Friday, 25 October 2013


The Kilchoan Diary is a chronicle of life on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and I'm proud to say that author Jon Haylett has very kindly featured my work from earlier in the month.

Here you go:

The Kilchoan Diary itself is well worth delving into for anybody with even a casual interest in the area. It served as a useful resource while I was staying there, a welcome diversion when the weather closed in, and continues to be a nice reminder of the place now that I'm back in Nottinghamshire.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Photos from Ardnamurchan

There was a quick preview of my Ardnamurchan shots a few posts ago, but here's some bigger images - a good proportion of these will, I think, make it onto my website as prints when I get that side of things sorted out (soon hopefully). In the meantime, I hope they go some way towards showing what an absolutely stunning part of the country this is.

Video from Scotland

The other purpose behind heading up to Scotland, besides photography and a holiday, was to get some interesting video in the bag, for two reasons. One, I needed something to edit to get used to the Adobe CC workflow and two, whilst my showreel is useful, it's a demonstration of what I used to do rather than an expression of what I'd like to do.

I've given my partner a shout in the credits not because she's my partner, but because she was genuinely a good production assistant. She booked the accommodation, lugged gear around, helped with setups, acted as a windbreak and generally made my job easier, all while she thought we were on holiday...

Things I'd change? If it was solely a filming trip I'd be a lot more adventurous in terms of shot styles, because part of the budget would be allocated to taking along excess memory capacity. I also think I made a last minute mistake in deciding not to take a second camera body along, which could have been set to take longer timelapses while I used the 7D for photography. From a production point of view, the music's a compromise, there was a slightly quieter track on the production music site I use that fitted my search parameters better but at $40, I simply couldn't justify that for personal use.

As an aside, I found that the search term 'sounds like Mogwai' worked a treat. Feels a bit like cheating but at the moment I can only dream of the day when I can afford to use some Mogwai on a video!

I also would have bought some more predictable weather... although we were up there for a week, the last two days were not as useful as they could have been as we were suddenly beset by bright blue skies. Fantastic for the part of me that was on holiday but not brilliant composition-wise.

All in all though, I think it's mission accomplished. I'm pleased with the end result, I'm ultra pleased with my new workflow and software, and I know what I want to do next time. Can't ask for much more really :)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Back in the flatlands...

I'm back from Scotland after a fantastic week, the weather broke halfway through the week and I had a day of interesting clouds before the completely blue skies moved in. I've got some nice video and, more importantly, a decent handful of photos that I consider to be up to scratch. I'm still working on them (just some cropping I think, plus a lighthouse that needs to be a lot more vertical than it is!) but here's a quick preview:

What's interesting to me is that I've come back with a lot of landscape format shots - in the past I've always been a lot more inclined to go portrait. It'll be interesting to see over time if this is a shift in my personal style or a reaction to the locations I was shooting in.

As an aside this is my first serious batch of shots processed in Lightroom CC - and I'm impressed. A very slick piece of software and a lot more versatile than Aperture.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ardnamurchan Update

Not a lot here of any great substance - I just thought I'd give the mobile version of Blogger a real world test while there's a semi-decent mobile signal. It's been a cloudy few days so far, but with a decent cloud base that's good news as the last thing I want is a boring blue sky. There's been some decent photos already, and lots of potentially useful footage - although I'd come here with a vague idea of what I wanted to do, my ideas are firming up as my shooting style moulds itself to the locations.

It's all been local to Kilchoan and car-based so far, but tomorrow we're off hiking to an abandoned village in the ancient volcanic crater here. Hopefully it'll be as atmospheric as it sounds...

Speaking of the atmosphere, I don't think we'll have much luck with the aurora as the solar maximum has very inconsiderately turned into a solar minimum, but there's a couple of clear nights forecast so I'll at least get some star shots in the bag.

I should probably mention, after all that, that this is also a great holiday, and I could quite happily sit here on the sofa all week drinking coffee and watching the clouds drift around the summit of Ben Hiant without taking a single photo... I either need a big photo contract or a lottery win so that I can move up here permanently!

I've attached a really rubbish phone picture to this post (the ancient laptop that I'm using as a memory card dump can't read the RAW files off the 7D) to give you a rough idea...

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Away for a week, and more whittling on about equipment

I'll be unavailable from this Saturday (October 5th) until the following Sunday, the 13th, as the Scotland trip I've been building up to for a while is upon me. I'm looking forward to a week of filming, photographing and getting rained on while tramping round the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Hopefully I've missed the worst of the weather - I've just read that my usual route to the highlands, the A83 to Oban over Rest And Be Thankful, is blocked by a series of landslips caused by heavy rain.

I've been working with a friend who knows his way around the inside of a computer over the past couple of weeks, thrashing out the spec and then building my ideal editing PC (and, if we're honest here, gaming rig as well). I've also signed up to Adobe's Creative Cloud so when I come back I can't say I don't have the tools to do the footage justice - I just have to get it right in the camera first time otherwise I'm looking at a 500-mile round trip to get any replacement footage. I can't really see that happening though because one of the good things about Scotland is that it's incredibly beautiful and photogenic even in the worst weather.

Speaking of equipment, my 7D came back from Lehmann's in Stoke in full working order. Got to say I'm impressed - the work was done relatively quickly, and came in at the bottom end of their quote. Hopefully the 7D doesn't do any more lemming impressions but if it does I know where to take it.

Sage words from the other side of the media industry

Those who know me personally will be painfully aware of my interest in various forms of music, mostly of the loud and antisocial variety. I've always admired Steve Albini so this post from Letters Of Note is, to me, fascinating. I'm linking to it here because I think it represents a philosophy that can apply to any creative industry, be it music, video, or photography.

And just in case the link plays up, here's the URL in full: