On Friday evening Ed and I decided last minute to go hiking in Snowdonia. It’s always a bit of a gamble to book a hostel in advance because the weather is so unpredictable, but 24 hours out the forecast looked both clear and dry, and there was a room available at YHA Idwal.
This morning we got up before dawn and went for a walk around Llyn Idwal. It’s one of my favourite places in Snowdonia, and being up in the mountains for sunrise is something we both love. To my complete surprise and joy, we came across a herd of wild mountain ponies grazing the thin pickings of late autumn on our way up to the lake. The light wasn’t great and they were a little bit far from the main path, so I waited to take photos of them until the return leg of our walk.
Recently I’ve been trying to teach myself how to draw and paint. I’ve always thought that it’s something I can’t do, but I’m trying to break down some of my long-held beliefs and prove myself wrong. I have so many ideas in my head that I wish I could put to paper, and I finally got fed up with not knowing how.
My problem in the past has always been that I’ve tried to draw by eye, and my proportions always come out wrong. I remember an art class when I was about nine or ten, and being tasked with copying a photo of a blue tit perched on a beer can. I was so frustrated, because I didn’t know where to start or how to do it.
Rather than approach drawing as I’ve always approached drawing, I’ve started following the circles and lines method of drawing animals, and it seems to be helping. Here are a couple of my early sketches.
The paint set I have is made by Winsor and Newton in their Cotman range. It’s their pocketbox, and all the paint colours are vegan. The Cotman range of watercolour paints (with the exception of three colours which aren’t in the pocket box set) doesn’t include ingredients or pigments derived from animals. The brush I’m using is from the Pro Arte prolene range. It’s synthetic, and a size 6, which seems to be a good all rounder for me as a beginner. Together with the tiny retractable brush that came with my paint set, I think I should be good to go for quite some time.
This post is quite dry, but hopefully you’ll find it useful. I go through how I structure and organise my Lightroom catalogues for both my personal work as well as the weddings I film and photograph, and how I keep on top of a huge database of photographs each year.Read more…
I’ve been trying to learn how to draw. Ed bought me a sketch book and pencils for my birthday and I’ve been following the circles and lines method to learn how to draw animals. I’ve actually surprised myself at my first few attempts, I just assumed I couldn’t draw at all.Read more…
After spending four nights in Brittany, we drove south to Jard-sur-Mer, learning a very important lesson on the way: don’t travel in France on a Saturday during the peak summer season. Next time we’ll plan our travel days for week days as the roads are much quieter.
In Jard-sur-Mer we stayed at Camping la Ventouse which we had chosen for the shady pitches and proximity to the beach. Our pitch was on the sand dunes on the edge of the campsite, and because tent camping isn’t as popular as caravan camping, we had a double pitch to ourselves which was lovely. The following pictures are a mix of film (Portra 400) and digital.Read more…
This August Ed and I spent ten days camping in France. The first half of our trip was spent in Brittany and then we drove south to Jard-sur-Mer in the Vendée. Two years ago we went on holiday to Brittany to make the most of travelling to Roscoff for a family wedding. It was a really lovely trip, so we wanted to go back again this year and stay for a little longer.
We didn’t book our travel or campsites until a few weeks before we travelled and by the end of July the ferries were really expensive so we took the Eurostar instead, and factored in a couple of extra days travelling across Normandy and northern France. In hindsight, we should have just booked sooner and taken the ferry. Once we’d included péage fees, fuel and the cost of a couple of budget hotels it wasn’t any cheaper. That said, I’ve no regrets. We wouldn’t ordinarily go on holiday to Normandy and we got to see some sights that we had both been looking forward to seeing. Next time though we’ll get the ferry if we’re going to western France. The following pictures are a mix of film and digital.Read more…
Back in 2016 I wrote a post all about how to make your digital photos look like they were taken on film. Today I thought I would share another technique post on the subject of the film look, this time focusing on achieving the medium format look with a Four Thirds, APSC or Full Frame digital camera. This is a method I often find myself using, as I prefer the way longer lenses render photographic images. I sometimes use a 35mm or 28mm lens when I need to get a group shot or wide angle perspective when I’m working, but for my personal work I prefer to use the following method to retain the depth and feel of longer lenses in my wider perspective images. This technique is also really helpful when shooting in a tight space as it allows me to capture more of the scene without needing to reach for a wider lens to fit everything in.
How to make your photos look like medium format
The method I use to make my photos looks like they were taken with a medium format camera is nothing new, and I don’t claim to be the first to try it, however I have modified the method in a way that I think makes it much more accessible. More on that below.
I first came across this technique as used by wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer. It is often called the ‘Brenizer Method‘, but it can also be called the ‘Bokeh Panorama Method’. In short, it is the use of a long lens on a crop or full frame digital camera to produce stitched panorama images with a shallow depth of field. You shoot multiple frames, each with a small bit of overlap with the last so that special software can blend them together in post-production.
You’ll find lots of examples with very, very shallow depth of field, but it’s not a requirement. You don’t have to shoot at F1.2, F1.4 or F1.8 to use this method. I often shoot at F4 or F5.6 and use the method more for how it allows me to open up a composition without it becoming too flat. This method can also be used to make photos taken with an APSC or Micro Four Thirds camera look like they were taken on 35mm or ‘full frame’. There are no hard and fast rules, so just get out with your camera and get creative.Read more…