Calling All Photographers

Coming up in tend days or so is The Photography Show in Birmingham. Bob and I will be there, covering the show for the Outdoors Station.

This time we’re trying to be well prepared and have asked the major manufacturers to highlight for us gear that they think meets the needs and the profile of the outdoor enthusiast.

Bob, of course, will be doing all the exciting stuff. My job is to scour the NEC for accessories that might be really useful.

So, are there things you want to know more about? Are there challenges in outdoor photography that you’d like some advice on tackling?

Let us know what you are interested in.

Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year — Paul Webster

It’s not unusual to see the work of Walkhighlands featured here in these pages. For over a decade Helen and Paul Webster have built up one of the most genuinely useful businesses aimed at supporting outdoor people exploring the Scottish Highlands. If you want a walking route — high, low, hard or gentle — or a place to teach for a book accommodation, Walkhighlands should be you starting place.

The Walkhighland’s website has become something of an online magazine with news and features. The site also has a major focus on photography with articles not he art supplemented by Paul Webster’s stunning photography.

When they are not in the office, Helen and Paul are out walking their routes and creating new ones.  Paul always has his camera with him and records the Highlands in all their splendour, at all times of the day and in all weathers.  Even at home I can vouch for the fact that Paul strolls around the house with huge lenses attached to his Nikons. No squirrel is safe from one of Paul’s snaps.

To call Paul’s photos snaps is a bit of an insult.

If you want to spend some time reconnecting with the Highlands (particularly those of us who live in the flatlands to the South) get on over to the site.

Walkhighland’s Paul wins Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year

Outdoors Photography @ The Photography Show

The Photography Show at the National Exhibition Centre will be held, for the 5th time, in March. Bob and I will be there to cover the show for the Outdoors Station. We are working with the Press Team at the show too ensure that we get access to the gear that you want to know about!

It’s a few years since I have been at one of these shows and I have to admit I’m a bit out of touch with recent developments in photography. I’m really looking forward to this.

If there’s anything in particular that you want to see then just let us know as we’ll try to ensure that we can cover it. And, hopefully, there will be some interesting photographers to talk to!

Long Mynd Ponies

Mynd Ponies

Changing the Season

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I almost started this post by stating that the move to autumn was my favourite time of the year. But in reality, the change from one season to another is always a very special time. I’ve written about this before but the joy of the UK climate is the changing of the seasons. They seldom disappoint.

Autumn is now coming in strong after a long and dry summer. Yesterday, there was a little edge to the early morning air and yet I spent most of the day walking in sunshine.  The skies clouded a little at lunchtime but a brisker wind soon whisked them away and the weather for the rest of the afternoon was glorious.

Working for yourself is always a mixed blessing. When things are quiet — as they are at the moment — there is a temptation to sit at the computer most of the day and generally create a false sense of productivity by, well, not doing very much in particular. Far better to get out there to the hills. A good hill walk calms the nerves and puts life back into some kind of perspective. For me, there is nothing quite like chilling out on the hills.

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Mid week is a good time for a snatched walk as inevitably you have the hills to yourselves. It was the kind of day that suggested a ridge walk or two. Although the days are shortening an intimate knowledge of your favourite hills allows you to squeeze the most out of your time. To extend the walk — and to preserve the solitary nature of the day — I chose to drop down form the ridges down on the of steepest, most scrambly, ‘batches’ in this part of the world. There’s nothing dangerous here but you have to have you wits about you. There is a steep drip down into Barrister’s Gully (how did that get named)? A narrow path descends sometimes over bare rock and sometimes crosses small reaches of scree. The path stays high above a small stream, the descent below a sharp and perspicuous one. There was no real need to use hands but at times progress was slowed simply because of the necessity to be sure about where you were planning your feet.

In all my years of walking this ‘batch’ I have never ever met another soul here. The paths while narrow are well defined and evidence that others do pass this way. It’s not just me and the sheep.

When you know your hills well you know where to make the most of the changing season and this is certainly the case as autumn arrives. Locally, I may not have the majesty and the splendour of, say, the Rothimuchus to experience but if you know where to look there is a lot to see and in autumn this walk can be stunning, the old oaks and beech trees sheltered from the prevailing wind so as to preserve their autumnal foliage.

In truth I was probably a week too early, the colours changing but not yet saturated in colour. However, one weekend storm can blow away the colours before you can blink. I might return next week,  maybe for an overnight, but only if the prevailing winds have obliged.

The lateness of autumn suggests that this season may be short. Soon the biting chill of the winter winds will arrive and the same walks will take on a wild and barren feel. The walks will be just as enthralling in their own way but very different of those of today.

Meanwhile, make the best of the season when you can. The extended summer and relatively calm weather promise some wonderful autumn displays.

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Monochrome Challenge

Some photos seem to look better in Black and White while others are best in Colour. Are are some monochrome pics!

Dalballach Ruin, Glen Banchor

Balballach ruin. Easy to see why this was built here.

Cairn Ewen

Gordon Green, Frederick Maillard and Kate Foley on the Monadliath boundary ridge.

Descending to Gleann Lochain

Descending from the ridge.

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The ferry from Mallaig

Lee and Tony No Guiness

Lee and Tony in the Park Hotel. The Guiness had run dry and Tony was on cider. One of the collectors!

Photo: Adstone Hill

Adstone Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuji X-Pro1, 1/125, f11, ISO 400. 18mm (28 — 35 equivalent)

Borders in Black and White

The weather continues to make life in the outdoors — well — pretty limited! Somehow, everything looks appropriate in black and white at the moment!

Flooded Fields

The Hutton Coast

Dunbar

Coldstream

TGO 2015: Gear Hits — Fuji X-Pro1

Heading for the Bealach Dubh aside Ben Alder

Fuji X-Pro1, 18mm lens, 1/60 at f11, ISO 200

 

When I composed my first post about gear hits and misses in thought about including the new camera but thought better of it. However, a rather lengthy conversation on twitter about the merits of smaller APS—C sensors and Full Frame sensors got me thinking. I’ve written briefly about this new camera before — TGO: Joining the Fuji Revolution — but it is probably time to share some of my first experiences.

I should say upfront that I expected to report this as a compromise but one that was well worth making in terms of lowering the weight of equipment carried. In  reality, I have found the camera to be less of a compromise than I expected.

Up until now I have carried an Canon 5DII on my travels. Theses a bit of a monster but it is a full frame camera. The burden was lessened a little by my adoption of just one lens for hiking, the 17-40 f4 zoom, a lightweight lens that I think is very under-rated (at least my copy is a pretty decent lens). Over the last year I have found myself carrying this less and less and often walking without a camera at all.  I decided my body was telling me something about my advancing years!

And so, on to the Fuji!

[Read more…]

2015 TGO Challenge Flickr Group

My photos of the Challenge will gradually arrive here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/andy-howell/sets/72157653238700356