Landscape Photography Vlogs

Breaking the Rule of Thirds to Unify my Seascape Photography…& more

Today I break the rule of thirds, suffer a failure on the moors and get up for some summer sunrise seascape photography. 

Get a FREE trial with Squarespace and 10% off your first order - http://bit.ly/SquarespaceFirstMan

 

Follow First Man Photography for the latest updates:

Instagram - http://bit.ly/InstaFirstMan

Buy Prints - Click here

Landscape Workshops - Click here

In this video I head to the beaches of North Yorkshire to shoot some seascape photography before heading back to the studio to show the photo editing. It eventually worked out with some long exposure photography and by breaking the rule of thirds. It did not come easy though after spending three days searching for an image. This included heading to Roseberry Topping, hitting the moors without luck and encountering miles of poorly flowering heather without any good light. It was very frustrating. It was also brilliant.

It finally forced me to get up early for a sunrise and the coast seemed to offer the best of the weather. The summer beaches in the UK are very popular so to get a clean landscape, sunrise is where it’s at. I headed to Saltwick Bay near Whitby and was welcomed with a tiny amount of Light creating in the sky creating a small possibility of getting a good images. I was lucky enough to have some interesting green rocks on the shore line. Breaking the rule of thirds allowed me to fill the sky with colour and maximise the interest in the foreground created by the rock.

Next I moved along the coast to Sandsend. A place I know very well. Heading to a familiar location is always a good tactic when things are not going totally to plan. It increases the ability to capture a good image when the pressure to discover a new composition is removed. Revisiting old scenes is a valid tactic and will always provide results that are different from previous visits.

On this occasion I ended up with two to three good pictures and it felt like a good reward for three days of toiling. It provided an opportunity at the end of the video to show the edit in an Adobe Lightroom tutorial type segment. I hope you enjoy. 

Using Long Exposure Photography to Exploit Bad Light

We don’t always get great landscape photography conditions. Bad light can be exploited though by using techniques such as long exposure and black and white photography. Especially when combined and edited using Silver Efex Pro from the NIK collection.

Workshops - Click Here

Instagram - http://bit.ly/InstaFirstMan

Get a FREE trial of Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop - http://bit.ly/AdobeFirstMan

In this video I head into the depths of the Yorkshire Dales for a day of landscape photography in some less than ideal conditions. 

It’s easy to imagine photographing a beautiful landscape in great weather. It’s warm, the sun is about to light up the evening sky and life is good. It’s an appealing experience that we chase over and over again. On the other hand amazing images can be captured in rough, stormy weather with unique conditions. But what about those grey days in between? Here in the UK we have a lot of them. They can be bleak and getting off the sofa to go out and take pictures is not an obvious choice. However, there are great shots to be captured in all conditions if we are willing to get creative.

One effective method to make the most of grey conditions and flat light is to use long exposure photography. It creates interest by smoothing out clouds and water and creating an ethereal feel. I have talked in depth about long exposure before:

See here - https://youtu.be/vKAu0IluyR4

Whilst grey conditions produce flat light it does not necessarily mean it is bad. An extreme long exposure of over two minutes essentially turns textures of the sky and water into smooth tones. It creates new possibilities with composition and the soft light adds to the overall fine art photography feel of the image. Combining this with a black and white conversion can add to the image even more and create something unique on a day when no other photographers were out.

Black and white images can be post processed much more heavily than colour images which creates extra creative possibilities, especially with contrast. Using Silver Efex Pro from the NIK collection is a brilliant way to edit black and white pictures. Whilst this video is not a silver Efex pro tutorial I go through the edit of the image I capture to show how the app can make your black and white images pop.

Landscape Photography in Bad Weather / Good Weather

Braving bad weather can result in stunning landscape photography conditions. I travel to the Peak District and face a classic day photographing in typical changeable British Summer weather.

Kinder Scout-4.jpg

Follow the Yorkshire_Walker - http://bit.ly/Yorkshire_Walker

In this landscape photography vlog I head over to the Peak District to climb Kinder Scout with a weather forecast of changeable conditions. When you look at a weather forecast and it shows rain, it is all too easy to stay on the couch. The thing is, changeable conditions in low pressure can result in some of the best photography conditions available. Moving from sunny to rain and back again produces clouds that can make a shot utterly unique, something that is getting harder and harder for a landscape photographer.

Kinder Scout-2.jpg

Watching landscape photography tutorials such as this can make things look easy. If you are heading into the great outdoors, especially when climbing in to the hills and mountains it is very important to be prepared and stay safe, even in summer.

Kinder Scout-3.jpg

The day was fantastic and ended when the weather cleared leaving me to capture some sunset photography making the most of the early flowering heather that the Peak District had to offer. I headed home happy with a can full of very different landscape images.

Kinder Scout-5.jpg

Once in a Lifetime Seascape Photography

When I went to do some seascape photography I never ever thought I would witness something so spectacular. These unique moments come along so rarely in landscape photography so when they do, you have to seize the moment. This vlog documents one of my favourite photography moments, possibly ever.

Once in a lifetime photo opportunities come around so rarely. When they do it is important to be ready to capture them. The readiness comes from hard work and dedication; getting out with the camera, week after week, honing your skills and practicing your craft. We can go months without capturing a ‘keeper’ but so many photographers in the past have had their careers take off because of a single image. You never know when that might happen to you.

Finally a note on luck. Lucky is a word that is thrown around freely. Was I lucky to capture that last image? Maybe, but luck does not account for the years of hard work, the years of getting out day after day, the fact I switched to plan B because my original location at Saltwick Bay was completely in cloud. Luck didn’t drive me two hours to the location and luck didn’t set the correct camera settings and capture the composition and image.

I had planned to film a video which essentially would have been a seascape photography tutorial. When the amazing conditions presented themselves though I had to default to just capturing the images. Seascape photography can be very creative with the use of long exposure photography, using leading lines and interesting shapes, using the water in the foreground, capturing whatever colour is available and mixing these things into your composition. I will film the tutorial at some point but I still utilised all these techniques so there are plenty of seascape photography tips on offer in this landscape vlog. 

_R6A0641-HDR-Edit.jpg

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides landscape photography tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

5 Ways to Simplify and Improve your Landscape Photography

Improve your landscape photography by simplifying your images. 

When working with clients on a workshop, the single biggest thing people are looking to improve is their composition skills. Finding a good composition will often result with a photographer being told they have ‘the eye’. This is fine, but it also implies it is a god given talent that cannot be improved upon. I do not believe this is the case. Certainly some are more creative than others but there are still skills and knowledge that can be learned to improve photography composition.

Although it may play a part, simplifying an image is not just about removing items or objects from the picture. What we are really talking about is simplifying the story. For this we must first understand what the story actually is. What are you trying to convey to the viewer? What emotions are you trying to evoke? What is the story? Without this, an image will be a purely technical exercise and will be left lacking. The story can only come from you so there is no prescriptive method. However, when standing in front of a scene, think about how you are feeling, what does the landscape say to you? Is it a beautiful scene? If the answer is yes, then why? Being in touch with your own feelings is vital in making the work personal to you. Aim to tell the story of landscape from your own point of view.

The next stage is to consider the actual composition of the scene in front of us. Rules of composition work. They are often a good starting point once a subject has been established. Identifying a subject is not always easy, but look for the good light, good shapes and interesting features and things should become easier. Subjects can include anything from a rock in the foreground, a tree, a distant mountain or cliff, a sky full of colour or even the whole scene itself. An image can also include more than one subject if the story flows from one to another. Leading lines are a good narrative tool. They tell the viewer where to begin and guide them through the scene and story. The rule of thirds is also worth considering until you find something better and the rule is broken.

To simplify the image, focus down onto the story and use composition and technique to achieve it without distraction.

1. Long Exposure

Take the image above which looks out from the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Skye. There are a number elements that make the image work. Firstly the leading lines of the jetty guide the viewer from the bottom of the image and out over the loch towards the distant mountain. The snow covered mountain is also framed by the two either side of it with more rock than snow showing.

I have then used long exposure to remove detail from the water and the clouds; this literally simplifies the image. The smooth water shows more reflection and also puts more emphasis on the jetty and the mountains and there is no distraction in the sky.

The jetty is in a small village called Glenelg in a remote area of the West Coast of Scotland. The people living there have to be resourceful and do things for themselves in order to get by. This creates a functional industrial feel to the village. The jetty, which is clearly old and not designed for recreation, hints toward this heritage. The jetty is also in a truly beautiful location and this juxtaposition is shown in the loch and distant mountains.

Further simplification can occur in post-production. The second image shows a test exposure that is an unedited standard exposure.

The conversion to black and white was planned at the time because the colour creates distraction and is not particularly appealing. However the soft morning light was beautiful and where it hits the metal of the jetty, creates some really interesting tones. Finally a blue toner has been added to enhance the overall metallic industrial feel of the photograph.

2. Negative Space

Another way to simplify an image is to draw attention to the subject by using negative space. The image above shows where this can work in a landscape image and produces what is often described as a fine art feel. The white areas of the sky and the bright surface of the sea serve to draw all the attention to the old groins. The image was shot on a bleak beach on the remote and neglected spot of Spurn Point in East England. It is actually a colour image but the natural lack of colour, and focus placed on the groins, support the bleakness and loneliness of the story.

3. Isolate the Subject

Isolating a subject in a photograph is a very common way to simplify a picture and enhance the story. It is the basis of the majority of portrait photography where all focus it put on the model by either blowing out the background with big apertures, or using plain backgrounds in a studio setting.

The same applies to landscape photography where an image can often be described as intimate or a ‘portrait of the landscape’. There are countless ways to achieve this including using a longer lens, capturing a tree in a foggy woodland or using an extreme wide angle lens very close to the subject.

The image above shows a tree growing out the side of a Welsh mountain. For a few moments the sun shone perfectly down a small gully in the mountain and lit up the tree in a very exciting moment. I used the light and natural contrast to isolate the tree from the background to emphasise the fleeting moment the image represented. The second image shows the exact same composition just a few moments later once the sun has passed. You can see how the tree blends back into the cliff face and there is no image at all.

4. Simplifying the Image VS Simplifying the story.

Removing features and items from an image does not necessarily mean we are simplifying the story. Take the two images above of a mountain in Glencoe on a truly stunning day of landscape photography — watch the video now — https://youtu.be/iXyUDwB9sMQ.

In the picture on the right I have removed the road in photoshop. There is a lot I prefer about the composition without the road but it has complicated the story. My location becomes less clear, it deceives the viewer and most importantly it has removed the sense of scale provided by the road in the absence of any other permanent object.

Another example is shown here. The picture on the left is full of detail and colour; there is lot going on in the summer scene consisting of a view dear to my heart. However the photograph works using a number of compositional elements. The heather bathing in the warm light immediately tells the viewer it is the height of summer, the winding curves of the path lead you round and up to Roseberry Topping, which along with the sun, is sitting on the cross sections of the rule of thirds. In the other image I have removed the heather. Very often less is more, but by removing the heather the story is now lost. The composition no longer works, particularly as the light hitting the hill to the right distracts the viewer from the main subject of Roseberry Topping.

The aim is to simplify the story, not just the elements in the photograph.

5. Cropping

 

‘Get it right in camera!!!’ It is a common phrase that I do not subscribe to when it comes to processing an image. However it is more applicable with composition. You simply cannot change perspective in post production. You can however crop. It is always better to plan a crop like a square or a panorama at the point of shooting but cropping can be used in post to remove distracting elements that you missed at the time of shooting. Whether you end up using that particular image or not, use the new found knowledge and hindsight as a reason to re-visit the scene and capture it again.

The images below are an example of where cropping can work. The picture on the left is the full un-cropped frame. It was an incredible evening for a number of reasons (watch the video here — https://youtu.be/6NqDSY2nVu0) but when the sky set on fire I was not totally focused on the photography.

The image on the left is not bad. It just has some distracting elements that do not assist the story. By cropping in, the leading lines of the cliffs and the road become more prominent improving the pathway through the image towards the sky of fire. The horizon now also sits on the rule of thirds which adds to the overall balance of the image. The crop has worked because all the right elements were captured in the original file.

Simplifying an image is just one way in which composition can be improved. Give it a try, work hard and your images will almost certainly begin to improve.

Build Confidence in your Camera Settings and Composition

I meet up with Paul G Johnson on location in the Lake District and we discuss how worrying about the camera settings is holding back creativity. We also do some landscape photography in this epic location.

Check out Paul’s channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE97FSS3fIeu89P70bCk4HQ

_R6A9263-Pano.jpg

I wanted to talk about camera settings, photography composition and technique today in response to last weeks video where I compared doing a handheld panorama to one on the tripod. I got hammered in the comments because of the technique I employed, mostly because I had not considered the nodal point and parallax. One person even stated it was a great example of how not to do a panorama. I found this a touch frustrating because I think many people have this backwards…..also, did you see my final image? I think it is one of the best panoramas I have taken, it looks great, it has printed beautifully and I am proud of the work.

Brothers Water

Landscape Photography

Ultimately landscape photography is the the opposite to maths. In school we were always taught to show your working and points were still scored even if the answer was wrong. In photography as long as the viewer is not being deceived the final image is all that counts; how you got there does not really matter. When I take a photograph the final image is more than just what was visible to my eyes at the time. It includes my emotional perspective and I am trying to induce that same feeling in the viewer once I present it. I want to tell a story of that moment. A technically perfect image, that is devoid of this creative, emotional element, will almost certainly be an image I am not interested in.

Place Fell

Photographers Lacking Confidence

Through my workshops I am often finding that photographers are seeking technical perfection way over discovering their own creativity and photographic personality. This is often is borne from worrying too much about the camera settings, with the assumption that we must all be technically perfect. It is nonsense. Great landscape images can be captured on a phone or any camera, whether they have filters attached or not. 

Ullswater Sunset

Ullswater Sunset

Exposure Triangle

Developing a basic understanding of the exposure triangle and how each one affects the elements of a landscape photograph is an important step. It is also one that will not be achieved without hard work. However once the work has been put in, no longer will they be worrying about the camera setting and lacking confidence. The camera becomes an extension of the photographer; a tool to express their creativity and share the single moment they have witnessed with all the emotions attached.

Handheld vs Tripod Panoramas

I wake up on the top of a mountain ready to capture the sunrise in this landscape photography vlog. We also compare two ways to capture your panoramic photographs, handheld or with a tripod.

Landscape Photography Workshops - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/workshops

Wild Camping Day 2.jpg

Wild camping and landscape photography are married and there is no better way to capture a sunrise than waking up on a mountain in the Lake District. The peace, harmony and wellbeing felt from an experience like that is second to none. Not to mention a brilliant opportunity to capture some stunning photographs.

Wild Camping Day 2-2.jpg

This includes some panoramic photography, or panorama photography. I have talked recently about doing handheld landscapes, particularly panoramas so I wanted to test out which was better; handheld or with a tripod. I took two series of images of the same scene and then combined them both into a panorama using Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom has a feature called boundary warp that pulls the edges of a panorama to fill in any blanks created whilst merging the individual images. It is very powerful and does a great job, especially with landscape images when there are not many straight lines.

In the video my handheld panorama is shot pretty irrationally, but with a combination of boundary warp and cropping, the final image looks virtually identical to the more ‘text book’ tripod shot.

Using a tripod is still the best way for overall quality. It is a faff though and more difficult to do, which includes have a very level tripod. Handheld panoramas are fast to shoot and the results are almost as good. The upside is that you will almost certainly create more images using the handheld method, where in the past you might not have bothered to get the tripod out.

Landscape Photography | Wild Camping in the Lake District

I meet up with Gary Gough to climb to the top of a mountain and do some wild camping in this landscape photography vlog.

Follow First Man Photography for the latest updates:

Having a day out shooting landscape photography is good for the soul and almost always improves  your wellbeing, especially in the Lake District. Going out alone is great. More recently though I have found I can get a new sense of perspective when taking photographs with a friend. That’s exactly what Gary Gough and I did today. 

Great End-1.jpg

The Lake District is an incredible place to take photographs. Sunsets are not always easy though because as the sun sets, the mountains cast very large shadows over the landscape and unless you’re up high, it’s going to be a struggle. Being up high at sunset though means you’re in for a dark and lonely walk down. Unless you wild camp that is. Wild camping is not strictly allowed in the Lake District but it’s a fairly common practice and will not upset anyone if you are respectful. Eg don’t light a fire, take all rubbish away, set up late and leave early etc. Obvious things. 

Once you are set though we are rewarded with the ability to capture a sunset, and the following sunrise with relative ease. If the weather is good, it will be something special when waking up to a mountain vista with no one else around. Magical.

Great End-2.jpg

In this video Gary and I hiked to the to the top of Great End where we spent the night. The conditions were amazing and the view is undoubtedly one of the finest in the UK. Despite this the Photography conditions were challenging because a mist in the air was catching all the light and removing all the detail from the shadow areas. However once the sun started to dip behind the cloud I managed to get a few images.

Great End-3.jpg

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides landscape photography tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

Landscape Photography | Being creative with camera settings

Take your landscape photographs to another level by employing creative camera settings to match the vision of the stunning scene in front of you. I head to the Lake District in this landscape photography vlog. 

Langdales-5.jpg

One thing I often find when running workshops is people are looking to be more confident with their camera. This comes from from having total understanding of the exposure triangle and the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It’s an important step in any photographers journey but once mastered, the camera becomes an extension of your body and an intuitive tool to create your art.

Conquering the camera settings - https://youtu.be/0uhG0HvjXGw

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO can all be used creatively to make the image match the artistic vision in the mind.

In landscape photography standard settings are to have an aperture between f/8 and f/16. We generally look to maximise the sharpness of the lens and also have the whole scene in focus. ISO will almost always be 100 to keep noise as low as possible and then we adjust the shutter speed to get the exposure nicely balanced. However these settings can be adjusted away from this norm to unlock creativity.

Langdales-6.jpg

Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography is when we extend the shutter speed to capture an illusion of movement in the image. Clouds become soft and streaky, water is smoothed out and light is captured at all points as it moves through the scene. The ethereal feel it can create is infectious and addictive. With the addition of ND filters the shutter speed can be extended to several minutes creating interesting and unique images.

Long Exposure tutorial - https://youtu.be/vKAu0IluyR4

ISO above 100

The reasons to increase ISO above 100 is the same with landscapes as it is with any other area of photography. It allow us to maintain or increase the shutter speed at a given aperture. We might want to do this for several reasons but one example is to allow us to shoot handheld landscapes. There is a lot to be said for taking handheld landscape even though a tripod is a staple of any landscape photographer. You catch more moments, photograph things you might not bother getting a tripod out for and it can create a really nice overall documentary of the day if the camera is always in hand.

Langdales.jpg

Another reason you might increase the ISO is reduce the amount of movement in the scene. IN the video I wanted movement in the water but not in the clouds. I knew a 2 second exposure was what I needed and an aperture of f16 was required for the depth of field. The addition of a 6 stop ND and ISO 500 achieved the exact shot I wanted. It can be used similarly to reduce the movement in grasses are shrubbery that is blowing around in the wind.

Langdales-2.jpg

Aperture

The main creative use of aperture is to control the depth of field. A nice shallow depth of field can take a portrait to the next level. It is not used very often in landscape photography although there is no reason why it should not be. With woodland photography it is often important to isolate a specific tree. Using a bigger aperture to blow out the background really helps to achieve this.

Aperture can also be used to help bump up the exposure time. If moving from f/8 to f/16 has little effect on the depth of field in your images it can be useful in reducing the light coming in meaning we can extend shutter speeds to increase exposure time. This is a good tactic when shooting the light trails from cars at night and means an ND filter is not required.

Overall it is about deciding first how you want the image to appear. This is often called visualisation and includes your feelings towards a scene as well as what is physically seen. It is then just a matter of using the camera settings to your benefit to make the image match your artistic vision.

Langdales-4.jpg

I took some really average pictures | Landscape Photography Vlog

We all have bad days with landscape photography. Compositions aren’t right, the light doesn’t play ball and we make mistakes. I travel all the way to Wast Water in the Lake District to have a day just like this.

Landscape Photography is like golf. It is a detailed past time full of intricacy, fun, exercise and constant frustration. You do something that feels right but then the ball slices off a million miles to the right. You work hard and you get better and better but it never feels like you have mastered it. Frustration and annoyance come almost as often as total satisfaction. The thing is, we keep coming back for more.

At the start of this day I was cosy in my office and did not want to leave. The weather was poor, I was warm and the motivation to get outdoors to take some photographs was pretty low. Thankfully I managed to get myself out and drove the 3.5 hours to Wast Water in the Lake District. However, when I got there I was tired from the drive and the stresses of living with children who do not sleep. The weather was also very grey. The cold grey weather is seriously getting me down, especially as we now near May.

The day consisted of me struggling with composition, feeling disconnected from the images and the landscape and generally not performing to my usual standards. I think you can see this in the video. I still climbed up a mountain and the views were great. I got the usual boost to my wellbeing but when I got home I was bitterly disappointed with the two images I captured. It still produced an interesting video, giving some insight into when it goes wrong for a photographer. Landscape photography is a wave of ups and downs. I need to get up again asap. A period of nice sunny weather, with beautiful sunsets, will seriously help me.

Raise your Landscape Photography Game Using Long Exposure

Discover new creative tools by using long exposure to take you images to the next level. We travel to Whitby in this landscape photography tutorial and vlog.

Get a FREE trial with Squarespace and 10% off your first order - http://www.squarespace.com/firstman

In this landscape photography tutorial I travel to Whitby in North Yorkshire to capture and share how I create my long exposure images. 

Long Exposure.jpg

If you have never seen long exposure photography before you are in for a treat and capturing these images brings new challenges and creative possibilities. Essentially what is happening is by increasing the exposure time we introduce movement into our image that would normally be frozen and it gives the picture added interest and a look that would not be seen by your own eyes.

This video focuses on capturing long exposure landscapes during the day but the principles are the same no matter how or when you use it..

Flamborough Head-1.jpg

You will already understand the exposure triangle so when increasing exposure time we need to balance things by reducing ISO or making our aperture smaller to prevent the image being over exposed. However, in daylight conditions, even with ISO at 100 and an aperture at f/16, your shot could still be over exposed before even one second has passed. To achieve the desired effect we want our exposure to be at least 30 seconds. The only way to do this is to use ND filters. These are filters added to the front of your lens that reduce the amount of light passing through the lens without severely affecting the colour. ND filters are rated by how many stops of light they reduce the exposure by. For example if you attach a 2 stop filter to your lens you will need to increase exposure in your camera by the same 2 stops to obtain a proper exposure.

Neutral Density Filters

Neutral Density filters like the Lee Big Stopper reduce the amount of light entering the lens. In the tutorial we are using a 6 stop filter, a 10 stop filter and a Formatt Hitech 82mm 16 stop ND filter which allows us to get some extremely long exposures of several minutes, even in bright daylight conditions.

Long Exposure-2.jpg

Why do Long Exposure Phototgraphy?

Exposures of this length have a number of uses. It will reduce the roughest waters to a smooth tranquil scene and add lots of movement to even the slowest moving clouds. In city scenes it can also be used to remove people from your images. At night it can be used for star trail shots and create interesting and varied light painting images. 

Shutter Release Cable

In addition to the ND filter you will also need a shutter release cable, unless you have a built in timer, allowing you to lock the shutter open when using the bulb mode. Keeping your camera very still is also essential so a good sturdy tripod is handy. If you don't have a tripod you could also place your camera down on a wall or some raised ground. A bean bag can be used to allow a small amount of adjustment or to keep things level on an uneven surface. When using a DSLR it is worth covering your viewfinder with some gaff tape or a viewfinder cap because light can creep in and ruin your image.

Long Exposure-3.jpg

Once you are armed with this knowledge and the few tools you need; get out and take some pictures. It is an amazing motivation to go and see the world and can really pull you out of the landscape photography dip.

Glencoe

Glencoe is a destination high up on the list of anyone doing landscape photography in the UK. In my latest Scotland video I head out in some truly amazing snowy conditions in one of my most epic vlogs yet.

Get a FREE trial with Squarespace and 10% off your first order - http://www.squarespace.com/firstman

This is the second part of my annual landscape photography trip to Scotland for 2018. After struggling to bring the huge scenes of the Cairngorms down into a good composition we headed over to Glencoe. We had heard there had been heavy snow showers overnight but the weather forecast looked perfect for the day ahead. We started perfectly when we stopped of at the stunning Ruthven Barracks to capture a classic Scottish scene.

Glencoe-1.jpg

People often say to me, when I capture a great shot, that I was lucky with the weather. I understand this but there is more to it. I believe you make your own luck and that is certainly what Lyle and I did on this day. The roads were horrendous getting to Glencoe and it was an extremely difficult drive that was long and stressful.

Glencoe-4.jpg

On arrival hundreds of photographers were already at the location where we had planned to park. It was demoralising and there was no where to park the car. This was a blessing in disguise and forced us to rethink and find another spot. We found a tiny space in a lay-by and decided to trek up the side of the opposite mountain through incredibly deep snow. It was tough going through the two feet of snow but we were helped by the tracks already forged by the local deer. The effort all became worth it at the end of the day. We found ourselves in a spot that no other photographers had visited that day and it was a very special moment. Perfect for landscape photography. It was hard work at the time, but the memories I now own I will cherish forever.

Glencoe-5.jpg

Landscape and Wildlife Photography in the Cairngorms

We travel to the Cairngorms in Scotland for an adventure in some stunning wintery snow conditions to capture some wildlife and landscape photography.

See how a real wildlife photographer does things - https://www.instagram.com/lyle_mccalmont/

Last week I missed uploading a video for the first time in two and half years and it’s good to be back. I head up to Scotland to visit the Cairngorms with my very good friend Lyle McCalmont, to shoot some landscape photography and wildlife photography. Lyle is an expert wildlife photographer and is my sole inspiration to go out and capture our animal friends. In this video he takes me deep into the Cairngorm woods to shoot the Crested Tit, known locally as the ‘Crestie’. A small and interesting bird that moves incredibly quickly and is pretty shy compared to the other locals.

Cairngorms-3.jpg

Best laid plans

The day did not go exactly according to plan. Every time I travel to Scotland I am overwhelmed by the scale of the place. I am often associated with the Lake District, it is truly an incredible place and dear to my heart but Scotland takes things to a whole other level. The mountains are taller and the lochs are bigger than the lakes, but the highlands are so very huge and isolated in a way that will humble any person. The scale of the place is so very impressive but it makes it difficult to capture your best landscape photography. When you do not know a place, photographing it is a real challenge. Travelling to a new location and trying to find a good composition can be frustrating when you know something amazing could be round the next corner but you just can’t see it. I did my best to overcome this and find some nice shots. I succeeded in one sense but failed in another when I could not make a picture out of the incredible trees that were on offer. It was very good fun capturing some wildlife photography though. I am not always a big fan but I do enjoy the challenge of a bit of bird capture. The crested tit turned out to be very shy but I still managed to grab a couple of decent snaps of the bird that only shows itself in the Cairngorms.

Cairngorms-4.jpg

Winter Landscapes

The snowy and wintery landscape provided some superb opportunities for some top draw drone footage that was immensely enjoyable. The frozen water of Loch Morlich was also an incredible sight to witness. I feel incredibly privileged to have seen it and it will be something I never forget. 

Cairngorms-5.jpg

Landscape Photography in the Snow - Winter in North Yorkshire

Snow is the the theme of this landscape photography vlog. I travel to Roseberry Topping in North Yorkshire to make the most of some winter conditions and talk about how I capture landscapes in the snow.

Snow Challenges

Landscape photography in the snow can present some genuine challenges. Firstly the cold causes problems and in this shoot pretty much all my gear stopped functioning by the end of the day. It seems obvious to say, but snow is wet. It just doesn’t feel wet when it is falling out of the sky. The snow had been falling on me, my gear and my bag all day and, by the end, everything was wet to the core.

Roseberry Snow.jpg

Technical Challenges

Secondly there are the technical challenges to shooting in snow. This mainly comes in the form of exposure and white balance. When shooting in the snow the highlights created by the light reflecting off the snow can really confuse the camera’s meter. Putting your camera into manual mode is a must. Using the LCD and Histogram in Liveview will then help you get in right place with exposure. I always shoot in RAW which gives me a large amount of adjustment to exposure in post-production. With white balance, cameras often tend to capture snow with a very blue tint. You see this a lot on TV and it can be used purposefully to add to the cold feeling of the scene. However, have you ever seen blue snow? Again, shooting in RAW provides full control of white balance in post production and I always aim to bring my images to match the scene I visualised at the time ie with white snow. In the last shot of the day the snow had a slightly yellow, orange warm glow to it when it was bathed in the evening sun.

Location, Location, Location

In the video I also talk about shooting from the same location on numerous occasions. I am often asked how I find locations and do I run out of places to shoot. I am a big fan of returning to the same place and capturing an image of it over and over again. Capturing a scene in the different seasons, in different weather, in different light will produce very different photographs and the one you make on the 15th time of asking might be the one that really pops and gains attention.

Happy New Year

Finally I’d just like to wish you a very happy new year. I hope good things happen to you in 2018 and I look forward to running into you out in the landscape. Thank you so much for subscribing, watching, commenting and sharing. It means a lot.

Panoramic Landscape Photography with the Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II lens

The Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II tilt shift lens can be used to capture some stunning panoramas free from distortion. I travel to the LakeDistrict again to put it to good use in this landscape photography vlog. 

  • Squarespace - For a free trial and 10% of you first purchase - click here.

Last week I used the Canon 24mm TS-E Mark II lens in London to capture some cityscape images free from distortion. The tilt shift lens can also be used to capture some beautiful panoramas free from the normal distortion created when you rotate a lens around a fixed axis (ie on your tripod). This is achieved simply by using the shift function. By shifting the lens left to right you can capture five overlapping images that stitch together in Lightroom absolutely perfectly. We get used to looking at panoramas and we get used to the distortion, sometimes it even benefits the image. However when you see a panorama shot with a tilt shift lens they have an extra element of quality. Even a feeling that you are standing in the scene yourself.

Panorama Photography

I am a very big fan of panorama photography. They are big and impressive and the files generated in Lightroom are large and detailed. There is a problem though. They do not share well on screen; and therefore on social media. To get the whole width of the image in, the height has to be reduced and you end up with the image looking much smaller than a normal 3x2 or 16x9. Screens are not designed to display panoramas. The only way to truly appreciate them is to print them and see them in person. When printing landscape photography, I am a true believer in bigger is better.

Winter in the Lake District

For the shoot I managed to get up early again and head over to the Lake District for what turned out to be an absolutely stunning morning.I wanted a more accessible day with locations close to the car so picked out spots at Tewet Tarn, Castlerigg Stone Circle and Bassenthwaite Lake. I have been asked a few time now to provide a guide and GPS details for the locations and vlogs I have done. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in. It will take a lot of work, so I will not be able to offer it for free, but I was thinking somewhere in the region of £5 per guide. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Castles, Sunsets and Planning Your Landscape Photography

I head to the Northumberland coastline to capture a castle and a beautiful sunset on the beach. I also talk about the importance of planning in this landscape photography vlog.

Follow First Man Photography for the latest updates:

Back shooting landscape photography

Having recovered from my back injury (kind of….) I head out again to capture some landscape photography. This week I sneak away from the family holiday to shoot a few compositions on the Northumberland coastline, a truly beautiful part of the world. 

Planning a shoot

Planning is an essential part of landscape photography and a solid plan will help to take your shoots and your photographs to the next level. Over the last couple of years I have developed a strategy that has worked for me as I have travelled around the country shooting some of the best landscape photography of my career. I have also been creating these photography vlogs so it's been important to plan carefully to avoid wasting any time.

Where am I going?

My planning nearly always begins with selecting a location. I will then try to narrow it down and figure out where the compositions will be that I am looking to capture. Google maps is my first tool but I will also look at other photographers work. Once I know a composition exists though I will stop looking at others work so when I get there I am using my own vision and creating my own original artwork. 

Time

The next stage is thinking about the time you are going to attend. What season? When will the sun be in the right position? Sunrise or sunset? The PhotoPills app is very helpful in landscape photography planning giving you a plethora of tools for several aspects of planning stage.

The weather person says.......

I also think about people, I am obsessed with the weather forecast, I check tide times, I do journey planners, I think about the gear I will need, the clothing I will where, what food I will need, what safety equipment etc etc. The list goes on.

Many people will head out with there camera with no plan whatsoever. This is perfectly ok and something I often do too. However, planning can really help you take your work to the next level. It is your plan. Remember, you are free to change it, ignore it or stick to it as you see fit.

Photography Vlogs

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides landscape photography tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

Landscape Photography and Wildlife Adventure in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders

An epic adventure exploring Northumberland and the Scottish Borders in search of some stunning landscape photography. I also head over to the Farne Islands to see the puffins and capture some wildlife photography.

Follow First Man Photography for the latest updates:

Instagram - http://instagram.com/adamkarnacz

Buy Prints - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/prints/

My Gear - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/my-gear/

Get a FREE trial of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop - https://goo.gl/BqlkWz

Music by Dan Phillipson - http://www.danphillipson.com/

Biggest landscape photography vlog yet

In one of my biggest landscape photography blogs yet I head up to Northumberland to visit the Farne Islands and capture some puffins in their seasonal visit to the area. 

The Farne Islands

The day started out in the small seaside town of Seahouses where we picked up one the boat tours run by Serenity Boats. They are friendly and helpful and especially accommodating to photographers. I was with Lyle McCalmont again today, my good friend from Wildscape Photography. We headed over to Inner Farne where Serenity left us on the island to capture our wildlife photography. I had three shots that I wanted to capture, a mixture of portraits and birds in flight. If you are interested in capturing birds in flight I have done a photography tutorial previously on how to do it.

A DJI Mavic Pro Drone???

The boat then returned to Seahouses where the day then became about landscape photography. We had two locations in the plan for the afternoon. The first was a secluded cove where the would be an opportunity to capture a beautiful waterfall and some nice woodland photography. Lyle also brought his DJI Mavic pro along for the journey to add some aerial footage to this video. It was fun to see how to properly fly a drone. 

St Abbs

The next stop was one of the finest spots I have ever been to to capture some landscape photography. We crossed into Scotland to visit the cliffs near the small town of St Abbs. They are staggeringly large and beautiful and I was almost lost for words. They provide a perfect opportunity to capture some stunning landscape photography compositions and I hope that I achieved that. I took three photographs that you can see in the video. The weather was also very kind and held out for a remarkable sunset moment. Most definitely a landscape photography blog to remember.

Landscape Photography - Sunset in the Yorkshire Dales

Landscape Photography at Grimwith Reservoir

I visit Grimwith Reservoir in the Yorkshire Dales in this landscape photography vlog. There are panoramas, sunsets and some beautiful golden light.

My gear - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/my-gear

Getting out and taking pictures of beautiful scenes is one of life's great pleasures. You can sit at home and watch a landscape photography tutorial but there is simply no substitute to getting off your backside and heading into the great outdoors. It is always a learning experience. Since creating these vlogs I have been going out more than ever and my recent learnings have been around the anticipation of how the weather and the light will develop as the day progresses. There is obviously a massive element of luck when it comes to the weather but every little observation and bit of experience you gather will add to your overall expertise.

Documenting the journey

It has been an interesting experience documenting my work in this way. The story of my day is all built around the images. Without the photographs there is no vlog (although I will be vlogging some of my other business activities at some point). This adds extra pressure to capture good images with the weekly video deadline ever looming. In the past I would often go out and return home empty handed when the weather did not play ball or my composition was not quite right. Now though, I am simply putting everything out - the good, the bad and the ugly. It has been fascinating seeing the reaction.

People clearly value truth and honesty and I am laying myself bare for all to see. However on several occasions people have loved the images. I simply would not have published previously. Whilst people are often quick to praise, the analytics afforded by social media really helps to back up this feedback. Enjoy the process, create the work, put it out and let people decide what they like. Trust in your talents and do not waste time criticising yourself.

Grimwith Reservoir

Grimwith Reservoir is the largest body of water in the Yorkshire Dales and was extended to it's current size in the early 1980's. It is now a beautiful location and important area for some of the local bird life. It is also a particularly remote and unforgiving landscape and high winds are the norm. On this occasion though the sun was out and made for a very pleasant Spring walk.

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides photography tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel

Landscape Photography - Chasing the light along Hadrian’s Wall

Chasing the golden light

I travel to the famous Roman Wall in this landscape photography vlog to capture some long exposures and beautiful golden light.

Follow First Man Photography for the latest updates:

First Man Vlog - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLa6Vwwb8Hgm2doJUbTS5Bro5VS2PVyzXN

My gear - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/my-gear

Music by Dan Phillips - http://www.danphillipson.com/

Your best landscape photography

Hadiran’s Wall is an excellent destination for landscape photography. There are numerous compositions waiting to be photographed. One such image is the Sycamore Tree made famous by the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I use some long exposure photography to really make the best of a popular composition.

Although the weather for the day started out well it became very changeable as the day progressed. This resulted in some frantic moments as I chased the light along the wall to make best use of the golden colour in the right composition.

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Follow me on Instagram

Landscape Photography - Early starts and stunning sunrises

A Stunning Birthday Sunrise

An insanely early start on my birthday pays off with some amazing light and a stunning sunrise in this landscape photography vlog.

Getting up early to shoot landscape photography is never easy. Some days though, when you are rewarded with an incredible sunrise, it all becomes worth it. Then comes the hard work of making the the most of the available light.

Sunrise photography can often be harder than capturing a sunset. Shooting sunsets affords the luxury of watching the light develop, providing time to get into the right location and compose a shot. Sunrises on the other hand often develop quickly as the sun comes up. Composing the shot in relative darkness provides it’s own challenges as you have to predict how things will look once they are bathed in sunlight.

Filey, North Yorkshire

In this vlog I get up very early and travel to Filey on the East coast of England. My aim is to capture some beautiful seascape photography that makes the most of the stunning sunrise. Coastal images lend themselves perfectly to sunrise and sunset shots as the sea and water reflect all the colour and increase the impact of your image. I find a nice composition at Filey Brigg. To learn more about composition you can check out some of my best landscape photography tutorials on the channel.

Now that Spring has hit I also wanted to tell that story, using one of the classic signs of Spring, the daffodil. Happily there was a good number of daffodills growing on Filey Brigg so I composed a couple of images to try and make the best of these beautiful flowers.

360 Degree Views

Of course, there are also some 360 degree views, all the way around!

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and document how I go about capturing my work. If it provides tips and inspiration along the way then please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography vlog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel

Follow me on Instagram

Music by Dan Phillipson - http://www.danphillipson.com/