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
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
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!
So I got one – I saw just how small the “mavic air” is on Youtube and thought the time had come!
Reasons why I got one…
One you can put anywhere in 3D space! The drone is pretty easy to control once you have a few hours practice – it just stays where it is until you move it.
So that’s the basic controls in a nutshell
Composing photos is just like on land – you use the rules as normal, looking for streams, roads and paths for “lead lines”, using the “rule of thirds” to make things balanced.
I took it to the lakes this weekend – forgot to charge the controller so didn’t get as much as I wanted to, but managed some on Newlands and Crummock Water
I’ve photographed these reservoirs many times, just not from 200 feet in the air so was keen to go try it
A park location with lake – I just like water shots…
The laws prevent you from getting close to property and people – so you can’t just pop into Leeds and shoot the town hall from above – which is gutting as that’d be awesome! So you have to find open spaces with things in – that probably means a fair drive out from the city you live in before you get something exciting. Add to that you only get 20 minutes per battery (I’ve got 3) you are a little reluctant to drive 1 hour – shoot for an hour – then drive an hour back! I’ve just ordered a car charger though so that may change!
I’m new to this so having dog walkers and ramblers nearby when you’re doing it seems a bit wrong… what if something goes wrong? And will they moan about the noise? The actual truth is most people are “interested” and enjoy looking at your phone if you show them. So I’m gradually getting closer to them, though never within 50m of anyone as that’s illegal
This is usually fine if you use the controller you get in the box – though at Crummock Water, it did lose comms mid flight… thankfully the drone just came home and landed itself. That’s a godsend. I then had to use the phone on its own – the drone has wifi and can talk directly to the phone. I attempted this twice, following the instructions to the letter – on both occasions it took over 30 minutes of struggle and worse, it wasted 1/2 the drone battery whilst it sat on the ground. I’m sure this is a learning curve, the main lesson being has a micro USB charger in the car for the controller….
This is a pain for any landscaper really – you expose for the sky, you get dark land – and vice versa with a white sky… The land-based photographer can use ND Grad filters to darken the sky, leaving the land normal. You can’t do this with the drone and do panos…. It DOES do HDR, and saves the braceted images for you – and the files are RAW so you can do a fair bit with them. if you’re used to a Full frame RAW file though, you’ll be amazed how like a 2006 camera these files are… not great with noise.
Like anything, they’re getting smaller and cheaper with time. The Mavic Pro 2 is around £1500 – the Air is £1000 with 3 batteries and DJI have a Spark which is cheaper still. They are surprisingly easy to use and safety is built in – they have sensors to stop them crashing – though you can switch them off and trash if it you like.
It’s great fun but you do need to find places to do it – so if you’re not adventurous then it’s probably not for you.
If you’ve fallen out of love with photography, it does give you a new angle on the hobby – literally!
However – you may need to register and pay for a licence in 2019…. be ready for that.
How sure are you that your website images are all legal to use?
By that, did you buy a licence or hire a photographer – or did you just pop on to Google to get a few shots, assuming no one would ever know.
And the chances WERE that you’d be very unlucky to be found out.
These 2 businesses have found a way to help photographers both find copyright infringements and also pursue compensation.
It’s very simple..
So fantastic for photographers – we should all be doing this to remind people that though we enjoy creating images, they also have a value and that should be respected.
This could cost thousands if you’ve got a blog packed full of unlicensed images – though it’s the front page of a website which will cost you the most.
We’d recommend checking where the shots came from –
Sometimes you don’t get that perfect light – the colours are missing and you’re tempted to get back in the car and drive home.
But so long as you’ve got a little definition in the sky and it’s not pouring down, then stick around – get some shots with the intention of going “black and white” in processing.
I usually switch the camera to Monochrome when shooting – just so the preview on camera looks black and white – remember that the RAW file always contains colour info anyway, so you don’t lose anything.
As you can see from this unedited shot – it wasn’t the most inspiring of days in Yorkshire, but there was sky definition – so I stuck around and took 63 photos of the area.
This is 2 of them stitched together.
Rather than typing the details, here’s a video which explains it all – every step!
When you’ve done a shoot and have hundreds of shots to trawl through, you need a quick way to get the skin tone the right brighness on your subject.
It’s not straightforward enough to use Auto Settings – that will take account of the background as well as the
Here’s an unedited shot of Brad – the lighting’s pretty cool, but I’m, not sure whether his skin’s right or not.
In general, Caucasian skin will be at +1EV (other skin tones vary so this may not work with
After this tweak, we now know that Brad’s face is at the correct brightness, and can continue to do whatever edits we like – but this is a great start point!
Here’s how it’s done….
McFade Photography is a commercial photography service based in Leeds, working UK wide helping brands and agencies promote their products and services.