I have to confess to being a bit of a waterfall geek, I just love the way water flows over a waterfall, majestic and at the same time powerful as it heads towards the ground and then flows on into a stream or a river. What I like most about waterfalls is finding one’s that have not been photographed to many times or at all. Don’t get me wrong I do like photographing popular well know waterfalls as everybody interprets the waterfall in their own way, but finding one’s that have not been photographed or I haven’t seen any images of really excites me. So here I was doing what I like to do when not shooting for clients, is wander around places and see if I can find a waterfall sometimes off the beaten track and sometimes not so much. The trick is to look around you when out walking as it is easy to just walk looking in front and not surveying or taking in the natural beauty around you when out. And as such this is how I came to spot this small waterfall, by looking around and as luck would have it I spotted it of in the distance on the far side of the beck in Hamsterley Forest, it would have been easy to miss if I had not been looking around as a few more steps and I would have been past it and out of my sight line. So I head over to the other side and trek through the trees looking and thinking I am sure it was just around here and starting to doubt myself, but I carry on and eventually set back I come across the waterfall, full of excitement to have found it I set up my tripod and camera and get ready to shoot a couple of test images. What I notice is a branch that has flowed down over the fall and is stuck sticking up out of the water, I thought I would remove the branch from the waterfall by grabbing a long fallen branch and hooking it over this one that sticks out and dislodge it. Oh for not a really well thought out plan as I put my foot on a rock that is of course slippy I feel myself falling and falling I did getting soaked down one side, but on the plus side I did remove the offending object. Yes I could have removed the branch in Photoshop but where would be the fun in that, there is nothing like getting wet on a cold early morning to add to the fun of capturing something great. So here are a couple of shots from the that morning.
Yes it’s been snowing how could we not notice, as they called it the beast from the east, so driving up into the dales was a no go as a lot of the roads were blocked. And I would probably spend more time sitting in the car going nowhere than I would travelling. So challenged myself to just explore around my door step, and see what I could come up with image wise that really appealed to me and was not just taken for the sake of taking images. (Not that I ever just shoot for the sake of taking a image) An image when I am shooting for myself has to have substance to it telling some sort of story or have some visual impact that people can connect to, in some way.
I had the opportunity to try a wall decor product from “@SaalDigital” for free I had heard of Saal Digital but never tried one of their products.
After looking at their wall decor products I decided to try the Alu-Dibond Butlerfinish print in a 40x50c size.
As this can be used for wall decor, in the home or office and is for indoor and outdoor use. With the direct UV printing, it is especially sun fade and water resistant, so if you hung it in your house you would not have to think about hanging it somewhere where the sun would not hit it directly.
I had just done a wedding dress shoot with Atusa at Hardwick park on the Monday and thought this would be a good type of image to try on their product, as it was something a little different and also it would give me a sample to show clients who were wanting a different type of print from the regular framed with glass. So I loaded the image into photoshop and downloaded the colour profiles supplied by Saal so I could do a proof check on the image once I had it to how I wanted it to look .
So once I was happy with the way the colours and image looked with the proof I saved the image and moved to the Saal website to order my print, and the ordering process was very easy to follow.
I ordered my print on the evening and I was suprised to find an email the next day to say that my print had been processed and and sent out, I ordered it on a Wednesday night and it arrived on Monday morning and this came from Germany. That is good service. I must admit when I recieved the email to say that it had been processed and printed that night what type of quality was the finished product going to be like with that sort of fast turn around. So I waited with trepidation to see what the quality was going to be like and also the colour quality and finish of the product when it arrived. So the package arrives it is well wrapped and protected from damage so the next stage is to open it and see what the print looks like. Well I am absolutely thrilled with the finished item, the quality of the materials and printing are excellent, the image looks excellent on the Alu-Dibond Butlerfinish, it has a slight surreal look to it and when you look at it from different angles it feels like the image has a movement to it. The construction is quite thin with it being of a sandwich type material an aluminum then a a type of foam board then aluminum, but is very strong and sturdy, it can be purchased with different types of mountings , but I chose to go with no types of mounting as I am wanting to use it to show clients, so decided I did not need to be able to hang it. The price it isn’t cheap, but then again I go from what my mother taught me “if you buy cheap you usually get cheap”. The mounting would have added a bit more depending on the type of mounting you went for but at the end of the day the quality is excellent and it looks really good. You could go for a smaller size or for an even larger size as long as the Mega Byte was good enough to give you the quality of a bigger print.
There a lots of labs out their offering all types of products but not many giving you the chance to try one of their products for free, it shows they have great faith in their workmanship, will I use Saal Digital in the future, I can quite honestly say yes, I have been impressed with the whole process from their website to delivery, I might have to test some of their other products to make sure they meet the same high standards but I am confident they will. So “@SaalDigital” if you would like me to test some more of your products for you I would be most willing, and it looks like I have found a new supplier for my printing work.
I have included a link to the Saal Digital Page for the Alu-Dibond Butlerfinish and available mounting types.
f my wanders around the forest, I had walked this path many a time and just happened to glance to my right this one time to see this small amount of water cascading over the edge, so decided I would come back when the conditions were right for capturing it. Thing with waterfalls is they are either a small trickle due to lack of water or a massive torrent due to heavy amounts of rain. So I have been watching how much rain we have been having lately, so it rained last night again so I thought there would be a good chance that it would be flowing nicely, not a torrent but a nice steady flow that would make for a good composition and a pleasing image, and I was not disappointed. I visited another waterfall in the forest that is quite well hidden which I have photographed before which was only a small trickle last time and this was flowing nicely as well. Only down side was I found out I had a split in my Muck Boots Wellies so ended up with a very wet foot, but a small price to pay for getting the image.
There is something about being by the shoreline line that I find really magical and inspirational, I don’t know whether it comes from growing up next to the seaside. And now living in the countryside I appreciate the coastal scenery more now, something I probably took for granted when I lived there. I really love the early morning before any footprints arrive on the beach the sand being washed clean by the incoming and outgoing tide to start a fresh day. The sound of the waves as they roll up the beach and roll back out again having a sort of magical sound that helps me concentrate and find my inner creativity.
The latest NDH* mountain bike event was held at the Ae Forest in Dumfries, what a great location and place,a bit of a hidden gem. To be honest I had never heard of the Ae Forest before so was relying on the sat nav and postcode given plus the directions to get us their which it did. An excellent turn out for the event and the big bonus the sun was shining, and it’s February, can’t complain about that. The track was not overly long but it was fast with plenty of jumps, so leaving me spoiled for choice on where to situate myself to capture the riders as they hurtled down from the top to the bottom.
It was July the weather was warm and the nights were long, being a photographer capturing the early morning light is one of the great things I like to do, but have never really caught a stunning sunrise they have always whimpered out from a promising start to heavy cloud destroying any chance of great colours. The evenings sunsets had been an abundance of colour so I decided to get up at 3am and drive through to South Shields and be set up ready for the breaking dawn light at just before 4am and catch the dawn through to sunrise, even if the early morning colours didn’t show I was sure I could capture some nice early morning images at the beach, even if it came to doing long exposures of the waves gently lapping onto the shore. I have had so many promising mornings in the past which have not gone to plan, but mother nature won’t be told when to give you the the skies you want. The early mornings can be hard when that alarm goes off, but the need to capture a sunrise and the way it fuels your passion and drive, gets you to pull yourself out of your bed for you know one day you will capture that dawn and sunrise that will make you go wow. And this was that morning after getting their and setting up, I could see the light starting to appear and the colours slowly starting to arrive in the clouds as the first rays of dawn light woke the early morning, starting with mainly reds and turning to pinks and other colours as we venture from dawn to sunrise as the sun started it’s lazy early morning climb from behind the pier wall to eventually take all the wondrous colour from the sky to leave a sky of clear bright light only to be witnessed by those who were about at this time of morning. So this is why my passion and dedication to get up early in the morning watching mother nature reward me with the sunrise I had been chasing for so long.
It was Autumn the trees sing in all colors, and a perfect time to get a good image of High Force waterfall, from above as we had been having quite a bit of rain so I knew the thunderous High Force would be exploding over the top making for a magnificent view. So an early start was required to get there before the sun became to high and and effected the light. It is not a long walk but it can be a difficult walk when you have medical conditions so I always allow extra time for more stops on the route to rest. But I have to say it was worth the walk, as when i viewed High Force from above all the fatigue and tiredness disappeared and was replaced by excitement at the wonderous autumn colors and and the power of the water coming over the fall.
I was also inspired by Light, a new camera technology that just hit the market and their #VantagePoint project.
An Iconic landmark that is the Angel of The North, standing tall looking out over the valley, I had wanted to photograph the Angel for quite a while, but had never really put it as a priority. We have been getting some lovely sunrises on the October mornings, so decided I would get prepared the night before pack my camera and tripod ready to set off in the morning.” We had been getting some lovely sunrises on the October mornings, so decided I would get prepared the night before pack my camera and tripod ready to set off in the morning.”in the morning. I like to get to places with plenty of time to get set up and wander around, so I can check out different angles and shooting positions, as the alarm clock stirs me awake at 5am knowing that I would be there around about 6am or a bit earlier, I arrive looking at the sky thinking to myself that maybe the sky is not going to be as nice as it has been the last few days, but one always hopes as the cloud cover was quite heavy but it could break to give that lovely morning warm glow. So I set up shoot a few images of the Angel from different angles, looking hoping for the sky but it becomes clear that today is not the day for the warm colors of a sunrise. I had been there for a couple of hours as time just goes so fast when you are engrossed in a passion such as photography, I notice this group of people wandering over towards the Angel, and notice that one of the group has a camera in her hand as I stand and watch her move around the Angel I can sense she is looking for a good angle to get a photograph. I have the camera set up and I just stand there and wait and hope, she is going to take a picture, but I also hope she stands long enough for me to capture her taking the image, as I was shooting on very low shutter speed for the time of the morning. So the sunrise might not have appeared, but I had the fortune to capture this image of a young woman seeking her own version of the perfect shot. I became the photographer shooting the photographer.
I was also inspired by Light, a new camera technology that just hit the market and their #VantagePoint project.
Sigma SD 1 Merrill, 17-50mm Lens
The day started of early with up at 5.30am and leaving at 6.30am to arrive at Kielder forest for the NDH* Start Cycle Funduro briefing for my son to find out where he would be marshaling, and for me to find out where I could get some good photographs of the riders. The ride to the forest that time of a morning was nice as the sun rose giving a lovely glow to the sky and as the light arrived the skies looked like they were going to give us good weather, but it was not to last as we got closer to Kielder forest the bright skies were replaced with cloud, light white clouds not the dark your going to get really wet clouds, so one was living with hope of a dry day. We arrived parked up and talked to Karl the organizer only to be told yesterday how he had gotten soaked through within two minutes of stepping out of his van to set up the trails. Undeterred I was still living in the hope of dry weather for the day and said I thought it would stay nice if cloudy all day and everyone I told this to just looked and said it’s going to rain and of course I would say no it’s not, so more and more riders arrived, there was a good turn out for a November day in Kielder Forest but the NDH* events are well organised and popular. So I drive my son to his marshal point and Karl tells me where I can get some good images of the riders so I head down the track from section two, and find myself a nice spot that looks sheltered from the light wind blowing. practice starts and the weather is holding as I knew it wasn’t going to rain how could it after I said and told everybody it was going to just stay cloudy. Ha ha how wrong could I be we survived till about 11am the wind picked up and the rain started and did it rain oh yes it rained and rained and rained and the wind blew hard, I thought I would use my brolly to cover my camera bag and in the quiet parts of the practice and race shelter under the brolly, not to be I waited for a lull in the wind started putting up the brolly and a big gust of wind came from nowhere and turned it inside out and snapped the spines that held the brolly top so that was the end of that plan. Not to be deterred it was woolly hat and coat hood up to combat the driving rain that was luckily coming at me from behind, I did make the mistake of turning round to look down the track and was blasted in the face by wind and driving rain, the hardest part was keeping the rain of the camera lens which started off not to bad, but as my cleaning cloths got more damp they were making the lens worse, eventually I turned to a packet of disposable hankies, clean I may add to try and soak the water off which seemed to work, I also had my camera wrapped in an Asda plastic bag to help keep the water off I have proper camera bags for this sort of thing but find the Asda bag works so much better. The riders came and went only a couple of slips on the rocks just passed me but all made it down safely and all the riders giving a 110% and not one complaint, mountain bikers are made of tough stuff. So that was it time to walk back up to the car I hadn’t realized how wet I was till I started to walk back to the car at the top of the track and everything was clinging to me and the water was running of in streams. The question for me was how many images could I rescue after battling with rain quite a few is the answer some of which are below.
NDH* Northern Downhill