Leeds Pubs in Lockdown

Leeds always had a thriving hospitality sector packed with innovative bars, traditional boozers and amazing restaurants. I’ve been part of the scene by probably drinking a little bit too much in many of these places, and also photographing quite a lot of food and drinks for bars, restaurants and hotels over the years. I even made a brand called shoot the chef for the food photography side of my business.

So as well as as being gutted that we cannot go out socialising in my favourite pubs during lockdown, I’m also well aware of many amazing people I’ve worked with who are seeing their businesses going through hell at the moment. Several clients have already closed the doors permanently. But with a little luck, the funding from the government will save the vast majority and hospitality will bounce back stronger than ever before.

The New Saturday

Having nothing to do on a Saturday these days, other than go for a walk, I decided to to take the camera into the city centre and photograph pubs as I walk past, to record this strange moment where living through. These are taken in the late afternoon when when things are starting to warm up on a Saturday, so it’s really strange to see places like Greek Street and Call Lane totally empty.

So here you go. A lot of photographs of Leeds hospitality in hibernation.

It’s Grim Up North

Give me grey and day

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. 

Pinnacle Bridge, Sunderland

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. 

Penshaw Monument

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. 

South Shields

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.

Sunset at Blyth

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.

Light Painting the Huts

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!

The Nightmare Of Holiday Photography

Can mixing a holiday and photography ever work?

So you’re off somewhere amazing for your holiday, with friends or family who probably are not photographers – or at least not as serious as you are. Can you really make this work?


The dream holiday photography… 

For the die-hard-photographer who wants photography perfection, you really need to be up before dawn to capture the sunrise, in the best possible location which you have carefully researched!

Then again in the evening, you need a couple of hours to get into position for the sunset.

During the day it’ll be too hot and the light too intense to capture anything worthwhile, so you go and shoot interiors – cathedrals, museums and the like.


The reality

Your group will want to experience the culture, including drinks and food in the evening. Your family/friends will want to be sitting down to eat and drink well before the sun sets, maybe hitting the bar at 6PM and eating by 8PM. 

Also, you are on holiday so want a nice lie-in to sleep off the food and drink the night before. You will be in bed for sunrise and well after, and you definitely watch the 9PM sunset from a chair in a restaurant.

When you DO get chance to do photography, you’ll be in crowds of tourists so have no chance of using a tripod, the light will be intense so you’ll have black shadows and burned out highlights. The heat will be 30 degrees and you will be sweating carting your kit around, it’ll wear you out and you’ll get knackered!


The 2 Solutions…

1 – Do a dedicated photography holiday.

This may seem obvious, but rather than try to do the traditional trip, and squeeze in photography, plan something specifically for photography.

Go with photographers who will get up with you for sunrise, and hang around till sunset.

You can go at a snail’s pace, plan locations and routes meticulously over a pint and google maps months in advance! 

2 – Go off season – i.e. Winter

If you’re doing something warm like Seville or Rome, these places will still be warm in December.

The crowds will be smaller, so you’re not falling over people!

The sun will rise closer to 8 AM than 4 AM so you can nip out at a fairly sensible time for a sunrise if you like.

The sun starts to go down around 4 PM, so you can capture that perfect sunset then be back in the hotel getting ready for food by 6 PM. 

Also, during the day the sun is lower in winter, so you get longer shadows and “better light” – it’ll mean your shots just look more interesting than the same time in summer.


So can you successfully mix photography and a holiday? 

Well yes, of course, take the camera with you – you’ll definitely see hundreds of things to shoot and record memories. You can also “nip off” from a restaurant for 10 minutes when the sun is setting if you like – there’s always a way. 

But if you really do want to capture images to exhibit or sell, piggybacking your photography on to a normal trip abroad will always be a struggle. I’d do it in winter when it’s miserable in the UK – get a cheap flight to the Med and enjoy those short days in the sun and long evenings. That way you can move faster without overheating, visit more sites, get better light and be in the pub for 6PM every night to get the best of both worlds!

Tornado Steam Train on Ribblehead Viaduct

A 50 year Wait – Tornado Steam Train Scheduled Service

I didn’t wait 50 years – but it was 50 years ago that the last steam train service ran over the iconic viaduct in the Dales.

It was only for a few days in February so I decided to brave the weather and head up there. I’d incorrectly assumed that every train would be steam, so had a shock when I saw about 6 normal boring ones going over the viaduct!

So I got a LOT of shots without the train on….

This is from the Ingleton side – the sun falls directly on to the arches, definitely worth a look if you’re up there

The sun was out for a while – but Whernside was properly in shadow for this one!

This was taken from the roadside as I was heading to Ingleton for some lunch

On the way back from lunch we had more sun – so thought I’d get a few shots as the shadow slowly engulfed the arches, one by one.

This is near White Scar on the side of Ingleborough

Back to the rocks, where I was for AGES


Really liked this crack in the limestone

Many hours later

I was stood on these rocks for nearly 3 hours – no 4G, unchanging light, tried hundreds of photos – bit of Focus Stacking practice, which is really easy with the 5D4’s new touch screen shutter.

I’d almost given up by 4ish then people started gathering in the distance, behind the Ribblehead Pub.

The Kit and Settings

So got the 24-70mm lens on, ND grad (3 stop) in place and the polariser on. With hindsight, the polariser didn’t make much different AND forced me to up the ISO to compensate for the long shutter. After all – the train is moving, i guessed I needed about 1/100th at least for it not to blur.

  • F8

  • 1/160th

  • ISO 1000

All alone on the rocks

Amazingly I was the only person on these rocks – was expecting lots of company, but I think people were more interested in the actual train over the steam patterns.

I was looking for an epic landscape with hard, cold limestone in the foreground, then the bridge in the background with a long plume of steam as the train passed over.

I got lucky – it’s exactly what happened! And the rain stopped for the moment when the train actually passed.

It goes very slowly over the viaduct, so you can fire off many compositions as it passes – I’d have got 20-50 shots I expect – you just don’t want to miss out having waited for so long.

Colour shows how grey the day was – I’ve eeked a lot of texture out of that sky in processing.

Using a different white balance, taken from the limestone, you get a cooler vibe

The train leaves the viaduct, and doesn’t stop at the station! Ingleborough in the background too.

So there you go – I’m not a trainspotter and have no knowledge of steam, other than clouds of it look really cool on viaducts in the dales!



A Bavarian Lake Scene

Here’s a photo of the stunning Konigsee, part of our 2016 trip to Austria. 

It’s taken by our friend Julie Pfeiffer, who came all the way from Milwaukee to join us in Tirol. The shot is from the banks of the lake next to a beautiful church. 

Wiki Says….

  • Situated within the Berchtesgaden Alps in the municipality of Schönau am Königsee, just south of Berchtesgaden and the Austrian city of Salzburg, the Königssee is Germany’s third deepest lake. Located at a Jurassic rift, it was formed by glaciers during the last ice age. It stretches about 7.7 km (4.8 mi) in the north-south direction and is about 1.7 km (1.1 mi) across at its widest point. Except at its outlet, the Königsseer Ache at the village of Königssee, the lake similar to a fjord is surrounded by steeply rising flanks of mountains up to 2,700 m (8,900 ft), including the Watzmann massif in the west. The railway Königsseebahn served the lake from 1909 until 1965. Its last tracks were dismantled during 1971, and the station in Berchtesgaden was demolished in 2012. The only remaining element of the railway is the Königsee station (now a restaurant). The track route is mostly used as a walking path.

Before and After

Here is the colour RAW file I received, and the final edited shot – to see how I got there, just watch the video!

Watch How I Did It


LIGHTROOM TUTORIAL – French Street Scene

Anonymous Edits

Here’s a lovely street scene from what I guess is France – again, I’ve no idea who’s shot this one is, it’s uploaded to DROPBOX with no name attached so I can be totally impartial. A bit like the STIG was on Top Gear.

This edit creates a couple of results – one is a muted colour, with warm tones and a vignetted finish

The second is a black and white – more contrasting result. 


Lightroom Tutorial – Landscape – Ribblehead Viaduct

Yorkshire Dales Lightroom Tutorial – Ribblehead Viaduct

A sunset shot – without a great sunset

So you’re driving up a long country road with no real signs of life apart from the odd farm or bird of prey, then all of a sudden this massive viaduct pops up!

That’s Ribblesdale – it’s full of stuff to photograph, and here is the best bit, right at the top of the valley.

In the summer the sun sets over the back of Whernside, so not so good for sunsets – but in the darker months, you get the sun setting behind the actual viaduct – so far more effective.

Tutorial Contents

It’s a full LIGHTROOM workflow – quite long and discusses how to make something quite overcast and disappointing into something a bit more exciting.

We go through each of the DEVELOP panels showing you ideas and even use NIK Silver EFEX to do a final mono edit.

Sepia Conversion – Silver EFEX Pro


The Video

Yorkshire Coast Photography Workshop – Photos

McFade’s Yorkshire Coast Workshop – 2016

We returned to the Yorkshire Coast for the 5th time this year – armed with cameras and tripods, out trip took us from Robin Hood’s bay to Saltburn via several stops, coffees and a bag of fish and chips.

Here is what we got up to on the Yorkshire Coast

Robin Hoods Bay

The classic Yorkshire Coast village – with a huge defence wall, rock pools and boats everywhere. We started here – and had lunch at a local chippy!




Selwick Bay

Our first stop here on a workshop – rather than Whitby, where you have too many people bustling around for you to get great photos at noon – we called in at this lovely bay.

The Nab is the iconic sea pillar you see in many of the shots.






it’s just a beach when the tide is out – but time it right, the sea comes in and makes misty patterns over the groynes, and on a good day, create huge waves which splash passing traffic.







This is always the highlight for me – a beautiful little village, with a  tidal harbour, stunning views – just a classic where you can enjoy a few hours.









Saltburn on Sea

To fininish off we stop at Saltburn – it’s on the way home, has the only Yorkshire pier which used to be lit up below the deck. Twice now it’s not been lit!

This time we had a little intro to night photography before heading back homeward bound



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Yorkshire’s Best Kept Secret – Knaresborough

Knaresborough Workshop Night

Yorkshire is full of little market towns, each with their market square lined with pubs.

Most would think of places like Thirsk, Bedale, Masham or Pickering – but there is one far closer to Leeds than all of those.

Knaresborough is just outside Harrogate and has all of the above. The square is a delight, there is a historic feel to the place with its huge castle ruins, and best of all for photographers, a mirror-still river which reflects a huge decorative train viaduct.

McFade’s Knaresborough Night Workshop

In September 2016, we took a group around the river area of the town – starting by the bridge at Mother Shipton’s Cave, then moving on up to the castle and back via the railway station.

We finished off by showing the delegates how the Pixel Stick works – which is always great fun!

Unfortunately, the sunset never really set fire to the sky – as this shot shows. It is the main road bridge over the river Nidd, taken from downstream.



Next we walked up the little river road and captured a few views up there as we approached the viaduct.



River Reflections

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View from the Castle


Walk back to base

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Pixel Stick on the Bridge

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People and the Pixel Stick

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The rest of the photos

A Rare View of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Together

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks – 2 Distinctive, 1 Boring?

I’ve always loved Ingleborough and Pen y Gent yet found Whernside a boring hill to look at. As kids playing on Pendle Hill we could easily see the Yorkshire 3 Peaks on a clear day – 2 very distinctive mountains and one boring lump

But on a day out with my parents, we drove up through Slaidburn to Bentham and I saw the 2 peaks and this other one I didn’t recognise.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Whernside


It’s a completely different look – a long ridge and distinctive pyramid shape when viewed from Bentham!

Put the 3 together and they look like this – you can see the 3 peaks are a long way from each other – left to right you have

  1. Whernside
  2. Ingleborough
  3. Pen y Gent

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Whernside it a few feet taller than Ingleborough, though further away in this photo – hence looking a bit smaller.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Ingleborough

Yorkshire 3 Peaks

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – Pen Y Gent

Yorkshire 3 Peaks



York Photography – A Beautiful City at Night

The McFade York Photography Workshop 2016

With its walls, river, minister and castle as highlights – and hundreds of other things to discover, I’ve always loved running Photography workshops in York.

It was drizzling, then fine, then raining… and that only adds to the scene. The watery pavements reflecting colourful light into the camera adds to the magic.

York Photography Ideas

The gallery before contains a few highlights from the workshop – these include:-

Minster and walls

Northern Europe’s biggest cathedral, a gothic masterpiece which dominates the city. The walls are older still, and provide a great lead line into the Minster when taken from near the train station


The old butcher’s row – olde worlde in the extreme, usually full of tourists, so go late at night. The upper floors almost touch, that’s how they used to build them!

River and tour boats

The river moves slowly, which means it’s great for reflections – so those night colours and boats all look great if you take long exposure shots from a bridge.

York Museum

Three great looking wings of the old museum to enjoy, though there is a tree making a mess off the best angle! And usually a few vans in the way!

Clifford’s Tower

The last bit of the castle still standing is the keep, called Clifford’s Tower. It stands on top of a conical mound and has a famous silhouette, so you can get some nice sunset skies and use that as the foreground.

Yorks ancient streets

The Shambles is the king of the streets in York, but there are loads more around the Minster area. All the better if they are wet – the pavements come alive!

Reflections in the cobbles

And finally the cobbles… they’re all over the place, they look cool if you get your camera right on the ground next to them.

York Gallery

Here are a few from last night’s workshop – just click on a shot to open the large versions 🙂

2015 Photography Review 9 – September

September 2015

In september we :-

  • Ran our first night workshop in Leeds
  • Did some headshots for a CEO
  • Helped Xpand Marketing with their new location and rebrand photography
  • Ran a workshop in Ribblesdale, ending at Ribblehead Viaduct at sunset
  • Photographed Salford Quays at night
  • Shoot down at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Create product photos for My English Summer
  • Even did a quick baby photo session…

See the rest of 2015…

Read about January
Read about February
Read about March
Read about April
Read about May
Read about June
Read about July
Read about August
Read about September
Read about October
Read about November
Read about December

Europe’s Highest Waterfall – Krimmler, Austria


Europe’s Biggest Waterfall!

Europe’s biggest waterfall was the highlight of day 2 of our Austria trip, a trip through the usual “breathtaking” landscape (not hyperbole, it really is!) found us at the foot of this monster 1200 foot tall fall.

It’s not all in one giant cascade – but over several smaller cascades, many of which would be a few hundred feet in their own right.

It’s a fair climb through some woods to see the falls – though they have built many viewing platforms which allow you to both rest and get some shots.

Pub at the Top

As with most Austrian climbs up falls and gorges, there is a place to eat and drink at the top – you need it on this on! Very traditional food on offer – or something a little more recognisable like a schnitzel if you’re not so brave!

Here are the photos…

Fast shutter speed detail shot from the lower falls.

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Sun cascades over the lower trees on the way up the climb – long lens with wide aperture to separate the trees and fall

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The highest part of the falls, a short walk from the pub – you can climb up these, but we chose to photograph them and head back down

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A pair of middle cascades, each around 50-100 feet. A challenge to compose a shot with them both in.

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Same falls, just processed to bring out textures in the rocks

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Long lens, long exposure to get the detail and colour of the water –  a jade or green hue.

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Detail with fast shutter, taken from very close to the pub with the 70-200 lens
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The lower falls taken with 17-40mm lens, long exposure and polariser used – hence the deep blues in the sky

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Some of our group – from the left, Danny, Kirsty, Jackie, Kieth and Matt in the hat!

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Cascade just below the pub – a more covered area so better taken with the longer lenses. This used the 70-200

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Long exposure from an opening in the trees low down on the climb – we were all nice and cool, and sweat free at this point! 048 austria tirol krimler waterfall


A vista of the lower falls looking out into the valley.

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And finally – the view of the whole fall – it’s a monster, if you’re not too fit, it may be worth just driving up here and using a 500mm lens to get closer to each step of the fall!

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Kitzbuhel Church, Austria

A Wealthy Town

If you’re into classic sports cars and wealthy old german people wandering around streets, this place is for you. Its a playground for the rich, with E-Type Jaguars and classic Porsches along the litterless streets. We did look at property priced and it’s more like Mayfair than Leeds!

But as this blog is being created near Xmas – here is a gallery of the church – details on the town and church here

The church is 14th century high gothic with gold pretty much everywhere – wonderful artwork on the cieling and fantastic natural light from the huge windows.

The Photography Bit

Here are a selection of shots, mainly detail shots taken with the 70-200mm lens at high ISO and wide aperture, so I could hand-hold. The wider shots were taken on tripod.

Hand holding gives more opportunity to change angle/height of the camera – tripod means you can shoot at F16 and get the whole building sharp.

The Photos

Sopot, Poland

Poland’s Blackpool?

Sopot is a resort in Poland with a pier, sand and seagulls – yes, it’s just like Blackpool!

Actually, it’s more like Penarth in Wales – a more subdued, classy affair than the coastal towns of northern England.

Its centre street is spotlessly clean, lots of bars and shops with a bustling student vibe towards to the top end of town.

Chicago Blues Brothers Tour

The purpose of the visit was to play 2 arena concerts, at Lodz and near by Gdynia – an amazing experience for all the band. We’ve played many UK theatres and corporate venues, but never one where you can drive your tour bus to the stage!

New LIGHTOOM Presets

Whilst editing these shots of Sopot, I found a common theme – grey dull skies & flat light. It’s something we get all over Europe in winter, so decided to start creating Lightroom presets to make the shots a bit more interesting. These are the first few – a warm, soft summery glow. A greeny, blue cool hue and soft spongey look. A massively detailed, grainy colourful vibe.

In time we’ll develop more and have them on sale from the McFade Shop

Here are the photos – click one for the lightbox and they’ll pop out.