In 2018 we had out 7th trip to Austria and got images on all 5 days of the trip – this video contains some of my favourite moments from the holiday.
It’s well worth a look if you’re pondering coming
Here’s the ford you see the old car go through at the start of All Creatures Great and small, a BBC TV show through out my childhood.
It was compulsive viewing in my village as a child, with everyone either being a farmer or working on them. this is a little sketch of the place I took with the Mavic Air drone whilst I was up there on a very quiet day.
Ever since I started photographing the dales in 2003, I had wondered where this ford was, I’d seen a few but this was at the bottom of a big “dip”.
So here it is, my little ode to the road between Langthwaite and Low Row
Websites can be a stressful thing to create, write and update – you’ve got to think of all that functionality, the copy and layout – it’s usually the first victim of procrastination!
So how do you give your existing site a brand new look, with minimum impact to your life?
It’s pretty easy really – replace your old photos
Your website will have lots of images which can be swapped in or out pretty quickly and easily, either by you or your web developer. All you need to do is get a photographer around for a few hours to create you a new set of marketing images, then when you get the shots, just chop them to the right size and swap them out. A trivial task in WordPress websites, and probably easy in most.
If you can’t afford a photographer to come around then you can ask them for some of their stock images – most of us have thousands of images we take in our spare time, my library is jammed full of the Dales, Leeds, The Lakes, Rome, Prague… you name it!
We are always more than happy to licence images for you to use – it may only cost you a few tens or hundreds of pounds to totally transform how your website looks if you go down this route. We have an image library with a taste of what you can
Either way – getting us in for a few hours or getting some of our library images will transform your old website’s appearance for a fraction of the cost of a new site.
As spring begons we say good bye to another winter, and what a fantastic winter is was for workshops at McFade photography.
We had a series of weekend workshops, places like Liverpool, the Yorkshire coast and lots of bits in-between. Then we had some night workshops which took us around famous landmarks in the dark, then we lit them with torches.
Here we have a 5 minute video taking you through the workshops in chronological order
We’re planning the Summer now, so go over to our workshop site and see what’s coming up – it’s
Winter’s a great time for architecture photography – the sun is low in the sky and sets around 5PM, so you’re not out waiting for ages in the evening.
On the 7th February, I decided to capture the sunset in Leeds city centre – sadly the sky didn’t really go bright red, but we did get some clouds and a little texture to play with.
Many are HDR, most are vertical panoramic photos using the SHIFT function of the lens – so what you see are 6-9 images blended.
All processing in LIGHTROOM, Including HDR and panoramic merging.
There’s nothing more boring than a blue sky to us photographers!
So when we got this dramatic sky all day on my last trip to the northeast, it really was a gift.
First off we went south to see the new bridge in Sunderland. It’s the tallest thing in town and really is pretty huge – you can easily see it from the A19 as you pass the city.
These are all taken with the 5DIV and the 24mTS-e mark 2 with a polariser.
Just upstream a few miles on the Wear, the Parthenon inspired monument stands on a hill looking over the A1 and A19.
It was a windy day, but when you walked up to the monument, it was blowing a gale!
The best shots were these with the 24mm TS lens, vertical panoramic shots to keep everything nice and square.
This shot is close up with a 16mm lens and 10-stop filter to get the smooth clouds.
As we headed north, we went to the mouth of the Tyne to get a few shots of the harbour – the south side is called South Shields.
There is a big red lighthouse type thing on the harbourside which is pretty cool, and the view over to the North Shields Fish Quay was pretty cool with a 10-Stop filter on.
Not the most famous Northumberland town by a long stretch, but it’s got a couple of great beach hut terraces which always photograph well. There are also views down the coast to St Mary’s Lighthouse.
And to finish the day off we did a very quick bit of light painting whilst there was still texture in the sky…
As you can see, it really is grim up north – but pretty cool to photograph!
This November I did a shoot with young Jaeda, a star of the future who’s not only a great model but a competition diver too!
A portfolio shoot around our mutual hometown, Morley, hair and styling by her mum, makeup artist and skincare consultant, Michelle Sharman – who also did the art direction, helping Jeada with her poses. Dad
We started at Dartmouth Park, where we tried to blow some leaves into the photos with a leaf blower, but they were all too wet and sticky to move off the ground!
A couple more locations then off to a more industrial setting for the final change of clothes
It all started last night in Roundhay Park – our winter of light painting around Roundhay Park saw us using torches and gels to colour the world!
New for 2018 is a “Manker MK 35” torch – this claims to have a 1.4Km beam – it does shine a hell of a long way, and with its very narrow beam, its great for detail work. Think of it as a fine brush, whereas other torches are more like thicker airbrushes.
This photo was just the MK35 torch pointing at the ground as I walked to the bandstand – you can see how narrow the line it makes is.
I’ve been looking for a torch like this for years – hopefully, the high price tag will pay off when we go to Gordale Scar, where I hope to paint cliffs hundreds of yards away.
NIGHTSCAPES is a course for experienced photographers, so we assume you know all the “techy” stuff – you can set ISO/SHUTTER/APERTURE, read your histogram and make changes etc. You do know how bulb mode works to get a 2-minute exposure etc. etc.
So the technique really was all creative and torch-based. Here’s the process in a nutshell
It’s really as simple as that – but all creative things can be boiled down to a few steps like that, a painting could be described as “1 dip brush in paint, 3move brush over canvas, 3 goto step 1” 😉
We started at the top pond in the park.
It’s got a fountain which you can colour with your torch if the “throw” is long enough – throw is the term for how far the beam goes. On this photo, the XM35, a “long thrower” was green, and the foreground (using my 3-LED Sky Ray wider thrower) was orange. This was the first shot with 2 torches in action.
Next to test the XM35 with a very thick red gel, one which reduces the brightness of the torch massively, I shone it at the fountains for a full 30 seconds. Considering it’s one of the most powerful throwers you can buy, it’s not massively bright, so beware when using red gels – they do need a lot of lumens! (Lumens is a measure of torch power).
Next the band stand.
This first one had us walking around with torches pointed at the floor to create a pattern of coloured lines. Then Lee went into the bandstand with the Sky Ray at the end to light the inside, I used the purple gel and XM35 to add a bit of colour to the outside.
A pure shot, the outside was lit at the top with the XM35 from a distance, the lower parts with the SKy Ray and yellow gel at close quarters. A little light spill in the foreground created texture in the leaves and grass.
On the way to the water tower, we stopped for a shot of the avenue – here we split up, green sky ray to the right, red XM35 to the left – this gives a nice mix of colour as you go into the distance.
At the water tower, we started with lots of colours to create this early shot – it’s a bit like a Pride flag!
The idea was a red interior and blue top with the XM35, then green steps and yellow ring on the “patio” at the top of the steps. It came out very jolly!
Later on I tried just the purple gel, shooting inside the water tower. This was a 4-minute exposure allowing the stars to leave little light trails if you look carefully
Simplicity is often worth trying!
Another simple shot but with the green gel instead – this time you can actually see green in the oculus at the top of the tower
And finally an RGB shot – red was from behind the camera with the XM35, green with the sky ray from 9 oclock, blue with the XM35 at 3 oclock
And finally on the way back to the cars, we found this stunning leafless tree – so I demonstrated my shadow technique.
All in all a fantastic night – not too cold either – lots of torch work and virtually no need to teach any camera skills, which is the purpose of this workshop series.
We are aiming it at experienced photographers who enjoy a new challenge – and don’t mind standing in fields, in the dark, in winter!
It’s amazing fun and well worth the effort.
Drones have tiny noisy sensors compared to your DSLR – if you’re used to brightening up shadows on an underexposed shot with your camera, you’ll be shocked how bad this is on a drone RAW file.
Bracketing and HDR is the answer.
Bracket photos for HDR is rarely needed with modern camera sensors, but it’s back with DRONE photography. With the DJI Mavic Air I use, you have the option of taking 3 or 5 photos, each 1-stop apart, to capture a larger range.
Yesterday I went onto Marsden Moor to test this out, having struggled with skies and dark land for the 2 months I’ve had the Mavic.
In the app, you need to know your way around the camera settings to find:-
So that’s it out in the field – it takes a lot longer than the AUTO PANO modes your app may have, but you have gathered 5 times the data and you CAN get a decent sky and ground.
This is where the real work happens. Whilst the latest version of Lightroom CC has “HDR Pano” blending, I’ve found this incredibly slow and you can’t queue up many panos, you have to wait for just the 1 to complete. I’ve never had the patience to let one finish it takes that long.
So here’s the process I went through for these images:-
So now you’ll have a timeline with every raw file in a “stack” – so if you had 30 photos to begin with, these will be neatly stacked into 6.
To get the pano, you just need to :-
At the end of all that, your folder of dozens of component shots will have reduced to a few HDR Pano photos – now you can get on to editing them as normal!
Another series of Photography Workshops drew to an end in Manchester on the 26th September. It seems like ages since we started on our beginners evening in Leeds, which turned out to be the only evening where it rained! 2018 was amazingly dry and hot – it made the whole 10 workshops a joy.
So here’s a quick review of what we covered in our Photography Workshops – I’d designed them for absolute beginners to gradually learn technical and creative skills over the months.
Leeds was a wet night – we met around the corn exchange and used the arches as cover. The night was all about how F-stops and focal lengths can be used creatively – blurry backgrounds and crazy close up photos were the theme! We even went into a pub for shelter – Aire Bar.
Here are a few shots from the evening.
Session 2 was about looking – we walk around in our daily lives and pass by literally millions of potential photos each day. So in Little Germany, we took our time – we found things like bollards and thought about how they could be used in an image. Would you use a long lens and stand back, or a wide lens and get very close?
Seeing images is something which comes with practice, time and patience – it’s not an easy one to teach, other than to find things myself, then show them the photo I’d just taken!
Low shots from the floor, wide shots with lots of stuff in, zoomed in shots with just 1 focal point… a real eye-opener of a workshop.
Landscape is popular and if you’re in a decent location, you can get some fantastic shots with basic skills. So on this workshop, we built on the first 2 workshops by showing the group how Filters work.
I demonstrated the polariser effect on water – making the reflected sky appear and disappear as you rotate it. Also ND grad filters and how they darken the sky, leaving the land alone. I even got the 10-stop filter out and showed them a 30 second shot in daylight.
The wier at burley is great – you’ve got the curved steps for starters, plus the stepping stones to use.
Half way through we went to the Cow and Calf on Ilkley moor – the sun was going down fast so we made silhouette photos of the famous rocks, with bold red skies behind. The ball of the sun became a great focal point.
To end we went on to the rocks to find carvings – they make great foregrounds for a landscape
The second landscape evening started near Harewood House in at a wier on the river wharf. Here we created long exposure photos of the bubbles as they spiralled around – these leave trails and spirals, so quite surreal.
We concentrated more and more on metering and how to use manual exposure on this workshop – quite a baffling process at first, so best to introduce it slowly over the weeks!
After the river we went to another famous Yorkshire Crag at Almscliffe – we were treated to the best sunset of the summer to that point, it was amazing how red the sky went – right past 10PM!
We’d not done any portrait workshops for a few years, so invited along 5 friends to model for us around the Royal Armouries area of Leeds. We had the best turnout of the summer for this one – so split the group in to 5 pairs, each with a model.
The main thing I wanted to share was that the easiest way to get a decent portrait is to use a long lens, zoom right in and then walk back to get the framing right – this cuts out all the background distractions you don’t want and blurs things beautifully.
Another beautiful summers evening meant we could shoot till 10PM – so we got hundreds of great shots between us
For the second portrait session, we had Nicola and Chloe doing their thing – and a little later, Andy Blue Maclaren joined in. Location 1 was park square, a sea of flowers and green – so very soft and pastoral look. In here we used trees and benches to start with – then moved on to the old police station building which was a couple of minutes away.
The building has lots of graffiti over it, so great for a grungey background to the portraits. We did narrow depth of field portraits, looking along a wall to Chloe peeking around a corner.
We finished off with a flash photo demonstration at the old swimming pool car park – a little taster of what you can do with speedlites
After 6 workshops, everyone was getting to grips with camera settings so it’s the perfect time to do the car workshop so they can try their new skills out on something totally different.
Our friends at WY TVR Club had their meeting at the Manor Golf Club, so we met there at 7 and shot through till about 9:15 – then i got a pair of flashes out to show what you can do with 2 lights.
Saltaire is a real mix for the photographer. You have the river and canal for the landscape guys, the mill and chapel for the architecture people and the model village for the urban photographer.
This workshop was a little wet at the start so we took shelter on the tow path under a bridge for a while. Here we had great refelctions of the mill in the water, so all wasn’t lost!
After that we crossed the foot bridge over to the wier, this leads the eye to one of the mills, so its a great setup. Lots of trees have grown there recently, so the space to shoot is getting smaller each year.
To finish off we went to the cobbled streets and captured reflections in the watery lanes.
By this stage, 8 workshops done, things are starting to click – exposure makes sense, composition seems easier and it’s an evening of putting it all toghether. We met near the train station this year and went to the walls for the classic view of the Minster. This gave us options to use the wall in our composition, and gradually as the sun went down, we could do longer and longer exposures to add in car light trails.
The Minster area was closed, unfortunately, so we spent more time on the Shambles and just trying different techniques. When we got to the Shambles, we had Nicola Papperazzo on hand to do some great poses for us – we tried this both with ambient light, which was VERY low, and with a couple of bare SPEEDLITE flashes which we sat on door frames and steps! A lesson in improvisation and being flexible.
And the final one… the sunset and night shoot at Salford Quays.
This was about coping with the changing light – we showed the delegates how to use LIVE VIEW and the live histogram to constantly check the exposure.
It was also about composition. It’s an area full of features, lights and structures. So to make the most of it, you need to remember right back to lesson 2 in Bradford and use the Rule of Thirds and Lead Lines to piece together your images.
Once it was dark, the sky became too dark for most images, so we included less and less of it as it really was wasted space. And as usual, we stayed an fair bit after 10PM – it really is that absorbing down there!
So that’s the summer in a nutshell – we’ve taken beginners and shown them the basics first, then introduced new subjects to try them on, week after week, until they leave with a firm platform from which to take their photography forward.
We’ll be doing a similar series over the winter, maybe one per month, where we start in the cities and then take groups in to parks and maybe even moors and landscape locations to shoot at night with torches!
McFade Photography is a commercial photography service based in Leeds, working UK wide helping brands and agencies promote their products and services.