Austria Workshop 2012 – Bavarian Town

20 minutes before Minuch Airport is this little town – the name evades me sadly. We called in to capture the last shots of our weekend away.

It’s got a delightful centre, lovely square, colourful houses and shops, stream and lots of sculptures. Also lots of shops for those last minute gifts…

It’s another location to build variety into the images you take away from our workshop – a mix of both old and modern architecture, perfect for long and wide lenses. We were shooting both HDR and single shots, using all lengths of lenses to capture detail shots and wider panorama shots.

Austria Workshop 2012 – Bavarian Church

Homeward Bound – Church, Coffee and Cake

Beautiful landscape is one part of out workshops, but we’re partial to a bit of architecture too, and when the weather is lacking, we can always pop into something interesting like this church.

It’s on the way to Munich Airport so we pulled off the Autobahn and had a pleasant 45 minutes getting creative away from the rain.

I was shooting for HDR mainly, interiors benefit from the extra data you capture from bracketted images. The one above has detail throughout, something you can’t always get in one shot with a digital SLR.

The group were shooting a variety of styles – Dave using his fast primes to create blurry backgrounds and sharp focal points, Jackie using the 70-300 to pick detail out of things “far away”, Suki with his amazingly wide 12mm lens, capturing everything in one shot and Trung getting properly creative with a compact.

After we’d finished in the church, we had a coffee and the most amazingly large and delicious piece of cake I’ve ever had (no offence to all the bakers back home!). It was huge, layers of fruit, cake, cream and more cream…

So on the way home from future workshops, time permitting, we may well pop into this little gem.

McFade Photography in Blackpool

Blackpool – Vegas of the north!

Friday night saw me playing with the Blues Brothers band at the Empire in Blackburn, so I stopped in the area for the weekend, calling into Blackpool for a few hours on Saturday afternoon.

Interesting light – sunny in one direction, overcast in the other, so decided to get lots of HDR shots of the iconic, and less well known structures around the north pier area.

I also got loads of silly “kiss me quick” hat shots and stuff like that, but the building shots have been edited first… they’re all rather dark and vignetted, which I can’t really explain… just seems to fit the images. Maybe it’s because the nights are drawing in?


Austrian Landscape Photography Workshop – Day 1 at The Gorge

Austrian Photography Holiday

Austrian Landscape Photography Holiday

McFade Photography’s “Austrian Photography Holiday & Workshop” took 5 photographers over to the stunning Tirol area of Austria in the middle of October 2012, an area of outstanding mountains, lakes and gorges.

A long weekend, from Thursday to Monday, with 3 full photography days in stunning locations, fantastic food and accommodation with Keith and Manu Holt on their traditional Austrian farm, with Keith being the perfect location guide, and Ade teaching you photography skills throughout.

We also spend time in the evening reviewing your photographs, over a few beers of course…. it is Austria after all!

Austrian Photography Holiday

Day 1 of the Austrian Photography Holiday

We went to a spectacular gorge to take on the photographic challenge of capturing the grandeur of the space, the flowing water and mixed lighting conditions.

The journey from base to the gorge was exciting enough, passing through immense valleys bounded with pointed cliff tops, trees turning orange and yellow and azure coloured rivers.

Austrain Photography Holiday

Once parked and through the entrance, the gorge started almost straight away with a man made channel creating a waterfall for us to practice our composition and exposure skills on. Low light dictating longer shutter speeds, we all created smooth water effects, with the tripod been almost essential.

With this water-side shot we see the water blurr with a shutter speed of around 1 second – a lovely effect we’ll show you how to do – on your tripod!

Austrain Photography Holiday

The Austrian’s do things properly, the gorge has a long, strong walk way made from girders and thick wooden planks, so you are never in any danger of falling in! Unless you climb over and walk to the river. However, you can use your longer lenses to get “in on the action”, as can be seen in this shot – taken at 200mm to capture the shapes in the rock

This has its challenges of course – a 200-300mm lens needs a sturdy tripod to eliminate movement – any wobbles and you get soft shots. This could be tricky on a wooden walkway when people passed. So it was well worth taking 3 or 4 shots of the same thing to be on the safe side.

The mix of blue-hued water, cold rocks and autumn leaves created a wide range of colours.

Towards to top of the gorge, it gets really narrow, dark and noisy – with this waterfall at the end. It’s probably 15-20 feet tall, and you walk right over the top of it. This series of shots were taken with the 200mm lens and show the movement of water over the static rock – check out the different shapes and textures – it’s amazing how the water has moulded the rock over the millennia..



It’s probably the most strenuous day of the trip due to the climb up to the pub for lunch. After the gorge we follow the river for a while then have a steep ascent for about a mile – this really tests your fitness and makes you question the heavy kit you’re carrying!

However, when you get to the top, it’s pretty spectacular to say the least.

And the view across the other side of the valley isn’t bad either!

We got our breath back, enjoyed a beer and some amazing traditional food in the pub at the top of the hill – taking a good hour in the blue skied valley. Then we headed back down the gorge, which is happily FAR easier to descend than climb up. You do see new things on a second pass, so we took time to capture images – using different lenses so you get a whole new perspective on the area.

The Return Trip

A quick detour on the way back gave us this spectacular lake, with water the colour of which I’d never seen before! As you can see the weather was against us, so managed to get just 5 shots out of the camera before the heavens opened and called a close on the day’s shoot, but we look forward to seeing a spectacular sunset here on our 2013 return!

And so back to Ellmau and the farm house… at this stage, the mountains had not fully revealed themselves…. we were treated to this a little later in the holiday


Night Photography Programme Starts

Just a few shots from the first Night Photography session.

We used Leeds as a base to learn the theory behind taking long exposures at night – how things like Aperture have more unusual effects than you’d think at night!

We’ll be meeting to discuss each others images in a fortnight and share ideas on how to process them

If you’d like to be a part of the Night Programme, it’s running over the whole of winter, 2nd and 4th tuesday nights of each month. Just inbox us at to book your place

Photographer Meets Celebrity Look Alikes in Leeds

Celebrity Look Alikes in Leeds

Had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing:-

  • David Beckham
  • Mr T
  • Austin Powers
  • Simon Cowell
  • Britney Spears
  • Will Smith

Or at least I thought I did!

These were a great bunch of actors who make a career from looking like the actual celebrity – and it is uncanny when you meet them and they adopt the “celebrity pose”.

The day was a pop music video shoot in Leeds which I was documenting – I’d taken the lights with me and set them up in the back garden to get some shots of Simon Cowell (aka Andy).

As the day progressed, all of the look alikes came along and had a shoot and chat. At first, its totally surreal talking to Will Smith – he looks, acts and when he does the voice, sounds just like him.

Anyway – here’s a few shots from the day.