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Capturing the moment…

May 6, 2014
We recently held another Photo Challenge over on our Facebook page, this time we were focusing on the best spring shots and as always we had an amazing response from our fans; however one photo in particular stood out from the crowd and that was taken by the very talented Michelle Sperling. Michelle has kindly written a little about what she did to achieve her fantastic photo. Photography is fun! The good news is children love to have fun too!! I captured this shot when we were on a Teddy Bears picnic. The amazing tulips were just part of the game, little Izzy just had to find Mummy the smelliest one. I’m not big on staging. I prefer to enjoy the adventure of a shoot and just be ready to capture the shots as they appear. Kids and patience, I have found, are not overly compatible. “Izzy could you pose over there?” is never going to be a winner. You don’t need to have the fanciest camera in the world to take great photos, just a good eye for composition and storytelling. A few tips to help; shoot from different angles, crouch down or even lie down to give a better perspective. Try to think about what you don’t want within your frame – it will encourage you to shoot closer and don’t expect your idea to pan out perfectly…children will normally come up with something much more creative than us adults! To capture the moment of your little people that you will remember for a life time, the trick is to create the fun and join in – just don’t forget to take the photos! We’ve created a Pinterest board with some of our other favourite spring shots, head on over and check it out!  

Sunrise and Sunset, how to do it right!

April 29, 2014
Sunset is one of the most popular times of day to pick up the camera to try and get a shot to be proud of.  We set our lovely Facebook fans a challenge to go out and get the best sunset shots they possibly could. We had a fantastic response, with some wonderfully creative ideas. Here are a few of our absolute favourites.   Silhouettes Silhouettes are the perfect focal point in a sunset photo. They add an extra dimension with real context of scale and perfectly set off an already beautiful scene. This shot by Jo Guilor was our overall favourite, the use of the silhouette works wonderfully and the illusion element is a great addition. © Jo Guilor Top Tip: Use the settings that the auto mode suggests as guidelines for use with manual mode to get the perfect shot   Smartphone Our next photo is something a little different, taken by Amy Wellings. Capturing a bright sunrise like this with a smartphone is notoriously difficult, however in this case the power of the sunlight hasn’t overwhelmed the foreground subject, which still looks beautiful. The photo uses the sunrise to emphasise the subject rather than as the main focal point, which we thought, was a great take on the challenge. © Amy Wellings Top Tip: Experiment using multiple angles to make sure that you get the best shot   Landscapes Including landscapes in a sunset photograph is a great way of adding extra drama to the shot, below is a perfect example of how well it can work without detracting from the sunset itself. Keith Williamson has managed to use this technique perfectly, capturing amazing colours, crepuscular rays and using the landscape as an added dimension to set it off works wonderfully. Well done Keith! © Keith Williams Top Tip: Underexpose the initial photo and boost the contrast in post editing to maximise the crepuscular rays   Reflections Sunsets and sunrises work perfectly when reflected. Shooting over large bodies of water is a photographer favourite because not only is there the best unobscured view of the sun, but the uneven reflective surface of the water creates an amazing spectacle. Our final wonderful sunset photo is from Sarah Wood. We love the tranquillity of this photo, Sarah has managed to take a shot that makes the viewer forget that there is a photographer there at all, creating an all round beautiful photo. © Sarah Wood Top Tip: Use manual focus when shooting over large open water Well that’s it for this week’s photo challenge! We were incredibly impressed by the quality and skill shown in this particular challenge. If it’s something that you want to take part in, then head on over to our Facebook page where we have a new challenge every 2 weeks.

Road Trip

April 21, 2014
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How mountain hares encouraged me to become an all-weather photographer

April 15, 2014
Today’s blog post comes from the fantastic wildlife photographer, Andy Howard. We first spotted Andy on Twitter and fell in love with his photographs, we got in touch and he kindly agreed to share some of his expertise with our community. Over to you Andy… As a wildlife photographer living the Highlands of Scotland I can be assured of one thing, changeable weather. A few years ago when I started my journey into wildlife photography I would often shy away from poor weather conditions, then one day that changed. I spent a very cold and windy day photographing mountain hares in a blizzard conditions, the images I captured on that day changed my approach to wildlife photography, the fact that one of the images made it onto national television and was shown on the BBC Springwatch programme, that was an achievement alone not to mention the favourable comments about the image made by Chris Packham, this made the efforts and the discomforts of that day even more worthwhile. I had finally fledged into being an ‘all-weather photographer’. I’ve found that best way to really capture the essence of a given species is to make multiple visits to one location and in all weather conditions, seasons and at different times of the day. TOP TIP: Choose a species that’s easy to find in your local area. Local parks are a great location to start with. Wildlife within parks are used to humans being close by, so are therefore far more approachable. I feel very privileged to have a population of Mountain Hares within an hour of my home; it’s this delightful and endearing animal that I’ve been spending most of my time with for the past few years. Mountain hares are a shy and elusive animal and often live up to their Latin name Lepus timidus, most people’s first encounter with a Mountain hare is as at high speed it disappears over the horizon never to be seen again! TOP TIP: Perseverance will be rewarded – Keep at it! The more time you spend with an animal the more you will understand its behaviour, after a while you may even be able to predict what it’s about to do. Mountain Hares are found on the step sided slopes and higher regions of the Cairngorms, they are masters of disguise. Most photographers concentrate on them in the winter months when they are almost totally white, I on the other hand try to capture them in all seasons and conditions. There’s no doubt they are stunningly beautiful in their winter pelage but I also like them in their smart Summer finery, it’s at this stage that they have a grey blue’ish’ hue to their coat, this is where they get their other name The blue hare. In between their winter and summer coats they morph slowly through different stages, mid-way through the Spring the coat is mottled brown and white, interestingly this is exactly the same colours as the surrounding mountain sides as