I get a lot of people asking me similar questions about my photography and photography in general. Below are some of the more common ones but if you have any questions or would like me to expand on any of the answers below please feel free to drop me a line using the contact form.
How did you start doing landscape photography?
I guess the love of nature and the outdoors has always been there. I grew up on a farm and was always out and about and when he wasn’t working my Dad would often take me to Snowdonia. I always had an appreciation for the beauty of the British countryside, for some people that comes later in life but for me it was there from an early age.
I guess it was a natural progression to then want to capture the beauty around me but it wasn’t until I was in my mid 30s that I actually picked up a camera properly. For that story have a look at the About Me page.
What camera do you use?
I use Olympus cameras, specifically their Micro Four Thirds cameras. My primary camera is an O-MD E-M5 Mkii and my secondary is an O-MD E-M1.
I used to use full frame Canon gear but it’s just overkill in my opinion. The Olympus cameras and lenses are so much smaller and lighter and packed with some really clever technology that I make full use of.
I have also recently started shooting with a DJI Mavic Pro Drone. I love the different perspective this brings and sometimes, when I’m just not feeling it with the Olympus and the scene just isn’t working I pop the drone up and come away with a cracker.
What are your favourite lenses?
My absolute favourite for landscape photography is the Olympus 7-14 f/2.8. It is a beautiful lens and so wide. You have to be a little careful because if it’s not used correctly you can get a fair bit of distortion at the edges but you just can’t beat it for landscapes and seascapes.
I also love the Olympus 12-100 f/4. That is an incredibly versatile lens and if I am on a cycling trip and I want to travel light I will just take that one lens and it will do everything. Well, nearly, I have to confess that I will often sneak a prime lens in too for street stuff, something like the Olympus 25mm f/1.8.
Do you use filters?
Yes. You can’t be a landscape photographer with using filters and that is a common mistake a lot of beginners make. I don’t favour any particular make, although I do like the Nisi filters. I use a set of ND Grad filters (hard and soft edge), a reverse grad filter, a Nisi 10 stop ND filter and a Nisi circular polarizer. I don’t even know what make the ND Grad filters are, I just took a punt on some pretty cheap ones on Amazon and they have served me well so far.
Because I shoot with the 7-14 lens a lot the polarizer doesn’t get used as much as I’d like because polarizers don’t work that wide. It’s a shame because it some light and some scenes a polarizer is an absolute game changer, but I guess photography is all about compromise.
I have seen your YouTube tutorials, do you do 1-2-1 or group tutorials?
Yes I do. Anyone who’s interested can contact me via the contact from. The YouTube stuff is fun. I learned a huge amount when I started out from people giving away their knowledge for free on YouTube and it’s nice to give something back now I sort of know what I’m doing.
You can view all my tutorial videos on the Video Tutorials page.
Where is your favourite place for landscape photography?
That’s a really tough one. It’s kinda like asking me to choose between my children. I think my heart belongs to the Lake District and if I have some spare time that would probably always be my first choice. Having said that if Scotland was a bit closer I would probably go there instead. Then there’s the coast. I love shooting at the coast. But if I had a gun to me head and had to choose I think it’d have to be The Lakes.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in photography?
Easy. Buy the best gear you can, watch loads of stuff on YouTube and get out and shoot, and I mean shoot a lot. You may be surprised to hear me say “buy the best gear you can” but anyone who tells you that the equipment doesn’t matter is lying. There is a reason that all the top photographers own top end equipment. The point is that the equipment won’t make you good. Practice will, but there are certain things that the higher end cameras are capable of that cheap ones aren’t. Just as if I had Chris Froome’s bicycle I couldn’t win the Tour de France, a beginner with a good camera won’t necessarily take great shots. But equally if you give a beginner cyclist Chris Froome’s bike they’ll go a lot faster than they would on a Rally Grifter………………………………I’m showing my age aren’t I!
You don’t have to buy the very best camera but make sure you can shoot in manual mode and can get decent lenses for it. The lens makes a lot of difference.
Once you’ve got your camera, lens, tripod, etc. then absorb as much information as you can about every aspect of photography. As I say, YouTube is a great resource, you can see some of my tutorials on my Video Tutorials page. Watch, learn, practice, repeat. Overtime your photography will improve but it is a slow process, it definitely does not happen overnight.
Can you teach me to be a good photographer?
No. Nobody can. What I can do is give you a helping hand, a kick start if you like. I can give you the tools and knowledge but you still have to practice, practice, practice. I’m afraid there is no getting around that.
Are all your images stunning?
Well, firstly thank you for saying that any of them are stunning. The short answer is no, most are extremely mediocre. If I go out for a couple of hours doing photography I can take anywhere between 50 and 200 shots. Of those I’ll probably be happy with 1 or 2. The rest I will discard.
Do you use Photoshop?
Yes and no. It really depends on what you mean by “use Photoshop”. Nowadays “photoshopping” has become a generic term for editing or post processing. The real answer is yes, I do editing and post processing but I hardly ever use Photoshop, I use Lightroom.
There’s a lot of rubbish talked about “photoshopping”. People say it’s cheating, it takes away from the art of photography, etc. Nonsense. Generally people who say that just don’t produce very good shots and just want to vent their frustration. If you shoot RAW (and you definitely should be shooting RAW), then some post processing is an absolute must. The question is , how much? Well, that all depends on the image. Some of my images get very little attention, some get a lot. It’s a skill you develop over time and again you can learn a lot for free from YouTube, and again I have done some tutorials of my own which are on my Video Tutorials page.
My advice to anyone learning photography, embrace post processing and don’t be afraid of it. It’s part of the creative process.