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Near Sienna, Tuscany Fujifilm X-T1 with XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 29mm, 1/110sec at f/8, ISO 200, Seven5 0.6ND hard grad, polariser Photograph by Graham Merritt
Welcome We’re heading towards the time of year when many of our readers will be considering their submissions to the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. An important fixture in the photographic calendar since it was first launched in 2007, the competition showcases the best images of the British Isles – and given that the prize money for the overall winning photograph is £10,000, the stakes are pretty high. The competition is the brainchild of Charlie Waite, himself one of the UK’s most renowned landscape photographers. As he says in our interview on page 6, in which we find out how the competition came about, he was keen to see public perception of landscape photography elevated from mere ‘decoration’ to that of art form. Visitors to the exhibition, which tours Great Britain after opening at London’s Waterloo train station, now number in the tens of thousands, so it looks as if Charlie has achieved his aim. Entries to this year’s competition open in April, so why not think about giving it a go yourself? Continuing on the same theme, on page 74, we put a few questions to Antony Spencer, himself an overall winner of the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition in 2010. It set him on a whole new trajectory – one he’s never looked back from. Moving away from the landscape, in Composition Masterclass on page 40, photographer Adam Duckworth explains why filters play such an important role in his automotive photography. Whether he’s shooting the front cover image for a motorcycle magazine, or driving down America’s west coast doing his best impression of the baddie from the Steve McQueen thriller Bullitt, filters are never far from his mind while he’s in pursuit of the best shot for the job. In addition, we have our usual showcase of our readers’ best images in The Gallery (page 45), while architectural photography is the focus of this issue’s ‘Anatomy’ feature (page 64). And, as the Super Stopper establishes itself as the granddaddy of the longexposure filter family, we reveal how to get the best out of each of the three filters that have changed the face of landscape photography. We hope you enjoy the issue.
Contributors > > > > > > > > > > >
Ana Avelar Mark Bauer Jason Beaven Pete Bridgwood Claudia Cardoso Adam Duckworth Julian Elliott Simone Fuss Ross Hoddinott Richard Hurst Ross Jukes
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Charles Meadows Justin Minns John Miskelly Tommy Richardsen Craig Roberts Margot Rodrigues Martin Schubert Antony Spencer Charlie Waite Jeremy Walker Pawel Zygmunt
The Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year recently celebrated its tenth competition results, and has transformed the perception of landscape photography in the UK. Its founder, Charlie Waite, talks to Ailsa McWhinnie about how it all began
An image taken with a Little, Big or Super Stopper filter is instantly recognisable, but deciding which to use for any given scene can take a bit of practice. We explain how to choose the right one for the best long-exposure shots
COMPOSITION MASTERCLASS When you’re shooting a commission for a magazine, there are a number of considerations that need to be made in terms of composition. Adam Duckworth, who’s been photographing in this genre for more years than he cares to remember, explains a few of them
64-69 ANATOMY OF AN ARCHITECTURAL IMAGE Three photographers explain how mere bricks and mortar can provide an opportunity for striking and eye-catching imagery. As always, it’s all about the light…
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30-39 THE ROAD TO RIO Brazilâ€™s party city was at the forefront of the sporting worldâ€™s attention during 2016. It was also the location for the third LEE Filters Rio workshop. Course leader Jeremy Walker tells the story of how it all came about
45-63 THE GALLERY Feast your eyes on our showcase of fine photography, all shot using Lee Filters
There are numerous ways in which using filters can enhance your photography. Here, four professionals reveal their secrets to photographic success
Winning the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition in 2010 gave Antony Spencer the opportunity to take the step into the world of landscape photography full time. Here, he discusses how he developed creatively, the lessons he has learned along the way, and the increasing struggle to find new locations
Winning ways THE TAKE A VIEW LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR RECENTLY CELEBRATED ITS TENTH COMPETITION RESULTS, AND HAS TRANSFORMED THE PERCEPTION OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE UK. ITS FOUNDER, CHARLIE WAITE, TALKS TO AILSA MCWHINNIE ABOUT HOW IT ALL BEGAN
It was just over 10 years ago that landscape photographer Charlie Waite had an idea. In awe of the extraordinary images he’d seen on display at the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, he wondered why there was no equivalent competition for landscape photographers. At the time, he recalls, landscape photography existed in something of a vacuum. Yes, there were outlets for photographers in the form of magazine articles and, if their name was enough of a draw, books, but in many ways, these people were preaching to the converted – to other landscape photographers. Seeing how the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award spoke to both photographers and nonphotographers equally, Charlie saw an opportunity. “Landscape photography is hugely therapeutic,” Charlie says, in his inimitable style. It’s a cold winter evening, and we are sitting in the comfortable living room of his converted mill in deepest Dorset, drinking tea, and discussing how it is the LPOTY (as the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition has come to be known) phenomenon got off the ground. “I think landscape photographers need a gateway to be >>
Starling Vortex, Brighton, by Matthew Cattell. Overall winner, 2016 “During the winter months, hundreds of thousands of starlings assemble at Brighton Pier to roost for the night. The birds gather in large flocks and perform beautiful aerial displays before dropping down to the relative safety of the structure below. Standing on the pier allows the viewer to witness these murmurations from within as the birds flow and cascade around you. The windy conditions had whipped up the foam on the surface of the sea and I liked the way the motion of the incoming tide mimicked the movement of the birds. Rather than “freeze” the action, I used a longer exposure to exaggerate this vortex of motion. I retained the ruins of the West Pier to help locate the image.”
Nikon D810 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 95mm, 1/10 sec at f/11, ISO 200. Minor tweaks to exposure, contrast, clarity, vibrancy and white balance. Subtle vignette added
Bright Eyes: Hope Valley from the Great Ridge, Derbyshire, by Dave Fieldhouse. Winner, Classic View, 2014 “This was not the photograph I had in mind when I left the house at 3.30am. Having watched the sun rise over Mam Tor, I decided to follow the path towards Hollins Cross. This view, and the fallen gate in front of it appealed to me, so I set up to take the shot. Satisfied with the image, I turned away to get my flask of hot coffee, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that all of a sudden I wasn’t the only one enjoying the view this particular morning. I quickly took a second shot, with my new friend in just the right place.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 70-200mm f/4L IS USM at 100mm, 1/4sec at f/16, ISO 100
able to not only demonstrate their love of what they do, but also bring it to a wider audience. And, by golly, has LPOTY done that.” Such was the organisation required to get the idea off the ground, it took nearly two years from that first lightbulb moment for the competition to open to entries. From the off, Charlie knew he would need both a sponsor and a media partner if the competition was to realise its potential in terms of reaching as much of the public as possible. He was fortunate enough to find both in the form of the AA (Automobile Association), and soon, he had an agreement that the AA would not only sponsor the competition, but also publish the book that Charlie
knew had to form an integral part of the competition. The next stop was the Sunday Times Magazine, whose editor said straight away that he wanted exclusivity in terms of publishing the winning images. Finally, thanks to having had a couple of exhibitions of his own work at the National Theatre, Charlie had a contact at the venue who “said yes in a heartbeat”. And so the theatre would provide a stage for the exhibition of the winning images. Things were taking shape.
Crucial to the whole process has been Charlie’s righthand woman, project manager Diana Leppard. With
“We worked out how we should define landscape,” Charlie recalls. “We knew it wouldn’t be right if we limited it to pastoral images, because when it comes down to it, landscape is basically anything that’s been photographed outside.” First and foremost, the two decided it was essential that the competition would include the kinds of scenes that so many of us associate with British landscape photography – the Glencoes, the Derwentwaters and the Durdle Doors that are such must-visit locations for any photographer who is passionate about the landscape. These sorts of locations fall into the Classic View category. “We also knew we’d have to have an urban
landscape category,” Charlie continues. “And also, it was obvious we’d need a category that demonstrated what the country means to you – something very intimate and personal – hence Your View.” Then there is Living the View, which is all about depicting how people interact with the landscape. Inevitably, they had to tackle the issue of digital manipulation. Bearing in mind this was 2005, the subject was a far thornier one than it is now. “We had to accommodate it – it would have been completely bonkers not to allow it,” Charlie states, “but not across the board. So Your View is also the category where anything goes, in terms of manipulation, while only minimal image-editing intervention is permitted in the other three categories.” Once the first competition was launched, it was a simple case of wait-and-see, and with that came the inevitable >>
a background in running a picture library, supplying images and producing catalogues of the type that were issued back in the heyday of photo agencies, she was the obvious person to sit down with in order to come up with the categories for the competition.
Sunset ﬂight in Fir Island, Mount Vernon, Washington, by Yoshiki Nakamura. Highly commended, Environmental Value, 2016, USA LPOTY
Nikon D4 with 600mm lens, 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 640
Canon EOS 5D with Schneider-Kreutznach 28mm f/2.8 shift lens. Ten-stop neutral-density filter and polariser
anxieties. “We had our sponsors,” says Charlie, “but how many people were going to enter? How effective had our publicity been? Did we have the right social networking in place? But it didn’t take long before the entries began coming in. And it revealed to us a community of breathtakingly talented photographers. At the time, I thought only about five of us were interested in landscape photography. It turns out there are a thousand and five!”
Narrowing it down
With a competition that aims as high as this one, it’s crucial to get the judging right, and even when you do, discussion and controversy is inevitable. So, when judgment day arrives, and the 200-300 prints are on the wall, how does he ensure the judging process is as fair as it can possibly be? The strategy is reviewed regularly and currently there are three stages. Firstly, a pre-judging panel assesses every entry, working individually to
Intertidal, Isle of Wight, by Steen Doessing. Commended, Your View, 2008 “With family and work commitments, when I am not on a planned trip, I have to fit shooting in with other obligations and I try to grab every opportunity. This was taken on a family holiday to the Isle of Wight in August. It is late morning, sunny and very hazy.”
11 Sunrise, Mount Rainier, Washington, by Alex Noriega. Overall winner, USA Landscape Photographer of the Year, 2016 “Mount Rainier in Washington dominates the landscape. I knew I wanted something with a mid ground, and not a simple mirrored reflection from the shore of a lake. I found that spot here, high above Upper Tipsoo Lake, where the trees seemed to perfectly cradle the distant mountain and display the autumn foliage.”
Nikon D600 with 35mm lens, f/11, ISO 100
produce a long list. The images in this long list are then put forward to an interim panel, which works jointly to narrow the entries down. The entries that remain are the ones that make it to the final round, in which the overall winner is finally decided. While the final two rounds are judged by a high-profile panel, it was always crucial to Charlie that the earlier stage should be given equal attention. “Every image is
looked at by someone who knows photography,” Charlie states, unequivocally. “I wouldn’t accept anything else.” And, to ensure that potentially successful images don’t slip through the net, the judging panels are made up not only of photographers, but also editors, researchers and others who work in the photographic industry. As Diana Leppard puts it, “We feel it’s important to have people who are used to assessing imagery of a broad range >>
Storm over Scroby Sands wind farm, Great Yarmouth, by Jon Gibbs. Overall winner, 2007 “Gazing out of my kitchen window, I could see some amazing clouds forming in the sky to the west. Something made me head towards the sea, which was actually to the east, and I was lucky enough to witness a storm
brewing out to sea to the north of the wind farm. Luckily, the lightning started to appear directly behind the turbines – a nice combination of two very different power sources in the one shot.”
LEExposure 13 of styles, and who are open-minded and can recognise if an image is good of its type, even if it is not necessarily to their own personal taste.” For instance, in the most recent competition, the winner of which was announced in October 2016, the judges in the final round included, among others, TV broadcaster and geographer Nicholas Crane, photographic magazine editors Steve Watkins and Nigel Atherton, VisitBritain’s photographic manager Jasmine Teer, and Russ O’Connell, picture editor of the Sunday Times Magazine. As well as Charlie himself, of course. Crucially, all images remain anonymous until the judging is complete, and the final winners are decided upon by a mixture of scoring and discussion. The reason for the scoring is simple. On any judging panel, there will be those who are happy to defend their choices vocally and assertively. There may also be those who are less confident to do so. By having a scoring system, Charlie believes the process is more democratic and permits, as he puts it, “a personal, quiet response. The judges do discuss as they work, but in such a way that it’s not trying to be persuasive. You wouldn’t get one judge asking another why they’ve given a print a particular score.”
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II at 40mm, 12 seconds at f/13, ISO 100
At the end of the session, the scores are added up and the category winners are those with the most points. The image with the highest overall score from the adult categories is awarded the main prize of £10,000. If two or more images end up with the same score, then Charlie has the deciding vote. “We’ve never had a clash of the overall winner, but it has happened twice with category winners,” he reveals. “I have to search really deep. Diana and I do discuss it and she has nailed me to the wall in my decision process. I was very much outside of my comfort zone, but in the end it has to be about the image that moves me most. The competition is my baby and I have to take responsibility for it.” >>
Nikon D800 with 85mm f1.4G lens, 1/320 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Lightroom
A Beginning and an End, Glencoe, by Mark Littlejohn. Overall winner, 2014 “I’d got up at 1.30am to drive to Glencoe, meeting a couple of pals en route. Unfortunately, the rain was torrential at dawn and the water levels were the highest I’d ever seen them. We wandered about waiting for gaps in the weather and as we did, I saw this wee stream form high up on Gearr Aonach. It tumbled steeply down the slopes before vanishing again near the base of the mountain. With more squalls coming through, I decided to take this image as the light became slightly more diffuse. It had to be a quick handheld shot due to the sideways rain and I therefore raised the ISO and used a larger aperture to keep the speed up slightly.”
It is inevitable in a competition as high profile as this one that there will be chatter and disagreement about the winning images, and the decisions that have been reached. This is something Charlie is quite happy about. “It’s healthy,” he says. “And if people are talking about landscape photography, then that’s a good thing. It’s entirely understandable if some people think their images are better than those that won, but even if your image falls short of your expectations, you still feel enriched by your experience of the natural world. It’s the pursuit, the trying, that’s good for us as human beings.” Given the sheer variety of the winning images over the years the competition has run, it’s not surprising that there
LEExposure 15 is a degree of controversy, for the simple reason that one single image cannot possibly be all things to all people. Some may enjoy the classicism of 2013’s winning image of Crummock Water by Tony Bennett, while others may prefer the abstract and rule-breaking depiction of Glencoe by Mark Littlejohn (see left). Others still may love the idea that an image of a windblown dog (Gary Eastwood, 2008) can win a competition such as this, while some may be baﬄed by it. However, as Charlie points out, “The images that are controversial are only that way because of a few vocal people. They’re not controversial when they’re being looked at in the judging environment.”
Then, of course, there was the issue with the image of Lindisfarne that was originally awarded the overall winner’s prize in 2012, but which was subsequently stripped of the title and £10,000 prize money, because it was found to have been manipulated. The photographer, David Byrne, had entered the image into the Classic View category, which stipulates, “The integrity of the subject must be maintained and the making of physical changes to the landscape is not permitted. You may not, for example, remove fences, move trees or strip in the sky from another image.” He had, in fact, added clouds digitally to the scene, along with other alterations. >>
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 14-24mm AFS f/2.8 G ED at 14mm, two seconds at f/9, ISO 100, Little Stopper. Stitch of 11 vertical frames, auto lens correction in Adobe Lightroom, then merged together in Adobe Photoshop
The Guardian of The Island, Beachy Head, East Sussex, by Mirek Galagus. Highly commended, Classic View, 2016 “I had this image in my head for almost four years. I made several attempts to capture it but, every time, a tiring journey down the cliffs ended up with poor results. Finally, on the day before Christmas Eve 2015, all the elements came together. Although I was caught by the rain on my way down, the weather settled. The conditions were
good, the tide was low and the light played to my advantage, illuminating the cliffs in the most favourable way. I was standing waist high in the water, fighting off the waves and trying to avoid the water splashing on my camera, but managed to capture the full view with 11 vertical shots.”
Nikon D300 with Sigma 17-70mm at 17mm, 1/15sec at f/16, ISO 200, 0.6 ND soft grad
Divided Glens, Buachaille Etive, Rannoch Moor, by John Parminter. Winner, Classic View, 2009 “You can’t help but be impressed by the bulk of Buachaille Etive Mor as you travel north across Rannoch Moor towards Glencoe. It stands guard at the entrance to Glens Etive and Coe, and I remember, as a 17-year-old on my first Scottish camping trip, how taken aback I was at my first sight of it. I’ve passed it many times now, en route to other destinations, and always get a feeling of grandeur from it.”
“The tragedy is, he simply entered the wrong category,” Charlie explains, adding that the image would have been perfectly acceptable, had it been entered into the Your View section. “He was a lovely man and the image was brilliantly done,” he continues. “If anything, it was a lesson in reading the terms and conditions.” Nowadays, to avoid anything similar happening again, Photoshop expert Martin Evening examines the raw files of all finalists in the Classic View, Living the View and Urban View categories, to ensure they adhere to the rules. The launch of the US Landscape Photographer of the Year competition was an inevitable extension, following the success of the UK version. With three lots of results now under the organisers’ belts, it is proving to be >>
LEExposure 17 Nikon D800 with 85mm f1.4G lens, 1/320 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Lightroom
Travels in a Strange Land: Dark Spaces I, Wales, by Matt Botwood. Highly commended, Your View, 2014 â€œA processing experiment with negatives that started me on a new project path; exploring landscapes hidden within the landscape around me. Although images like this may
look like unbelievable, fantastical alien places, they are relatively straight shots of selective parts of my local environment viewed in negative.â€?
18 Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24mm lens, 1/40sec at f/5.6, ISO 800
equally as successful as its UK counterpart. “The same motivation came into play – simply, I thought it would be great to see a load of images of America,” Charlie explains. “As a result of US LPOTY, I have seen photographs by fantastically talented photographers of lots of places I didn’t know existed.” When it comes down to it, both competitions exist not only for the photographers whose work is successful enough to be included in the exhibitions and books that form such an integral part of the process, but also for the audiences who, over the years, have turned up in their tens of thousands to view the images. Having moved from the National Theatre, the exhibition – whose main sponsors are now Network Rail and VisitBritain – now opens at London Waterloo, before travelling to other major railway stations throughout the country. “The audience plays an absolutely pivotal role in delivering back to the photographer the degree to which they’ve nailed the image,” states Charlie. “When it’s just you and your tripod, you’re alone and full of insecurity. But when the audience says, ‘Oh, yes,’ it tells the photographer that they did in fact press the shutter at exactly the right moment – not 30 seconds too late. When people leave the exhibition, without a doubt they’ve been enriched. They’ve looked at photographs of the United Kingdom that have illuminated and informed them.” Much of the purpose of the competition, from Charlie’s perspective, is to encourage non photographers to understand landscape photography better. “I’ve always been keen for it to be seen as an art form,” he reveals. “It’s wrong to see it as only illustrative or decorative. Compartmentalising it diminishes it, and I think it’s terribly important that it shouldn’t be written off as too literal and therefore having no substance.” So, what of the future? “I want it to go on for another 100 years,” Charlie says, laughing, “simply because I like being part of the community. I don’t want to be at the front of it, I just want to be part of it. And I know that when I speak to another landscape photographer, we are speaking the same language. The competition has hugely widened my understanding of landscape photography, and without a doubt my life is made better by the photographers who participate in it.” n The 2017 Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries in April. Visit take-a-view.co.uk. Turn to page 74 to read how winning the competition changed the life of one photographer.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, by Az Jackson. Winner, My USA, USA Landscape Photographer of the Year, 2016 “A mysterious lone figure with an umbrella walking from the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Showstoppers AN IMAGE TAKEN WITH A LITTLE, BIG OR SUPER STOPPER FILTER IS INSTANTLY RECOGNISABLE, BUT DECIDING WHICH TO USE FOR ANY GIVEN SCENE CAN TAKE A BIT OF PRACTICE. WE EXPLAIN HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE FOR THE BEST LONG-EXPOSURE SHOTS
The first Stopper filter was the Big Stopper, which was launched in 2010. Its success was unprecedented, and it was an instant hit with photographers who quickly got to grips with the creative potential of extending exposures by 10 stops. Not least, there was a collective sigh of relief that no longer would there be the need to stack neutral-density filters one on top of another (a 0.6 and a 0.3, for example) in order to achieve that characteristic long-exposure effect. This freed up the second slot in the standard filter holder for the likes of an ND grad, furthering the ability to control the image at the shooting stage, and lessening the length of time spent in postproduction – the ultimate aim of the majority of landscape photographers. Another reason for the Big Stopper’s success is that its effect of either flattening out or revealing patterns in moving subjects (depending on conditions and length of exposure) is virtually impossible to replicate in image-editing software, which makes it a very “pure” photographic experience. Once its popularity had been established, requests from photographers started to come in to LEE Filters. These photographers were finding that certain situations called
for a long exposure, but the effect from the Big Stopper was too great: what were the chances of introducing a weaker version? So, along came the Little Stopper, with its six stops of light-reducing power. Then, almost inevitably, the calls for something at the opposite end of the scale started to gather momentum. A 15-stop filter was what people were after, but the technicalities made it a little trickier to manufacture. So dense is the filter, it couldn’t be read by the existing measuring instruments. As a result, LEE Filters had to develop an entirely new system for measuring density and colour, both during manufacture and the qualitycontrol process. Once the issues were overcome, the Super Stopper was launched to complete the line-up. Having three Stopper filters in the range means that photographers now have the ability to control the extent of movement in a scene. For instance, using a Stopper filter in windy conditions can result in the scene appearing anything but tempestuous, as an exposure of several minutes is capable of obliterating all sense of movement. The result can be a completely flat sky and sea, with little or no detail in the clouds or water. This can be a very beautiful effect, but if the photographer
LEExposure 21 is visualising a scene that depicts some of the dramatic shaping of the cloud and water, then a shorter shutter speed is necessary. In such situations, the Little Stopper is likely to be the filter of choice. Equally, the six-stop value of the Little Stopper is ideal for the lower-light conditions at the beginning and end of the day, when a stronger Stopper might result in shutter speeds that are prohibitively long. You may also find the Little Stopper is what’s needed when shooting subjects such as rivers or waterfalls, particularly if they are in woodland settings where light levels are low. Fastmoving water usually looks at its best in an image when it retains a certain amount of texture that shows depth and depicts the direction of flow. Too long a shutter speed and you can be left with a pure white streak that looks somewhat incongruous when set against the softness and detail of trees and foliage. We’ve established that the Little Stopper is ideal for exposures during sunrise or sunset, where you probably don’t want to be standing around for 10 or 15 minutes while the changing light levels play havoc with your meter readings. So what of the Big Stopper? Well, it goes against the received wisdom of most landscape photography, but this is the filter you’ll probably want to take out of your kit bag when things are looking >>
As can be seen from the above image, all Stopper filters are manufactured with a foam seal. This fits tightly against the filter holder and helps to prevent light leaks
HOW TO USE A STOPPER FILTER
Once you have set up your composition, using a tripod for stability, take a photograph without any filters, to ensure your metered reading is correct. Insert a grad, if you require one, into the guide rail furthest from the lens.
If you are using an autofocus lens, switch it to manual focus, to avoid the lens hunting for a focus point once the Stopper filter is inserted.
Change your shutter speed to the appropriate meter reading with your Stopper filter attached. Refer either to the card chart that comes with the filter, or the LEE Filters Stopper Exposure Guide app.
All Stopper filters come with a foam seal to prevent light leaks. The filter should be inserted into the holder guide closest to the lens, and equally, the foam seal should be facing towards the lens, not away from it.
Cover the viewfinder to avoid light entering the camera as the exposure is being made. Make your exposure.
distinctly grey and overcast – the kind of light that might usually have you packing up your camera and tripod, and heading for the nearest café. This is because such conditions can often be deceptively bright, making the Big Stopper’s 10 stops ideal for slowing things right down and highlighting the soft, ethereal effect that can be achieved when shooting with a long exposure. In addition, conditions such as these tend to be relatively stable and unchanging, therefore they allow the photographer to be confident that meter readings won’t alter dramatically during the exposure. Once exposures are into the realms of several minutes – as is the norm with the Big Stopper – your choice of image style broadens. You might want to shoot a virtually featureless abstract of sea meeting sky, for example – something that’s easily achievable in the right conditions. Alternatively, you might choose to compose with a solid object – such as a rock or jetty – set against a moving one to reveal the contrasts between the two. The most recent addition to the Stopper family is the granddaddy of them all – the Super Stopper, which is designed to reduce the exposure by 15 stops. It’s not until you dial the meter readings into the LEE Filters
Stopper Exposure app that you realise just how dramatic and effect it is capable of. A meter reading of 1/500sec becomes one minute. So far, so normal. However, go down the scale and things start to get really interesting. For instance, 1/30sec becomes 16 minutes, while only a couple of stops slower, a reading of 1/8sec would result in you standing around for one hour, four minutes. As such, it quickly becomes evident that this is a filter for bright conditions. In fact, many photographers have discovered they can now shoot in really quite harsh, overhead light when using the Super Stopper. This is traditionally considered to be the type of light that any self-respecting landscape photographer would never unpack their camera for. However, an exposure of several minutes in such light results in a somewhat surreal effect that is entirely new to landscape photography. Of course, its use isn’t limited only to bright conditions. It can equally be used in similar circumstances to its siblings – that is, bright but overcast weather that, despite its apparent dullness, can actually give surprisingly fast shutter speeds. On these pages, you can see examples of images that have been taken with all three types of Stopper filter. As is evident, each of the three has good reason to take up position in any photographer’s kit bag.
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM at 16mm, 20 seconds at f/11, ISO 100, 0.6 ND hard grad, Little Stopper
Mark Bauer “The western ledges at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset are wonderful; resembling crazy paving, they make an excellent foreground for sunset shots. They look their best on a mid-tide, with the waves washing over the rocks in front of them. For this shot, I wanted an exposure long enough to blur the movement of the waves but not so long that the water would lose its texture completely. With the sun just setting behind the distant headland and light levels dropping, the Big Stopper would have resulted in an exposure time of around 320 seconds at f/11 and ISO 100 – too long for the effect I wanted, as the water would have been recorded as a glass-like surface. The Little Stopper, requiring four stops less exposure, resulted in a shutter speed of 20 seconds – pretty much perfect.” >> Visit markbauerphotography.com
Nikon D810 with 24mm f/3.5 lens, 10 minutes at f/8, ISO 100, 0.6 ND soft grad, Super Stopper
John Miskelly “This is a little known location near the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland called Portcoon. While I have photographed here a number of times in the past, on this occasion I wanted to show the ruggedness of this amazing coastline, contrasted against a smooth sea. As this shot was taken during the day, the only way I could obtain a long enough exposure was to use the Super Stopper, which resulted in a 10-minute exposure at f/8 and ISO 100. I also used a 0.6 ND soft graduated filter to keep the sky and the sea balanced in exposure terms. The contrast between the texture of the rocks, the jetty and the stones and the soft sea and sky is the effect I nearly always look for in my photography.” Visit johnmiskelly.co.uk
Nikon D700 with 105mm lens, one minute at f/16, ISO 200, Big Stopper
Jeremy Walker “An electricity pylon is not the most exciting or romantic subject matter, but you have to shoot whatever the client wants you to. So how do you make an oversized Meccano kit look interesting? Fortunately, there were a few fluffy white clouds floating against a blue sky, which is ideal subject matter for a Stopper. In choosing the correct long-exposure filter for the job, you have to judge how fast the clouds are moving and what distance they will cover in your frame during the exposure. After several minutes of watching the clouds drift by, I determined that the Big Stopper would be perfect. There would be too little movement with a Little Stopper and the Super Stopper would reduce the clouds into too fine a blur – I wanted some texture around the edges of the cloud. Using a Big Stopper allowed me to take several shots, so I had a choice of images to present to the client.” >> Visit jeremywalker.co.uk
Nikon D810 with 45mm f/2.8 lens, eight minutes at f/11, ISO 64, 0.9 ND soft grad, Super Stopper
LEExposure 27 John Miskelly “This is a shot that I had been planning for some time. I waited for a high spring tide, along with the soft light that I prefer in many of my images, and exactly the right conditions finally came along one cold winter’s day. As so often happens during the day, the chance for a very long exposure wasn’t possible with either the Little Stopper or Big Stopper. As a result, I turned to the Super Stopper, which resulted in an exposure time of eight minutes at f/11 and ISO 64. I also used a 0.9 ND soft grad to balance the sky and the sea. The idea of ‘capturing’ a slice of time, rather than a ‘moment’ means that the Stoppers form an essential part of my photographic equipment.” >> Visit johnmiskelly.co.uk
Nikon D700 with 105mm lens, two minutes at f/11, ISO 200, Big Stopper
Jeremy Walker â€œWhen I arrived at the lighthouse, I first assessed the extent to which the waves were moving, and the speed and direction of the clouds. The critical issue when choosing a filter from the Stopper family is to understand how it will affect the elements of the image that are moving. Not enough movement, and you could have people wondering if the image is simply un-sharp. Too much movement and you could have a flat mush of an image with no detail. Choosing the right filter for a particular scene can take a bit of experience and practice, as you have to decide on the relationship between the static subjects and the speed and intensity of the elements that are in motion. For this shot I determined that a Little Stopper would not give me enough movement in the water, while a Super Stopper would give me such a long exposure, it would probably have been dark by the time I had shot just one frame!â€? Visit jeremywalker.co.uk
LEExposure 29 Mark Bauer “A fantastic afterglow radiated around the sky after the sunset over Derwentwater in the Lake District. It was a little breezy, and the water was rippled, whereas I wanted smooth water to make the most of the reflected colour. I therefore needed a long enough exposure to record the water as a smooth surface – a minute or longer, ideally. You’d normally think of the Big Stopper for exposures of this length, but as the post-sunset light levels were actually quite low and I was using a polariser to enhance the reflections (and thus already blocking two stops of light), the Big Stopper would have resulted in an unworkably long exposure. The Little Stopper, on the other hand, allowed me to use a shutter speed of two minutes – a more practical shutter speed, but long enough to smooth the water.” n
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM at 19mm, two minutes at f/11, ISO 200, 0.6 ND hard grad, Little Stopper, polariser
The road to Rio BRAZIL’S PARTY CITY WAS AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE SPORTING WORLD’S ATTENTION DURING 2016. IT WAS ALSO THE LOCATION FOR THE THIRD LEE FILTERS RIO WORKSHOP. COURSE LEADER JEREMY WALKER TELLS THE STORY OF HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT
Course leader Jeremy Walker took this photograph of Christ the Redeemer from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain one late afternoon. “Although the mountains were in shadow,” he says, “the sunbeams help give the shot depth and the statue emphasises the scale of the image. I also think the quirky composition adds to the feel of the image – no rule of thirds here”
Nikon D3X with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm, 1/1000sec at f/5, ISO 100
The seeds for the Rio workshops were sown on a grey snowy weekend in late January in the Highlands of Scotland. The occasion was the LEE Glencoe workshop, and one of the attendees had arrived from Brazil, thirsty for knowledge and wanting practical, hands-on experience with the filters. Why all the way from Rio for a workshop? Well, the filters were extremely hard to get hold of in Brazil and certainly no one was doing a filters workshop – so the client, Patricia Martins, came to LEE. The first thing we do on our workshops is hand out a set of filters for the clients to use for the weekend. As soon as Patricia was handed her filters, she rushed back to her room, spread them on her bed, photographed them and posted the image on social media. Within a
Jeremy says: “A stunning interpretation of the landscape. The light was not at its best for shooting landscapes on this particular morning, but this image shows what can be done if you look for close-ups, details or abstracts. The composition is strong, the
few hours, hundreds of her friends had commented, demanding to know where she had got hold of them. And so, the seed of an idea was planted. At the end of the workshop, Patricia asked if I would be interested in doing the same sort of thing in Rio with another photographer, Rio-based Príamo Melo, who >> Opposite: Copacabana Beach at sunrise, which Jeremy shot from the balcony of his hotel room. “The pavement designs are very famous along the beaches of Rio,” he explains. “Each has its own signature pattern. I love the way the pavement echoes the shapes in the sand left by the waves. The polariser has just punched up the colours and given a hint of blur to the water”
horizon being perfectly placed for this image, and the texture and detail in the rocks is superb. Using a Big Stopper has allowed the cloud to blur and in many ways echoes the texture and pattern in the rocks. A very simple image, but very effective.”
Sony A7 II with 16-35mm f/2.8 lens at 25mm, 30 seconds at f/11, ISO 250, Big Stopper
LEExposure Nikon D3X with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 70mm, 10 seconds at f/8, ISO 100, Landscape polariser
Jeremy says: “This is a superb image: great composition, with interest both in the foreground and the middle distance. The eye is led into the far distance by a combination of the shape of the hills and the gorgeous colour and tones in the sky. Sugarloaf Mountain has just enough tone to separate it from the background and Christ the Redeemer is subtle but noticeable in the far distance. The Big Stopper has been used well to blur the water and sky, and the clouds have just enough motion to make them interesting.”
Canon EOS 7D with 17-70mm lens at 42mm, two minutes at f/11, ISO 100, Big Stopper
Jeremy was at the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain waiting to shoot the sunset, when this yacht left its moorings and set sail. “Metering for the highlight has made the shadows go incredibly dark and has given some great textures in the water,” he explains. “The shadow from the sail makes the image for me”
LEExposure 35 Nikon D3X with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm, 1/1000sec at f/5, ISO 100
is one of the rising stars of the Brazilian photography scene. A chance to work in Rio? Oh, go on then. Patricia organised for me to fly to Rio for two weekend workshops, sorting out costs, flights and much of the logistics. My only problem? I had never been to Brazil in my life, let alone Rio, so where would I start? My worries were ill-founded. The day after I landed, I was introduced to Príamo and we hit it off straightaway
– although it took a few days for him to get used to my sense of humour (having said that, it takes a few days for anyone to get used to it…). Príamo had already been running some of his own workshops from Casa da Ladeira, a centre for visual arts run by a small band of like-minded photographers. Príamo already had a very loyal following of customers and they were invited to attend the workshop – RIO I, as it came to be known (we are now organising >> RIO
36 Nikon D3X with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 40mm, 30 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 100, 0.9 ND hard grad
IV). As with all workshops, there was a huge crosssection of people and professions: lawyers, doctors, dentists, judges, office workers and the retired. Photography, especially landscape photography, is a great leveller and everyone was enthusiastic, keen to learn and welcoming (dinner invites aplenty!).
Príamo also stepped in every few minutes during my filter lectures to work as interpreter, as my Portuguese is somewhat non-existent. It must be said, though, that most of the people who attended had a perfect command of English. Perhaps they just struggled with my West Country accent.
I would have to admit that most of the hard work was done by Príamo. They were his clients and he had done most of the organising and promoting of the workshop. He also knew the locations, what time of day to be in position, where to park and where the group would have their meals. I felt a bit of a fraud, as I simply turned up and swanned in with some filters. Actually, I didn’t even do that. I just turned up. Príamo, with the help of camera dealer Robert White in Dorset and the LEE Filters USA team organised the import of the kits.
The locations we visited on the first workshop were just what were needed to introduce the clients to the world of filters. All the locations were in Rio. Some were globally famous, such as the view from Mirante Dona Marta down on to Botafogo Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain, while others were less known but equally as spectacular. One of the major differences between this and the weekend workshops in the UK is that in the UK we keep everyone together and transport them in a minibus. In Rio, the delegates used their own transport and as a result >>
“One of Rio’s classic views,” says Jeremy of this scene, which he photographed from the Mirante Dona Marta at dawn. “It’s the sort of viewpoint where you need to arrive early enough to have the best spot, as the viewing platform has limited space. I shot three images and stitched them in Photoshop”
Jeremy says: “Another very strong image. There’s a lot of detail in the foreground and I love the way the rocks lead the eye down into the rock pool. Use of a circular polariser has helped take the sheen off the water and allows the detail under the water to come through. I love the strong, moody sky, which is accentuated by the use of a three-stop neutraldensity hard-edged grad.”
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 28mm, 30 seconds at f/11, ISO 100, 0.9 ND hard grad
LEExposure 39 some people would attend one session and not another, or would turn up for the sunrise shoot then drive home for breakfast before rejoining the group later in the day. At first, I thought I had upset the clients, but I soon realised it was simply the Carioca way. Another feature of the workshops is security. Rio has a poor reputation when it comes to personal security and so we hire a bodyguard to keep an eye out for us. It’s a strange experience, but it’s the reality of living and working in Rio, and our security man, Bruno, has now become a popular (and welcome) fixture. Since RIO I, we have ventured further afield so that those who have attended previous workshops can come along to new locations and not feel excluded. On my most
Jeremy says: “Knowing what filter to use and when, and how it will affect the final image, is fundamental to creative filter photography. In this shot by Simone, all the elements work perfectly together. The basic composition is strong, the spacing of the statues works well (even though the rope is missing from their
recent visit to Rio, we spent the weekend at a small and picturesque coastal resort and were able to shoot with less concern about security. The Rio workshops have gone from strength to strength since Patricia first invited me to Brazil, and many of the attendees have become good friends and very proficient in the use of graduated filters, Stoppers and polarisers. And, who knows, maybe in the future, the Rio workshops will be increased in length and opened up to clients no matter where they are from. It also has to be noted that without the hard work, passion and enthusiasm of Príamo Melo, these workshops couldn’t happen. He is on a one-man mission to populate Brazil with LEE Filters! n
hands) and the blurred motion of the boats is perfect. Even when some tourists walked into the shot, they just became ghosts, which added to the image. I also like the added detail of ghost seagulls perched on the fishermen’s heads. Turning the image to black and white for added impact is a good finishing touch.”
Nikon D600 with 24-120mm f/4 lens at 50mm, eight minutes at f/11, ISO 320, Super Stopper
Composition masterclass With Adam Duckworth WHEN YOU’RE SHOOTING A COMMISSION FOR A MAGAZINE, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CONSIDERATIONS THAT NEED TO BE MADE IN TERMS OF COMPOSITION. ADAM DUCKWORTH, WHO’S BEEN PHOTOGRAPHING IN THIS GENRE FOR MORE YEARS THAN HE CARES TO REMEMBER, EXPLAINS A FEW OF THEM With a sister who was married to a photographer and a mother who worked in a camera shop, Adam Duckworth was surrounded by photography from an early age. As a result, it was almost inevitable that he’d follow that career path. However, at first, the object of the young Adam’s passion wasn’t the camera – it was motorcycles, which he started racing at the age of 10. Then, when he was 12, his sister moved to the US. On a visit to her, he managed to meet the people who worked on a magazine that he was devoted to. “I used to hero worship them, and they allowed me to go out on shoots with them. It opened up the world of magazines to me.” Spying an opportunity to stop him racing bikes, Adam’s parents bought him his first proper camera, which he taught himself to use with assistance from a number of photography magazines. And although he wanted to combine his two loves, his parents insisted he do a “proper” degree at university. This he duly did, studying mechanical engineering, but he’d regularly find himself “bunking off to work for a motorcycle magazine”. The day after his final exam, he was on a plane to California, where he started freelancing for a motorcycle
magazine. Then came a call from a motocross magazine in the UK, offering him a full-time staff photography job, so back he came. “The publisher had a lot of other magazines, too, including county magazines,” he says. “So on any given week I could be photographing chefs or hairdressers among the bike and car work. All the time, I was learning as I went along. Everything was shot on transparency using a Bronica 645, so there wasn’t a lot of leeway. Once you’re used to exposing Fuji Velvia, you learn quickly.” Over the years, Adam found himself becoming first an editor and then a publisher of various magazines, eventually finishing up as a strategy director in charge of digital projects. All this took him away from the world of picture taking, so when he was offered redundancy, he grabbed the opportunity, invested in some new camera gear, and went back to being a photographer. Nowadays, you’ll usually find him shooting pretty much any commission that involves wheels and an engine, as well as travel, commercial and food photography.
Nikon D4 with 70-200mm lens at 70mm, 1/500sec at f/6.3, ISO 100, blue and red coloured gels
Front cover shoot for Moto “This picture was shot as a potential front cover for the 100th issue of Moto magazine. They wanted it to be a bit different – dark and moody – so we rented a batterypowered smoke machine and bought some smoke canisters, which we set off as the motorcyclist moved towards the camera. He was only actually going at about two miles per hour when I took this shot, but it was enough to kick the sand up in the air. The scene was crosslit from either side using Elinchrom Rangers with honeycomb grids. Behind were four Elinchrom Quadras, two with LEE Filters red gels and two with blue. The red ones pointed directly at the motorcyclist, while one of the blue lights pointed up
in the air and the other at the cliff face. I used highspeed sync to make it appear as if it were nighttime. Although a different image ended up being used, I was shooting with the front cover in mind. This meant leaving space at the top for the magazine’s logo, which was to be in gold leaf. Normally, Moto covers were quite tight, but for this one they wanted the bike to be smaller in the frame. It was still an action shot, but it would look different. When you take pictures of motorbikes in action, most people focus on what’s in the foreground – the bike – and quite often the background will be cluttered. What good pictures do is concentrate on the background.” >>
Nikon D810 with 14-24mm lens at 19mm, two seconds at f/5, ISO 31, 0.6 ND soft grad used upside down
LEExposure 43 Fairground, Skegness “Bike magazine was doing a feature on riding these three big, heavy custom bikes to the beach. The main problem was, although we had three bikes, there was only one rider. So he’d ride one, then change his outfit and ride another. He and I spent most of the time hoofing bikes in and out of the van. Although this was the last shot of the day, it was used as the opener to the feature. We arrived at Skegness, on the east coast, and managed to persuade the fairground owners to let us in. We had to push the bikes all the way through the fair and wait for the sun to go down. It was just before closing time in November, so was fairly deserted. This one doesn’t involve any composites or Photoshop – it’s straight out of the camera. The only thing I had to do was use a 0.6 ND soft grad upside down to bring down the bikes and balance them with the sky because the foreground was brighter. I also used four Elinchrom Ranger Quadras to give specular highlights on certain details of the bikes. When you’re setting up a picture like this, you use the angles of the bikes as a compositional device. I knew it might end up being used across a spread, so I made sure nothing important was in the middle of the frame, where the magazine’s gutter is. The bikes on either side draw the eye in, and the middle one is set at the same angle as the left-hand bike, as it would have looked strange if it had been standing head-on.” >>
Nikon D3X with 24-70mm lens at 38mm, 1/200sec at f/10, ISO 100, 0.3 ND soft grad, polariser
Golden Gate Bridge “The Steve McQueen film Bullitt features one of Hollywood’s most famous car chases, with the bad guy driving a Dodge Charger. The Dodge Challenger is essentially the same car, and this photo is from an editorial shoot for Evo magazine, in which we drove the Challenger down through the States. We got to San Francisco and, of course, there’s nothing more iconic in that city than the Golden Gate Bridge. When you’re shooting for editorial, time is always tight, so even though we were there at midday, we had to make the best of it before heading off for the next shot. The image was composed so that it could potentially be used across a double-page spread in the magazine. The car is placed so that the eye is led in from the bottom left and up to the bridge, and there’s plenty of space for things like headlines and text boxes. Designers prefer compositions to be a bit loose, so that they can crop if necessary. I would have shot a couple of upright versions of this, too. There are two techniques at play, and what you see here is actually a composite of about 25 shots, maybe more. Because it was a road trip, I didn’t take much gear with me, so I had only one Elinchrom Quadra light. As such,
the first technique is a form of light painting. I’d put the Quadra in one position, take a frame, move it, take another, and so on. Because the overhead light was so harsh, there was a lot of contrast, so this was the only way I was able to pick out the detail in areas such as the wheels or grille. The second technique involves a polariser, and I would shoot several images, each with the polariser at a slightly different rotation. This allows you to bring out elements such as the writing on the tyres. It also meant that in some shots the car windows were black, and in others you could see through them for a more natural result. Shooting cars is all about reflections. It’s like shooting a chrome mirror, with a reflection of the sky at the top and the car park at the bottom. The polariser allows me to control these, or remove them altogether. I also used a 0.3 ND soft grad to bring down the sky. I shot this image in about 15 minutes flat. In the US, if you start getting portable lights out, you’re going to have someone turning up asking if you have a permit. Ten minutes after we’d packed up from this shot, my camera was mounted to the car and we were doing a tracking shot as we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.” n
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Jason Beaven New South Wales, Australia
Into the Unknown, New South Wales I was at Budgewoi Lake in New South Wales one afternoon during a passing storm. My idea was to create a kind of dreamscape – or even a dream escape – by keeping things minimal. To achieve it, I went down to the lake and used the jetty to lead the eye out to the horizon. Fortunately for me, the clouds were pushing fast from right to left. I got out the Big Stopper and waited with anticipation. I knew everything had come together and my forethought had come to fruition as soon as I saw the image on my camera’s screen. During processing, I converted the image to black and white, removed the horizon and carried out some local contrast on the jetty. >>
Canon EOS 6D with 24-105mm lens at 24mm, 20 seconds at f/16, ISO 50, Big Stopper. Processed in Photoshop
Canon EOS 6D with 24-105mm lens at 35mm, three exposures of four minutes, one minute and 15 seconds at f/11, ISO 50, Big Stopper. Images blended in Photoshop
Avoca Rockpool, New South Wales This image was captured during sunrise at Avoca, which is in the Central Coast region of New South Wales. As I stood there on the beach, this composition, with its sweeping curve from left to right, jumped out at me. I immediately knew the Big Stopper would smooth out the water to reveal the distinctive line from the rocks. In processing, I pushed the water to bring out its milkywhite appearance, while darkening the clouds to improve
the contrast. It was nice to have The Skillion â€“ a local landmark â€“ in silhouette on the horizon as well. I had to capture three exposures in order to record the entire dynamic range of the scene, as the sun was coming through the clouds, which made it difficult to capture in one exposure. To finish it off, I added a vignette and softened the edges to bring attention to the rocks, and to emphasise the overall mood.
LEExposure 49 Confined Outlook, New South Wales When I arrived at this location, which is north of Catherine Hill Bay in New South Wales, the sea was particularly calm. Because of this, I was able to move further into the carving of the cliff face than would normally be possible. I can only imagine what it must be like in rough seas. I chose to compose in square format to give the viewer a sense of feeling confined and squeezed in, while also
showing the only way out. Quite literally thatâ€™s the feeling you get when you look around this slot in the cliff face. I checked to make sure there was no one in the frame before I released the shutter. There was, however, a ship on the horizon, so I cloned it out to keep the scene minimal and free of distractions. To retain this atmosphere, I processed in black and white. >> Visit jasonbeaven.com
Canon EOS 6D with 24-105mm lens at 24mm, three exposures of two minutes, 45 seconds and 15 seconds at f/11, Big Stopper. Images blended in Photoshop
Julian Elliott Luynes, France
Looking towards Rifugio Locatelli, The Dolomites Back in early October of 2016, I made a recce trip to the Italian Dolomites, where there was early snow covering the ground by the Tre Cime, looking towards the Rifugio Locatelli. After practically skiing down to the location (the path was near frozen solid with compacted snow), I found this group of rocks, which complemented the background. The area around the Tre Cime looks like the moon, and I wanted to convey an other-worldly image to the viewer, showcasing the gorgeous surroundings. Using my trusty Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II, I focused the lens and added some front tilt to increase the depth of field. Metering the scene, I decided that it needed quite a lot of filtration, so stacked 0.6 and 0.9 ND soft grads to ensure the light was balanced.
Canon EOS 6D with Canon 24MM TS-E Mark II, 10 seconds at f/11, ISO 100, 0.9 ND and 0.6 ND soft grads, polariser, white balance left on daylight to convey the coldness of the scene
Canon EOS 6D with Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II lens and Canon 1.4x Mark III Extender, 1/2sec at f/5.6, ISO 100, 0.9 ND soft grad, polariser
Near Luynes, France Taken on the banks of the River Loire, this traditional wooden boat is about two minutesâ€™ drive from where I live. Initially, I was hoping for a nice golden dawn, but on arriving on the banks of the Loire I saw it was wall-towall mist. However, I didnâ€™t want that to get in the way of making a photograph, so I decided to use the mist as a backdrop to convey a sense of place and loneliness. A fairly quick set-up was all that was needed by using my Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II tilt-shift lens and the
Canon 1.4x Mark II Extender. The biggest challenge in front of me was waiting for enough of the mist to reveal the bank on the other side. With so much negative space and just hints of land, the viewer is required to imagine what lies beyond the boat. This, for me, makes the image. >> Visit ethereal-light.com
Charles Meadows Anglesey, Wales
Dolgoch Falls, Snowdonia
One of the advantages of taking part in a photography workshop is that you are taken to carefully chosen locations. This was the case on Jeremy Walker’s Snowdonia workshop. When we visited Dolgoch Falls, I set myself the challenge of capturing a shot of the falls that would be different to the normal face-on treatment. Looking for alternative opportunities, I placed the falls into the background of the image while maintaining a strong overall composition and capturing the whole beauty and splendour of the tree-shrouded vale. Following overnight rain, the sunlight was coming and going with the fast-moving clouds and this presented its own challenges in terms of both timing and exposure, as woodland areas are typically top lit. However, the shot was achieved and completed with only a little postproduction in Lightroom Elements to even out the exposure across the image. What would I change? I’d like to go back again a little later into the autumn to capture more of the golds, yellows and bronzes in the tree foliage. >>
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM at 40mm, 2½ seconds at f/11, ISO 100, Landscape Polariser, Really Right Stuﬀ BH55 LR head and TVC-34L Versa tripod
Pawel Zygmunt Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Mount Errigal, County Donegal At 751m high, Mount Errigal, near Gweedore in County Donegal, is the most majestic mountain in this part of the country and definitely one of the most beautiful in Ireland. I arrived at the location at 11pm, and parked my car between the two lakes of Lough Nacung Upper and Dunlewey Lough, at the foot of the mountain. When I
woke up, I headed towards the lake and a few minutes later the sun started rising behind Errigal. The weather was changing that day, and the sky was hazy and red. In all, it was a fairly straightforward shot â€“ apart from having to spend the night in my car in 4Â°C temperatures! Even so, if I had the chance, I would do it again.
Nikon D750 with Tokina 16-28mm lens at 16mm, eight seconds at f/22, ISO 100, 0.9 ND soft grad, 0.9 ND standard filter
Nikon D750, Tokina 16-28mm at 16mm, 1.3 seconds at f/22, ISO 50, 0.9 ND standard filter
Dun Briste sea stack, County Mayo I planned my trip to this location for several weeks. The internet didn’t prove particularly useful, as this cave isn’t really on any tourist map. I found a couple of photographers who had been there, but neither wanted to tell me how to get down to the cave. The cave is at the base of Downpatrick Head cliff and is usually cut off by the water, so can only be approached during the spring low tide. Even then, it’s extremely
dangerous. First, you have to climb down the cliff, then walk for about 300m on the extremely slippery rock shelves that have been uncovered by the ocean (I almost landed in the sea a few times). There’s only one way in or out of the cave, and I found myself with the wild, pounding sea in front of me. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve never been more scared in my life, and felt very insignificant against the powers of nature. I took only 10 shots before fear took over, and I left. >>
Giantâ€™s Causeway, County Antrim
This was shot at the end of a long day, which had started at 4.30am when I got up for work. Straight after a quick dinner in the evening, I picked up a couple of friends and drove 270km north to this world-famous location. It took quite a long time to find this spot: there’s so much to take in, it’s easy to get confused. The visitor centre was closed, so there were only a few hotel guests and photographers. This is definitely better than during the day when the place can be packed. Conditions weren’t ideal, as the sky was clear and the sun very harsh. However, waiting until the sun dipped behind the horizon paid off, as I ended up with these red and grey colours. I stayed shooting until about 10.30pm, and didn’t get home again until 2.30am. A 22-hour day? Never again! >>
Nikon D750 with 16-35mm lens at 16mm, 30 seconds at f/13, ISO 50, 0.9 ND soft grad, 0.9 ND standard filter
Richard Hurst Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire The Ratcliffe coal power station occupies a prominent position close to junction 24 of the M1, the River Trent and the Midland Main Line. It dominates the skyline for many miles around with its eight cooling towers and 199m-high chimney. Iâ€™d driven up the M1 on numerous occasions and had always had this composition in mind. I finally had the chance to take the image on my way back from a photography exhibition one weekend. Power stations are very sensitive and the security around them is very tight. Luckily, on checking Google Maps, I noticed a public footpath that ran along the side of this one. I parked my car and took a short walk to the spot. Having looked around at several potential compositions, I decided having some of the foreground grasses in shot would add extra interest to the image. My tilt-shift lens helped me to make the composition just how I had imagined it. I then added the Big Stopper and a soft grad, before working out how long the exposure needed to be. Generally, I do this by trial and error until I get the amount of movement Iâ€™m looking for. >> Visit richardhurstphotography.com
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II, 30 seconds at f/10, ISO 100, 0.6 ND soft grad, Big Stopper
Tommy Richardsen SÃ¸rkjosen, Norway
Tributary This image is all about diagonals, and I wanted to push the composition a little. Instead of having the river curve into the image, I captured a sharper angle, but without the movement of the clouds it wouldnâ€™t have worked as well. I set up the camera quite close to the water, keeping an optimum aperture of f/8, using a grad to balance the sky and a polariser to remove reflections. Thanks to the D810â€™s dynamic range, it was very straightforward to brighten the darker foreground slightly. >>
Nikon D810 with Tamron 15-30mm lens at 15mm, 1/15sec at f/8, ISO 64, 0.6 ND soft grad, polariser
Unsung I can’t remember a time when this log wasn’t here, and I’ve always found it interesting without really knowing why. This scene posed two problems. The first was that in order to get an interesting image at 15mm, I would have to use a 10-stop filter – but the wind kept gusting. The second was the background, which would detract from the log. The smaller issues of balancing the sky and removing reflections on the metal could be easily solved with the use of filters, but I spent a good 30 minutes figuring out how to tackle the bigger problems. I went back to the very basics of what to include and what to exclude, when it dawned on me that I could
actually shoot this at two different focal lengths, blending the image later in Photoshop. So, I first set up the composition with the log very close. I took one frame with a 0.6 ND soft grad and polariser, then I removed both and shot a second with the 10-stop filter. This served to thicken the sea fog at grass level to make image blending easier. Finally, I changed lens to the Zeiss 135mm f/2 with a 0.6 ND soft grad reversed to darken the middle ground. Often, I simply want to tell a story and have a clear idea how to do so, but nature has a tendency to pose problems that, if not solved, can make or break an image.
Nikon D810 with Tamron 15-30mm lens at 16mm and Zeiss 135mm lens, two minutes at f/11, ISO 64, 0.6 ND soft grad, polariser, Big Stopper
Nikon D810 with 35mm lens, 1/4sec at f/8, ISO 64, 0.6 ND soft grad, polariser
Contention This was one of those hunts for a good composition under the pressure of time that Iâ€™m sure many landscape photographers can relate to. Having walked past the scene twice, I slowly started to home in on this icy area with its subtle diagonal lines. I first attempted a landscape-format composition, but couldnâ€™t make it work. Changing the orientation to
portrait solved the problem. Once I started looking at the scene vertically, everything came together quite easily. A neutral-density grad solved any issues with the sky, and the polariser, which brought life to the foreground, was the final piece in the puzzle. n Visit tommyrichardsen.com
Anatomy of an architectural image THREE PHOTOGRAPHERS EXPLAIN HOW MERE BRICKS AND MORTAR CAN PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR STRIKING AND EYE-CATCHING IMAGERY. AS ALWAYS, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT…
Salford Quays By Craig Roberts South Yorkshire Craig has photographed Salford Quays on numerous occasions, both by himself and with workshop groups. This image was taken during one of his first visits there, in 2008, and depicts one of his favourite buildings in the modern complex that houses, among others, various BBC departments. “This picture is quite unusual,” Craig explains, “because despite having visited many times since, I’ve never caught a reflection like this – there’s always a slight breeze spoiling it, so I usually end up using neutral-density filters to slow down the ripples.” Needless to say, it was the symmetry of the scene that appealed to Craig – both in terms of the reflection and the building itself. “I was standing on a bridge to take this,” he reveals, “and because it’s an elevated position, there’s no problem with converging verticals.” When he arrived, conditions were dull. However, he could tell the sun was about to break through, so fitted a polariser in preparation. “I knew it would boost the colours, not only of the sky and water, but also the building itself,” he explains. “I didn’t rotate the polariser fully, though, as I didn’t want to kill the reflections.”
Canon EOS 5D with EF17-40mm f/4L USM at 31mm, 1/30sec at f/16, ISO 100, polariser
LEExposure 65 Craig has shot this building both during the day and at night. The former allows him to use long-exposure filters and convert to black and white, while the latter is a more rare occurrence, as it’s unusual for the structure to be lit after sunset. When it is, the contrast between the colours is what makes the image. A polarising ﬁlter not only gives life to the sky, but also boosts the colours of the building. If Craig had rotated the polariser fully, however, all reﬂections would have been lost.
It’s necessary to crop this composition quite tightly, as there are buildings to the right of the main subject, but nothing on the left. To shoot from further back would destroy the symmetry.
Although he started off as a landscape photographer, Craig is just as comfortable in urban environments. “There’s a lot of overlap and both disciplines come very naturally,” he says. “In urban environments, you can shoot at midday and make the most of the harsh lines and light, which you can’t do so well in the landscape.”
Shooting from a slightly raised position meant Craig didn’t have a problem with converging verticals. Had he shot from a lower angle, he would have corrected them in Photoshop.
A slight ripple in the reﬂection creates a sense of texture. Had the wind been any stronger, the deﬁnition would have disappeared altogether.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Having started taking pictures with a simple Kodak Instamatic camera, Craig Roberts soon graduated to a Canon T90. Before long, his images were being published in photography magazines, and he realised he was in a position to leave his job with a local garage and turn to photography full-time. It was a correspondence course with the Bureau of Freelance Photographers that introduced him to the idea of writing features to accompany his pictures, and what he learned saw him having articles published in The Lady, as well as tourism and motorhome magazines. Taking what he learned from this course, Craig now offers his own online
landscape tuition to aspiring photographers. “It starts with the basics of exposure, composition, light, filters and the like,” he explains. “Then students are given ten project ideas, of which they choose five, then I review the results.” Additionally, Craig now produces video tutorials – something that came about thanks to LEE Filters. “They needed a video for the Seven5 system, and although I took a little convincing, I enjoyed it and realised it was something else I could be doing.” You can see Craig’s videos on YouTube, and subscribe to his E6 tutorials at his website. Visit craigrobertsphotography.co.uk
Government storage unit, Denmark By Martin Schubert Viborg, Denmark
Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f/4 lens at 16mm, 30 seconds at f/20, ISO 100, Big Stopper
Architectural images are usually as clean and precise as the building they depict, and shot in colour to give the clearest possible representation of the structure. This image by Danish photographer Martin Schubert goes against all of that convention. “Most architectural photographers have an architectural education,” he explains. “My approach is more as a photographer. I always try to create something that’s more than just a rendering of an exterior or interior, and shows a certain mood or atmosphere.” The intriguing building was commissioned by the Danish government, and was built for the storage of wills and other similar legal documents. It is basically a white, concrete box with no detail other than the symbols of the books, to give an idea of what may be inside. “A lot of architectural photographers shoot during the ‘blue
hour’ with the interior lights switched on for contrast,” Martin says. “But there are no windows in this building, so I needed to try something more creative.” He found a spot nearby that allowed him to shoot at an extreme wide angle and from a low viewpoint. However, there was no wind on this occasion, so he returned on a day when the conditions guaranteed movement in both the sky and the grasses, and fitted a Big Stopper to allow him to experiment with shutter speeds. “There’s a compositional rule that says you shouldn’t place the horizon line across the centre of the frame, but I think it works in this instance,” he says. “Learning composition is rather like learning scales when you start playing a musical instrument. Once you’ve learned them, your most important job is then to forget them and for the photographic process to become automatic.”
Converting the image to black and white emphasises the starkness of the building against the skyline.
The 30-second exposure, thanks to the Big Stopper, captured a strong sense of movement in the clouds, which appear as if they are streaking away from the building.
The tripod was set up at only 50cm from ground level, which gives emphasis to the movement in the grasses, and blocks the smooth, manicured lawn in the building’s immediate vicinity.
Movement in the foreground grasses balances the movement of the clouds, and their softness contrasts effectively with the straight lines of the rectangular building.
By increasing the contrast of the scene, and adding a vignette effect, attention is concentrated on the centre part of the frame.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Danish photographer Martin Schubert began, as so many of us do, by learning the craft of analogue photography. “I spent two years at college, shooting only black and white, and printing in a darkroom,” he says. “When you start taking pictures, you get sucked in, and by the end of the two years I knew I had to make this my profession.” A four-year apprenticeship followed, during which time he combined further study with work experience, assisting photographers across the spectrum of fashion, commercial and editorial. However, it was architectural photography that most inspired him, and the subject made 20 of the 25 images in his portfolio that he presented at the end of his apprenticeship. Immediately, he set up his own company, and contacted numerous architects to show them his portfolio. He established himself quickly, and nowadays around 90% of his work is commissions from architectural practices. Once he’s been instructed to shoot a particular building, he usually has a window of three or four weeks to complete the commission. This gives him
the opportunity to visit in a variety of conditions, and wait for any dull, uninspiring light to give way to something more interesting. “I have four different weather apps on my phone,” he laughs. “And still I can sometimes arrive at a location, only to have to turn round and drive home again.” Concentrating mainly on modern architecture as opposed to restoration projects, Martin always tries to push himself creatively on a shoot. “I spend a lot of time walking around the building,” he says, “getting a sense of how the light is going to be at a particular time of day.” In 2014, Martin’s work was recognised when he was invited to become a Hasselblad Master. Part of the process involved submitting 25 images to Hassleblad, which are then included in a book, along with the work of other masters. “It’s great to have confirmation that the work you’re doing is good,” he says. “As a photographer, you mostly work alone and don’t often discuss it with others, so it’s great to receive that kind of recognition.” Visit martinschubert.dk
St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham By Ross Jukes Birmingham
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 32mm, 1/80sec at f/11, ISO 100, 0.9 ND soft grad, polariser
“You don’t get much more central than St Martin in the Bull Ring,” says Ross Jukes of this townscape of Birmingham. “And this was one of the first images to really get me noticed for my photography.” Ross always plans as much as possible in advance, before setting out on his architectural shoots. By consulting the popular app The Photographers’ Ephemeris, he was able to see that the sun would rise between the gap in the buildings – which are the entrances to the Bull Ring shopping centre – and to the side of the iconic church. “It’s a classic Birmingham scene,” he says. “Using the rule of thirds, I knew I wanted the sunrise on one of the
axes, with the church in the middle. I was really fortunate to get a group of people walking up the right-hand side, which gave interest to that part of the frame.” Timing was crucial when photographing this scene, as Ross only had a short time in which to shoot a few frames before the sun rose completely and the effect of the morning light was lost. Postproduction plays an important part in his work, and the way in which he processes his urban images is influenced directly by the highly commercial nature of his car photography (see About the Photographer, right). “I used Lightroom to bring out even more contrast in the sky,” he explains, “and then imported the image into Photoshop to emphasise the sunrise and add the effect of lens flare.”
LEExposure 69 A 0.9 ND soft grad ensures detail in the sky is retained that would otherwise be blown out. The contrast of this area was then increased further in Photoshop.
The effect of lens ﬂare was added in Photoshop, to emphasise the strength of the rising sun. A polariser was essential in order to cut the glare and reﬂections of the sunrise from the glass windows. Without it, the scene would have been visually overcomplicated.
By keeping the church in the centre of the frame, there is no doubt as to the dominant subject of the image.
Ross hadn’t expected to see any people this early on a Sunday morning. Their silhouettes play a small but signiﬁcant role in the composition, bringing interest to an area that would otherwise remain blank.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER Ross Jukes is a relative newcomer to photography. Although it formed a part of his media studies degree, it wasn’t until a friend approached him to take the pictures for a car review website that he began to take it seriously. “I’d be the first to admit that those early pictures weren’t great,” he says with a smile. “But the friend came back to me a few weeks later and said he had an Audi R8 car to photograph, and that wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to miss.”
evening. He also transferred elements from the highly commercial look of his car photography into his urban work. “It certainly influenced my cityscapes,” he reveals.
Soon, he was shooting cars every few weeks – including a Rolls-Royce Ghost – with locations everywhere from out in the countryside to the heart of a city. “It quickly became obvious that I had to up my game in terms of location photography,” Ross explains, “so I took to the streets of Birmingham to start shooting urban landscapes.”
All of this has come as something of a surprise to Ross, who explains, “The saying ‘you don’t find photography, it finds you’ definitely applies in my case. It wasn’t even on my radar for a long time. Coming from a working class background, I’d been brought up to believe you get a job and you stay in it – that’s what you’re there for. The idea I could make money from something artistic had never even occurred to me.”
He spent time reading up on techniques, then applied them in the field, paying particular attention to the “golden hours” in the early morning and late
It wasn’t long before his body of work from his home city began to garner attention, and now this takes up more of his time than the car photography, with stock and print sales forming a large part of his income.
The knowledge THERE ARE NUMEROUS WAYS IN WHICH USING FILTERS CAN ENHANCE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY. HERE, FOUR PROFESSIONALS REVEAL THEIR SECRETS TO PHOTOGRAPHIC SUCCESS
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with EF17-40mm f/4L USM at 17mm, four minutes at f/8, ISO 400, 0.6 ND hard grad, Big Stopper
Make the clouds your subject There is beauty in simplicity, and sprawling coastal scenes provide the perfect conditions for taking “simplicity” to the max and creating an aquamarine dreamscape. One wonderful consequence of such a minimalist, uncluttered approach is that an otherwise unnoticed cloudscape can convincingly adopt the role of “main subject”. At dusk, using a Big Stopper facilitates very long exposures of several minutes, and during the middle of the day, the Super Stopper creates similar possibilities.
If we position ourselves so that the wind is blowing either directly towards us or away from us, in the same direction in which we are pointing our camera, we can use the drifting clouds to create lead-in lines that guide the viewer’s eye to our imaginary focal point. Although the clouds are actually travelling in straight lines, using a wideangle lens distorts the linear perspective, creating a magnificent convergence of time and space. Pete Bridgwood Visit petebridgwood.com
LEExposure 71 Use a grad in woodland settings Spring is the perfect time of year to explore woodland interiors and photograph the wild flowers now carpeting the forest floor. I often favour a low, ground-level perspective to create natural, intimate-looking shots. Bright patches of sky bleeding through the branch canopy above can create a stark, clean backdrop, helping you isolate your subject from its surroundings. However, including the sky in frame will also create a high degree of contrast, which may extend beyond the sensorâ€™s dynamic range. In situations such as this, I use graduated ND filter to help control bright highlights
Nikon D700 with 70-200mm lens at 200mm, 0.4sec at f/5, ISO 200, 0.6 ND soft grad
Nikon D810 with Nikkor 200mm micro lens, 1/160sec at f/4.5, ISO 800, 0.6 ND soft grad
and reduce the overall level of contrast â€“ in a similar way as you might when photographing a landscape. The subtlety of a soft-edged grad is needed, though, otherwise you will artificially darken trunks and branches, too. My top tip for shooting close-ups of spring flowers is to always carry a set of soft grads. >> Ross Hoddinott Visit rosshoddinott.co.uk
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f/4L at 28mm, 1/5sec at f/11, ISO 100, polariser
Enhance rainbows with a polariser Rainbows are incredibly beautiful phenomena, capable of transforming an otherwise dull scene into something special. Because a number of factors have to come together, they are actually quite rare – you need moisture in the air, the sun has to be clear of clouds and other obstructions, and it has to be at the right angle. Given their beauty and relative rarity, it’s only natural that photographers want to capture them. If you’re lucky enough to be out with your camera and you see one,
you can really enhance its colours and make it stand out from the background by using a polarising filter. The normal polarising position can make the rainbow fade away, as it blocks reflections, but if you keep turning the polariser, you’ll see it become more vivid. Mark Bauer Visit markbauerphotography.com
LEExposure 73 Turn a graduated filter sideways When a landscape features a sky that is much brighter than the foreground, graduated neutral-density filters are essential for balancing the exposure, but they can be used in more ways than one. If the light is much stronger on one side of the image than the other, then positioning the filter vertically can result in a sky that looks unnaturally dark on one side. Using a soft graduated filter positioned at an angle, or even horizontally, will hold back the bright area without
Canon EOS 30D, 10-20mm lens at 13mm, 1/3sec at f/11, ISO 100, 0.6 ND soft grad
darkening the opposite side, giving a natural look. In this image of cows by the River Stour in Suffolk, a 0.6 neutral-density soft grad was enough to tone down the brighter half of the frame without affecting the trees or making the sky darker than the reflection. n Justin Minns Visit justinminns.co.uk
Taking flight WINNING THE TAKE A VIEW LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR COMPETITION IN 2010 GAVE ANTONY SPENCER THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE THE STEP INTO THE WORLD OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FULL TIME. HERE, HE DISCUSSES HOW HE DEVELOPED CREATIVELY, THE LESSONS HE HAS LEARNED ALONG THE WAY, AND THE INCREASING STRUGGLE TO FIND NEW LOCATIONS
It must be the most clichéd answer to this question, but my love for the great outdoors was by far the biggest inspiration to get out in the field with my camera. Many photographers had an influence on me during those early years: Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite and David Noton, to name a few. I did some reading online, but more than anything I learned from trial and error, making and learning from my own mistakes and triumphs. I guess I came into this game at the right time; nowadays, it seems as if the competition in the industry makes it almost impossible to break through and stand out from the thousands of photographers who are all capable of making world-class images at any moment.
What inspired you to pick up a camera for the first time?
It all began for me with an original Canon EOS 5D about 10 years ago. I bought it to make photographs of my children and pretty soon after that became infatuated with landscape photography. I’d been trying to make images of landscapes for a month or two when I took the plunge and invested in a full LEE Filters set-up. This revolutionised the process for me and everything progressed from there. There have been many different cameras and lenses in between then and now. At the moment, I am very settled with my Phase One medium-format set-up and I also use a Sony A7R II with various lenses. The quality I get from the Phase One is just mind-blowing, I love it and it’s my go-to camera when everything comes together.
What were the main lessons you learned in those early days when you were taking your first steps?
I think the main lesson I learned early on was to try and tread my own path. Of course, there was a period where I wanted all the clichéd compositions, initially made famous by so many of the accomplished >>
What was it about the landscape that particularly inspired you, and how did you start to get to grips with it as an outlet for your creativity?
Delta geese “This image was made from a helicopter over one of many spectacular sections of river delta in southern Iceland. The geese were perfect for just a split second. This turned out to be one of my favourite images I have ever made”
Nikon D800 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 70mm, 1/1000sec at f/4, ISO 100, polariser
LEExposure 77 photographers, but that didn’t last too long. I wanted to make images my way and not rely on the vision of others. It wasn’t easy, but the rewards are far greater. Hopefully, this is something that I have achieved and will continue to do.
Was there a particular turning point during this time?
I guess there was one series of images that really turned things for me. In 2010, I was beginning my journey into making a living from photography – not full time, but enough to make a substantial difference. I had been travelling to Norway, to places such as Lofoten and Tromsø, during the winter months and leading workshops there to photograph the northern lights and the incredible winter landscapes. Nobody else was doing this at the time, and we never saw another tourist at all during the first two or three years. The first trip I did to Norway was in 2009, so I guess it was the images from this trip that made all the difference. I still visit now, and I returned only recently from a trip exploring Arctic Scandinavia. It’s a different world now, however, from the undiscovered one of only five or so years ago.
In 2010, you won the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. What effect did this success have on you?
It was the first time I had entered a competition and ultimately I wanted to get one image into the book. To learn that I had won the competition was a total shock and took a good while to sink in. I will never forget the moment I opened my front door to see Charlie Waite standing there to give me the incredible news. I think I entered 10 images that year. I felt pretty happy with eight of them, and the last two came from a bunch of another 20 or so. It was one of those two that won and ended up pretty much changing my life. It goes to show that any competition is a complete lottery. Put the right image in front of the right people on the right day and the connection is there. On another day, it >>
Eye of the highlands “I love this little location that’s tucked away in central Iceland. This pool is a lot smaller than it looks – maybe 8ft from one side to the other. I used a wideangle lens to make it look as big as possible and waited for this incredible sunrise to unfold, having arrived in the middle in the night”
Phase One IQ180 with 35mm lens, 30 seconds at f/11, ISO 100, 0.9 ND hard grad, 1.2 ND standard filter, polariser
Sony A7R II with FE 70-30mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS lens at 300mm, 1/2sec at f/11, ISO 100, 0.9 ND standard filter, polariser
may not have won at all. In the end, the picture that won was like many of my images at the time: an attempted different take on an iconic landmark, where I had worked on the composition, and was fortunate enough to have been there in good light.
At what point did you make the leap into full-time photography?
Straight after the competition win. I had slowly been doing more and more photographic work and tours, but after that win, with all the publicity surrounding it, everything changed. Going back to my day job just didn’t make sense. I have been able to provide for my family like never before and follow my dreams of exploring the world, with like-minded people around me at every turn.
In what ways has photography given you a deeper appreciation of the landscape?
Lava, Hawaii “A long lens view of the lava ocean entry on Hawaii. Waiting for the light to balance perfectly with the brightness of the lava is very important here”
I think for sure I see the world differently now from how I ever did before. My appreciation for nature and the great outdoors is far stronger now than it ever was. Looking subconsciously for the beauty around me everywhere I go – even when I’m not photographing for compositions and images – makes a big difference. I think most landscape photographers would say the same thing. It rubs off on the people around me, too. Whenever I’m with my wife Chlöe, or my kids, they constantly point out the beautiful light or dramatic clouds. Hopefully, my appreciation for the world will continue to rub off on my children throughout their lives.
LEExposure 79 Sony A7R II with 16-35mm f/4 G SSM OSS lens at 31mm, 1/160sec at f/11, ISO 400, 0.9 ND soft grad, polariser
Assynt sunrise “Some of Scotland’s most beautiful mountain scenery can be found in Assynt. This was a fabulous morning and the light was unexpected, given the forecast of the evening before. This is a three-image panorama”
How important is it for you to practise your craft in your local area?
I think that I would be in a different place right now, photographically speaking, if I hadn’t had my local landscapes to practise on during those early days. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the Dorset coast on my doorstep. The inspiration was there in abundance. What
was slightly more difficult was learning to photograph an iconic part of our little island in a way that was different. This definitely took a great deal more time and exploration. It takes time to develop as a photographer and I’m in a very different place from where I was even 18 months ago. I don’t think any of us ever stop developing our vision and our appreciation of what is all around us.
What do you get out of travelling? >>
Nikon D800 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 50mm, 1/3200sec at f/2.8, ISO 400, polariser
Orange delta “A very colourful section of river delta on Iceland’s south coast. Here, the minerals from the volcanic regions provide incredible colour contrasts and fine details”
LEExposure 81 AS
Travelling for me is a chance to be inspired by the vast variety of the landscapes around the world. Some of these are epic and instantly photogenic, while others require a great deal more exploration and immersion to understand and photograph well. As time passes, it’s the more complicated scenarios that interest me the most. The more challenging places provide greater rewards, and are often also the sorts of places where you can work away from the masses of photographers. Many of the iconic locations around the world now are completely overrun – it’s not enjoyable to be in some of these areas any more, so I’m working as hard as I can to photograph in places where this will never be a problem.
I also adore the Great Plains in the US. They are so vast and so empty, and just so real. There is no pretentiousness in the charming old towns across the plains. It’s as if time has stood still and they make no apologies for it. I love all the abandoned buildings and cars scattered across a region most assume is just empty. However, it’s far from that in my experience, and this is another region I hope to spend a great many years exploring in the future.
What are the locations that most inspire you, both in the UK and overseas?
In the UK there are still many places where I feel there is unlimited potential to be creative and original. I guess the Cairngorms National Park is at the very top of that list. I drove around there in the autumn last year and was absolutely stunned by just how beautiful it all was.
There are many places I find completely inspiring and I have been very fortunate to visit many of them. I think southwest USA captivates me the most. There is so much to explore and the vast majority of it provides endless opportunities to create original compositions of truly spectacular geology. I have only just scratched
the surface over the past five years, and I’m looking forward to exploring this region for the rest of my life.
And where haven’t you been yet, where you hope to go?
There are so many places, I don’t even know where to begin! Greenland is one of those place that seems to have infinite possibilities. I’ve only been to the Disko >>
Ice Cave, Iceland “The view from inside one of the most incredible ice caves I have seen. The polariser was crucial here in cutting the glare from the surface of the ice and really saturating the colours as a result”
Nikon D800 with 24mm lens, f/16, ISO 100, polariser
Supercell thunderstorm, Leoti, Kansas â€œOne of the most photogenic weather systems I have ever seen, this storm spun in front of us for around three hours, producing two or three small but pretty tornadoes and plenty of lightning!â€?
LEExposure 83 Bay region, on the western coast, but I’m looking to explore a great deal more of the country. Antarctica also is very high on the list, but is going to take too much time to explore in the way that I would like to at the moment. With three kids at home, I can’t justify spending that length of time away. There are a couple of locations I am desperate to explore from helicopters. I spend a great deal of time looking through Google Earth to identify new areas to photograph from the air. I’m currently planning to explore a particular part of Namibia from the air, and it’s somewhere I have never seen any images made before.
Why do you think the interest in landscape photography is so enormous, particularly in the UK?
I’m not sure landscape photography is any more popular in Great Britain than anywhere else in the world. I think our population density may have something to do with it appearing that way, but the sheer number of photographers around the world now is incredible and is continuing to grow rapidly. There are places in the world that I have visited recently that are having real problems coping with the volume of photographers that visit, because the infrastructure hasn’t yet had a chance to catch up.
You now run workshops regularly – how satisfying is it to witness clients growing in confidence and ability?
It’s incredible to be a part of so many people’s photographic journeys. I can’t believe I actually have the job I do, >>
Sony A7R II with 14-24mm lens, 1.3 seconds at f/8, ISO 100
Uttakleiv sunset â€œAfter a couple days of heavy storms in Arctic Norway, the beaches were transformed. I loved this rock and the shape the snow had made, leaving a yin-yang type shape on the surface of the stoneâ€?
Phase One IQ180 with 35mm lens, 0.8sec at f/16, ISO 35, 0.6 ND hard grad, polariser
and that I have met so many amazing people over the past 10 years or so. I have visited places I never thought I would see, and nearly always with the best possible travelling companions.
Watching the clients learn and grow is very rewarding. Many have branched off on their own journeys, and some have become full-time professionals themselves. There are others who joined me in the very beginning for my first workshops, and still travel with me today, some 10 years later. A few have had very successful major exhibitions, too. I have made some great friends and relationships that will last a lifetime.
I try never to arrive at a location with an image in mind, unless it is a composition I have come up with myself on a different occasion. I donâ€™t look too hard at what has been done before, as I want to see each place with fresh eyes as much as I can. I do look around for inspiration, but unless there is a composition I have previsualised, I try to react to what is happening more than try to make an image fit a particular format.
Do you go to a location knowing how you are going to approach it?
LEExposure 85 My favourite images I have taken are all reactive, where something magical happens and I am in the right place to make an image work. I love drama, but I also strive for originality as much as I can.
You also do a bit of ‘stormchasing’ – talk us through some of your experiences.
Phase One IQ180 with 80mm lens, 1/40sec at f/11, ISO 100
The Namib “An aerial view over the massive sand dunes around Sossusvlei at sunrise, with morning mist still lingering between the dunes”
I have been stormchasing for a few years. As I say, I love drama, but I also love uncertainty and unpredictability. Stormchasing provides all these things. Photographically, it is without doubt my favourite experience. Every year at the same time you can find me on the Great Plains, waiting to witness the most severe and dramatic light to be found anywhere on the planet. >>
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with EF70-200mm f/4L USM lens at 200mm, 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 100, 0.6 ND soft grad
Standing in front of a supercell thunderstorm is a very humbling experience. Over the years, I have seen many tornadoes and multiple incredibly structured storms. I think my favourite of these was in Leoti, Kansas, last summer. It was the very first day of the tour and my clients were able to witness one of the best thunderstorms any of us will ever see. Many of them are returning to travel again with me this summer. (And I still have a couple of places available, too!) Perhaps the biggest draw to these storms for me is that only a handful of people will ever witness each one. No two are the same and the locations vary so much. It’s quite extraordinary to photograph this
incredible phenomenon knowing you may well be the only people on the planet doing so.
What are your plans for the next few years?
Over the next few years, I aim to travel a little less and spend more time at home with my family. Having said that, there are still many incredible trips I have in place. I’m very much looking forward to heading back to Hawaii to photograph lava. I knew photographing the lava ocean entry would be special, but it had a massive impact on me and I could spend a great deal more time there. I’m
The view from Å, Lofoten Islands “The view looking towards Værøy from Moskenesøya in the Lofoten Islands. This incoming storm was spectacular, with all the backlighting out to sea. Moments after this image was made, we had to walk back to the cars in a total whiteout blizzard! This is a handheld three-image panoramic stitch”
returning to Spitsbergen later this year to do more polar landscapes and also photograph the incredible wildlife, including polar bears. I love photographing wildlife from a landscape photographer’s perspective. There have been a couple of occasions when wildlife has come incredibly close, which was extraordinary.
Arctic, particularly the Polar regions around Greenland and Spitsbergen, before the changes there are too drastic. Things are definitely changing: year after year, the temperature records are being smashed. It’s a terrifying prospect that in our lifetimes these places are looking certain to be changed beyond recognition.
I’ll also be visiting Kenya for the first time later this year. Photographing African wildlife is something I have always wanted to do, and I’m particularly inspired by the work of Nick Brandt. I can’t wait to see what results that trip will yield.
Creatively, I guess I hope to just keep evolving. It’s a subconscious journey. I love being in locations that are truly inspiring, with fantastic people. It’s a dream job and something I will hang to for as long as I possibly can. n
On a personal level, I would like to see more of the
Your pictures, critiqued by the professionals Gallery
Each month, LEE Filters invites a guest photographer to analyse five images of their choice – submitted by you Ever wanted feedback on your images from the top photographers in the business? Well, now’s your chance. YourView showcases the best of our users’ pictures, whether they’ve been shot using a polariser, an ND grad or a Stopper filter. Critiques so far have come from names that will be familiar to readers of LEExposure, including Colin Prior, Jeremy Walker, Mark Bauer and Antony Spencer. To be in with a chance of having your image featured in YourView, simply visit the LEE Filters website and upload your chosen photograph.
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LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT ISSUE OF LEExposure LATER IN 2017 Editor: Ailsa McWhinnie LEE Filters: Graham Merritt and Peter Sturt To contact LEExposure, email email@example.com, putting LEExposure in the subject line
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Published on Apr 11, 2017