Quick trip to London

This week I travelled to London for a couple of days as part of a Christmas present that I had purchased for my better half. I didn't want to take up much time taking photographs while we were away, with it being a special occasion, so instead I grabbed my GoPro HERO Session. The small form factor combined with its lightweight meant it was ideal to carry around and capture clips while we took in the sights and sounds. The video resolution (1920 x 1080 @ 60 fps) was more than enough for what I would be recording.

When we returned home I then used Filmora to put all the clips together to make a short video of our time away. This was the first time I have created and edited a video from scratch so it took a couple of hours and a bit of trial and error the results of which can be viewed in the YouTube video below.

The camera did still come along with me on the trip but I only used it once or twice. We visited Camden Market and along the high street leading up to the market the buildings below caught my eye. They are very unique and I would recommend a visit to see them if you are ever in the area.

Music Photography with Retro Vinyl

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I would photograph local Hull band Retro Vinyl at their very first gig at the Dog and Duck Inn, Beverley. It turned out to be a good opportunity for me to practise my photography and also use my new Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens.

ISO 2000 / 1/80th sec. / f/3.5 / 10mm

It was quite a tight venue to work in and due to the low light it meant I had to use a fast lens, one with a larger maximum aperture (that is, a smaller minimum f-number), to allow more light in to the lens. To overcome the venue being quite small I used my Sigma wide angle lens which allowed me to get all of the band members within the frame even though I was positioned right in front of them. To deal with the low light I used my Nikon 35mm prime lens which has a maximum aperture of f/1.8.

ISO 640 / 1/80th sec. / f/1.8 / 35mm

As for the settings I used a high ISO, about 1000, a shutter speed of around 1/80th of a second and, as mentioned, an aperture of f/1.8. The higher ISO combined with the shutter and aperture settings meant that I could still take good enough looking photos without introducing too much noise. I didn't just stick to these settings though and throughout the night I was adjusting and tweaking them as necessary but gives you an idea of what to use if you are ever in a similar situation.

ISO 5000 / 1/20th sec. / f/1.8 / 35mm

I was really happy with the photos taken on the night, especially as I haven't tried this type of photography before, and given the chance in future I would gladly try something like this again. To see a selection of other photos taken on the night please view the newly created music photography gallery.

Hull Photographer

Hull City of Culture 2017

One of the first events to mark the start of the City of Culture 2017 was 'Made in Hull', a celebration of the city compromising of various installations around the Hull City Centre. These installations included large-scale projections on buildings, illuminated skylines, soundscapes and live performances to celebrate the last 70 years of life in the city.

According to the local press an incredible 342,000 people descended upon the city to view this fantastic event. Due to the sheer amount of people in attendance it made it difficult to find a good spot to capture the projections on to the buildings in Queen Victoria Square so instead I focused my attentions on The Deep instead.

Below you can see some of the images taken and I've also included for reference the settings used at the time to capture them.

ISO 200 / 1.6 sec. / f/7.1 / 20mm

ISO 160 / 1.6 Sec. / f/8 / 20mm

ISO 200 / 1.6 Sec. / f/8 / 12mm

ISO 160 / 1.6 Sec. / f/8 / 35mm

Horsing Around

At the end of December I was asked by my sister, who was home for the festive period, if I would take a trip out to Helmsley with her to take some photos of her horse Monique.

I had not tried my hand at this type of photography before so used the opportunity to practise my skills. I decided to use my 55-300mm telephoto zoom lens so I could keep a good distance between myself and the horse to avoid it becoming spooked by me wandering around with the camera.

I ended up taking a mixture of photos, some with the horse on its own and some with my sister also in the frame, and then when processing them left some in colour and changed some to black and white. The photos can be viewed in the slideshow below.

 

It is also a big week for my home city of Hull as it is the start of the UK City of Culture 2017. Already this week there has been a huge firework display and various installations have sprung up around the town centre for the Made In Hull spectacle. At some point I'll be making a trip in to the city centre to take photos of the various projections and performances which I will post in a separate blog.

Also it may be a little late but Happy New Year!!

Hull Photographer

Beverley Westwood

Recently I've not taken out the camera as much as I would have liked but the other week I was asked by a friend and fellow photographer Rich Smith if I wanted an early start to take some autumnal photographs at Beverley Westwood.

Snapping up the opportunity we met up on a cold morning at around 7am and made our away across to the instantly recognisable black mill. Luckily the weather was kind to us, with a smattering of clouds in the sky, so we setup our tripods as the sun started to rise to take our first photographs of the day.

Sunrise at Beverley Westwood

The use of a tripod was essential due to the longer shutter speeds we were using and this also helped make sure the camera remained still with no movement so the final picture was sharp throughout without any blurring. As you can see from the photograph above I was able to capture the sun just peaking out from the side of the mill while the mist in the background and colours in the sky made for a pleasant end product.

From the mill we then moved on and ventured in to the woodland where Rich spotted some mushrooms on the ground. To capture these in greater detail Rich suggested I used his macro lens and this was a good experience allowing me to practise a different style of photography getting in really close and taking some really detailed images.

Practising macro photography at Beverley Westwood

Finally as we made our way back to our cars we noticed some great light shining through the trees near a bench which made for another ideal capture. You can just make our the rays in the centre of the picture but the shot may have been a little rushed and with a change of settings I may have been able to bring them out even more to make a more striking image.

Autumnal photography at Beverley Westwood

That's it for this blog post but with a short break from work over Christmas coming up hopefully, in between visiting family and friends, I will find some time to take the camera out again. In the coming months I would like to photograph some of the iconic spots around Hull such as the Deep and Humber Bridge so I'll make sure to write up another blog post when I do.

Hull Photographer

Cancun, Mexico

I have recently returned from a fantastic trip to Cancun in Mexico for my honeymoon with my wife Sarah and what a great place it is. We were lucky to have brilliant weather for the two weeks we were there and obviously I took the camera along with me.

The first image was taken about 6.30am in the morning from our 5th floor room and was an incredible view overlooking the sea. 

Sunrise in Cancun, Mexico

The second photo is from inside our room looking out towards the balcony on another sunny day and finally the last photograph is taken from the beach using my 150mm - 300mm Nikon telephoto lens of a couple parasailing.

The view from our 5th floor room

A couple parasailing in Cancun, Mexico

Hopefully one day we will get to return and I'll be able to take more photographs of this idyllic location.

Hull Photographer

Hole of Horcum and Levisham

My latest trip had myself and my pet dog Molly revisiting the area in and around Levisham embarking on a 15.5km walk around the Hole of Horcum situated in North Yorkshire. The area has some stunning scenery and fantastic views at every turn, including the one at Skelton Tower looking overlooking the railway track that leads to Levisham Station.

Diesel locomotive heading towards Levisham Station

I even managed to get Molly in on the action by bribing her with some treats.

Molly posing for the camera

For those of you interested a free guide for this walk can be found on the North York Moors website here: Levisham Moors and Hole of Horcum. I have also created a new gallery of photographs entitled Yorkshire featuring photographs from this trip and some from a recent visit to Fridaythorpe.

Aysgarth Falls, North Yorkshire

On quite a few occasions I have been told by various people about the popular beauty spot situated in North Yorkshire called Aysgarth Falls, which is a triple flight of waterfalls surrounded by woodland walks, so I decided to dust off the tripod and a few neutral density (ND) filters and head north to see what I could capture.

The tripod and ND filters were required to allow me to take some long exposures (e.g. by using a slow shutter speed) and give the water that smooth milky effect thus giving a sense of movement. 

Settings: f/22, 0.6 Sec, ISO 100, -0.7 Exposure Compensation

The ND filters I own were around £5 from Amazon, cheap and cheerful, so I wasn't expecting anything special but the results were not bad at all especially as it was quite bright which meant it would make it harder to take a longer exposure. Due to the light conditions I ended up using a ND2, ND4 and ND8 all screwed together so I could use a slow enough shutter speed to capture the flowing waterfall.

Waterfall at Aysgarth Falls

I think that to help with these type of shots going forward I would maybe try and take them at a different time of day, for example at sunset, when the light wouldn't be as harsh, which would allow to take a longer exposure. Either that or invest in better ND filters I suppose. 

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Unfortunately I've not had the time I would have liked lately to be able to update the website recently and at times it can become quite a juggling act between having a working life, social life, updating my Instagram account and RJM Photography Facebook page.

However a few weeks ago I visited a local wildlife attraction, RSPB Bempton Cliffs, which is home to a staggering 250,000 seabirds. Main species include the Gannet, Guillemot, Kittiwake and the distinctive Puffin all which I attempted to photograph while at the site.

A Gannet captured at RSPB Bempton Cliffs

I wasn't lucky enough to get a good shot of any Puffins as I was told it was too early in the season to see any and it wasn't until just as I was leaving that I spotted one. Instead of Puffins I captured many photos of Gannets and a couple of Molly who also came along for the trip.

Elusive Puffin at RSPB Bempton Cliffs

A larger collection of pictures from my day at RSPB Bempton Cliffs can be found on the main gallery section of the website.

Sunset at Paull & Saltend

This week I ventured to Paull and Saltend, an area just outside of the Hull eastern boundary, which I hadn't previously photographed before. As it was late in the evening it allowed me to get some practise using my Manfrotto tripod and gave me an opportunity to capture some shots at sunset.

Sunset at Paull

The image above was taken just after a big rain cloud had passed overhead and, combined with the sunset, made for some great colour in the sky. If I am being critical I think the composition could be better but I can always return to the area at a later date and try again.

Once the sun had disappeared I then moved on to Saltend and pitched up near to the BP Chemicals plant to take some long exposure shots, again using the tripod. Due to the low light shutter speeds of 20+ seconds were required to get optimal exposures and due to the windy weather it made for some interesting images of the cooling towers (shown below).

BP Chemicals, Saltend

Another two photographs taken at the time have also been added to the most recent images section on the main photography page.

New Equipment

This week some new inexpensive kit arrived this week to help with different aspects of my photography. The first item is an infrared remote control which allows me to control the shutter of my D5300 wirelessly and could be used for taking self portraits, studio use or wildlife photography.

Wired and infrared shutter release

The second item is essentially the same as the first item but has a wired connection that plugs in to the side of the camera, also referred to as the accessory terminal by Nikon. This again allows me to control the shutter of the camera but this device also allows me to shoot continuous bursts by holding the button down. Both products can be used to help avoid camera shake when shooting with a tripod while the wired remote can be used to activate long exposures (bulb).

This week I also returned to North Yorkshire and finally managed to capture the shot of the The Flying Scotsman which I intended to get last week! Obviously I am a little biased but think it has turned out okay this time.

The Flying Scotsman

A slight edit has also been made to the website and now some of my latest images are shown at the bottom of the photography page, which I will try and update on a regular basis.

The Flying Scotsman

An early start was in order this weekend as I was asked by a photography friend if I would like to head up to Levisham, North Yorkshire, to photograph the Flying Scotsman. The locomotive has recently been restored to its former glory following a £4.2 million project so this was an opportunity not to be missed.

We arrived early to setup our equipment and compose the shot (see below) and then it was a case of waiting patiently until the historic machine passed our spot alongside the track.

Composing the shot in preparation for the Flying Scotsman

Unfortunately in the end I didn't quite get the shot I wanted, which was my own fault for not paying attention and also for not changing a setting on the camera, but at least I can learn from the experience. Below is the final (heavily cropped) image taken on the day.

The final cropped image