Landscape Photography Vlogs

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

Striving for the killer shot - Landscape Photography Vlog

Landscape photography vlog in the North York Moors

I go out hunting for a killer sunset photograph in this landscape photography vlog.

In this landscape photography video blog I travel to the North York Moors to capture a big sunset photograph for the day. When heading out in this capacity you are always at the total mercy of the weather and how the end of the day will play out. Amazing sunsets are not common so photographing that special moment includes an element of luck. To get the killer shot you still need to have a good composition, an artistic idea of what you want to achieve and actually physically being in the right place at the right time. You will not capture amazing images sitting on your sofa.

There will be times when your landscape photography trips end without bagging a killer shot, in fact, probably most times. These occasions should still be viewed as positive. Focus on the learning that has taken place, the fresh air and experience you have benefitted from and you will likely still come home with a decent image in the can.

Invest in your photography

I have talked before about investing in your photography. Committing your time to heading out to capture landscape photographs is a big part of that. If you accept in advance that you may only capture a killer shot once every few times you head out, then we can define this as success. One good image in a day is a success. When the trips and the years start adding up, your portfolio of great landscape images will follow suit.

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 please share it with your friends so more people can benefit from the content. If you enjoyed this photography blog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel so you can come along for the journey.

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Landscape Photography Vlog - Isle of Mull Part 2

Part two of my landscape photography trip to the Isle of Mull.

I go out walking to get in touch with landscape and capture a beautiful sunset.

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In this Landscape photography vlog I am again in the Isle of Mull. After yesterday’s scouting mission, jumping in and out of the car, I go walking and bring things back to basics. I capture two good photographs in the first few moments after leaving the house and end the day with some beautiful sunset photography.

When shooting an image I find my artistic vision comes from getting to know the landscape and gaining an understanding of it. Difficult to do in the car; a walk can be the perfect antidote. Join me on my day shooting some landscape photography.

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Landscape Photography Vlog - Ullswater and St Sunday Crag

A landscape photography vlog in the Lake District.

Vlog No. 7. In this landscape photography video blog I travel to the English Lake District again in search of the perfect sunset photograph.

When shooting landscape photography, planning is vital. I have spoken about this before but it is especially important with sunset photography. Finding the right spot with the sun in the right place is what can make the difference. Trekking out into the mountains ensures you will be achieving a unique shot that very few, if any, others have. You also need a little luck on your side that the weather will play along, especially in the Lake District.

I was also out to really put the Canon 5D mark IV through it’s paces for my upcoming review. The early indications are very impressive.

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My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and give you a flavour of how I go about capturing my work. If you enjoy this photography blog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel. There's lot more content to come.

Watch this landscape photography themed vlog and you will see exactly what I mean.

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Overcome disappointment, face your fear and capture great photos

A landscape photography vlog in the Lake District. 

A landscape photography vlog in the Lake District.

In this photography video blog I travel to the English Lake District in search of some great landscape photography. My plan is to climb a mountain, film a tutorial, capture some landscapes and film some time lapses.

My video photography blogs are designed to entertain and give you a flavour of how I go about capturing my work. If you enjoy this photography blog I would really appreciate it if you subscribed to the channel. There's lot more content to come.

Subscribe to the channel.

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