One of the most important factors when packing is not to take anything superfluous, which also includes excessive cases or protective gear. From experience, most camera gear is pretty robust and able to take a bit of a beating. It’s easy to get a bit precious about expensive equipment, but at the end of the day it’s a tool designed to do a job, and it’s far better for it to be out and being used rather than packed away in a camera case in the bottom of your bag where you risk missing a shot.
To what extent can you control a shoot?
It really depends on the sport and the situation, especially how dangerous it is. With things like biking it’s generally >>
easy enough to get the subject to repeat a certain movement and sequence until you have the shot. In other situations, where the movement is challenging or there is a high risk of injury or death, you have to act more as a spectator and simply capture the moment as best you can. Although this is a more challenging way to shoot, it also often leads to the best images, as the small differences in facial expression and body tension or movement appear more genuine and real.
What have been your most memorable moments?
Shooting photos for Cut Media’s The Ridge on the Isle of Skye last year has to be one of the most memorable. The combination of great talent and good weather (a real rarity in Scotland!) made for a special shoot. Particularly memorable was the day shooting on the Inaccessible Pinnacle, which required a 3am start and was a gamble with weather and logistics that paid off in the end.
What are the trickiest sports to photograph?
Every sport has its difficulties, but shooting winter climbing and mountaineering is probably the biggest challenge, as the combination of intense cold and poor weather makes it difficult enough to look after yourself, never mind taking good photographs as well. A lot of camera dials and buttons are almost impossible to use while wearing thick gloves, so numb fingers and hands are to be expected. It’s also tough to keep the snow and ice away from the lens (especially when it’s windy), so a constant supply of lens cloths is a must.
Does the element of risk mean you have to stick with your photographic plans, or can you be spontaneous?
Although in a lot of situations I try and plan out roughly what we’re going to shoot, often the best moments are spontaneous. I try to keep my camera as close to hand as possible throughout the day and shoot anything and everything, even if it isn’t the main focus. I’ve been on lots of shoots where we’ll have finished for the day and then, on the way back, the light will change or I’ll spot a particular composition that works – they often lead to some of the best images. >>
Canon EOS 6D with 14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/1250sec at 4/4, ISO 250, 0.6 ND soft grad
Emily Harrington, Balme American climber Emily Harrington climbing the hard multi-pitch route Balme in the Arve Valley near Chamonix, France. Taken during shooting for Epic Climber. The biggest challenge was spending eight hours continuously hanging from the wall in 30째C temperatures. I could barely walk by the time I got to the top
White Beach Climber Natalie Berry at White Beach on the Isle of Man. I grew up on the island and my passion for the outdoors started there. I donâ€™t get much opportunity to go back nowadays, so itâ€™s always nice to return and try and capture the essence of the place >> Canon EOS 6D with 17-40mm f/4 lens at 19mm, 1/500sec at f/4, ISO 250, 0.6 ND soft grad
62 Canon EOS 6D with 17-40mm f/4 lens at 19mm, 30 seconds at f/16, ISO 400, 0.6 ND soft grad, Big Stopper
Danny, Loch Coruisk Also taken during shooting for The Ridge, this shows Danny MacAskill riding across a log at Loch Coruisk. To create a more striking image and to draw the eye to Danny in the centre of the frame, I used a 10-stop ND filter to create movement in the clouds, which then act as lead-in lines towards the centre of frame
Have there been any hair-raising moments?
Quite a few! When shooting climbing, I spend a lot of time hanging on a rope and I’ve had a couple of close calls with ropes being damaged by sharp edges, which can be pretty scary when you’re a long way up. Shooting in winter can also be pretty interesting, with the added risk of avalanches.
To what extent can you predict your results when you’re shooting?
Because nearly everything I shoot is outdoors, it’s often very difficult to predict results, as a huge part of it is dictated by the weather and lighting conditions. Sometimes you’ll go out to shoot a particular objective, which won’t work out because of the weather or light and other times the opposite will happen and you get lucky. I can usually tell once a photo has been taken whether it’s going to be a stand-out image from a day. These are usually the ones I go to first when post-processing.
At what point did you realise you could make a living out of your passion?
I’m not really sure when it happened exactly as it turned out to be a fairly
gradual process. I hadn’t really thought it would be possible to combine the two for a long time and I used to take pictures as more of a hobby. I started doing some work for Hot Aches Productions, a film production company based in Edinburgh that makes films about climbing, and this gave me motivation to pursue it as a way of making a living.
Where might you find yourself photographing in any given month?
It often varies between the winter and summer months and the sports that take place. During the winter, it’s usually winter climbing, mountaineering and skiing. This can either be in Scotland or further afield in places like the Alps. Summer is usually a lot busier and involves more travelling to interesting places to shoot different adventure sports, it’s usually somewhere different every time, which is great.
Where would you like to go back to?
I spent five weeks in Greenland in 2005 and would love to go back. It feels like one of the last real wilderness locations on earth, and there is lots of potential there for new climbs and skiing. As far as where I’d like to go next, I’ve still never visited Yosemite, which, as a photographer who specialises in climbing, feels like a bit of a gap in my CV. n
Inspiring Professionals Who better to learn from than the professional photographers who use LEE Filters products every day? Learn from the professionals With contributions from Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite, David Ward, Mark Denton, John Gravett, David Noton, Jeremy Walker, Paul Gallagher and Tom Mackie, Inspiring Professionals and Inspiring Professionals 2 are packed full of world-class photography and invaluable advice on how to get the best out of your LEE Filters products.
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LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT ISSUE OF XPOSURE IN EARLY SPRING 2016 Editor: Ailsa McWhinnie LEE Filters: Graham Merritt and Peter Sturt To contact Xposure, email firstname.lastname@example.org, putting Xposure in the subject line
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Welcome to the fourth issue of Xposure, the online magazine from LEE Filters which, as always, is packed with inspiration and creative image...
Published on Nov 10, 2015
Welcome to the fourth issue of Xposure, the online magazine from LEE Filters which, as always, is packed with inspiration and creative image...