Tag: photography

Welcome to the final part (for now!) of our lockdown special.

Today we are going to think about the professional photographers out there – the guys and girls you look to for inspiration and adventure. Those who inspire, share, educate and capture our most precious moments.

Right now we’re all in the same boat – and it’s not sailing. Anywhere. Flights are cancelled, travel is prohibited, sporting events, weddings and family celebrations are all on hold.

For many of the full time photographers out there, the halt in income was instant. Commissions and workshops cancelled, bookings made months and even years in advance, gone.

We are super proud to see that many have risen to new challenges – taking photography tutorials on line, offering advice on coping with isolation in these difficult times and sharing their knowledge for free. Some have taken their workshops online too, with longer term courses now available to stream.

So we thought, as our final piece in this series, we should all look at ways in which we can support our favourite photographers during this period of uncertainty – and help everyone stay positive and healthy during this unprecedented time.

Buy a print, poster or card

Most professional photographers sell their images in some format. For some it’s a range of beautiful prints including investment pieces, limited edition prints, open prints and poster editions. Others may sell a wider range of cards or gifts featuring their work.

If you can spare the money right now, buy an image that will bring you joy, while supporting the photographers whose work you most admire. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Buy their book or calendar

Many professional photographers also have their own books – many of which are self-published, meaning a massive personal investment in time and money to fulfill these projects.

Books are a lovely way to access a collection of images, often finding out more regarding how the images were captured, or the stories they tell. Buying direct from the photographers not only means they get to keep more of the profit, but also means you can often get a signed copy. Sometimes these can even include a personal handwritten message – so perfect to cherish, or as a gift. Many photographers are also running discounts at the moment, so you could save some money on a planned purchase.

Calendars (yes, some 2021 calendars are already out there!!) also make great gifts and you can enjoy a collection of images, with seasonal inspiration each month.

Book a workshop

Oh man, how we are dreaming of all those beautiful places we went to, or were planning to go to! One thing we do know is that we won’t always be in lockdown and hopefully we will soon be able to start planning photo adventures once more.

Got your eye on a particular workshop for next year? Why not book it now. Pay the deposit and have something amazing to look forward to! During this ‘downtime’ many photographers are taking advantage of the extra time to plan and add even more new exciting workshops for 2021 and beyond – many offering brand new locations.

Book that shoot!

Ever fancied that family portrait shoot, a bit of beautiful boudoir, an engagement shoot or whimsical woodland styled shoot? Whatever takes your fancy, we will all be ready for some fun when this lockdown is over!

Now is the perfect opportunity to research the ideal photographer for you and book that shoot. Photographers will currently have more time to discuss ideas, locations and help ensure you get the perfect pictures when the time comes.

Buy a voucher

If you can’t afford a whole shoot or trip, consider buying a voucher towards one. Then you still have plenty of time to save up and you’ll already have a little ‘in the bank’ to help when it comes to time to book. Vouchers are perfect gifts too – so think about any special events coming up, eg. Birthdays, Fathers Day or anniversaries.

Like, share and comment on social media feeds

One thing you can do to really help your favourite photographers, which won’t cost you a penny is to like, share and comment on their social media posts to aid with engagement.

Social media platforms are always changing the rules of engagement (literally!) and by liking, commenting or sharing someone’s work, you can really help them to reach more people and grow their business. Most business pages also have the option to ‘Invite Your Friends’ – check it out and see if you can help spread the word and visual joy at the same time!

Plan ahead

Now, with all that’s going on with the current pandemic, we’re almost a bit reluctant to mention the other C-word…Christmas! (Duck for cover!) But, joking aside, if you decide to buy a book, print or any kind of gift now, once lockdown is over, you can be running around care free with your birthday and Christmas gifts already sorted. You’re welcome!

Share!

We’d love to know who your favourite photographers are and why? How did you discover them; what is it about their work that you love? Do you already have a beautiful framed print on the wall at home that makes you smile each day, or a book you revisit time and time again?

Why not hop on over to our Facebook page now and let us know who your favourite photographers are & why.

Keep in touch:

Stay Safe

The Wilki Team

These days, there are more ‘POTYs’ around than you can shake a tripod at – from Wildlife to Weddings, Landscape to Weather, Birds, Gardens, Dogs and just about everything in between.

Within each, is normally a wide range of categories – giving flexibility and opportunity for pretty much every photographer. With many having junior categories too, it could be a perfect project with which to get the young photographers in the house involved.

So why not revisit your archives – even re edit past images and see which award categories might be best to enter? Many awards have some tasty cash prizes, as well as great kit up for grabs, the chance for your work to be included in exhibitions and even books, celebrating the winners’ work.

The process itself is also very useful – looking at each category, identifying pictures that fit the brief, following the rules (careful how you edit, or when the image was shot etc!) and really focusing on your best work. This in itself is a great skill to hone!

As well as the big national and international awards, also check out your local camera club to see if any regular competitions are now running online. The physical meet ups are obviously on hold, but there’s a ‘boom in Zoom’ and other online broadcast apps, which allow you to participate in all sorts include online classes and tutorials.

Organisations such as the Royal Photographic Society also run competitions as well as qualifications you can work towards!

Competition Inspiration

Here are just a few ideas to get you started – some of the deadline dates are soon, so if there’s something that takes your photographic fancy, get cracking and don’t miss your chance to shine!

A few of the awards are ‘on hold’ due to the current pandemic, but you can still browse the winners’ galleries from previous years, perfect for some inspiration (and truly amazing photography). Most will allow you to register your details – so you’re first to know when entries re-open.

Landscape Photographer of the Year – deadline just extended until 10 May 2020, go go, go!

Minimalist Photography Awards – deadline 25th May 2020.

Garden Photographer of the Year – entry deadline 31st October 2020, with several mini competitions in the meantime.

Bird Photographer of the Year – entries now closed for this one, but amazing back catalogue to enjoy. Finalists announced on 1st April 2020, overall results 22nd Aug 2020.

Sony World Photography Awards – entries re-open 1st July 2020.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year – The touring exhibition may be on hold, but a truly spectacular collection of images to view and inspire.

Dog Photographer of the Year – Amazing galleries of one of our favourite pet subjects. Join the mailing list to find out when the next competition opens.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

International Wedding Photographer of The Year – register now for new dates. Browse previous winners and find out more about the images.

British Photography Awards (IPA) – Check out the winners’ galleries here and register for when entries re-open.

IPA – International Photography Awards

So plenty to ponder, lots to inspire!

Why not challenge yourself to do your first award entry this month? As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it – and many a professional photography career has been launched off the back of an award win.

Good luck!

Keep in touch:

Stay Safe

The Wilki Team

Our kit is in order, our creative juices are bubbling over and we’re primed to get out shooting pictures in our gardens, within our homes and even getting the kids involved for some fun home portraits.

But, do you still have that niggling feeling of knowledge gaps or things we simply could do better?

If you have extra time on your hands, now is the time to upgrade those skills – and with many training businesses, software companies and pro’s offering to share their expertise for FREE, go for it!

We touched on magazines and reading material in our previous blog – but now’s the ideal time to revisit those photography books on the shelf or support your favourite pro photographer by purchasing their publications.

Many pro photographers are finding themselves in a zero work/income situation, with commissions cancelled for the foreseeable future. Many are still selling their books though – directly or through the likes of Amazon (other book sellers are available!). Consider supporting your favourite photographers if you can – and gain a beautiful book at the same time.

Software

Intimidated by Photoshop? Baffled by Lightroom? Always fancied taking the time to create your own presets? Need to improve your workflow? Yep, you guessed it – now is the time!

Many of the software providers are running special or free offers – changing regularly, but here are a few available at the time of writing this:

Professional Photographers of America has opened up all of its online tutorials for FREE!

For existing Creative Cloud customers it looks like you can now get 2 months free of charge.

Adobe offers 7-day free trials on all of its software – from Photoshop, Lightroom or full Creative Cloud/All App packages.

Affinity Photo

Affinity, by Serif, is a more recent competitor to Adobe. They now offer a range of options including Affinity Photo, their PhotoShop alternative.
You can trial it free of charge for 90 days and if you like it, you pay a one-off fee of £48.99 (though at the time of writing this is 50% off at just £23.99).

Editing Tools

While you’re honing your creative skills, it may be a great time to improve your editing workflow setup too. Adding a graphics tablet will give you more flexibility when it comes to editing. With a little extra time on your hands, now is a perfect time to learn how best to use one too.

Wacom tablets start from as little as £69.99 for an entry level option such as the Wacom Intuos Small. Browse our range of Wacom editing devices and see why other photographers use them in this video:

Sell Your Images

Websites helping you to sell your photography are constantly running offers of up to 40% off (varies depending on package) for example, check out one of the most popular providers: Zenfolio. And once you’ve honed those skills, for those of you with websites, strike while the iron is hot. Do those updates now, add your best images, add new work and blog about the projects you’ve been working on. More people than ever are likely to be looking right now!

Use this time to really evolve and develop your unique style – showcase your own work and try new things.

Dream BIG!

And finally, we all need to dream during this difficult time! Planning your next trip not only gives you something to look forward to, but also gives you plenty more to do.

Whether it’s researching your next exotic location, or revisiting a place within the UK (doesn’t everything feel just that bit more precious right now?!), sit back and imagine yourself there.

Logistically there are plenty of apps available to help you plan your next trip too, including sunrise/sunset times and info, tide times, moon phases and astro related planning tools just to name a few.

Landscape Photography

For landscape photography, Baxter Bradford has been kind enough to share his go-to Apps for planning locations. Baxter has an extensive collection of stunning landscape work, also available as prints – so, if you’re spending time at home improving your interiors, check out his gallery of images!

“I use The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) for sun angles and times at different locations, plus tide information from the BBC website.

For general weather conditions I use several, including BBC, Met Office Apps, plus two free Apps which I find really useful:

WeatherRadar, which gives forecast, but I mostly use it to track predictions on cloud cover. Saved me a few journeys, does change pretty rapidly at times if weather systems are unstable.

Also really useful is Clear Outside, you can save locations, gives detailed weather information in tabulated format, incredibly useful to see high, medium & low level cloud percentages. If fair amount if high level cloud, then colourful sunrise/sunset is coming. Also gives humidity & whether mist present. For Surf predictions I use Magic Seaweed.

I also use my iPhone compass feature to check bearings on location.”

All this planning (and a lot of time and dedication) goes into making Baxter’s awe inspiring landscape images.

Astro Photography

For night sky fans, Wilki Ambassador Alyn Wallace gives us his recommendations for the best smartphone apps, when it comes to Astro photography. Check out this vlog where Alyn walks you through his night sky favourites.

Never before, as photographers, have we been able to enjoy such an extensive range of (mostly free) resources. So enjoy your planning, stay safety tucked up at home for now, and hopefully we will all be out in our beautiful great outdoors again very soon.

In the meantime keep an eye on our social media channels for the latest photography news and special offers.

Keep in touch:

Stay Safe

The Wilki Team

Now that you have your photographic house in order, your sensors are sparkling and your batteries are charged (having read Part 1 of our blog series, obviously!!) it’s time to get those creative juices flowing!

Now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in all things creative – catch up with your favourite magazines, professional photographers, blogs, vlogs, product news and reviews. You could even read your camera manual! (Although, we can think of about 157 more interesting things to suggest!)

With so much free content now available online – make the most of any spare time you might now have to read, watch, learn and hone those skills for when we can all venture out again!

Online Content

There is an absolute plethora of free online content – whether you want to learn new techniques, work on your understanding of the craft of photography (we’ll be testing you on those f-stops later!), read about photography adventures in exotic locations, or learn how to shoot more in your own back yard.

Whether its wedding or wildlife, landscapes or sport, there’s always something to learn or be inspired by. The toughest question is where to start!

Traditional photography magazines have evolved immensely – whether you look at the print editions or the digital versions. Lots of content is free, or you can treat yourself to a subscription and browse until your heart’s content.

Current editions are great for seasonal photography tips, the most popular genres, interesting features and interviews – while each generally contains editing tutorials, creative project ideas and objective gear reviews amongst a huge range of other photography news and info.

Here are a few suggestions to get you going (other magazines are available!!):

Note: Many have special offers running at the moment when you can buy 5 editions for £5 (digital or some print).

N-Photo (for the Nikon users)

Photo-Plus (for the Canon fans)

Amateur Photographer

Digital SLR Photography

See here for a comprehensive range of photography publications available.

 

Podcasts

Podcasts are another great source of inspiration – and you can basically tune in, download or listen just about anywhere via your phone, tablet or computer. Listen to experts share their knowledge, experiences and generally be inspired!

A great idea with podcasts is to try listening to something completely out of your normal comfort zone – even someone you might not have heard of. Drop that virtual pin and tune in!

For those of you who enjoyed the talks by Paul Sanders at Digital Splash, Paul, together with his colleague Sam Gregory, host ‘The Togcast’.
It’s a bi-monthly free download.

Currently on episode 73, there’s loads to listen to – and a few recommended highlights include Alex Nail, Wilki Ambassador Alyn Wallace, Valda Bailey, Joe Cornish, David Ward, another Digital Splash favourite Jonathan Chritchley, Margaret Soraya, Lizzie Shepherd. Plus loads of others!

A Photographic Life

The ‘A Photographic Life’ Podcast is weekly, recorded in a shed(!) and lasts around twenty minutes. It is available on iTunes, Spotify, and all other podcast platforms and has just posted its 100th episode.

Each week photographer, writer, lecturer and filmmaker Grant Scott reflects on news, discussions, themes and issues surrounding the photographic community. Previous episodes have included David Bailey, Paolo Roversi, Brian Griffin, Brian Duffy, Mary Ellen Mark and many more.

Digital Camera World has also put together a great feature, which includes their ‘20 best podcasts for photographers in 2020’ . You’ll see a few names we’ve already mentioned, plus a whole host more!

Films and Vlogs

And finally, for now (this feature could go on for E-VER), if you’re looking for something different then these projects and short films could be perfect:

Film: Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life Of Bill Jay

Bill Jay was a photographer, a writer on and advocate of photography, a curator, a magazine and picture editor, lecturer, public speaker and mentor. He was the first editor of Creative Camera Owner magazine, which became Creative Camera magazine (1967–1969) and founder and editor of Album magazine (1970–1971). He established the first gallery dedicated to photography in the UK with the Do Not Bend Gallery, London and the first Director of Photography at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Whilst there he founded and directed the first photo-study centre. He studied at the University of New Mexico under Beaumont Newhall and Van Deren Coke and then founded the Photographic Studies programme at Arizona State University, where he taught photography history and criticism for 25 years. He is the author of more than twenty books on the history and criticism of photography, four books of his own photography, and roughly 400 essays, lectures and articles. His regular column titled Endnotes was published within Lenswork magazine for a number of years. His own photographs have been widely published, including a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Those are the facts, but Bill Jay was so much more than just the facts…

You can see it for free here!

Alyn Wallace

Yes, another one of our most popular Digital Splash speakers and host of our recent Astro Photography workshop up in north Wales, Alyn is a YouTube Vlogger extraordinaire! Check out Alyn’s YouTube Channel for some amazing content.

 

Andy Rouse – Wide Angle

We also spotted this great video from wildlife photography legend Andy Rouse – talking specifically about getting started in bird photography in your own garden, while under lockdown!  Definitely worth a watch! Part of his new series Wide Angle, over on YouTube.

PhotoBite Kids

PhotoBite UK is a YouTube Channel from a team of photographers, filmmakers, photo-journalists and tech geeks (their words, not ours!) bringing you reviews and news from the photo world. But, they’ve just announced their new offshoot – PhotoBite Kids.

In response to schools being closed ‘until further notice’, team PhotoBite is launching a twice-weekly photo challenge for children aged between 5-15, inviting them to explore photography and to introduce a little more creativity into the weekly home school schedule. Head over to their channel for more information or to get involved.

 

So that’s it for now, hopefully plenty of ideas of things to read, listen to and watch – all to help fuel your photographic aspirations once this difficult time is over!

In the meantime keep an eye on our social media channels for the latest photography news and special offers.

Keep in touch:

Stay Safe

The Wilki Team

Clive Nichols is one of the UKs foremost garden photographers and with over 95,000 images in his collection was named ‘Britain’s Best Garden Photographer’ by PhotoPlus Magazine.

With more than 30 years experience photographing gardens worldwide, we’re proud to have Clive as one of our Wilkinson Cameras ambassadors.

And as spring finally emerges from one of the most challenging winters on record, we caught up with Clive to see what this year holds and to find out more about his career to date and his enchanting garden and flower photography.

How did you get into garden photography?

I studied Geography at Reading University and worked in a restaurant whilst doing it so I thought I would be a chef – within 3 years I became head chef at an Italian restaurant but the hours nearly killed me!

So, overnight, I decided to become a travel photographer, as I loved taking pictures on my holidays. I just phoned up tourist boards and they gave me press trips – in the first year I went to Malta, The Falkland Islands and Japan but after a couple of years I realised that to make a living I would have to do something closer to home.

So again, I switched overnight to photographing flowers and gardens and never looked back. In 1994 I was asked to write and photograph a book for the Royal Horticultural Society on how to photograph plants and gardens and that really put me at the forefront of the genre.

After more than 30 years shooting flowers and gardens (and still going strong!) you must really love what you do – how do you keep your work fresh and evolving?

Actually quite easily – I love getting up early and getting to gardens for dawn or sunrise when no one is about – it is literally like being in heaven. Increasingly, I am travelling to gardens abroad as well – last year Greece, Morocco, Spain, France – and many of the gardens there have not really been photographed so they are new and exciting.

You have a very strong following on Instagram, with more than 65,000 followers. How have you grown (no pun intended!) such a lovely, engaged community?

Simple really – consistency – we’ve posted an image almost every day for the last two years. With each image I like to give a little information regards the location, the planting, opening times (where appropriate) for the gardens featured etc Many of the images featured are published in the key home and gardens magazines – so I include those details too in case people wish to read the full features.

We have the advantage of being able to draw on my vast collection of images to keep things fresh and seasonal. We’ve grown Instagram entirely organically – and that’s something we’re really proud of.

Do you always shoot in natural light, or do you use any lighting?

When shooting gardens I only use natural light – which is a challenge of course. A lot of photographers don’t realise how hard it is, landscape photography is easier believe me, because it doesn’t really move, whereas flowers blow around in the slightest breeze so you have to pick and choose your days.

If I am shooting plants indoors then I may use lighting – I have a very good lighting technician called Neil who is great because he has all the kit – tungsten and flash – so I can concentrate on the composition. Stephen Johnson of Copyright Image sometimes comes on shoots with me and I can tether my camera to his laptop so that the client can see the shots as I take them. I’m lucky to have a great team.

You run your own garden photography workshops and work closely with International Garden Photographer of the Year. What can guests expect from a garden photography workshops, are they suitable for all experience levels?

I am a judge as well for IGPOTY and yes, my workshops are good for anyone who owns a digital camera – I am not a particularly technical person so I use simple techniques really. I try and do as little post processing as possible and try and stay true to my subjects. Flowers are like humans really, they have character and personality, so the skill is to bring those out in the photograph. On the workshops we have early access to some amazing locations, so we can focus on capturing the best images in the best light possible. I’m always on hand to offer advice and help guests achieve the best images they can and my partner Annette usually helps out too.

You’ve photographed some absolutely incredible gardens, home and abroad, do you have a favourite and why?

My favourite is usually the one I am in at the time! But seriously, there are some amazing gardens as you say – in the UK I would have to say gardens like Malverleys, Wynyards Hall, Morton Hall and Pettifers, which is in my village. In Europe, I would say some of the French gardens are just mind blowing – Marqueysaac in the Dordogne for instance.

The garden I would most like to photograph – that I haven’t yet – is The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. From the photos I have seen of it, it just seems to sum up what Moorish Paradise gardens should look like.

A little bird told us that you’re working on a new book project at the moment – what can you tell us about that project or is it under wraps?!

Well it’s a book featuring the brilliant English Gardens that I have photographed in the last few years – there are over 30 in the book and it will be a big, coffee table book with loads of big pictures, which I think is what people want to see. The book is due to launch later this year.

I’ve also been working on a project with Woodmansterne – they are one of the best card producers in the country – we have just launched a new range of my images on greetings cards which are now available in store at John Lewis, W H Smith and Sainsburys.

You’ve been involved with International Garden Photographer of the Year Awards from the very start and the competition has really highlighted our beautiful landscapes and gardens worldwide. What advice would you give to anyone considering an entry?

I have, my wife Jane was one of the original founders of IGPOTY. I would encourage anyone to enter as long as they have an image or images that are top class – remember the competition is intense these days. There is now a really wide range of categories – so entrants should select their images carefully and as well as the creative elements should ensure they meet the brief for each award.

Another great thing about IGPOTY is there is the option to pay for an ‘Entry Review’ – where one of the judges looks at your images and gives specific feedback. This is very valuable for aspiring garden photographers and can provide valuable insight as to how to improve and develop.

The weather has been horrendous this winter – what would you say to aspiring garden photographers who want to get out shooting now and don’t want to wait until spring?

Winter is very difficult – I usually wait for frosty or snowy days and target gardens that look good at this time of year – generally one that have strong structure – hedges, statuary, walls, gates, topiary etc.

But there are also a lot of flowers at this time of year and increasingly the bigger gardens are planting areas that have good flower, stem or bark colour in the winter months.

What are your top tips for those just getting started?

Look at the very best photography of gardens and plants in magazines and books etc and try to understand why the images are being used. In most cases it is the light and composition, which works. (Clive’s Instagram is a great place to start!)

Quickfire questions:

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Trees or flowers? Flowers
Formal gardens or natural? Formal
Favourite flower to photograph? Tulip
Bluebells or Poppies? Poppies

What’s in Clive’s camera bag:

Canon EOS 5Ds R

Canon lenses:

TS-E 17mm F4L
TS-E 24mm F3.5L II
TS-E 45mm F2.8
EF 24-70mm F2.8 L II IS USM
EF 70-200mm F2.8 L III IS USM
EF 180mm F3.5L Macro

He also uses a Manfrotto tripod with a Gitzo Fluid head.

Do you have a ‘go to’ set up, or a favourite ‘must have’ piece of kit or accessory?

My go to lens is the Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8, or if I am shooting flower portraits then my EF 180mm F3.5L Macro – all Canon lenses. Another absolute essential is a sturdy tripod in order to keep the camera still and maintain perfect sharpness in photos.

FREE Screen Wallpaper

Clive has generously added several images to his shop as ‘free wallpaper’– so for a daily burst of garden photography inspiration, pop on over here and download yourself a beautiful view!

To find out more about Clive’s beautiful photography, workshops and books, visit his website or check out his Instagram!

Following on from our interview with Jonathan Doyle – former Wilki employee and adventure film-maker – we caught up with Jonathan to find out how he decided to spend his Wilkinson sponsorship, which products he chose to take with him and why!

Having just completed the first leg of The Great Australian Triathlon (running across Tasmania!) Jonathan has already put the kit through its paces!

 

“We are so grateful for the support we have received so far in the preparation of The Great Australian Triathlon. It is been mind blowing to have 8 companies, both big and small, believing in our expedition and lending us their support.

Wilkinson Cameras in particular has been especially kind to me, keeping me in the Wilki family even after I had to leave my job in the Kendal store in order to head out on the TGAT2020 expedition. The company has provided some fantastic pieces of equipment allowing me to up my game for this trip.

I thought for those interested in camera nerdery, I’d spend a little time discussing how I chose the kit supplied by Wilkinson Cameras and why these items are important in the filming process.”

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 Lens

“First of all, I chose a Sigma 16mm f1.4 lens for my Sony A6400 camera body. This system was originally destined to be my backup in case my Sony A7iii stopped working. However, it has since become the primary film camera for the kayaking team during their Bass Strait crossing to be used in conjunction with their selection of GoPro action cameras and also a Sony RX100 V. The lens is equivalent to 24mm in full-frame terms, giving me a nice wide cinematic feel to my shots. It is also fast, stopping down to f1.4, meaning it can handle reasonably low light situations without succumbing to excessive noise. Overall, while it is a prime, and thus has no zoom capabilities, it’s the perfect lens for the task in hand.”

GoPro Hero 8

“Secondly, I chose a GoPro Hero 8, the latest and most advanced action camera on the market. I wanted this for quick closeup ‘in the action’ shots, as well as it’s capability to shoot 4k at 60 frames per second, allowing me to shoot some tasty high-resolution slow motion footage.

The GoPro’s inbuilt image stabilisation has consistently impressed me and I have found it to be an invaluable item in my arsenal, with me using it far more than I originally expected. In addition, I also got the twin battery charger and spare battery for the Hero 8.”

Cokin Nuance Variable ND Filter

“The third item provided by Wilkinson Cameras was perhaps the most important of the lot: a Cokin Nuance variable ND filter. This is the number one item for any filmmaker as it allows you to reduce the amount of light entering the system while still being able to keep the aperture wide open, and as such achieve a nice shallow depth of field. A must for a bright sunny climate such as Australia!”

And finally, a Dead Cat!

“Not an actual dead cat, obviously! The final item on the list was a wind-stopper, known as a ‘dead cat’ for my Rode video pro shotgun microphone. Since I will be almost entirely filming outside, this has helped to reduce wind-noise interference, helping to improve the audio quality throughout.”

 

“I am incredibly grateful to Wilkinson Cameras for their generous contribution and I feel so very lucky to be the first person they have sponsored in this capacity, thank you!

Keep an eye out on my social media for more updates about the trip and my set up over the coming months.”

The Great Australian Triathlon website

Facebook

Jonathan’s Instagram

Ben’s Instagram

 

We’ll be keeping in touch with Jonathan on each leg of this epic adventure, including the next stage, kayaking across one of the most treacherous stretches of open water, the Bass Straight.

 

 

2020 is a huge year for former Wilki team member Jonathan Doyle, who worked at the Kendal store but has now left us to embark on the documentary film making trip of a lifetime.

Jonathan touched down in Australia on 29th December and had just a few days to acclimatize before starting filming for a ‘never before attempted’ feat of human endurance: the Great Australian Triathlon. A 600km run, followed by a treacherous 350k kayak across open ocean, and around 7000km of cycling (yes, seven thousand kilometres) to finish this epic endurance challenge.

Over the next 6 months – as Wilkinson Cameras first ‘Sponsored Project’ – we will be following the Jonathan’s adventures – plotting the team’s progress via social media and blog updates as the journey unfolds. Shooting both stills and moving images, Jonathan hopes to launch his full time documentary film making career following this ambitious next chapter.

Jonathan, 28, has been working part time in the Wilki store in Kendal alongside completing his PHD – while proving very successful at documentary film making in his spare time!

Jonathan first picked up a camera in 2016, a Nikon D3200, which he bought to go on a climbing trip in Tasmania. While on that holiday, he made a short video of his adventures, which, once edited, culminated in a 6-minute award winning film.

Having really enjoyed the film making process Jonathan summited his work ‘The Pommish Invasion’ to the Kendal Mountain Film Festival where it was shortlisted! Following this success it was subsequently recognised at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, ‘Goat Fest’ in Arapiles, Australia, before finally winning at the Cradle Mountain Film Festival in Tasmania 2017.

 

The film documents Jonathan and two friends, Ben Cianchi and Matt Amos, climbing The Candlestick – a 110m sea-stack next to the world famous Totem-Pole, at Cape Hauy, Tasmania.

The Great Australian Triathlon

For this new extreme challenge, the Great Australian Triathlon, the team – Jonathan, endurance athlete Ben Cianchi and Ben’s two sisters Claire and Emma – will touch down in Tasmania on 29th December, with just a day and a half to acclimatise before the challenge begins. Ben will then embark on the world’s first human-powered vertical crossing of Australia.

The Great Australian Triathlon will take around six months to complete and will span over 8000 km of the continent, covering a huge variety of terrain, from dirt tracks to the open ocean.
The expedition will be split up into three distinct sections; running across Tasmania, kayaking across the Bass Strait, and cycling across mainland Australia from the bottom of Victoria to the top of Queensland.

Following a successful kickstarter campaign, together with sponsorship from Wilkinson Cameras, Jonathan has packed his bags (and cycle shorts!) to film the entire adventure.

‘I’ve known Ben for around 6 years now, and he’s in my original Pommish Invasion film,’ said Jonathan. ‘If anyone can complete this challenge, Ben can. The filming is going to be very tricky though – I will be filming solo, so have to meticulously plan each stage and the logistics are challenging! No-one’s ever done this before and our timeline will be very dependent on weather conditions – especially the kayak section.’

‘I will be cycling on the Tasmania leg – so kit has to be kept to a minimum both in size and weight as I’ll be carrying everything myself. Data storage and power are big considerations – and this is where I’m particularly grateful for the Wilkinson Cameras support, which will enable me to fine tune my kit to exactly what’s required for the job.’

The sea kayak section of the triathlon will be filmed from one of the kayaks, with Jonathan filming via a drone for the bird’s eye view. Using a local ferry to the largest of the islands en route – Flinders Island – Jonathan will also be aiming to capture shore landings and departures, again travelling under his own bicycle power.

The final cycle section will also be filmed from a bike, with Jonathan leapfrogging the team in order to achieve action footage along the gruelling route.

‘Our aim is to produce one vlog per week en route, in order for people to follow our progress. Though often we will be relying on solar power – so we may have to rethink that in certain areas. Whatever happens, we’re hoping to post one image, across social our media platforms, every single day.

The Route:

The Run

The triathlon starts with a challenging 600km run across the Island state of Tasmania. While carrying all of their kit, the team will have just 21 days to cross from Southwest Cape to Little Musselroe Bay using a combination of trails and minor roads. Severe fatigue is the obvious challenge Ben and his sisters will need to overcome, however the journey itself will not be a walkover. Tasmania is a notoriously wild state, so the team will have to face many difficult challenges along the way, including countless kilometres of steep gruelling ascents, treacherous river crossings and tough navigation through densely packed forest trails.

The Paddle

The paddle starts off where the run ends, at Little Musselroe Bay, and consists of 350km of sea kayaking across the infamous Bass Strait. With only three weeks to complete this leg the team will have to maximise good conditions to cross between isolated islands and wait out any storms that pass through. The biggest stretch of open water will be about 70 km, which is estimated to take at least 12 hours dependant on wind and current conditions. Long days, heavy swell and marginal conditions will make the journey to Wilson’s Promontory on Victoria’s southern tip an epic challenge for the team.

The Bike

Crossing mainland Australia by bike is a monumental challenge, not least when you shun the easy coastal roads and head inland up the great dividing range. Seven thousand ‘or so’ kilometres from Wilson’s Promontory in the South, to Cape York in Tropical North-Queensland will be the longest and perhaps most mentally draining section of the expedition.

The “Why”? We had to ask!

As an outdoor enthusiast and documentary film maker – as well as capturing the physical side of the challenge – Jonathan wants to explore the reasons people like Ben give up well paid jobs and comfortable lives, battle through injuries and sacrifice their careers for the sake of what some people would see as pointless goals. Ben will face countless challenges from extreme fatigue to hungry crocodiles – dangerous tides and wild bush fires, all for no material benefit.

Ben is not being paid (in fact he’s spent his entire savings on the trip), he won’t get a world record (Guinness won’t recognise the expedition), and it’s likely that large parts of the trip will be a ‘sufferfest’. The documentary will follow Ben’s progress from planning and training at home, to the challenges and triumphs on the ground in Australia.

Jonathan will also be exploring the psychology behind why people decide to embark on such radical and life-changing journeys, what fuels them and what they hope they will get from it.

The final documentary will also delve into the ideas and misconceptions of one of the world’s largest and most sparsely populated countries. For example, Jonathan wants to look into why bush fires are so prevalent in Australia, what causes them and why are they so important for the ecosystem. The film will also aim to banish the Aussie stereotype that all of their wildlife is out to kill you and it is actually a much safer place than you may think.

Overall viewers can expect sweeping shots of the beautiful Australian landscapes, close-encounters with the local wildlife and of course engaging and interesting stories weaving in and out of the overarching tale of The Great Australian Triathlon.

‘There will also be an environmental undertone to the film; we are hoping the expedition will encourage others to use their cars a little less, and their own human power a little more,’ added Jonathan.

‘I think we will convey throughout that while human powered modes of transport are slower, they can provide so much more stimuli and engagement by allowing us to slow down a little, recharge and have some fun along the way!’

‘However, it is not lost on us that travelling around the world to create a film about using human-powered transport is somewhat contradictory and we don’t want to undermine our under-lying environmental message in any way. So, with this in mind, we plan on carbon offsetting the trip by calculating the overall carbon cost of the expedition (generated from non-human powered transport) and donating the carbon offsetting cost to an Australian and/or UK based initiative.’

To keep up with the team, you can follow them directly on the social media links below – and also look out for more information, video blogs and interviews on the Wilkinson blog.

Website
Facebook
Jonathan’s Instagram
Ben’s Instagram

What’s in Jonathan’s Bag?

For this extreme filming expedition we wanted to take a closer look at exactly what was in Jonathan’s kit bag. Over the coming months, Jonathan will also be showing the kit in use and sharing tips for filming and photography on such a challenging shoot.

Sony Alpha A7 Mark III body
Sony Alpha A6400 with Sigma 16mm f1.4 E mount lens
Zeiss 24-70mm f4 FE mount lens
Sony 55mm f1.8 FE mount lens
Sony 28mm f2 FE mount lens
Laowa 15mm f2 FE mount lens
Canon FD 70-300mm vintage lens (with adapter)
DJI Mavic Pro Drone
Zhiyun Weebill Lab gimbal
Rode Video Mic Pro
Rode Dead Cat microphone windstopper
Zoom Hn2 Audio recorder
Rode Smartlav Mic
Gopro Hero 8 Black
GoPro Hero 8 Dual charger and battery
Cokin Nuance Variable ND 2-400 filter

For many of us, astro photographer Alyn Wallace was the rising star (no pun intended!!) of Digital Splash 2017. His talks sold out in record time and with his tales of astro photography and nocturnal adventures, both his words and pictures captivated the audiences.

As one of our first ‘Wilkinson Ambassadors’, we wanted to catch up with Alyn to see what he’d been up to for the last few years – and to find out more regarding his magical night sky photography.

So the last year seems to have really taken off for you – and you’ve been all over the world! Share with us a round up of your adventures and the images you’ve captured. What’s been the highlight of the last 12 months & what has been your biggest learn?

Leaving my engineering career behind and taking the plunge into freelance photography was admittedly a terrifying experience and despite a difficult first-year, things have picked up and the newfound freedom has allowed me to pursue my quest to uncover the darkest skies and most otherworldly landscapes.

As winter arrives my compass points north, most recently Norway and Iceland, in hunt of the elusive but mesmerising aurora borealis.

As the summer nights brighten I find myself heading south, not just for extended darkness but also to gain a much better vantage of the Milky Way core, the heart of our home galaxy. I find myself returning to the Canary Islands of Tenerife and La Palma for just that and given that you can drive above the clouds on a nearly nightly basis it’s about as close to heaven on Earth as I’ve found. Although the Canary Islands are often compared to the landscape of Mars, I’ve found Cappadocia in Turkey to be the most otherworldly landscape I’ve ever seen.

It’s usually difficult for me to pick a highlight of the year but capturing and witnessing my first total solar eclipse in Chile was truly an unforgettable life event. Just thinking of the coincidental nature and sheer perfection of the alignment between the Sun and the Moon is enough to make the hairs on my arm stand up, but to experience it was truly ineffable, which is why I’d much rather express myself through photos and vlogs!

With such a big shift in my life, I have of course learnt many things. I’ve gained a much greater appreciation of how precious time is. The clock is ticking and there’s no stopping it, work hard towards achieving your desires before it’s too late and you find yourself looking back with regrets.

Secondly, the best things in life are often found on the other side of fear and only you can push yourself through those fears to reap the rewards on the other side.

You seem to have become the King of astro post processing, launching your own set of presets as well as the many tutorials on your YouTube channel. Talk us through this, what can people hope to learn?

Firstly, thanks! But I don’t think there’s a crown to be won for a subjective and artistic matter. Everyone has his or her own style and taste.

As for the presets, they were born from experience with my workshop clients as I often found they were a bit aimless in their editing, not knowing where to start, when to stop or what to adjust next.

I’m largely against one-click-of-a-button presets that try to do everything in one go, which is why my presets are based on a structured workflow that also allows the user to tweak to their own taste as they go.

Firstly starting with lens correction, followed by global tonal adjustments, noise reduction and sharpening, colour-grading and finally local adjustments where the user can really sculpt and inject their own artistic flare to the final image.

Having a structured workflow has so many benefits, it brings speed and efficiency to your editing and also results in a repeated style such that your followers can recognise one of your images without seeing your name or watermark.

What’s coming up in the winter sky that amateur ‘Astros’ can perhaps look out for and try to capture?

The so-called Milky Way season spans from March to September but despite this, you can still capture the Milky Way throughout winter and in fact throughout the entire year. Milky Way season only considers the core of the Milky Way, which although it may be the brightest and most interesting section, there’s still some stunning areas of the Milky Way to be captured throughout winter – such as the dark dust lanes of the Great Rift or the bright and nebula rich Cygnus Region.

The highlight of winter is of course the aurora borealis, a phenomenon undoubtedly on the bucket list of many and rightfully so – it’s something that simply has to be seen, to be believed.

Winter also sees the return of my favourite constellation Orion, perhaps the most conspicuous of the constellations and viewable pretty much from all around the globe. Not only does it feature some of the brightest stars in the night sky, but it’s also rich in hydrogen-alpha emission nebulae.

It’s such a vast topic – what’s the best way to get started?

Grab a tripod and try some long exposures! You’ll find yourself addicted to the new world you can uncover with your camera. I have plenty of useful videos on my YouTube channel that cover the basics and I also post a monthly video explaining what’s in the night sky for the month ahead so you can begin to make sense of the seasonal and dynamic nature of the heavens. (See link below)

What kit do you need to get started?

The most basic setup would be a camera, a wide-angle lens (preferably with a wide aperture such as f/2.8), a sturdy tripod and a head torch. An intervalometer or remote shutter release can also be useful as you don’t want to shake the camera when starting the exposure as the movement will easily be seen in the pin-point stars in the image.

What’s next in your personal adventures, a winter at home, followed by?

I’m actually looking forward to a winter in Wales! After months of travelling it’s time to cosy up and get to work on finishing my book ‘Photographing the Night Sky’ which is scheduled to be published by Fotovue in September 2020.

It’s a guide to the settings and techniques needed for landscape astrophotography, as well as a summary of the best locations on Earth – with guidance on the various post-processing techniques such as star trails, stacking for noise reduction and blending exposures.

I’ll return to places already visited to continue my workshops but as yet there’s no concrete plans for new adventures, although the desire for a big trip to New Zealand and Australia is growing too big to ignore!

Alyn’s Kit:

Sony Alpha 7 III
Sony Alpha 7S II (Astro Modified)
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens
Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens
Sony 55mm f/1.8 Lens
Laowa 15mm f/2 Lens
Tokina Firin 20mm f/2 Lens
Sony 100-400mm Lens with Sony FE 2x extender

Landscape Astrophotography & Nightscapes Workshop with Alyn Wallace

Ever wanted to learn how to shoot the stars and night sky? Not quite sure how or when to even find the Milky Way? Then come along to an astrophotography workshop in the Snowdonia Dark Sky Reserve, hosted by Alyn Wallace and Wilkinson Cameras. Find more information here.

To keep up with Alyn’s latest photography, news and tutorials, you can find him here:

Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
www.alynwallacephotography.com

phone 01772 252188
phone EMAIL US
phone YOUR LOCAL STORE
phone LIVE HELP

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest News, offers and events. We never share your details with anyone else.

Please fill in the email box and click the sign up button to receive our newsletter

Website by Piranha Solutions Tel. 01772 888331