Author: Wilkinson Cameras

 

Are you looking for something to do this Autumn? Have you considered macro photography? Macro photography is essentially extreme close-up photography, and while you may think you need fancy cameras and specific lenses to achieve great macro images, this is not true!

In this article, we’ve put together nine macro projects for you to try this Autumn. Don’t forget – this month’s theme for our Digital Splash Photography competition is Macro, so why not try some of these projects and enter some of your images to be in with a chance of winning up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers? We’d love to see what you create.

 

Lens choice

There are specific macro lenses that you can invest in – these allow you to focus closely on an object and also give you a greater magnification factor than a standard lens, allowing you to capture more detail. They come in different focal lengths, just like any other lens. The focal length you choose will depend on the subjects you most like to photograph. For example, a 100mm macro lens will allow you to be further away from your subject. This is great for subjects that you can’t get as close to, such as insects or things low down to the ground. But for jewellery, you may find you only need a  60mm macro lens, for instance.

However, you don’t need a specific macro lens if you’re just starting out. You can still try macro-style photography with your existing lens. You can even get macro lenses that attach to your smart phone to allow you to zoom in a little closer!

 

Outdoors

Autumn is an incredible season for macro photography opportunities. The gorgeous colours of the leaves, the abundance of insects and wildlife, and the generally dry weather conditions. Here are a couple of outdoor macro projects to try this Autumn…

 

Leaves

Of course, we had to start with leaves, didn’t we? Given that this article is all about Autumn projects, it’s a no-brainer. Autumn leaves showcase some of the most amazing colours: bright reds, mustard yellows, burnt oranges. As an added bonus, they are much easier to get up close and personal to, being on the ground… no tree climbing required! When you get up close, you’ll be surprised at just how detailed leaves actually are – they definitely make for fascinating macro subjects.

 

Dew

The cooler autumn mornings mean it’s a perfect time of year for dew or outdoor water droplet photos. Get down low to the ground and capture the fine beads of water clinging on to blades of grass or resting on top of the last of the summer flowers.

 

Insects/Wildlife

Insects are quite a difficult subject to photograph in macro, as they are very quick and very small. However, with some patience and perseverance, you could get some amazing images. Dragonflies are one of the most commonly photographed insects in macro due to their bright colours and detailed wings, however you will probably struggle to spot any during Autumn. Instead, you may be able to capture furry caterpillars, tiny ladybirds, patterned moths or detailed snail shells.

 

Rust/Dirt

A subject that can provide some unusual shapes, old rusted metal gates, padlocks, fences or cars can be great opportunities for unique macro images. Alternatively, rusted tools, for example a pair of old pliers, can also work well for an option a little closer to home. In a similar vein, dirt can also make for some interesting images. Get your hands dirty (or rope a friend in to model) and then photograph your/their hands – not only will you get dirt patterns, you’ll also capture the fine details of a hand: knuckles, indents, wrinkles, veins, fingerprints. Another option is to go out after a rainy day in search of wet, squelchy mud… there’s the possibility for indents, footprints or puddles of water, or mud splatters against all kinds of objects. Splatter some mud against a rusted object and get the best of both worlds!

 

Wood

Another Autumn classic, wood is the last outdoor macro project on our list for you to try this Autumn. Again, think trees. Tree trunks in particular have unique, twirling patterns that are perfect for macro photography. Take a trip to a nearby forest or woodland, where you’ll likely find an assortment of tree species that will add some variety to your shots. There’s also other wooden options, for example fence slats, benches or picnic tables. Remember to get close to look for hidden details.

 

Indoors

Of course, there’s likely to be days where it’s dark and dull outside, or pouring with rain, and going outside doesn’t seem very appealing. So, with that in mind, here are some of the best indoor macro projects to try this Autumn!

 

Cutlery

Cutlery can make for attractive macro photographs. Experiment with different layouts, symmetrical and contrasting lines. You can also play with the lighting and work with the colours, reflections and shadows to produce some unique images.

 

Water droplets

The perfect macro project choice for a rainy day! You can get some captivating and detailed shots here, focusing on one particular droplet or encompassing a section of window with multiple water trails and droplets. If it happens to be a dry day, you can turn on the tap and get some creative shots of the water flow. Experiment between having a trickle of water and having the tap full blast. You can also use household objects, which leads us on nicely to our next project…

 

Glassware/Jewellery

Close-ups of glassware can result in striking abstract images composed of curves and reflections. Use multiple glasses for additional lines and focus on the overlap. Furthermore, you can add water droplets to link in with the above project, or fill the glasses full of water, juice (try different flavours for some colour variation), or any other liquid of your choice, to produce some creative, impressive images.

Similarly, you can get some great macro shots with jewellery pieces. Anything from top end diamond earrings, pearl necklaces and ruby brooches, to bottom end braided cotton or plastic beaded bracelets. With metal based or gemstone jewellery, focus on the shine and experiment with lighting to really make the colours pop.

 

Fruit and veg

The final Autumn macro project on our list is fruit and vegetables. Autumn brings with it a delicious selection of fruit and veg, all of which, apart from being super tasty, are the perfect macro subjects. Blackberries can be found wild or in shops and have an intriguing pattern and texture that will make for a juicy looking abstract. Pumpkins, corn and peppers all have distinct textures both on the inside and the outside. Combine a few together to get the perfect autumnal-coloured shot.

 

Feeling Inspired?

Enter your macro images into September’s Digital Splash Awards for the chance to win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers, plus the chance to be entered into the final to win a further £500 worth of vouchers!

 

 

Fashion photography is a fast-paced genre of photography that is constantly changing and evolving. Due to the unique nature of fashion, this genre allows for a wide creative scope meaning you can always capture some fresh and unique images!

Time to get creative – but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin! Not to worry: we’ve put together our top 7 tips to take your fashion photography to the next level.

So, what are you waiting for? Start reading to hear our top tips – and don’t forget! August 2019’s theme for our Digital Splash Photography competition is Fashion, so why not put these tips into action and enter your best Fashion images for your chance to win up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers? We can’t wait to see what you create.

 

Grow your idea

Sometimes, the best images are ones captured spontaneously, but it’s often is much more beneficial to prepare a concept beforehand. This is particularly key with a fashion image, where you may need to consider a model, style or theme and a location, at the very least.

You can never be too prepared. The worst-case scenario is that you find that your idea didn’t quite pan out as you thought. If this happens you could branch off as you see fit during the shoot, or go away, take it as a learning curve, rethink and try again.

The best-case scenario? Your detailed planning makes sure that your shoot goes exactly how you imagined, and you have images that bring your thoughts perfectly to life!

Create lists, mind maps, mood boards etc. to help really expand your idea and convey your vision. Think about props and costumes/outfits. Think about location, weather and lighting conditions, equipment you might need etc.

 

Location, location, location

You’ve got your concept – now it’s time to consider where you’re going to bring it to life!

Fashion photography is particularly suited to a studio environment, as you have greater control over the conditions. For example, you can manipulate lighting and positioning to reduce unwanted shadows.

But that’s not to say you can’t shoot outdoors! You can plan for the forecasted weather but if it starts to rain unexpectedly, or it’s windier than predicted, think creatively and make it work to your advantage. If you’re shooting outdoors, take full advantage of your surroundings and incorporate the natural environment into your image. Think trees, park benches, fields full of flowers, graffitied walls etc.

 

Props & Styling

The use of props and makeup can really help to tell a story within the image. Fashion is a very expressive medium, just like photography and so combining the two to create a theme within the image can be very effective. Try to think how the outfit (also known as a look in fashion photography terms) can work with the environment. Then try adding relevant props and even make-up for effect if necessary.

For example: If you’re styling a streetwear shoot, a concrete city backdrop would be a good fit for the theme, whereas a country clothing shoot may require more greenery!

Background, props, colour palette, and make-up will all have a big influence on the final aesthetic of the image.

 

Get those angles!

With fashion photography, it can be tempting to stick to classic portraiture shots. While this can sometimes be the best option to suit what you want to portray in the image, we recommend experimenting with different angles. You may be surprised to find that different angles expose the clothing piece or outfit in a way that you might not have expected. Get closer, move further away. Get low and climb up somewhere high (safely of course!). Tilt your camera to the left and to the right. Shoot the garment/model from the front, from behind and from the side.

 

Composition

With fashion photography, the most common composition you’ll come across generally places the subject (model) in the centre as the main focus. This breaks away from the traditional Rule of Thirds whereby the subject is placed off-centre. However, placing the subject directly in the centre can sometimes make the image appear flat and unexciting. Here are some of our tips to make your subject pop and add additional dimension to an image where the subject is in the centre:

  • Think about your background. If possible, try and frame your subject by features in the background, for example have your model stand between 2 buildings, or a lamppost and street sign. Alternatively, choose a busy background with lots going on, then select a lower aperture to blur out the background and focus on your model. This will allow your model to really stand out and draw the viewer’s attention, without the image looking 2-dimensional and dull. The image above is a good example of these techniques.
  • If you’re photographing a model think about the pose. Make sure it’s flattering for a start!
  • Try and create a bit of movement within the pose – get your model to jump or maybe bring in a fan to add movement to the clothing or hair.
  • Counter-balance. If you want to position your model centrally, consider counterbalancing to correct your composition. Some examples include using multiple models and making use of shadows and reflections.

 

Camera settings

We recommend setting your camera to Manual to allow full creative control over your images. You can also use different camera modes, for example, if you’re shooting classic portraits, some cameras have a portrait mode, as do most smartphones.

When it comes to specific settings, it’s impossible for us to recommend the exact settings that will work perfectly each time. It will totally depend on lighting, environment and the way you want your image to look. However, here are a couple of settings that we’d suggest as a general guideline to begin with for fashion photography:

ISO – As low as possible to reduce noise in the image.

Shutter speed – As your model/fashion piece is likely to be still, you don’t need a super high shutter speed. We would, however, suggest a slightly higher shutter speed if shooting outdoors compared to indoors to ensure there is no unwanted movement or blur.

Aperture – Experiment with depth of field; you really want the model to be the focus, not the background behind them. Using a lens with a wide aperture, such as F1.4 and shooting “wide open” (i.e. with your aperture set to F1.4) you can create that lovely soft background blur aka “bokeh”.

 

Post-production

Ideally, you want to shoot in RAW, so that you retain every little detail directly from the camera’s sensor without any processing. This will give you ultimate creative control and freedom when editing your images in Photoshop or Lightroom. We like to shoot in RAW and JPEG so that we have a copy for editing and a copy that’s ready to go. Post-processing is an important step to enhance any image. Within fashion photography however, it’s key to keep spot-removal and skin corrections to a minimum to keep the model looking natural. Other techniques such as colour grading and adding grain can be a great way to add to the final aesthetic of the image.

Feeling inspired?

Click here to enter your fashion images into August’s Digital Splash Awards for the chance to win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers!

 

 

The UK is packed full of great locations to shoot impressive architecture and buildings, but they can sometimes be very easy to miss.

 

Architectural photography is an extremely popular genre of photography. To help you get started we have complied a post full of the best UK locations to take stunning architecture photos.

 

The Digital Splash Awards 2019 photography competition theme for June is Architectural photography! Enter your images for the chance to win up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers.

 

Manchester, North West, England

Manchester is a very vibrant city with incredible photo opportunities around every single corner. There are several locations around Manchester for you to take stunning architectural images and new and exciting buildings are popping up every week, but here are some of of favourite locations to get you started.

Manchester Central Library has an ornate and grand design throughout. With a Roman architectural theme, it is an excellent place to start your photography in Manchester.

The next place we want to recommend is the Northern Quarter. It is packed full of superb buildings and vibrant street art. This is an excellent place to test out your street photography as well as capturing some of the vibrant and varied buildings.

Finally, head over to Ancoats, full of industrial heritage, where the old mill buildings transport you back in time to Manchester’s industrial past. Another excellent place for stunning architectural images.

 

Photographer: Michael D. Beckwith.

Location: Manchester Central Library. Photographer: Michael D. Beckwith

 

Liverpool, North West, England

Liverpool is a city with over 2,500 listed building as well as brand new buildings. It is also regarded as one of the best cities for grandiose buildings. It is safe to say this is a wonderful location for architectural photography.

The Royal Liver Building dominates the city’s waterfront sky. The two Liver birds upon the building’s two clock towers make for perfect focal point in your images.

The Albert Dock was primarily built as a warehouse and docking system for ships, but it is now a tourist hotspot. It is also the first building in Britain to be built without wood. You can always capture stunning images here, day and night. The water allows you to play around with reflections and long exposures.

The Mann Island buildings are an excellent example of modern architecture in Liverpool. Their sharp lines and contrasting colours and textures make a great subject for photographers.

 

Location: Mann Island Buildings. Photographer: James Pinder.

 

Preston, North West, England

We may be a little bit biased, being based in Preston for over 30 years, but it certainly isn’t short of architectural beauty!

The Grade II listed Preston Bus Station is arguably Preston’s most debated about building. Its brutalist design is either loved or hated, but either way the building stands out in the city and makes for unique images.

The Grade I listed Harris Museum is brimming with neoclassical architecture. This building is stunning from all angles with excellent photography options inside as well as outside.

The last location we want to highlight in Preston is Brockholes Nature Reserve. It is based on the site of an old quarry and is the home of the floating visitor village, which is the first of its kind in the UK. The visitor village offers many opportunities for architectural photography, but also gives you the chance to shoot landscape and wildlife too.

 

Location: Preston Bus Station. Photographer: James Pinder.

 

York, North East, England

York is a walled city that was founded by ancient Romans. It is packed full of architectural beauties that are well worth photographing.

The York Minister dates back to medieval times and features stained glass, stonework and elaborate tombs. You can photograph the beautiful architecture inside and out and will always get excellent results.

The Shambles is a small street in the centre of York with an interesting past. With its leaning building and stunning architecture, this is a must-see photography location. Some of the buildings date back as far as the 14th century. Harry Potter fans will feel right at home here as it is widely reported that the Shambles was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the films.

Finally, heading slightly north of York, we recommend a trip to Castle Howard. The Castle Howard Estate features over 200 listed buildings and monuments! The crowning glory is definitely Castle Howard istself. Though not actually a castle, this stately home is impressive inside and out with plenty to photograph. Many people will recognise it as the backdrop to the film (and earlier TV series) Brideshead Revisited.

 

Location: York Minster. Photographer: Andy Falconer.

 

Newcastle, North East, England

Newcastle is a centre of arts, business and science and is full of different architectural photography locations.

Located just outside of Newcastle is Belsay Hall. This is the host of two historical buildings, a tower house and neoclassical house. It is the perfect location if you are looking to take some unique images.

Newcastle cathedral is the location that holds the story of the entire city. With medieval architecture throughout this is an excellent location for dome stunning architectural images.

The last location to point out in Newcastle is the Angel of the North. Standing 20 metres tall and with unique architecture this is an excellent thing to photography in all kinds of weather.

 

Location: Angel of the North. Photographer: Bons YUE.

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a city full of architecture that you cannot help but stop and admire. If your taste is in gothic, modernist or medieval architecture, this is the location for you,

Edinburgh Castle is perched upon the volcanic Castle Rock. You can admire the building from afar, but it is even more impressive up close. This location is one not to be missed when it comes to shooting architectural photographs.

Holyrood Palace is both grand and large and is surrounded by landscaped gardens. With towers, spired and medieval architecture this is a location well worth a visit.

The final location we want to suggest visiting in Edinburgh is the Scottish Parliament building. It is designed to mirror the surrounding landscape of hills and crags. It has extremely different architectural than the buildings surrounding it. It is perfect for geometrical architectural images.

 

Location: Scottish Parliament Building. Photographer: Chris Flexen

 

London, Southern England

London, the capital of the UK is world-renowned for its architecture. With styles from new to old, gothic to art deco, traditional to contemporary and everything in between.

The Shard is one of London’s most famous skyscrapers. It is said to be inspired by London’s railway lines. You can take some stunning images of this magnificent piece of architecture, both day and night, from many angles.

The British Library has a brutalist architecture style and is a grade I listed building. With many angles to shoot from and a large courtyard to roam, the British Library offers many different architectural photography opportunities.

One final location that we want to talk about in London is St Paul’s Cathedral. It is one of London’s top attractions and is recognised worldwide for its design. Both inside and out, you will never be short of architectural photography chances. Did you know that St. Paul’s is the focal point of several “protected views” within London. These views have strict rules to prevent the view of the cathedral being blocked by new buildings and vegetation is maintained to ensure a clean line of sight at all times. One view from King Henry VIII’s Mound in Richmond Park has a clear view of St. Paul’s Cathedral… over 10 miles away! (We’d recommend a really long lens for this one!)

 

Location: St Paul’s Cathedral. Photographer: Dave Reed.

 

Oxford, Southern England

Oxford is a city that contains examples of every major architectural style in England. It has many examples of how the old can harmonise with the new. This is the perfect location to visit for unique architectural photography.

Magdalen College Tower is an excellent example of English Gothic architecture. With large pointed windows, detailed carvings and spires, you are sure to leave here with many detailed photographs.

Queen’s College is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture. It features symmetrical pediments that adorn the high street entrance to the college and the dome that caps the entrance. This is another location where you can capture detailed images up close.

Radcliffe Camera Library (sadly, not a library dedicated to cameras!) displays Palladian architecture beautifully. It has pillars and domes that repeat in symmetrical patterns. This location gives you yet another opportunity for detailed images whilst visiting Oxford.

 

Location: Queen’s College. Photographer: Delfi de la Rua.

 

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is a vibrant and buzzing city, with a unique history. This all resonates in it’s many architectural styles seen throughout the city.

The Titanic Belfast is a modern and iconic building. It is shaped like the ship’s bow and is deemed to be the height of the original Titanic. This is the perfect location to go if you are looking to take modern architectural images.

The Stormont Parliament Building is neoclassical in design and is a historical building. It is surrounded by tranquil regal lawns and beautiful flower beds. This building offers simple yet beautiful photography opportunities.

The Grand Opera House is beautiful both inside and out. It is designed with a cream cast stone and red brick exterior and curved balconies and turban-themed canopies inside. If you are looking for beautiful, detailed architecture this is the place to go.

 

Location: Titanic Belfast. Photographer: Christian Holzinger.

 

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales has a number of Architecture styles. It dates from Norman times to present day with its urban fabric largely being of Victorian design. This city offers you a number of photography opportunities.

The Wales Millennium Centre is the first location we want to highlight here. It comprises of one large theatre and two smaller halls with shops, bars and restaurants. It is home to the national orchestra and dance, opera, theatre and literature companies. One feature that is widely recognised is inscribed on the front of the dome. It is two poetic lines, by poet Gwyneth Lewis, written in both Welsh and English. This is a location not to miss.

The Senedd, also known as the National Assembly Building, is the home of the debating chamber and three committee rooms for the National Assembly for Wales. This building stand outs on the waters edge and is dominated by a steel roof and wood ceiling. It makes for some unique images.

The last location we want to highlight in Cardiff is the Cardiff Arcades. It is known as Cardiff’s finest asset, with a Victorian design. It is full of Victorian shop fronts, majestic windows and unique features. You won’t want to miss visiting this location.

 

Location: Wales Millennium Centre. Photographer: Simon Lewis

 

Local to You

Sometimes when shooting architectural photography, we look at locations far away from us even though we have beautiful architecture on our doorsteps. Your local architecture should never be overlooked.

Take a trip to your local pub and see what architecture that has to offer. A lot of pubs are housed within old Victorian buildings which means they have many architectural features to photograph.

Your local town centre is a place of many different architectural styles, wherever you are. Look around your city centre for details and architecture that stands out and take some images.

Don’t forget to visit your local train station for some architectural wonders. Train stations are quite often the oldest building in your local area and are full of different kinds of architectural beauty. Take you camera there and have a look!

 

Location: King’s Cross Station. Photographer: Michal Parzuchowski.

 

Wherever you are going to shoot your architectural photography, be careful and make sure you aren’t trespassing on any locations you shouldn’t be. Make sure you ask people in the locations if you are ok to shoot photographs there or not!

 

Feeling Inspired?

Enter your architectural images into June’s Digital Splash Awards, where you could win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers and the chance to enter The Final to win a further £500!

We are surrounded by architecture every single day. Everywhere you go there will be a lot of Architecture to see and even photography.

 

Architectural photography is a very popular genre of photography. Sometimes it can be very difficult to know what or how to shoot Architecture though. Here are some of our best tips for when it comes to shooting architectural photography.

 

The Digital Splash Awards 2019 photography theme for June in Architectural photography! Enter your images for the chance to win up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras Vouchers.

 

Shoot at Different Times of the Day and in Different Weather Conditions

When it comes to shooting architecture, people tend to seek out the most dramatic lighting. One lighting style being the sunset hour when the shadows are long, and colours are bright. This can result in extremely atmospheric images. But, it only captures the atmosphere at one specific point in the day.

Our tip is to take a series of images at different times throughout the day, or even in a variety of weather conditions. It’s tempting to wait for the perfect sunny day or a great sunset – which can give amazing results, but sometimes it’s the cloudy days which can make for a much more dramatic image and the chance of harsh lighting or glare is reduced as well.

 

Photographer: Domagoj Ćosić

 

Watch your lines

One extremely important element behind all architectural photography is making sure your lines are where they are meant to be. Horizontal lines should be horizontal and vertical lines, vertical. This can be challenging, especially if you need to tilt your camera to get all the architecture in the frame. Getting this right can really make an image… getting it wrong can really throw the perspective and fail to do your subject justice.

Parallel lines can start to converge, which is also known as keystoning. This can make the building look as though it is falling backwards. If you are shooting with a wide-angle lens, you may also have some distortion in your images.

Try to put some distance between you and the building or try a higher point of view to combat keystoning. A tilt-shift lens can also fix any problems. If you have any lens distortion, we recommend rectifying this in post-production.

 

Photographer: Samuel Zeller

 

Don’t Miss the Details

A lot of people focus on capturing a buidling as a whole. Buildings contain hundreds of little details that get lost when entire building or rooms are shot in one frame.

Keep your eye out for all the small details and geometric patterns. By exploring just that little bit more, not only will it result in fantastic shots, but you will also learn more about the building’s construction and history. This allows you to add more story to your shots. Framing is key here, think about the composition of the shot when focussing on a particular detail.

 

Photographer: Frances Gunn

 

Take a Unique Angle

Some photographers are looking to recreate iconic images, but many are looking for something unique. This means finding a unique angle. Look at the architecture in a way you haven’t done before. This may be as simple as moving your camera a few inches another way.

Explore every side of a building that you are shooting, from close and far away as well. Why not try to shoot from rooftops or balconies to give your pictures an even more unique angle? Or, get down low and look up. For the ultimate change in perspective, drone photography now allows you to take pictures of buildings from angles rarely captured before (just remember to fly legally and safely, of course!)

 

Photographer: Julien Borean

 

Remember the Human Element

Architecture was designed for people, by people! So, by including them in your images it can bring more dimension and interest to your images. It also give a story of those working and living in the building and also gives perspective and scale to your image. We do understand that sometimes people can get in the way though, so see our next tip below to find out how to get rid of them!

 

Photographer: Veit Hammer

 

Play With Exposure Times

The best thing about a suject which stays still, is that you can experiment with exposure times. Using Neutral Density filters will allow you to increase your exposure time and bring some movement into the sky or foreground of the image. If there are people walking around, a slightly longer exposure will add some movement to the image, whilst softening the distraction of the people allowing the building to be the main focus.

Alternatively, a long exposure will add movement to the sky, adding a little bit of drama. This may be particularly useful if the weather wasn’t what you were hoping for!

A photographer who we work with once described a 10-stop neutral density filter as as his “go away filter” (although he maybe didn’t put it quite as politely as we have for the blog!). Because, you can actually use a very, very long exposure to completely remove people from an image. Imagine you wanted to take a picture of a popular tourist spot. You’d never be able to find a time where not one person would get in your shot. Using a very long exposure and a 10-stop ND, any moving people will simply vanish from your final shot, leaving just the building you want to capture. Just be sure to have a very good tripod for this type of photography and make sure it’s not too windy!

 

Photographer: James Padolsey

 

Don’t Forget Post-Production

There’s a lot to be said about getting it right in-camera. Post-production can make a good image better, it’s not a magic wand. But, certain tools in most good editing software will allow you to tweak your architecture photography, whether fixing perspective problems or bringing back an overeposed sky or simply adding some contrast to help your image “pop” a little bit more. Remember to shoot in RAW (we like to shoot RAW & Jpeg so we have one to edit and one ready-to-go) so that you have the most information in the image to work with.

 

Photographer: John T

 

Do your Research

Be sure to research the places you plan on shooting before you go. By learning the history and context of an architectural site, you can focus your photography on the aspects that you want to. This could be a relevant story or idea that captures the essence of the architecture. You may also need permission to take photographs and it’s best to know this and get it in advance, than to be disappointed on the day you plan to shoot.

Do a “recce” – plan in a couple of trips to find the best time of day, the best lighting, the best positions to take your photographs. Spending some time at the location and getting to know it will enable you to get the best images.

 

Photographer: Joshua Fuller

 

Feeling Inspired?

Enter your architectural images into June’s Digital Splash Awards, where you could win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers and the chance to enter The Final to win a further £500!

 

As the days get longer and Spring is afoot it is hard not to miss all the wildlife that the UK is home to. The UK is host to many locations that you can visit to take stunning wildlife images, even of some of the rarest wildlife in the UK. Here are Wilkinson Cameras’ top 8 wildlife photography locations in the UK!

 

The Digital Splash Awards 2019 photography theme for April is Wildlife! Enter your images for the chance to win up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers!

 

Exmoor National Park, South West, England

This National Park can be found in the South West of England. The Exmoor National Park is one of the most extensive pieces of moorland in the UK, meaning that it is home to many different wildlife species. There is one animal that is known to bring in photographers and wildlife lovers alike from far and wide; the Exmoor Pony!

These ponies are known for their nervous nature and are not used to human contact. This means that Exmoor ponies are a hard animal to photograph. If you are looking to photograph these ponies, the best time to capture them is during an early morning sunrise whilst they are travelling to graze. Alongside the stunning sunrise, combined with the Exmoor ponies, you are bound to get a stunning shot!

 

 

Lyme Park, Cheshire, North West, England

Lyme Park is a large estate this is in the south of Disley, Cheshire. The magnificent house is surrounded by formal gardens spanning 15 acres in a Deer park of about 1,359 acres. Here you can capture images of many Fallow Deer and Sheep throughout the park!

Another animal you can captures images of in Lyme Park is the brown hare. The brown hare has suffered a 75% decline in population in the UK in the past 50 years. Despite this, Lyme Park is still an excellent location to capture the beautiful brown hares in your photos. If you visit the park in March and April, you may just see the hares ‘box’ during mating season!

 

 

Skomer Island, Coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales

Skomer Island is a small island off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Skomer Island is a national nature reserve and is packed full of wildlife photography opportunities. it is best known for its large breeding seabird population. The Puffin population is one of the most prevalent seabird on the island. There is around 10,000 breeding pairs on Skomer Island making it one of the most important colonies in Britain.

Beginning in mid-April the birds are known to fly in from the sea, often with their beaks filled with sand eels. This provides you with some excellent photography opportunities. Other wildlife known for residing on Skomer Island are Manx shearwaters and Skomer voles. The Skomer vole is a distinct form of bank vole exclusive to Skomer Island. The habitat is ideal for them and if you are lucky you might just capture them in a stunning unique photograph!

 

 

Brownsea Island, Dorset, England

Brownsea Island is one of the largest islands in Poole Harbour, in the county of Dorset. This national trust island is one of the best places to photograph and see red squirrels, which are extinct in many UK locations. The squirrels on the islands are still shy but it is easiest and the best to try and spot them during sunrise and sunset during Spring and Autumn for excellent photography opportunities.

There is also a large population of Sika-Deer on the island that are excellent to photography if you have the chance. This is also opportunities to photograph wild peacocks on the island!

 

 

Snettisham, Norfolk, England

Snettisham is a small village located near the west coast of Norfolk. It is the location of the Snettisham RSPB Nature Reserve which is home to two of the UK’s greatest wildlife spectaculars! If you are visiting Snettisham during high tide, visitors and photographers can watch the incoming tide displace thousands of wading birds from their feeding grounds.

If you are visiting during winter at both dusk and dawn you can view thousands of pink-footed geese flying in the iconic v-formation between their feeding grounds and their night-time roosts. Snettisham provides you with a lot of excellent photograph opportunities with a variety of different species of wildlife!

 

 

Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands, Scotland

The Cairngorms are a mountain range in the eastern highlands of Scotland. The Cairngorms provide a unique habitat to many rare birds and animals. Some speciality bird species that can be seen on the Cairngorms include ptarmigan, dotterel, snow bunting, golden eagle, ring ouzel and red grouse. Occasionally you can see snowy owls, twites, purple sandpipers and Lapland buntings.

You can also see mammal species whilst in the Cairngorms. These include mountain hare, red deer and the only reindeer herd in the British Isles. The Cairngorms national park is certainly a spot to capture images of rare and exciting wildlife species. All set on a beautiful backdrop, your photographs are bound to turn out stunning!

 

 

The New Forest National Park, Southern England

The New Forest is one of the latest remaining areas of enclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England. It is host to a large array of wildlife ranging from your common shrew, wild ponies, hedgehog, reptiles and even deer.

There is an array of walking and cycling trails for you to follow, giving you a lot of opportunity to explore this wildlife haven and take some stunning images. If it is deer’s or even the rare stalking fox, you are wanting to photography you may want to venture into the trees to find these stunning animals who hide away!

 

 

Your Garden or Local Park, Near You!

You don’t need to venture far from home to capture excellent wildlife photography. Your garden or local park are both excellent locations to capture stunning wildlife images. All you need to do is find a quiet spot in your local park and set up your equipment, then wait! You never know what birds or wildlife you might have the opportunity to photograph.

When it comes to photographing wildlife in your garden there are a few things that you can do to attract more wildlife to you! You can leave out bird feeders to attract different types of bird species. You can also build hedgehog homes to not only attract hedgehogs to your garden but also to provide them with somewhere safe to visit. Your garden will provide you with a lot more photography opportunities than you think it will!

 

 

Feeling Inspired?

Enter your wildlife images into April’s Digital Splash Awards, where you could win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers and the chance to enter The Final to win a further £500!

As the 2019 Digital Splash Awards are in full swing, we thought you might like a little more inspiration from another of our past winners.  So if you’re looking for a little encouragement to enter this year’s competition, read on!

 

Mike Martin won the Portrait award in our monthly competitions, plus went on to secure 3rd place in the overall Digital Splash Photographer of the Year awards.

 

We caught up with Mike to find out more about is photography, what drives him, his creativity and his prolific competition spirit!

 

How did you first get into photography?

I’ve had a camera since I was a kid for holidays and the like.  Whilst at University I relied upon photography to share my then love of potholing; it was the only means of sharing the experience with my parents.  Fast forward to 1991 on relocating to Bristol, I joined a camera club and that started me on my photographic journey.

 

 

What was your first camera and what were you first interests in photography?

My first camera was a Boots Beiretta, followed by a Fuji SLR.  This was soon followed by a succession of Pentax cameras until I switched to Olympus in 2016. Photography started with the usual holiday snaps, then a bit of cave photography followed by the obligatory family shots when the kids came along.  However, my first serious interest came when I joined a local camera club and started entering competitions.  About the same time I had the opportunity to photograph farms, farm animals and equipment for an agricultural agency and that covered some of my costs as far as buying gear and film.

 

 

How have your photographic interests & style developed over time?

From my first contact with camera clubs I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of image subjects and styles; this encouraged me to experiment with different approaches and techniques.  From the early days I used Photoshop creatively, scanning 35mm slides.

I’ll give anything a go really, or as I say “if it moves, shoot it, if it doesn’t, shoot it anyway”.

I love wildlife, though struggle with that genre (other than macro insects) and enjoy fantastic landscapes – though I lack the patience to wait for the right light.  I’m not a fan of travelling to a specific location on the off chance that the light may be OK.  Photographing people is much easier in that respect as they come to you or vice versa. Additionally, I used to do a lot of street photography; commuting to London frequently, I always carried a camera (even if just a simple compact) and would often take photos walking between the station and the office.  This also spurred my interest in architecture and night photography.

Whilst I take and make images for myself, I do enjoy entering competitions and find they are a great way to gauge how good you are and provide the impetus to think and try something new. Similarly, workshops are a great way to develop your skills.

 

 

You won the Portraits category of DSA and obviously celebrating 3rd in the overall DSA annual awards – with a fabulous portrait image – are portraits your main interest these days?

My main interest: photography!  Whilst many specialise in a particular style or genre, I enjoy looking at most subjects and even those that I don’t particularly like, I can appreciate the skill demonstrated by the photographer.

I do take a lot of people photos – but I’d say the key driver for me is the creativity…. my portraits provide an opportunity to shape an image.  When I’m lecturing, I say to people, every time you press the shutter, there must have been something that motivated you to do so.  Sometimes you have to work harder to “find” the picture, the mood, the concept, that inspired you to take it and that’s where my creativity comes in.

 

 

There’s a strong creative/art theme in your work – how does this manifest itself – do you visualise what you want to create, so you have a theme, or how to you start your projects/shoots?

There’s no single answer to this.  Sometimes I have an idea or concept in mind, either my own or that of the make-up artist or model, and although that is a start point, all of my images are a collaboration by everyone involved.  Some are very elaborate requiring planning outfits, location, accessories, though these still rely upon me to interpret and capture the mood, others are entirely freestyle, winging it on the day so to speak and relying upon a bit of luck to be successful.  Because I shoot for myself rather than clients, I’m not afraid to fail so don’t have to play it safe and am free to experiment.  That said, I do believe in stacking the odds in my favour, so regularly take a random selection of bits and pieces in case they may be useful.

 

 

Your ‘created images’ gallery has some really interesting images and themes – what do you use to create these?  In camera features, photoshop, a particular App?  Always a camera, or phone too?

I always use the best camera I can – the one I have with me!  Then, I’ll use any or all the tools available to me whether in camera features (image stacking, intentional camera movement, long exposure), specific lenses, natural and/or artificial lighting, etc.  I’ll then play with the images, using Lightroom, Photoshop, OnOne perfect suite, Nik Silver Efex depending upon what I’m trying to achieve, be it to simplify the image, make the most of what you’ve got or adding bits from my vast library of images (over 90 thousand images in my main catalogue).

 

 

How did your winning image come to be?  It’s technically excellent and beautifully lit.  Tell us more!!  Did you have this image in your mind and make it happen?

Paul (the model) and I have worked together many times – I’m not sure really where the idea came from.  He asked Bridget (the make-up artist) and we got together with the studio owner and two other models and just messed about with some ideas; loads of ideas.  For the shoot, Paul was painted black and the girls painted white. We took it in turn shooting them individually, in groups, etc – not sure where the idea of the white hand-print came from – but the “wreath” was a simple Christmas decoration lying in the studio that we just wrapped around him, look carefully and you’ll see the LEDs too.   For those interested, its lit with a single beauty dish above then processed in Lightroom / Photoshop / Silver Efex. Kit wise it was shot on: Olympus EM1 Mark II, 40-150mm f/2.8pro, at 55mm (110mm equiv) 1/200th sec at f/13.

 

 

What do you find as your biggest challenges?  What are the most difficult aspects of photography for you?

The biggest challenge…. people – they are busy, they have lives and finding time can be difficult.  The most difficult… trying to photograph birds in flight – I rarely get them in the viewfinder let alone in focus!

What would be your next ‘dream’ shoot (any genre, any location!)

Something monumental like an extravagant over the top designer fashion shoot with top models across a number of epic locations in Iceland… Miss Aniela hosted one three or four years ago and I still get fired up every time I see the behind the scenes video.  Going to have to keep fingers crossed for the EuroMillions win for that one though!

 

 

How did you hear about the Digital Splash Awards and what made you enter?  

A friend suggested I give it a try.  Why did I enter, because I thought I could win!

Competitions & awards are obviously a big interest for you (See this page on Mike Martin’s website)! Does this kind of recognition drive you – does it inspire you to do more?  Tell us more, as you’re quite prolific!

Competitions are a big part of my photography, I am competitive and I like winning.  But it’s also about stretching myself, trying something new, trying to be better. The best way of learning is to surround yourself with people who are better than you.  And, it’s about giving back too – sharing how you did something and trying to encourage others to give it a go, trying to inspire others.

 

 

Learning is a big part of the Wilki ethos – is there anything new you’d like to try – kit, genre, technique etc?  

Given the chance – I’d like to have a go at underwater fashion shots.  Somewhat more realistically, I’d like to finally nail bird photography!

If you could shoot with any other photographer for a day, who would you spend your day with & why?

Von Wong… he does so much over the top photography!   Everything is 100% adrenaline fuelled.    In total contrast, perhaps a day with Tesni Ward photographing hares?  Or, a day with Lindsay Adler on a high fashion shoot (she was inspirational with her global Creative photo challenges in 2016 – it was awesome to be shortlisted in seven of the eight challenges and to win one!)

 

 

You have recently retired, which must allow you much more time to enjoy photography?

After graduating I joined Lloyds Bank… after 34 years, 30+ commuting to/from London I thought it was time to give it a break when offered early retirement.  Yes it does give me more time for photography, and more time for the family too (although grown up).  Photographing people is still constrained by their availability too. And, the reduced pension has diminished my spending capability.

However, it has given me time to join and get involved in another camera club, give time to volunteering assisting photographer with disabilities, do a spot of judging and top of the list, time to give some photography talks to camera clubs….

I’ve already visited quite a number of clubs, approaching 20 bookings for 2019-20.  I get a real buzz from these, inspiring people to have a go and sharing how easy it is to create some of the images.  (See link below if you’re interested in booking Mike for a camera club talk)

 

 

Any big plans going forward?  

Big plans – to have my own studio – but got to keep buying the Euromillions tickets and crossing my fingers for that one!

Slightly smaller plans – see how the summer workshops go!

I’ve still got some dates available for camera club (or other group) talks on creative portraiture so it would be good to fill those slots.

 

 

Thank you Mike for your time and for allowing us such a fascinating peek behind the scenes!

 

Find out more:

Mike has a huge collection of very inspirational mages, a selection of which can be seen (together with contact details) on his website Mike Martin Photography, or you can follow Mike on Photocrowd (community members only) or on Instagram @mikemartin247!

 

Could you be next years Digital Splash Awards winner? Visit the Digital Splash Awards website to find more information and enter the monthly competitions!

 

All images featured Copyright Mike Martin Photography.

As the Digital Splash Awards 2019 are now in full swing, the Wilki team have been finding out more about last year’s winners. 

 

Scooping a well deserved (and very close) second place, was Richard Adams with his enchanting picture of a harvest mouse, enjoying a rain shower amongst the autumn blackberries. A difficult image to capture, and one, which got us all wondering ‘how did he do that?’

 

We spoke to Richard, to find out more about his photography and how he managed to capture that mysterious ‘rearing’ mouse!

 

Let’s get started with how did you get into photography?

I bought my first Camera approximately 4-5 years ago after deciding I needed a hobby/distraction to help take control of my PTSD.

 

 

Your winning photograph – tell us a bit more about the story behind it and how you managed to capture such a great image. Those are some pretty good mouse stalking skills!

 

I was told of a nest/re-population program, so decided to get there before sunrise and set up my hide.  I was there around 6-8 hours and encountered every form of weather in that time.

 

The Harvest Mouse is a British born rodent that has near enough become extinct in the wild. Now there are small dedicated teams up and down the country breeding them to release once they reach a certain age.

 

Due to the Harvest Mouse being very small, the trick is to frame the image and then patiently wait for them to come into shot. I now believe that the mouse reared up because of my hearing aids whistling due to the damp air.

 

 

Is wildlife your main photographic interest?

I seem to have fallen into wildlife as it allows me to escaped from the daily grind. That said, I’m always up for trying any genre of photography.

 

What’s your dream photographic location/bucket list trip?

 

Now, that is a very easy question to answer!

 

I served 19 years of a 22 year contract in the RAF, but I was medically discharged after being diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and Pelligrini Steida Syndrom, I was later diagnosed with PTSD from my Cat 6 repair work (recovering and repairing crashed aircrafts). I also have binaural hearing loss.

 

Some may find it surprising, but I would dearly love to return to the Falkland Islands.  Unfortunately I wasn’t interested in photography when I was posted there, but it has everything a photographer would want to shoot and I’d love to go back.

 

To put it simply, it’s such a beautiful, peaceful place (if you overlook the large airbase!). Wildlife comes up close to you without any sign of fear (though it is wise to give the Elephant Seals a wide berth!) and you soon forget the madness of the UK. These days, photography also helps to calm my mind as I sometimes get very anxious when I’m around people.

 

 

How did you hear about Digital Splash Awards?

 

It was an off-chance Facebook advert that took me to the Digital Splash Awards, I entered without any though of such an amazing result. Thank goodness I did!

 

 

Thank you Richard for your time and allowing us such a fascinating peak behind the scenes.

 

Find out more:

Richard has a huge collection of inspirational images that you can see by following Richard on Instagram @captured_moments_photographyuk!

 

Could you be next years Digital Splash Awards winner? Visit the Digital Splash Awards website to find more information and enter the monthly competitions!

 

All images featured Copyright Richard Adams Photography.

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Edmondson, company director and James Pinder, creative assistant and in-house videographer, were recently invited to Rome to try out the Fujifilm X-T30. Find out what they got up and some initial thoughts on the new mirrorless camera from Fujifilm as  Paul tells you his thoughts on the camera whilst taking you through their visit to Italy’s capital.

 

Our journey starts after a day at work where we rush out of the office (rushing was soon to become a recurring theme on this trip!) and onto the express train down to London Euston, before getting the tube over to Heathrow. We ended up standing because it was busy and I had a rather embarrassing moment when an act of kindness was slightly misplaced – a young man stood from the priority seat he’d occupied and offered it to me. I declined, red faced. For those that don’t know me, I’m really not that old and I’d like to believe I’ve not changed dramatically from my younger days as an athlete! James was and still is chuckling about this and delighted in telling everyone back at the office when we returned.

 

 

At 5.30am the following morning we met up with Fujifilm and the other people on the trip; a couple of other retailers, but mainly journalists. We each received an X-T30 with XF 18-55mm lens, memory cards and batteries and then it was time to board the plane to Rome. Or at least it would have been if James hadn’t been stopped by security and the entire contents of his backpack laid out and checked! Fortunately, they decided he wasn’t a security risk and we made it on board. 2 hours later we touched down at Fiumicino airport pleasantly surprised by the 18 degree temperatures!

 

 

We were met by Jessie, our tour-guide for the duration of our stay in Rome and we quickly dumped our bags at the hotel eager to get out with the X-T30 as we enjoyed lunch by some ancient ruins.

The first thing that impressed me about the camera was its size; lovely and small, not too heavy, perfect for that city break. I automatically used the viewfinder rather than using the screen and I’m glad I did – it’s brilliant! The clarity of this viewfinder comes really close to the real thing. The addition of a joystick which you can use to select AF points and various functions is a great and one you can use whilst you’ve got your eye up to the viewfinder.

 

 

After lunch, we followed Jessie to our activity for the afternoon. If you ever find yourself in Rome, I’d strongly recommend making this a before lunch activity.

We were put into groups of three then handed a hair net and a crash helmet! Yes, we were off on a Tuk-Tuk tour around Rome. Now, the Romans were magnificent when it came to their architecture, however their mostly cobbled roads don’t go hand-in-hand with a 3-wheeled Tuk-Tuk!

We tried our very best to take pictures whilst on the go, however it was a little bumpy, to say the least. “Image stabilisation,” I hear you say.

While the X-T30 doesn’t have in-body IS, we did use Fujifilm’s image stabilized XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4,0 R LM OIS Lens which was a great combination and with it, I managed to get some sharp pictures. It’s more that taking pictures on a fast-moving Tuk-Tuk hurtling over a cobbled street, trying to concentrate on getting the shot and seeing either through the viewfinder or on the screen… is almost impossible!

 

 

Our wonderful drivers did stop off on a few occasions to allow us to take some of the most spectacular views Rome had to offer and Jessie did a sterling job of the history.

The first stop was a park, located on a hill side overlooking Piazza del Popolo and the views of the city were spectacular. The Fujifilm XF 18-55mm performed well here; I’ve used this lens on many occasions and its optical performance is excellent. It’s compact and lightweight, whilst have the feeling of a premium lens.

 

 

After snapping away for 10 minutes or so it was back on the Tuk-Tuk and off to the second location, which was the Gianicolo fountain on the opposite side of the city. From here you could see the mountains in the very distance and the sheer size of the city.

By this time the light had started to fail, but the X-T30 continued to perform well.

 

 

Our final stop of the day, the Colosseum, it was spectacular, even if we didn’t have the time to go inside. My imagination ran wild with what the noise must have been like when it was filled with the thousands of people chanting and cheering. The sun just managed to make an appearance as it was setting which gave a wonderful glow to the Colosseum. The exposure compensation dial came in useful here, perfectly positioned on the top right-hand side of the camera.

 

 

Back to the hotel, whilst enjoying a cool bottle of beer it gave me chance to set up the Auto ISO HDR function on the camera before we headed out to dinner. This setting would hopefully allow me to produce some great night shots of the city. We had a short walk to the restaurant; however, it took ages to get there as the offering of photographic opportunities kept on coming! Now in darkness, I couldn’t believe what we saw. Rome looked completely different by night. The beautifully lit architecture ensured that every corner we turned there was just shot after shot. Even more photographic opportunities presented at the restaurant, which had rooftop views over the city of Rome.

The X-T30 performed brilliantly throughout; every image I took handheld was perfectly exposed and the OIS worked a treat! I didn’t take this technology for granted either, I remember the film days when getting shots like these took a huge amount of work and was very hit and miss.

 

 

Our second (and final!) day in Rome saw us heading to the Supreme Court of Cassation. Here we had around three hours of free time so it was time to shoot some video. We found a great location down by the river where – take a look for yourself.

Just a short walk took us to The Vatican. What an amazing sight, the sheer size of this building and the detail in the architecture is incredible. This was a fantastic end to our trip to Rome before we rushed off to the airport for our flight home.

 

 

Remember at the beginning of this story when we said the theme of this trip would be rushing? We rushed to London, rushed around Rome and then our plane landed 45 minutes late, leaving us with just over an hour to do a journey taking… just over an hour! We all but threw our X-T30 back to Fujifilm, then sprinted to the Underground station at Heathrow, bags and backpacks flailing around us.

The timing was perfect, we got straight on the Underground at Heathrow, before another sprint between platforms onto the line for Euston. The tube was definitely in our favour. Then one final sprint through Euston and down to the platform. Puffing and panting, bags everywhere people were laughing as us as we ran past! But, it was totally worth it as we ran down the ramp and saw our train on the platform… leaving. The last train back to Preston was leaving without us! What an end to an otherwise brilliant, although fast-paced, trip to Rome!

 

 

We both really enjoyed using the Fujifilm X-T30 and I’d genuinely buy this camera as a travel camera. It’s small, light, easy to use, but also full of features and the lens is great quality and versatile. View the video we shot in Rome on YouTube  and find out more about the X-T30.

(In case you’re wondering, we did make it back to Preston. The Virgin staff were brilliant and made sure we got onto a train to Manchester so we could at least get a little nearer to home!)

 

 

 

Interested in the Fujifilm X-T30? You can order it now on our website!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Last year saw a fabulous selection of photography entered into our Digital Splash Awards, with the quality of images higher then ever, both technically and in terms of overall inspiration!

 

We thought it would be interesting to find out a bit more about our 2018 award winners, starting with the overall Digital Splash Photographer of the Year winner, James Rushforth.

 

Splitting his time between the UK and the Italian Dolomites (and often spotted in his converted Fiat Ducato, called Max), we managed to catch up with James between adventures, to find out more background on his amazing images, his adventures and the challenges faced by an award winning adventure photographer, author and tutor.

 

How did you first get into photography, was it through your love of extreme sports? What was the journey?

It all happened very much by accident, I left university not really knowing what I wanted to do and ended up climbing in the Alps. I wrote several articles on my experiences and was contacted by a publisher who was looking to produce a guidebook to the region. Without really knowing what I was getting myself into I began work on my first book – a climbing guide to the Italian Dolomites.

As I began putting it together I wanted to convey how the region had captivated me not only with its exceptional climbing but also the stunning nature of the surrounding scenery. I bought a camera (a little Canon G12 – I recall shuddering at the thought of spending £380, were photographers all mad?) and never looked back. Since then I’ve published books about skiing, mountaineering, climbing, via ferrata and photography. I now divide my time between writing guidebooks and running workshops all over the world.

 

 

Tell us a bit more about your sporting background – as an accomplished skier, climber & mountaineer, this must be a huge advantage?

Learning to rock climb was a natural progression from an enjoyable childhood spent exploring North Wales and the Lake District with my family. I worked at several indoor climbing walls whilst at university which stood me in good stead for the big walls of the Dolomites. Rapid progression was quickly slowed by the yearly snowfall and this naturally lead to a ski touring apprenticeship, first on gentle slopes and then ever more serious terrain. The next decade was spent in search of the perfect line, both in ascent and descent.

The climbing and mountaineering provided an excellent springboard into the photography world, allowing me to tap into a smaller niche market to get established. Not only were there some unique opportunities for extreme sports shoots, the climbing and mountaineering also allowed me to access some very remote landscape locations that were inaccessible to most photographers.

 

 

Travel is obviously in your blood and with four books on the Dolomites under your belt – why the particular interest in that specific area?

I fell in love with the Dolomites when I first visited shortly after finishing university. I’ve seen many of the world’s mountain ranges and they are still by far my favourite. The Dolomite rock forms impossibly steep faces that rise like precipitous monoliths (if you’ll excuse the melodrama) straight out of the alpine meadows. You can walk through the flowers and go and put your hands straight on a rock face that then rises up for a vertical kilometre. There’s a lifetime’s worth of climbing, skiing and photography to be done. One project led into another as I explored the region more and more, alternating between working for outdoor companies and living out of a van. I made some great friends and loved the local culture (and pizza).

I’m currently hoping to buy a house in Lienz (Brexit pending) which is perfectly situated between the Austrian Alps and the Dolomites.

 

 

Tell us about the lifestyle, is it all as good as it sounds?

I quite frequently get emails telling me I ‘live the dream’ and how envious people are of the lifestyle. But like any job where you only see the finished product, it’s easy to overly romanticise the work. I quite frequently spend six months away on my own in the van for a particular project and it can get quite lonely. I’ve just spent the last year exploring some of the remotest parts of Iceland and Greenland and it’s not unusual to go a couple of weeks without seeing another person. I’ve found audio books are the key, it’s nice to hear another voice!

For every successful photo that makes it into the book, there are three or four failed attempts that do not. People looking at the finished images don’t see all the times you got up at 3am, ascended 800m up a mountain in the dark with 5 kilos of camera kit, got nothing and came back down.

But, all that said, it is lovely work and I wouldn’t change it. You just have to accept there are some sacrifices that have to be made.

 

 

What are the biggest challenges you face shooting this kind of photography? Particularly in capturing your breathtaking adventure images.

With adventure photography, the greatest challenge is invariably one of logistics. For example, the winning image of Lynne traversing on Via Myriam required some careful planning and forethought. We had to climb with an extra rope, additional gear for anchors and abseiling as well as camera equipment. I had to climb this particular pitch first and then abseil back down for the photo. I really wanted some background light which required the right weather, but I didn’t want the scene backlit which necessitated a late start. If the light doesn’t play ball you have to come back and do it all again. Not to mention you have to find a sportsperson up to the task as well as having a third member to belay.

The same applies for ski mountaineering when you often have a very narrow window of opportunity with regards to suitable conditions for skiing the steeper lines. It requires a lot of patience and persistence.

 

 

What’s ‘the shot’ you’d most love to bag?

I’m not sure if there’s a particular shot that stands out, but I love chasing all things ephemeral; be it a receding ice cave, a particularly impressive showing of the northern lights, wolves in the Dolomites (they’re so hard to find) or that breaching Humpback Whale shot I’ve been after for so long. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), as with climbing and skiing as soon as you accomplish one goal you instantly go in search of another.

How did you hear about the Digital Splash Awards and what made you enter?

I actually didn’t know about the Digital Splash awards until a friend made the finals of last year’s competition. I made a mental note to check back the following year and enter some images.  I was already aware of Wilkinson Cameras, having purchased several lenses in the past.

 

 

Your workshops:  Iceland, Greenland, Dolomites. These are some of the most popular photography locations worldwide, what do you offer clients – what are you aims for these trips and your guests?

I work closely with a small family run company, ‘Wild Photography Holidays’, to offer small and personalised workshops. Everyone who works for the company knows the areas intricately, has written guidebooks or lives in the area themselves, giving the staff excellent local knowledge. The aim is to ensure guests get a good strong set of diverse images, learn something new and ultimately have a great holiday.

 

 

Where/what’s next?

I’ve spent the last few years exploring and photographing Iceland which has been a fantastic experience from start to finish. I’m currently in the process of assembling an Icelandic photography guide for publisher fotoVUE, which we hope to have on the shelves by the end of this year. The content is largely finished which unfortunately means the next nine months are going to be largely office based.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone just getting into photography – and what’s been your biggest ‘learn’?

My usual advice is just ‘relax and enjoy it’.

So many people make photography far more complicated than it needs to be, or have very strict ideas on how something should be achieved. If it works for you and you like it, then keep doing it; don’t be afraid to experiment and ignore the ‘rules’.

I often recommend photography as a hobby as it gets people out of the house, makes people look much more closely at the world around them and also provides them with something tangible to show for their efforts.

I think my own personal breakthrough came when I discovered how little you actually need to use a tripod with modern cameras. This gave me a lot more freedom both in terms of weight saving and logistics, allowing me to shoot from a variety of different vantage points much faster.

 

 

The one photographer or extreme sports person – dead or alive – you’d like to meet and why?

I’ve always had a fascination with Emilio Comici (Nicknamed the ‘Angel of the Dolomites’), an Italian climber from the Val Gardena who put up many new climbing routes throughout the Dolomites during the early 1900s. He was famous for promoting ‘direttissima’ routes, or as he described it, following the route a drop of water would take down the mountain. Having cursed my way up many of his routes with modern climbing shoes, ropes and equipment I can only imagine what it was like with a hemp rope and hobnailed boots, not knowing if the climb they’d set out on was even possible.

 

 

And finally, what’s your favourite/must have piece of kit or photo accessory?

It sounds like brand advertising (and I guess it is) but I’m currently in love with the new Circular Magnetic Filters from Breakthrough Photography. No light leakage and they just snap on and off making them wonderfully convenient, especially in the Arctic when you’ve always got cold hands.

What gear do you use?  (We also asked to take a peek inside James’s camera bag, as we’re nosey like that!!)

Cameras:  

  • Nikon D810 with Kirk BL-D800 L-Bracket
  • Nikon D850 with Kirk BL-D850 L-Bracket

Lenses:

  • Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens
  • Nikon 20mm f1.8 G AF-S ED Lens
  • Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens
  • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 II AF-S VR ED G Lens
  • Nikon 300mm f2.8 G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Lens

Converters:

  • Nikon TC-14E AF-S Teleconverter III
  • Nikon TC-20E AF-S Teleconverter III

Tripod:         

  • Gitzo GT3542LS Series 3 6X Systematic Tripod
  • Induro BHL1 Ball Head

Filters:     

  • Breakthrough Photography 77mm Magnetic Adapter Wheel
  • Breakthrough Photography X4 ND Filter (6 stop)
  • Breakthrough Photography X4 ND Filter (10 stop)
  • Breakthrough Photography X4 UV Filter (x3)

 

 

Thank you James for your time and for allowing us such a fascinating peek behind the scenes!

 

Enjoyed this feature?  To find out more about James, his work, books and workshops then why not pop along to:

 

Website:      www.JamesRushforth.com

Facebook:      @JamesRushforthPhotography 

Instagram:    @james.rushforth

Could you be next years Digital Splash Awards winner? Visit the Digital Splash Awards website to find more information and enter the monthly competitions!

 

All images featured Copyright James Rushforth Photography.

In the lead up to Christmas we are all looking to give gifts to our loved ones. Sometimes it is difficult to think of gifts that are not only unique, but also creative and will bring a smile to the gift receivers face. Photographs are the perfect thing to use to create these beautiful gifts. Here are Wilkinson Camera’s top photo gifts for Christmas, from CEWE PhotoWorld, our award winning photo printing partner.

Advent Calendars

In the lead up to Christmas everyone loves an advent calendar, but why go for a traditional advent calendar when you can make it unique. Cewe Photoworld offers a range of unique advent calendars that feature your favourite photos. You can add your image to the front of the advent calendar to make it completely personalised, with images of your family, favourite places, landscapes or memories. These advent calendars can be filled with Kinder, Ferrero or premium chocolates. The option is also available to choose a deluxe chocolate advent calendar, which can be personalised and is filled with exquisite chocolates.

Another option the Cewe Photoworld offers a photo advent calendar with a main photo on the front and different photos behind all 24 doors. Finally, Cewe Photoworld offers a fill your own advent calendar. You can fill it with anything you like, such as toy, allergy-friendly treats or trinkets, it is entirely up to you. This option is completely unique and can be personalised with your favourite image.

Christmas Cards

Sharing well-wishes with our family and friends throughout the Christmas season is something that we all do. What better way to do this than with personalised Christmas cards. You can create your own designs using your own photo of choice, you can even add some text. Not only that, but you can choose from Cewe Photoworld’s huge range of great design templates to give your Christmas cards a unique touch. These cares available in sets of 10 with envelopes.

Photo Mugs

In the cold months of winter there is nothing better than drinking from your favourite mug. This year why not create your family and friends a special personalised mug. There are many different mug varieties to choose from on Cewe Photoworld. Choose from a latte or panoramic mug, perfect for landscape photos. Or, a porcelain or standard mug, perfect for your cherished photo memories. There is also the coloured inside mug that is perfect for any photo with the added aspect of an interior colour for a more personal touch. Finally, Cewe Photoworld offers the magic mug, that will magically reveal your chosen photo when you add hot liquid.

Magnet Photo Collage

Every year we take hundreds of pictures and a lot of the time they stay on our camera and phones. The magnet photo collage makes a brilliant gift and an excellent way to display your photos. The best part about this magnet photo collage is that you can update your artwork with new photo magnets whenever you want! All you need to do is remove a photo magnet from the collage and replace it with another magnet. Use it to display your family photos, favourite landscapes or any pictures you are looking to display. It can even be updated throughout the year as you take more and more pictures.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Whilst the weather is bad over the Christmas season, a jigsaw is the perfect thing to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day. These aren’t just normal jigsaws though; this puzzle is personalised with you very own pictures. This lets you piece together a familiar scene, a beautiful landscape or a special memory. You can even scan in your children’s artwork or write a message that is only revealed when the jigsaw is completed. The more colours and intricate details your image contain, the longer the puzzle will take you to complete. You can choose from a 500, 1000 or 1500 piece puzzle.

Photo Strip

Everyone loves to display or share their favourite photos and we are always looking for new creative ways to do this. If you are looking for a cool, contemporary way to display your photographs, Photo Strips are the gift for you. The images of your choice will be directly printed onto high quality acrylic or aluminium, with each photo being reproduced in brilliant colour and detail! There is a range of sizes available and different sizes can hold a different number of images. Select the photos that make you smile to create a piece of art you can enjoy all year round. The options are unlimited when it comes to choosing photographs for your Photo Strip. You could select photos with a certain colour scheme to match a room, or even create a special gift by featuring your favourite pictures of a friend or loved one. The Photo Strips are available in the sizes; 15 x 60cm, 15 x 90cm, 20 x 80cm, 20 x 120cm.

And more…

Cewe Photoworld offers many more photo gifts that are perfect for Christmas! You can also create personalised snow globes, t-shirts, sweatshirts, playing cards, clocks, notebooks, photobooks, photo prints and much more. You won’t be short of gift choices on Cewe Photoworld.

 

 

Over the last month we’ve seen major ‘full frame’ mirrorless launches from both Canon and Nikon – so is now the time to make the move?

 

DSLR or Mirrorless remains a good question – but a blend of both can be the perfect solution.  We caught up with Andrew Wilson, a previous Wilki Blog guest, who’s recently joined the mirrorless revolution, but still firmly hanging on to his DSRL kit too – for now!

 

Would you like to be our next blog guest? Customer Focus is our new feature where we focus on you! If you’d like to be featured, then please get in touch and tell us a little bit about yourself. Maybe you have a passion for landscapes, run a photography club or photography has helped you overcome a hurdle in life. We’d love to hear your story and hopefully share it too!*

 

What tempted you to try mirrorless, having resisted for quite some time?

I actually tried the Fujifilm X-T2 on a workshop back at Digital Splash 2016 and liked it then. Since then I kept on looking at mirrorless cameras at photo shows, but it was my wallet and sensible side that resisted for a while! This past year I found myself using my Canon 6D more often when going away over my 5D Mark III to save on weight, so I started thinking about mirrorless again as a further weight-saver.

Wilkinson Cameras were running a spend-and-save deal after opening the new store in Liverpool and Fujifilm had brought the price down on the X-T2, so I was able to get a really great deal on the body for £879 along with a three-year warranty – it seemed like too good of a deal to miss and time to buy the X-T2! I also thought it would be nice to treat myself to a new camera and to expand my equipment choice.

 

Giant Spectacular Little Boy Giant taken using Fujifilm X-T2

You said you purchased a Fujifilm X-T2 – which lenses have you chosen to go with that body & why?

I decided to go with the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F/2.8 WR zoom lens for now as I wanted a quality walk-around lens that would cover the focal lengths I would likely shoot at when out-and-about. As much as I like using prime lenses, changing lenses isn’t always convenient when travelling with others in busy environments. Also, the cost of buying several primes to cover the same shooting range would cost more than the 16-55mm. It’s a bit of a hefty lens so I knew I would be losing some of the weight advantage of buying in to a Fujifilm mirrorless system, but the overall package was still lighter than the equivalent of what I was using. It also lacks OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), but I figured I would typically be shooting at fast enough shutter speeds to compensate for this, but when it came to having a quality lens (both in terms of optics and build) that had a fixed aperture of F/2.8 and weather sealing, this seemed like the best lens for me to start with.

 

Fujifilm X-T2 and 16-55mm f/2.8 lens setup

Why Fujifilm over say Sony or any of the other brands?

Well I have to admit I’m still interested (and somewhat tempted!) by the Sony Alpha series cameras, but one camera at a time for now! It’s hard not to notice the progress and development Sony has made with their cameras.

Admittedly I’m not that knowledgeable on some of the other mirrorless brands, so it was between Fujifilm and Sony for me. They seem to be the two main camera companies who have become more innovative and bolder in the past few years.

When it came to going with Fujifilm there was a certain “something” about their line of cameras that I wanted to give a go. On an aesthetic and functional level, I like the design of the cameras, which remind me of using my Canon AE-1 Program 35mm film camera, but I also like Fujifilm’s clever approach to releasing firmware updates that improve performance and introduce new features to their cameras.

 

Coastal Walk Santander taken on Fujifilm X-T2

How do you find the Fujifilm compares to your Canon DSLR? Likes & dislikes of both?

When comparing my Fuji X-T2 against my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 6D this is what I like:

  • Lighter and smaller camera body
  • EVF (Electronic View Finder). For me it makes shooting quicker as I get a preview of the exposure for the final photo before I’ve even taken it
  • Manual focus assist options. Of the two manual focus assist options (Digital Split Image and Focus Peak Highlight) the Focus Peak is my favourite as it overlays an outline to hard edges and textures in focus in white, red or blue. You can also zoom-in when looking through the viewfinder to give you that extra bit of help
  • Customisation of buttons/dials. There’s a welcome amount of customisation options available on the X-T2, something I’ve never been used to with my DSLRs
  • T mode on the shutter speed dial. Allows you to set shutter speeds up to 15 minutes, useful for long exposure
  • Electronic shutter. I probably won’t use this an awful lot, but it could be useful in the right situations. It allows for a near complete silent shutter and shutter speeds up to 1/32000s
  • Aperture dial on lens. Aside from liking the feel of it, I can see the set aperture in between taking photos before even turning the camera on by just looking down at the camera. A small thing, but handy
  • Flip screen. This has come in useful for a few photos and I think for more in the future
  • In-built intervalometer and time-lapse feature

 

Shooting silently in a museum using the electronic shutter. Taken on a Fujifilm X-T2

Here are my dislikes:

  • Battery life. This is a known general weakness for mirrorless cameras, so it didn’t come as a surprise when I started using my X-T2. I’ve found shooting solidly for a whole day will run a battery down, so I bought a spare battery for going away just in case
  • Ergonomics of the grip. My DSLRs have a fuller rounded grip, which I find more comfortable to use. I bought the metal hand-grip attachment (MHG-XT2) for the X-T2 to bulk out the grip and make it more comfortable
  • Auto-focus is not as reliable. I’ve noticed the occasional photo being out of focus in a sequence of photos of static subjects for no good reason
  • Fine image quality not quite on a par with my DSLRs. This is more noticeable when zooming in on the image, but really it’s not something I will worry about as lighting, composition etc. are more important factors in any photo than the rendering of pixels
  • Delay in display of the EVF. When I put my eye to the viewfinder there can be a variation in the time it takes for the EVF to display, sometimes up to a good second. If I was shooting in a situation where I needed to respond quickly to what was happening around me that could be an issue
  • Turning on the camera to view the scene through the viewfinder. With a DSLR you can look through the viewfinder and observe the scene or arrange a composition without turning on the camera. It’s not a big deal and understandable due to the design of mirrorless, but it took me a bit of getting used to always turn the camera on to do this even if I ended up not taking a photo
  • Raw files seem to take longer to render in Lightroom 6

 

Escalator in Santander taken using the flip screen on a Fujifilm X-T2

You said you intend to keep & use both systems  – how do you envisage this working? One or the other for a particular shoot, or a bit of both?

Yes for the meantime I intend to keep both and see how it goes. At the moment the way I see this working is one or the other for certain shoots, but I’m open to changing my mind.

I’m thinking DSLR for situations where carrying the additional weight is not a concern, such as shooting in a single location or somewhere like the Lake District where I’m happy to carry extra gear in my camera rucksack and have time to stop and change lenses. I also have a great macro lens and extension tubes for detailed work for my DSLRs so they’ll definitely be my go-to for that type of work.

The Fujifilm I see more for travelling or for taking out on a casual day out in case I feel like taking a few photos. I see it as a smaller and lighter alternative.

 

Long Exposure at the Lakes. Taken on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

What do you have in mind for mirrorless – do you think this will become your take anywhere camera due to smaller size etc.?

Quite possibly! I did take a DSLR out with me a fair bit and always when travelling, but the X-T2 does have that smaller form factor and is lighter which means I’m more likely to take it out with me just in case!

Would you recommend mirrorless – and if so, why?

I would recommend that people give it a try if possible – why not? It might not be for everyone, but you won’t know until you try. Even if someone didn’t buy mirrorless after trying it out, then I think it’s interesting to try out the technology and see where it’s heading within the industry. I think hybrid systems that have larger bodies with the benefits of mirrorless, like the newly announced Canon EOS R and Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras, are going to be the focus for those companies to compete with Sony.

 

Bald Eagle taken on Fujifilm X-T2

What do you see as the key benefits?

For me I’d say the smaller and lighter body and the EVF for exposure and manual focus assist. I also think the near silent electronic shutter could be useful but I think those required situations might be few and far between for me.

Is there anything about your DSLR that you just couldn’t give up?

Probably the overall image quality and low light performance from the full-frame sensor. Also they are solid and rugged pieces of kit that have lasted me really well, so I have developed trust in them as dependable and reliable kit – it’s too early for me to say the same for the X-T2. I also have some great lenses for my DSLRs so the overall kit is a bit difficult to give up just yet!

 

Iguana taken on Canon EOS 6D & EF 100mm F2.8L

If you could add one feature to mirrorless/improve one thing, what would it be?

From my experience I’d have to say improve the battery life. The newer Sony A7 cameras sound like they have improved in that area, so I think that will be a general improvement for mirrorless cameras over time.

I’m going to cheat and add one more thing – the new Canon EOS R has a shutter that covers the sensor when the lens is removed. That’s a very good idea and reduces the potential amount of dust gathered on the sensor – that could be a bit of a problem for me with the X-T2 and I can see that idea being added to other mirrorless cameras in the future.

Are you a convert?

I’m certainly happy with my X-T2 so far so I will be keeping an eye out to see how mirrorless cameras continue to develop. As I’m still planning to use my DSLRs I’m not sure if you could say I’m a convert – perhaps I’m more of a hybrid shooter?!

 

About Andrew Wilson:

Andrew Wilson is a Liverpool based photograopher, shooting mostly on a digital camera but occasionally using his film camera.

You can find out more about Andrew Wilson at awilsonphotography.com

You can also follow Andrew on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.

 

All images featured Copyright Andrew Wilson Photography.

 

*Please be aware that we cannot guarantee to feature every story or customer

 

The UK is the home of some of Europe’s best stargazing sites. Thanks to the dark skies and low light pollution ratings, the UK has more than 100 stargazing sites which makes it one of the best places to capture astrophotography shots. Astrophotography is challenging to capture even in the UK’s darkest spots. Here are Wilkinson’s top locations and tips for astrophotography in the UK.

 

Ennerdale, Lake District National Park, Cumbria

Ennerdale, located in the Lake District National Park, is one of the most remote valleys in the UK and is located almost two miles away from the nearest public road. This site has special stargazing events taking place all throughout the year. Weather permitting you can see an endless, illuminated band of countless stars across the night sky. Not only that, but you can also see meteor showers and, if you are lucky, the Milky Way! The Low Gillerthewaite Field Centre was the first Dark Sky Discovery centre in the North West of England and has attracted thousands of astrophotography enthusiasts who come to enjoy and shoot the spectacular scenery above.

Tip 1: Use a Tripod

Getting a great camera with the correct settings is always the first step. But, for great night sky images, a tripod is essential. You’ll be shooting with lower shutter speeds, so to ensure sharp images you’re going to need a tripod. Your own heart beat will result in blurry images beyond 1/60 second shutter speed and that’s assuming you aren’t shivering in the cold! (The clear skies which are so perfect for night sky photography also mean colder conditions!)

BONUS TIP: Remember to turn stabilisation off on your lens (or on your camera if you have in-build image stabilisation) when using a tripod. Having stabilisation turned on when mounting your camera on a tripod can result in blur due to how the stabilisation systems work.

 

 

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Cairngorms National Park in Scotland is the most northern National Park in the UK. It is one of the best places in the UK to perfect your astrophotography technique. The remote areas of Tomintoul and Glenlivet are particularly good for stargazing and you can see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) from the Glenlivet Estate depending on the season. Cairngorms National Park is on the same latitude as parts of Norway and Alaska, so you can see the natural wonder of the Northern Lights without having to leave the UK.

Tip 2: Use a Release Cable or Remote to Trigger the Shutter

Just as your heartbeat can sometimes affect the sharpness and clarity of your images, the movement of pressing and then releasing the shutter on your camera can do the same.  By using a shutter release cable or remote, it reduces the movement that might blur your photos further. There are a variety of remotes and release cables that you can plug right into your camera or pair via Bluetooth, meaning you can control your camera without touching it at all. Modern cameras often have the ability to be triggered by a mobile device using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This is great if you’re on a budget, but remember that this drains the battery on your camera and your phone/tablet quicker. Pair this with the cold conditions that you are likely to encounter, which also reduce battery life more quickly, and you might find yourself in trouble!

 

 

Galloway Forest National Park, Dumfries and Galloway

The Galloway Forest National Park was the first National Park in the UK to obtain a Dark Sky Status in 2009. It has been named as one of the must-visit points on a dark sky map of Scotland. You will be able to see over 7,000 stars and even the Milky Way, all of which are visible to the naked eye. At the Galloway Forest National Park we recommend visiting Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre and Bruce’s Stone for prime astrophotography opportunities. The Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre overlooks the darkest area of the Forest Park, which ensures a particularly dramatic stellar show, while Bruce’s Stone offers panoramic views of the stars over Loch Trool.

Tip 3: Bring Extra Batteries

It is easy to overlook the most important thing that you will need to bring to shoot excellent astrophotography; extra batteries! Long exposure times and cold weather at night can drain your camera batteries quickly. So, make sure you pack extra batteries whenever you’re heading out to shoot the stars.

 

 

Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

If you are looking to spot The Plough or the Polaris (most commonly known as the North Star) the best place to enjoy them is at the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. Brecon Beacons National Park is the only Dark Sky preserve in Wales and the locals are known to go to great lengths to preserve the dark sky and reduce the effects of light pollution in the Beacons. Some of the best places in the Brecon Beacons for astrophotography include the Llangorse Lake, which is the largest natural lake in South Wales and makes for great shots, as well as the Usk reservoir.

Tip 4: Learn how High your ISO can go without Noise

The higher your ISO is, the more ‘noise’ you will see in your pictures. ISO is how sensitive your camera’s sensor is. When it comes to astrophotography, noise looks a lot like colour in the sky, cloudiness and what seems to be stars everywhere. If you are looking to get this effect in your pictures, then set your ISO high. If you are looking for darker skies in your pictures, try setting your ISO lower.

 

 

Exmoor National Park, Devon

Exmoor National Park in Devon was the first international Dark Sky Reserve to be located in Europe. By visiting Exmoor in North Devon, you will be able to enjoy several astronomical beauties without the need for a telescope, which makes it a perfect astrophotography location in the UK. From Exmoor National Park you will be able to see wonders such as the Orion constellation, the Plough and parts of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) constellation depending on the season. Some of the best Dark Sky locations in Exmoor National Park are Wimbleball Lake, which is a reservoir – great for adding to your astrophotography shots – and Holdstone Hill.

 

Tip 5: Make your Aperture as Wide as Possible

It is generally a good rule of thumb to open your aperture as wide as possible to capture more light, but this depends on the lens(es) that you’re shooting with. A different way to say this is that you want your F-stop to be the lowest number possible. In most cases, an F-stop of 1.8-2.8 will be good range for astrophotography. If your lens does not go that low, you will need to set your ISO higher to make up the difference to capture more light.

 

 

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is recognised for having 26 official Dark Sky spots across the island. This is a valued attribute of the rural character and tranquillity of the island, which makes it perfect for astrophotography. Many astronomical sights can be seen with the naked eye here, including the Orion Nebula, the Milky Way and one of the Milky Way’s companion galaxies, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, depending on the season. Occasionally you can spot the Northern Lights from the North Eastern coast of the Isle of Man, making it an excellent location for astrophotography.

Tip 6: Control your Shutter to Capture the Stars

Astrophotographers aren’t all looking for the same thing: some are looking for star trails, others are looking for pin-prick stars. Depending on your preferences you will need to adjust your shutter speeds to suit the type of photo you are looking for. If you are looking for sharp, clear stars in your photos, keep your shutter speed to 15 seconds or shorter. To make sure you capture enough light to see anything at all, you’ll need a lower aperture and higher ISO. If you are looking for star trails, opt for a longer shutter speed; you can start to see star trails at 30-seconds of exposure. This again depends on your aperture, ISO and the direction you’re pointing in the sky.

 

Tip 7: Manual Focus… before you leave the house!

Autofocus systems use light; something there isn’t much of when you’re taking night sky photos! We recommend turning Auto Focus off on your lens/camera, setting the focus to infinity. Make sure you do this before you get to your location. You don’t want to be trying to find the settings in the freezing cold and dark. Then, using Live View and manual focus, set the focus on a bright object such as a star or a light in the distance. These steps, plus using a tripod, should help to ensure you have sharp images. 

 

Feeling Inspired?

Enter your Night Sky and Astrophotography images into October’s Digital Splash Awards, where you could win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers and the chance to enter The Final to win a further £500!

Autumn is the most colourful and mixed season of the year. The weather is always changing which means the scenery is always changing. The UK has many locations you can visit to take remarkable landscapes photographs in Autumn. Here are Wilkinson’s top 12!

 

The Digital Splash Awards Photography Competition theme for October 2018 is Autumn Colourenter your autumn images for a chance to win up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras Vouchers.

 

Looking for even more landscape inspiration? Take a look at our brand new (and extremely limited) Landscape Photography Weekend Workshop with David Newton & Canon.

 

Lake District, North West England 

The Lake District located in Cumbria is beautiful all year round, but especially during Autumn. There are clear days, crisp nights and there is a golden cloak of Autumnal colour that covers the hills and valleys. You can stop almost anywhere in the Lake District to take photos! Ullswater, Coniston, Grasmere, Castlerigg Stone Circle and Buttermere are just a few of the places to visit. One of the best locations is Derwent water. This is located close to Keswick, with good parking nearby. The boats, jetties and shoreline offer unlimited photography potential. Visiting in the morning offers the most atmospheric conditions, but the clear and cool nights will add interest to your shots. The Lake District is the best for panoramic views of lakes and mountains as well as lakeside shots.

Derwent Water, Lake District, North West England. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Located in Cornwall, St Michael’s Mount is a well photographed spot. The enchanting little tidal island is accessible in a few ways. At low tide you can walk across to the island using the cobbled causeway and at high tide can be accessed by boat. The mount is best shot from the beach of Marazion. At low tide the cobble causeway provides a leading line to guide the viewer’s eye towards the mount. There is plenty of parking nearby but check tide times before visiting to get the shots you want. To the east of the causeway you will find a harbour which provides an alternative view and a secondary shooting point of the mount. St Michael’s Mount is best for panoramic views of the mount and seaside shots.

St Michael's Mount. Cornwall. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

The New Forest National Park, Hampshire

The New Forest national park which is located mostly in Hampshire offers many different habitat types. Areas of oak and beech woodland, pine forest, pastureland and open heath. The national park covers 219 square miles, so it isn’t short of space. It is easily accessible by car and is nearby the small town of Lyndhurst, which hosts a helpful visitor centre and is an excellent place to start your photography. Vales Moor and Hasley Hill which are both covered in bell heather throughout Autumn is an extraordinary place to shoot. Both locations have a captivating mistiness in the morning and in the evening. The New Forest is best for stunning pond areas and misty heath purples.

The New Forest National Park, Hampshire. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Snowdonia national park which is in Northwest wales is filled with great mountains, rivers and lakeside views. There are many locations to shoot from here such as Ogwen, Llyn Gwynant, Tall-y-llyn and Capel Curig to name just a few. Here you can see breath-taking mountains mirrored in remarkably calm lakes and stunning misty valleys. The luminous greens and purples of Snowdonia capture the best moody weather and sensational landscapes. Also, Tall-y-llyn is dusted in a rusty red colouring throughout Autumn. With parking available nearby it is a location not to be missed. Snowdonia National Park is best for dramatic scenery and beautiful skies.

Snowdonia National Park, Wales. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

Richmond Park, London

Richmond Park is in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, with an uninterrupted view of St Paul’s Cathedral 12 miles away and varied landscapes of woodlands, hills and grasslands. Richmond Park is the largest royal park in London spanning 2500 acres. The Autumn season and especially the month of October sees the annual deer breeding season, which is the perfect time to visit. Red stags and fallow bucks compete for females and clash antlers with their rivals making for stunning photographs. If you got to the park early in the morning it has a thin mist that blankets the trees and ponds creating spectacular shots. There is plenty of parking around the park too. Richmond Park is best for shots of deer and wide landscape shots.

Richmond Park, London. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

Yorkshire Dales National Park, Northern England

The Yorkshire Dales national park located in the North of England hosts a variety of scenery, it is a collection of mountainous terrain, footpaths and bridleways to explore and has some bizarre ruins and rock formations. The Ribblehead Viaduct, Whernside, Cowdide Beak or Bolton Abbey are all magnificent places to go and shot some pictures. There is parking available near all the locations. At Ribblehead Viaduct the walking track leading up to the viaduct makes an alluring wavy leading line for the viewer’s eye. Also, the backlit viaduct through a silhouette into your pictures. The Yorkshire Dales national park is best for rolling green hills and curious rock formations.

Ribblehead Viaduct, Yorkshire Dales National Park. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

Jurassic Coast, East Devon to Dorset

Spanning 96 miles form East Devon to Dorset is the Jurassic coast. It has an array of cliffs and dramatic bays. Several the best places to shoot are Old Harry Rocks, Burton Bradstock, Chesil Beach and Durdle Door. Although only viewable from a few limited points the grand rock arch Durdle Door is not to be missed. Parking Is also available nearby. Durdle Door I best shot in Autumn when the sun is in a perfect position to envelope the rock arch in a warm light around sunset. Also, you can shoot on the beach with the shoreline and waves as foreground interest. The Jurassic coast is best for looming cliffs, crystal-clear sea and sandy coves.

Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast, East Devon to Dorset. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, Scotland

Located in the Scottish highland Glencoe and Rannoch Moor offers many tremendous photo opportunities. Glencoe is surrounded by towering mountain peaks, stretching from Rannoch Moor to Loch Leven. The mountain peaks during Autumn offer beautiful red and orange colourings to stand out in photographs. The Black Rock Cottage, which is a desolate cottage, dwarfed by the mountains creates a stunning foreground for photographs. In Autumn the colouring of the trees and mountain make this location seem eerie and remote. Glencoe and Rannoch Moor is best for mountain landscape photography and valley shots.

Black Rock Cottage, Glencoe, Scotland. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

Black Rock Cottage by John McSporran

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales

The Brecon Beacons national park is in South Wales. Brecon Beacons offers spectacular views, waterfalls and beautiful sunsets. Be sure to check the sunrise and sunset times before visiting to get the shots you want as they are stunning to photograph in Autumn. The red sun casts light across the national park and when caught perfectly makes for extraordinary photographs. Low cloud sometimes covers the national park with the hills sticking above the clouds, a scene and a shot not to be missed. You will never be short of dazzling locations or parking here. The Brecon Beacons national park is best for sunset and waterfall shots.

Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland

Located just five minutes’ drive from Black Rock Cottage in Glencoe is Buachaille Etive Mor. With streams, rivers, peaks and a loch, this is the best place to shoot the natural beauty of Scotland. Taking up a low viewpoint makes the most of the little waterfalls here, with the added autumnal colours making this location very impressive. Parking is available with the waterfalls being only a 30-second walkaway. Buachaille Etive Mor is the best for waterfall, rivers and peak shots.

Buachaille Etive Mor, Scotland. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe by John McSporran

Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor

Wistman’s Wood is in Dartmoor national park in Devon. Wistman’s Wood is full of green moss-covered boulders, surround by draping, dwarf oaks. As well as other locations around Dartmoor national park, Wistman’s Wood is an excellent place to take photos with an added fantasy feel. In Autumn Wistman’s Wood lookers eerier than usual. Add in some morning mist to the equation and your pictures will turn out incredible. There is parking available nearby to Wistman’s Wood as well as for the Dartmoor national park. Wistman’s Wood is best for eerie and ancient woodland shots.

Wistman's Wood, Dartmoor National Park, Dartmoor. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

River Avon, South West England

The River Avon spans a large area of South West England. Some of the best locations along the River Avon are the stretches from Trowbridge to Bath and under Clifton suspension bridge. There is parking available all around the River Avon, so you will never be short of places to stop and take some photographs. In Autumn as all the leaves are turning red, orange and brown the view from Clifton suspension bridge is astonishing. With the architecture of the bridge and the beauty of the autumnal leaves on the tress this is the perfect autumnal location! The River Avon is best for river, bridge and canal boat shots.

Clifton Suspension Bridge, River Avon, South West England. Top 12 Autumnal Landscape Locations

 

 

 

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