10 Photography: Blog http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) 10 Photography mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:52:00 GMT Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:52:00 GMT http://www.10photography.co.uk/img/s12/v184/u136532810-o371343622-50.jpg 10 Photography: Blog http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog 90 120 Misadventures in Ski Photography http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/misadventures-in-ski-photography At the beginning of 2017, I was very lucky to be selected to go to Verbier in Switzerland to cover the British Army's Royal Armoured Corps and Army Air Corps Alpine Ski Championship.  I knew the job was coming up in the previous autumn, so I set about preparations for the climate, type of imagery I wanted to deliver and also how to best achieve this while improving my own skills on the mountain.  This consisted of a massive amount of research, which luckily for my wife kept. me pretty quiet for a couple of weeks.  My main focus was the location and knowing stuff like the direction of the sun and how to adjust custom white balance.  Also looking at sources of information about equipment to use while at altitude and how to protect it.  For more insight into this visit Jonathan Griffiths website, an absolute goldmine of information and inspiration:  

alpine exposures

So with a great deal of information and apprehension, I set off for Switzerland just after New Year (without a hangover!)

Concerns

My main concern was my own ability to get around once on the mountain, sure I had skied before but many years ago, therefore some training was required, luckily we had an instructor on the officials team who gave me some pointers and then let me loose on some easier slopes, though this was after the first days racing where I generally fell down the mountain to get to where I wanted to be (#tragic)!  In hindsight, some pre-trip practice was what should have done and booking some lessons prior to travelling will be the first thing I do, should I go next year.  My second concern was equipment.  I usually shoot in the UK and as long as you wrap up warm, all is fine likewise your camera equipment can cope with the British climate as long as it remains dry.  In the Alps the daily temperature ranged from -2 to -17 so there were a few things I had to consider:

  1. Battery life - The cold does some weird things to batteries.  I carried 4 every day and ensured that they were charged each night.  I kept them in my inside jacket pocket to keep them marginally warm and they didn't let me down.  The most I got through in one day's racing was 2 and bit!
  2. Lenses - luckily my ski jacket has a tether in the pocket with a goggle cloth attached, which was ideal for cleaning the front of the lens when any spray was blown up.  That said I also had 2 large microfibre cloths in my rucksack.
  3. Gloves - Climbing around the mountains it is inevitable that you will get snow on your gloves (it gets everywhere) therefore I had 2 pairs of gloves and a pair of mittens for when I was static.  When shooting in these conditions I have noticed that you are constantly changing your clothes to suit the conditions.  If you didn't you will have a miserable time and are increasingly susceptible to the onset of hypothermia.  Moving around the slopes keeps you warm and once you stop you are in for a rapid cooldown.
  4. Personal equipment - If you are heading to the mountains, the right equipment will keep you comfortable, warm and dry all day - don't scrimp on it.  Although I didn't shell out thousands of pounds for my clothing, I took advice from people who knew what I needed and bought the best I could afford.  None of it let me down, which I was incredibly impressed about.  Apart from salopettes and jacket, good quality merino base-layers are must and if you can afford them, buy your own ski boots - they are custom fitted to your foot and will make all the difference.  Lastly, goggles and sunglasses.  On a clear day the snow reflects the sunlight and it can give you headaches!

Getting the images you want

 

After the first day's racing, I was more confident on the slope and knew the key places for the shots I wanted.  During my research, I looked at other photographers images to get a feel for what works and give me an idea of what I wanted.  American photographer Mike Juliana was a great inspiration here - check out his amazing work at the link below:

http://www.mikejulianaphotography.com

Camera equipment & settings were pretty mixed throughout the day but my main setup was as follows:

Canon 5D Mk III & Canon 70-200 F2.8L Mk II

Shooting at F2.8 gave me the shutter speed required to capture the skiers, and the canon was well up to it, although heavy it produced some great results, even in the early morning when I was forced to use higher ISO settings.  I also made sure I captured all shots in RAW and JPEG - that way I could get shots out quickly to the various media platforms which we using to promote the racing and then process my best quality images from RAW when time permitted.

Positioning

Where you shoot from makes all the difference.  I found that creating a leading line with the skier passing through one gate but aiming for the next was a great approach for my first time.  As I gained confidence, I tried to be more creative by changing my aspect, getting low down or higher up (not easy climbing trees in ski boots).  This worked well but I was constantly aware of my time constraints, with racers passing every 45 seconds and although I didn't have to get every single skier, I wanted to maximise my chances.

Of course, should you want to try this type of photography you will probably not be against the clock, so take your time, get a good exposure and enjoy it.

A word on fitness..

Get as fit as you can!  The legwork involved is pretty tiresome, the bag gets heavy, and you are also fighting the cold.  Before going up the mountains, do some leg work - I'm talking squats, lunges deadlifts - lots of them.  Putting in some quality training will pay dividends.  The article below from Traver Boehm is a great starting point:

Ski fitness

Ski Photography has a lot to offer, it's brilliant being out on the mountain, the views are incredible (next blog maybe..) and you get to ski every day!  What is there not to like?  My final comment is one of thanks to all the teams and the Race Officials team who made it possible for me to be there in the first place!  Thanks guys!

 

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mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) Alpine Balance Planning Ski Switzerland White Winter http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2017/2/misadventures-in-ski-photography Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:52:06 GMT
Landscape Photography - Planning and maximising your chances of success. http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/landscape-shots---planning-and-maximising-your-chances-of-success Sometimes when wanting to get a great shot, many of us will have a moment of inspiration, jump in the car and steam off to the place in the hope that the conditions and location will be as perfect as you can imagine.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case (‘not me’ I hear you say, you might be lucky sunshine, but luck runs out!).  I have lost count of the times that with even just a little rudimentary planning, I have been let down, usually by the following:

  • Weather
  • Tide (if shooting by the sea)
  • Local events and tourists/other photographers getting in the way
  • Getting lost on route! Funnily enough this hasn’t happened to me (yet..)

There are many ways you can help yourself though and with some easy research you can maximise the chance of getting the shot that you want.

Planning

First things are: what do you want to shoot? – the location in this blog is one that I have been wanting to visit for a while, but i always ended up putting it off, so know what you want!  Once you know, we can get planning.  I like to approach planning in a methodical way (time in the military has its benefits) and in doing so I can save myself some time and effort.  Many of my shoot locations are near the coast so I usually start with the following:

Check the weather at your intended location.  I use the BBC Weather website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2634776) as its fairly accurate.

 

If it shows you that the conditions are right for your shot (you might be after a stormy shot or perfect weather) then go on to the next stage.

If you are shooting by the coast, check the tide (http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/tide_tables/8).

The coast can be a dangerous place and needs to be respected.  If you are by the water’s edge, wear some wellies for grip and make sure you protect your gear (it costs soooo much!).  Dont take risks, there will always be another opportunity!  No doubt you have seen the videos of people trying to get stormy wave shots, getting soaked and losing gear or even worse getting swept out to sea.  Depending on the shot you want, look for the  conditions which suit your needs.   I like to shoot when the tide is on its way out, so I’ll start travelling roughly at high tide, to get there when its on the ebb.

Use technology to assist you.  Google Earth is brilliant for route planning and checking different perspective at the location.  If you are lucky someone may have taken a shot there before and posted it so you can check their pictures.  Flickr helps in the same way, just search for your location and get some ideas.  I also use 2 other apps:

The Photographers Ephemeris:  This allows me to check a whole host of data such as where the sun/moon will be when I’m on location (handy when planning those spectacular sunrise/sunset shots).  Its real benefit when planning is that you can simulate where the sun will be on any given date and time, so you can plan weeks ahead if you need to.

 

Photopills:  I use this particularly at night for finding the milky way and other constellations.  It does a whole bunch of other stuff – but that’s a separate blog on its own!  You can find both available to download on the Apps Store, or Google them!

Routes:  Lastly, and this is before I have even thought about the equipment to take, I check routes.  Google Earth is excellent as I can check both road route to my location, where I can park and also the easiest and safest way to get to my location when off the beaten track.  It’s pretty frustrating to get geographically embarrassed, so spend plenty of time doing this. As Erwin Rommel said “Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”

Local knowledge is helpful, ask around near the location if there any easier ways to get there or things to watch out for (farmers with guns!).  A few years ago this was invaluable to a friend of mine who wanted to trek along the coastal path.  A local lady mentioned to him that the cliffs were pretty dangerous at the time following some stormy weather, so he adjusted his route with a bit of help.  He later found out that his original route had seen a massive landslide where around 12 Metres of the path had disappeared into the sea!  So definitely worth checking.  Finally take a marked map with you, a compass, and always let someone know where you are going.

 


 

So…. what do we know so far?

  • The weather is just what I am looking for
  • The tide isn’t going to kill me or ruin the shot
  • Where the sun/moon is going to be (might enhance the shot)
  • How to get there and what to avoid.

If at this stage, it’s not all in your favour, select a different location/time,/route or make the most of what you’ve got! And we haven’t wasted any time packing yet....Bonus!

 


 

Equipment

Of course what you take is up to you and relates to the type of shot you want.  So aside from the camera, lenses, timer and tripod, I will only suggest the following snippets because i have found them useful in the past:

  • A flask of tea – gets cold out there and theres nothing like chilling with a brew at spectacular locations!
  • A small foldable stool – I hate sitting in the mud!
  • Plenty of dry microfiber cloths
  • Filters – I use Lee ND Graduated filters and Big & Little Stoppers (check their website its really useful)
  • A fully charged phone in case of emergency
  • Spare camera batteries – they can discharge quickly in the cold and when doing long exposure photography.

Make sure everything is working as it should, and that you wear clothing that is suitable for the time of year.  Spare gloves can be helpful, particularly if you ar out on a long shoot.  Now set the alarm if you need to.....

On Location

Phew…we made out!  Once at the location its worth getting set up as soon as possible.  Once you have the camera out, take ten minutes to look around.  A location can give you multiple choices, get low to the ground, check different viewpoints – you might find something better.  Use your camera for test shots to see what they look like 'in camera'  then get fully set up.  Use a sturdy tripod and a timer release for sharp pictures and if it gets windy lower the legs and weigh it down to reduce camrea shake.  In the shot below I did exactly that.  This was right out on the Bats Head cliff looking west:

I liked the shot but after a look around I found a better viewpoint with some more interesting lead in lines and features.  I only had to move about 20 metres!

Next thing I did was turn around and look east – wow!  Even better – 2 potential shots and I’ve only been at one place…brilliant.

Summary

Without a bit of easy planning, these pictures may never have been taken.  It took a little time researching the area (even though I know it well).  Time was critical because I wanted some golden light so the Apps made it easy for me to get the timing right.  I took the right equipment, and was comfortable once there – although I did drop my phone at one stage without knowing it (I got a text message and heard it bleep thank god!)  Lesson learned – do up your pockets!!! 

 

This shoot was simply stunning; I didn’t see another person during the whole time on the coast – pretty rare for such a popular location. Though had there been any other Togs there I would have asked if they minded me sharing, its very rare that they will say no.  I hope this has been helpful, now get out there and do some of your own.  Let me know how you get on.

Matt

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mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) Coast Landscape Low Planning Seascape Sunset light http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2016/4/landscape-shots---planning-and-maximising-your-chances-of-success Sat, 09 Apr 2016 13:39:48 GMT
Evening Bridal Shot http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2015/4/evening-bridal-shot Hi and welcome to another blog entry.  Usually I try to provide further details on the location and tip and tricks but this one is going to focus on a recent wedding shoot I did for some friends.  The shoot took up most of the day but i want to outline how the main picture of the Bride & Groom was shot, and include some of what I learned along the way.

Experience has taught me that getting the lighting correct during low light conditions can be quite tricky.  Using an ND filter could pose problems with the brides dress and as many of you may know, getting everything to balance out is the real trick here.  So let me tell you how I went about it.

Equipment

I shot this with my Canon 600D (not the newest or highest pixel camera, but it’s about the shot not the kit) and I also used the following:

  • 2 x Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT
  • 1 x Canon  Speedlite ST-E3-RT Radio Trigger
  • 2 x Stands
  • A Sturdy Tripod
  • 1 x 60x60 Softbox
  • An assistant – to move the lighting – Thanks Lorna!

Without the lighting, I would have had a real test on my hands, probably requiring 2 shots and a lot of Photoshop blending during post production (not my idea of fun!) – so this was definitely a one shot deal!  You can see an example of what it looked like without the lighting below.

You can see that the sky is washed out and the remaining light is harsh on the subject, alternatively had I metered for the sky I would have got 2 silhouettes but a lovely sunset sky – not a look I wanted for a shot as important as this! So I knew I had to figure out how to balance them both out.

The Speedlite system was a no brainer!  As it has an on-board radio transmitter, using it in conjunction with the ST-E3, I was able to position my flashes without too much fuss and without wires or line of sight.  Time here was a real pressure as the Bride & Groom only had a few minutes.  The Softbox provided softened light from the left and I used the other flash unit on a stand as a low power fill.  Both were positioned at 45 degrees to the subjects (left & right).  The diagram below shows how I set it up.

The Softbox was set to Group A at full power and the other was set to Group B on ½ power setting.  The beauty if the ST-E3 is that I can control all of the groups from the camera – what a time saver!  As for my camera, I metered for the sky and then took the exposure down by 2 stops.  This allowed me to balance the ambient light and darken the sky enough to get those rich colours but consequently meant the subjects were really under exposed.  No fear!  The Speedlites would take care of that, resulting in a well-balanced shot.  So let’s take a look at the finished article!  I got some beautiful evening light with a lovely saturated sky without passing that saturation on to the subjects.

Learning points

  1. Location – I spent an hour or so looking at alternative locations.  The Hotel where the reception was quite close to the beach and Bride & Groom were really interested in a beach sunset shot (as was I!).  Unfortunately we ran out of time – so those alternatives came in really handy.  Without that hour looking around the previous day I would have been stumped!
  2. Be flexible – I was there to get shots of a couples special day.  Weddings are fraught with unknowns and your plans can change (like the weather) so flexibility with a smile is key.
  3. Know your equipment – all of it!  For me the Speedlite's were a new edition to my equipment, but I spent much of the week prior to the event practicing with them.  I am soo glad I did.  Throughout the day I got some great shots which needed very little post processing – a real time saver when you have over 1000 shots to pare down.
  4. Get to know your subjects – if you know them a little they will be more relaxed around you.  Not everyone likes having a camera thrust into their faces, if they are comfortable with you hanging around, you will get some better shots.  Keep talking to them while you shoot, sometimes you will get the very best expressions when you are having a conversation, rather than a posed (but wooden) shot.
  5. Organisation – Know what you want to achieve and when. Write it down if you need to and refer to your notes.  Understand the itinerary of the day and organise your equipment accordingly.  I spent 5 minutes at the end of each part of the day checking my kit, replacing batteries (even if they were at half power) and getting the kit ready which I would use next.  This will enable you to be ready to shoot, reducing the risk of losing great shots because you were still fiddling with your kit.

Phew! – there you go a quick insight into the shot and some tips on how to get it.  I hope it has been helpful to you.  I certainly learned a great deal during this shoot but practice made it a lot easier.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or leave comments in the guestbook.  Thanks for visiting 10 photography.

Matt

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mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) Bride Low Sunset Wedding light http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2015/4/evening-bridal-shot Sun, 19 Apr 2015 12:54:40 GMT
Flimston Chapel Star Trails http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2015/2/flimston-chapel-star-trails St Govans, Star Trail, PembrokeshireSt Govans, Star Trail, Pembrokeshire

 

Flimston Chapel is a mediaeval chapel set in the middle of Castlemartin ranges, Pembrokeshire.  Is is accessible at weekends and is still a working place of worship.  So....what was i doing there? - shooting with Challenger 2 tanks, great fun but that's a different blog!

 

The ranges provide a great dark sky park (when looking SW) and I would imagine that the Milky Way is pretty good when visible from late spring.  The location provides various vantage points, I took this shot from inside the chapel grounds with a wide angle lens.  It was a beautifully clear night with no moon so the only ambient light was from an oil refinery in the north about 5 miles away.

 

After setting up in low light with a sturdy tripod and playing around with the shot angle i settled on the shot above - 1 min @ F2.8 with a 1 second interval over 78 minutes (using a Pixel wireless intervalometer).  The key here really is to prepare early and then come back to it.  Image stabilisation and AF were both switched off and i used Live View to manually focus.

 

Post processing was fairly straightforward, I loaded all the shots in RAW and made global adjustments, I then used an automated batch program to layer them all together.  Saturation and contrast were adjusted and then I added some selective sharpening, finally saving as a large JPEG.

 

Night shooting is great fun but requires practice and patience.  Here's a few tips:

  • Everything takes longer in the dark.  Get to know all of the controls on your camera.  This will save ruining your night vision with white light.  Likewise know how to use your tripod.
  • No matter what time of year, you will be exposed to the elements.  Consider taking some warm clothing (even in the summer) as you will be waiting around for a while.  A flask of tea is a god send, but if like me you enjoy the outdoors, take a jetboil or cooker and make it fresh!
  • Preparation is everything.  Ensure your batteries are fully charged and take some spares.  Memory card will fill quickly so make sure you have formatted them.

I really enjoyed this shoot, although it was a bit creepy being there by myself (too many horror films seen I think!)  I really recommend giving it a try though.

 

Matt

 

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mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) night photography http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2015/2/flimston-chapel-star-trails Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:16:21 GMT
Marloes sands http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2015/2/marloes-sands Marloes SandsMarloes Sands

 

An absolute gem of a place.  I thought the Dorset coast was good, but this place is magical.  So much to shoot.  If you fancy a visit, drive to Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire and then head West to Dale, you will pick up signs to Marloes.

On arrival at the car park there is about a kilometer to walk, but you wont notice it as once you get to the cliffs your camera will be glued to your face!

Once on the beach, head north to the dragons teeth rocks and enjoy exploring.  Some points to be aware of:

  • You are on the edge of the Atlantic - it could be windy - dress accordingly.
  • Check the tide time.  During this shoot, i knew when high tide was, but I didn't realise how quickly it came in.  The entire area in the shot above was flooded in 20 minutes.  Could have been embarrassing!!
  • Even the most benign beautiful beaches can turn on you - ALWAYS let someone know where you are, particularly in a location as remote as this.
  • Take a few microfibre cloths with you to keep your camera clean and make sure you wash the feet and legs of your tripod afterwards, this will save any corrosion forming.

MarloesMarloes

This was a really amazing place to visit and I will go again as soon as the opportunity arises.  The wonderful (but changeable) light meant I had to adjust my settings on the fly, so I gained plenty of experience.

 

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mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) Seascape landscape http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2015/2/marloes-sands Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:44:52 GMT
Stormy weather - getting the shot and surviving! http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/stormy-weather---getting-the-shot-and-surviving This week has seen its fair share of stormy weather in Dorset.  To me that means high seas, dark clouds and the slim possibility of a sunset!  With that in mind and after checking the weather report online I headed out to Portland.  My main motivation was to get a stormy shot of Pulpit Rock - you know the water running off the rocks, white capped wave’s type of shot.

Portland StormPortland Storm

When I got there I found it very windy with sea spray in the air and the light fading fast (traffic through Weymouth was bad).  After a look around for vantage points, I headed up onto the cliffs, passing the very detailed warning sign: SONY DSC

Doesn’t leave much to imagination, does it! - So knowing that my life was in in my own hands I headed up anyway.  The first thing I realised was that although the waves were quite far below, the splash still reached the top - including me!  Soaked (on one side) I managed to get around to White Hole, a deep fissure in the Portland rock, giving me a nice view of Pulpit rock and a grand vista of how rough the sea was.  I managed to get a few shots there and then worked my way down to the edge of the peninsular and finally around to Portland Bill.

Below I have added some information on how to set up and survive the storm:

  1. Be as comfortable as you can be.  Dress accordingly; I wore a waterproof jacket with a base layer beneath, gloves and lightweight trousers (they dry very quickly).  On my feet I would usually wear sturdy hiking boots but this time I knew I would be walking on wet rocks, so I opted for wellies.
  2. Know where you are going and what the weather is doing.  My time in the military has taught me that reconnaissance is essential, before leaving home I did the following:
  • Checked BBC weather for an accurate and up to date forecast.
  • Checked the tide times
  • Used Google Earth to plan my route
  • Used The Photographers Ephemeris app to see where the sun would set (if the sky cleared)
  1. The essential kit I used was:
  • Tripod – In the high wind I had to weigh it down with my rucksack, and press the feet into the ground so that it offered a steady platform.
  • Lens hood – to minimise the amount of spray getting to the face of the lens.
  • A micro fibre cloth to wipe the lens prior to shooting.  You can get 5 for £5 on Ebay!
  • A hand held remote.
  1. Settings:
  • White Balance – AWB due to the changing light (but I shot in RAW so that I could change it in Post Processing If I needed to.
  • I wanted to capture some of the movement of the water so I aimed to get about a 1-2 second exposure.  I shoot manually so this meant trying different apertures and ISO settings.  I could have just shot in TV mode but hey I enjoy playing with the settings - You never know what you will get!

What have I learnt?

The shoot was very rewarding; I managed to get some great shots in terrible conditions and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I learned quite a few things, here are my best tips:

  • A micro fibre cloth is a god send!  The spray gets everywhere and I had to wipe the lens before every shot.
  • Park your car into the wind – this will stop the spray going into the boot and gives you a place out of the wind to get your stuff together.
  • Good planning is key – know where you are going and let someone know where you are, have your mobile available in case of an emergency.
  • Have a towel in the car to wipe yourself and your kit down (it costs a lot to replace).

I hope this has been useful to you all, please let me know if it hits the mark!

 

Matt

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mattnoone86@gmail.com (10 Photography) Landscape Seascape Storm dorset http://www.10photography.co.uk/blog/2014/11/stormy-weather---getting-the-shot-and-surviving Sun, 09 Nov 2014 11:27:12 GMT