It happens to me every so often. At night I get an itch to photograph something beautiful and decide to wake up at some horribly early hour and drive to the location in which this beautiful thing resides. In this case, the horribly early hour was 3:30am and the beautiful thing was Seven Sisters in Eastbourne. Called so because the cliffs comprise seven distinct peaks, or heads, this landmark site has drawn visitors, including myself forever.
I have tried on numerous occasions to capture this image and have always failed. Either by the time I got from East Grinstead to Eastbourne the skies had gone grey, or the light wasn’t in the right position. And I’d say on this occasion everything fell into place perfectly and I was able to capture an image from this vantage point and with the right lighting conditions.
I can’t really imagine a better image being produced from that same location, however, perhaps later in the year the sun would be a bit further to the right, illuminating the cliffs, sky and foreground a little bit more. However, I quite like the intense, moody atmosphere that the darkness gives.
I highly recommend Seven Sisters during sunrise to any photography enthusiast, or nature buff.
Today I had a glance at BeerMerchants.com. A giant beverage distributor in Kent. One that I had worked for last year shooting nearly 200 bottles of beer and almost that many glasses. Well, today I saw that their new website is up and running and they have used most of my images on their website. The images that aren’t mine are because they didn’t have that beer in stock when we did the shoot.
I love doing projects like this, ones that involve great challenges and are quite involved. I’m very proud of the end result. And I hope it increases their sales a lot and that users on their site will have a better, clearer understanding of the products.
East Grinstead, as well as most of Sussex, had some of the best weather this weekend that I can remember. Well, since last year anyway. 🙂
So, like I always do when the weather is beautiful, I got out there and shot. And, like many other days when the weather has been nice, I dragged my very beautiful wife out with me and took some photos. She is my favorite model to shoot and is always up for it.
The best thing about this time of the year is the light. Spring and summer light is much nicer than winter light. The light stays out longer, and when it does go down it is a much more flattering light. A sort of orange, glowing light that makes skin tone radiate. This is why I always try and schedule my engagement photo sessions during the spring and summer even if the wedding is in December. This way we can ensure I capture you in the best light possible and you have the best images of you and your fiancÃ© possible.
I can’t wait to get further into the spring and summer seasons and especially until next month when my first wedding of the year is taking place.
If there’s one question I get asked the most about my food photography it is this: “How do you get your shots to look so evenly sit and balanced?” And the answer really is a very simple one. But first, I must say that there are many different food photograph techniques out there and that just because I do this one particular one does not mean I’m suggesting that this is THE only way to take photos of food. Food photography as a whole is a very complex, tedious, mind-blowingly hard affair that has been the bane of many people’s lives. But when done right the results can be amazing!
My basic food photography setup is very easy; I shoot with the sun to my left, nearly almost always indoors, with a large window naturally diffusing the sunlight coming in, that light is then diffused, or dispersed through a light diffuser and hits the subject not as harsh light, but as soft, even light. I always use a large white reflector to my right, which bounces the newly formed, beautiful light from right to left.
So, we have diffused light coming in from left to right and bounced, diffused light coming in from right to left. This is the most ideal setup I have tried to date. Of course, it’s limited by the amount of sunlight coming in through the windows, and in Sussex, England that is usually not very often so I have to pick my shooting dates carefully.
I’ll post some photos of my setup soon, but wanted to give a brief summary of how I do it.
We’ve probably all been there; waiting for the perfect moment to take a photo of a waterfall, or the ocean. We hope that what we see in the viewfinder is the way it will turn out once we’ve transferred our images from our memory card to our computers. And if you’re like me, you’ve been disappointed more than once. That rushing water has been stopped in time, the lens and camera picking up individual water drops instead of showing the water gushing past the viewer.
How can it be so hard to show speed and motion in photography? What controls it?
The answer is simple; shutter speed. If you read my blog on shutter speed and aperture, you know that the shutter speed controls the amount of time that the light, let in from the lens, is allowed to hit the sensor. The higher the shutter speed the less time the light is allowed to hit the sensor, thus you are able to stop motion, or blur it, depending on the effect you want to create.
If you were to set up your tripod in front of a beautiful waterfall, hoping to catch the rushing water in a gorgeous, almost ethereal display of motion and blur, but not knowing about shutter speed you used something like 1/250 of a second. This would capture the water in a very brief time span and because it is so brief you would be able to see individual drops of water, instead of what you want and that is to show the speed and force in which this water is flowing.
Many people use their pop-up flash when taking photos of water and are almost always confused as to why the image doesn’t look the way it did in person. This is because the shutter speed used with that pop-up flash is fast enough to stop the water in motion. The effect is then false and unflattering.
The photo to the left was shot in the Lake District, in Northern England. A place of unparalleled beauty. I set my tripod up near the middle of this river and using a polarizing filter to do two things: 1. to make the grey sky bluer and 2. to make it possible for me to reach really slow shutter speeds so that a lot of water would pass by the sensor and it would then look like it was going really fast.
Whenever you’re shooting water you want to have shutter speeds of 30 seconds or more. This will allow enough water to pass by the lens that it gives that awesome sensation of going fast. I know photographers that use shutters speeds of 2-3 minutes in order to make the image as cool and ethereal as possible.
In order to use those slow shutter speeds one needs to use polarizing filters and really low ISOs, 50 or less. And always remember to use a tripod, or your images are not going to turn out well at all.
The above doesn’t just relate to water. You can use slower shutter speeds to capture motion with anything. A bicycle race in which you want to convey speed, a football match where you want to show someone running quickly, etc. Slower shutter speeds are a clever way to enhance your photography and show your subject in a different light.