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Photography News / Blog

Fancy a wild adventure this September?
30th August 2015 - 0 comments
Mountain Photography Wildcamp Expedition - 12th-13th September 2015

How do you fancy an adventure this September? Why not join up for our Mountain Photography Wildcamp Expedition?!

This is our ultimate photography experience, offering a unique and authentic glimpse into the secret side of mountain landscape photography! Mountains take on magical qualities from late evening to early morning - the time when you're stuck at the bottom of them, or tucked up in bed at your hotel! We'll get you away from the well worn photographic 'honey pots’ providing you with access to unrivalled, one-off photo opportunities.

If you're interested in Mountain landscape photography; want to get to grips with it's challenges and get some unique images, then this is for you.



For more details, see our information page http://www.rodireland.co.uk/mountain-photography-wildcamp-expedition
Last Minute! Bank Holiday Photo Wildcamp
24th August 2015 - 0 comments
Mountain Photography Wildcamp Expedition - 29-30 August 2015


Stuck for ideas for a last minute adventure this bank holiday? How do you fancy a Mountain Photography Wildcamp Expedition?!


This is our ultimate photography experience, offering a unique and authentic glimpse into the secret side of mountain landscape photography! Mountains take on magical qualities from late evening to early morning - the time when you're stuck at the bottom of them, or tucked up in bed at your hotel! We'll get you away from the well worn photographic 'honey pots’ providing you with access to unrivalled, one-off photo opportunities.

If you're interested in Mountain landscape photography; want to get to grips with it's challenges and get some unique images, then this is for you.

For more details, see our information page http://www.rodireland.co.uk/mountain-photography-wildcamp-expedition
Spring 2015 Newsletter - Rod Ireland Photography
14th May 2015 - 0 comments
Hi there,

As well as details of our photography courses and workshops in the Lake District, there's LOTS of free tips and guidance in this edition about photo composition.

There's also a teeny weeny bit to bore you about what we've been up to over the winter!

Just click on the link - happy reading.

Rod

Spring Newsletter Rod Ireland Photography
Photography Workshop - Lake District
11th May 2015 - 0 comments
We've got some upcoming dates for photography workshops and courses in the Lake District. In the diary are last minute one day photography workshop on the 22nd May and the 30th May (Lake District, near Ullswater).


Then in June we've got residential photography workshops on the 6-7 June and the 19-21 June.

If you're interested in these, or any other dates, just drop us a line and we'll get something sorted for you!

all the best

Rod Ireland Photography
New Landscape Photography Workshop - Lake District
23rd April 2015 - 0 comments
We're excited to announce a new landscape photography workshop to our lineup. Working in partnership with Beckfoot retreat, based in the Lake Districts glorious Ennerdale Valley, we've a couple of workshops scheduled for this summer.



For full details, see our workshops page
Canoeing shoot with Outward Bound in Scotland
16th April 2015 - 0 comments
We were up in Scotland the other week getting some shots of an Outward Bound Trust course. Here's a little video pulled together using a timelapse clip and some stills

Aurora hunting in the English Lake District!
01st April 2015 - 0 comments
I spent last night / early this morning hunting the elusive aurora in the English Lake District. This is a shot taken during a previous aurora storm close to where I live. Before you go hunting yourself, there's a few things you need to know as it's actually quite a tricky business!


Here's a little time lapse video I made - first I've done of an aurora - some room for improvement!


Is an Aurora likely?
Well, there are forecasts available on websites and phone apps but we're generally talking a few hours notice, rather than days. Even with a strong KP index (instensity) there's no guarantee of a strong display. Other science 'things' come into play of which I have no real understanding!

Are you far North enough to see the display?
The further north the better, but with a very strong display, the aurora is visible across the length of the UK.

Can you get somewhere dark enough to see the display?The darker the better - city lights will block out the light from the aurora so you need to get as far away from them as possible. Rural Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland are your best bet.

What's the weather doing?
Even if all of the above points are addressed, you'll still be at the mercy of the British weather. Cloud is not unheard of in the UK and if it happens to be cloudy when the wonder display is going on overhead, I'm afraid you'll miss the party! So, if you can, get yourself to somewhere forecast to have the clearest sky.

Hopefully, if you're lucky, there'll be an occasion when all the above comes together and you get the chance to spot the aurora for yourself in the UK. I have to admit to getting quite emotional when I first saw a proper display - it's definately one of those life affirming experiences!

Last night was a bit of cat and mouse trying to find cloud free sky. I started near Whinlatter, a couple of miles outside of Keswick. Cloudy! I drove further west to Lorton and Crummock water where the forecast was for the cloud to clear.


It WAS clearer and I managed to get my first few shots.

I then drove over Honister and along the road beneatch Cat bells. I imaginged a shot with Derwentwater beneath me and Blencathra in the background but I couldn't see any sign of the aurora by this time. Move on.


I drove back to where I started near Whinlatter and got a shot looking over Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw.

To the naked eye, the aurora was quite faint, but the sensitivity of the camera picks out more of the colour. It was then onto Castlerigg stone circle. Someone had beaten me to it (Hi Tom and Beth?) and we were shortly followed by at least another 6 photographers all looking to get the same shots.


It's funny meeting people for the first time in near total darkness and trying to have a conversation whilst photographing the aurora!


It was time to leave the crowds behind and head off to a spot by Thirlmere that I'd pinpointed on the map. Sadly, the show was nearing it's end so it was time to head off home and get to bed - 3.30am yawn!
Cumbria Life Home and Garden Show 2015 - Rheged
22nd February 2015 - 0 comments
We're looking forward to the Cumbria Life Home and Garden Show 2015 which takes place at the Rheged centre, Penrith next weekend 28th Feb/1st March. We'll have a stand at the event and will be displaying some of our newest landscape images. We've got some traditionally framed pictures, as well as canvas prints and Chromalux panels which are a really fresh way to display work.

Also hoping for a delivery on time of a new piece which has been two years in the making! I've worked on a panorama of Keswick and Derwentwater which manages to capture an incredible level of detail, at night, in moonlight, with snow capped mountains. Waiting for the right conditions has been frustrating to say the least. Anyway Fingers crossed on the courier delivery!

As well as images for the home, we're also there to talk about commercial work we're able to undertake. With a growing list of clients from producut producers to holiday accomodation providers, we're able to offer a local service at competive prices with customer service that's second to none.

Anyway - if you're around at the weekend, why not pop in and have a look!

all the best

Rod
Christmas Gift Voucher Offer! 20% OFF
12th December 2014 - 0 comments
We're offering gift vouchers for the first time this Christmas. The vouchers can be redeemed against:

Photographic prints and cards
Workshops and Courses
Location Potraiture



As it's the festive season we're offering a 20% discount - Click on the Gift Vouchers menu at the top of the page and type the code SNAPPYXMASat the checkout - Ding Dong!



Vouchers can be in fixed amounts (£10, £25, £50, £100) or any exaxt amount you require. We can also make vouchers specific to particular courses (if you're sure which one your loved one would like to go on!).

Super Snappy Christmas everyone :-)
'Summit to Sea' exhibition - A big thank you!
31st October 2014 - 0 comments


Well, another exhibition over and a bit of time to recover from what I find a pretty intense experience. It was brilliant to see so many people and talk non-stop about photography, the only problem being you hear lots of ideas and start thinking about the next project!



The one gripe I've had with the transition from film to digital is that today, too many images can stay locked away, forgotten about on a hard drive / disk somewhere. I'm not immune from this and putting on an exhibition can be very rewarding in that you get to see your images complete their journey.



Surely, there can be no doubt that despite the plethora of viewing mediums available today, a photographic print stands alone as the ultimate tangible output of the creative photographic process? Getting to see your own work in this format comes as a heady relief from countless hours of viewing images on the back of a camera, computer screen, phone, tablet..........

I'm putting 'Summit to Sea' images together in a new gallery to make viewing easier. Alas, unable to stand still for too long, my attentions have already turned to a photographic collaboration with the very talented photographer, Jonny Marchant (www.jonathanmarchant.com). We've a working title of 'Lake District, by night' and are currently solidifying our ideas around this topic. Coming from distinctively different photographic backgrounds, this promises to be a challenging but exhilarating enterprise, hopefully with images to match but more of that in another post!

In the meanwhile, just another big thank you to all the people who were able to come along and support the exhibition, your input and comments are as ever, warmly welcomed.

I'm now off to check the exhibition print orders which have literally just arrived!
Photography Exhibition - 25th & 26th Oct, Lake District
17th October 2014 - 0 comments
We're putting on a special two day photography exhibition on the 25th & 26th October 2014 at Askham Village Hall, close to Ullswater in the Lake District. If you're up here for the half term why not pop in and have a look?

It's free entry and there'll be a range of cakes for sale to go with your cup of tea or coffee. We'll have some prints available as well as a wide range of greetings cards just in time for Christmas!

See you there, Rod

Quick - grab a discounted Autumn Photography Workshop!
01st September 2014 - 0 comments
For most photographers, autumn is a favourite time of year. As the hazy, bleached out colours of summer recede, we're treated in the Lake District to stunning conditions for landscape photography with a blaze of red, gold and russet in the woods and fellside not to mention early morning mist on the lakes.

So, to mark our favourite time of year we're offering One Day Photography Workshops at a discounted rate - from the 13th October to the 9th November they'll be just £99! (normal price £119)

If you want to kick-start your photography in a world class photographic location, at a great price then don't delay, get in touch today! Courses run throughout autumn - just contact us to arrange a day to suit you. Click HERE for more info.

Lowther Castle - Free Photography Drop-in Sessions!
12th August 2014 - 0 comments
To accompany the Rod Ireland Photography 'popup shop' running this week at Lowther Castle in the Lake Disitrct, we're offering free sessions for you to come along and get some free advice & tips.



So, whether it's improving your landscape shots or just working out how to use that 'thingy me bob' on your camera, just pop along to our stall and we'll help you out.

Just pop in on Sat 16th Aug or Sun 17th August, between 10.00-11.30am & 2.00-3.30pm

We've also got everything from handcrafted photo greetings cards to limited edition framed prints for sale, so if you're around, pop in for a peek.

Also, if you haven't been to visit the Castle Gardens yet there's a wealth of photographic opportnuites to keep you busy for the day!

See you there, Rod
Publicity shots, Ullswater, Lake District
08th August 2014 - 0 comments
Before the thunderstorms of today, we had a nice break yesterday and just had enough time to do some publicity shots for http://www.askcycledr.co.uk/ a well respected cycling provider up here in the Lakes.



Dan and Mhairi (triathlete/Iron man, member of Arragon's tri club) cycled up the hill as I dragged my camera gear along on foot.



I think we managed to get the shots Dan needed - keep your eyes peeled at Penrith, North Lakes train station - one of the images will adorn the new cycle storage facility there!

Summer Landscape Photography Tips....
06th August 2014 - 0 comments
We've had a pretty good summer so far for landscape photography workshops in the Lake District. We've enjoyed a couple of sweltering weeks but this brings it's own challenges to Landscape photography in the Lake District and elsewhere - e.g. Strong direct sunlight, cloudless blue skies, reflection off foiliage, flat landscapes etc (not to mention very early starts!) So we've pulled some tips together to help you make the most of the conditions - while they last! (2014 is an 'El Nino' year - the last one was 2009/10 when we had the coldest winter and most snowfall in years - landscape photographers will have fingers crossed for this winter!)

Think Seascapes / Beach
Whilst more dramatic during winter storms, summertime along the coast is a more forgiving time for Landscape photography. Ideally, get to the beach around high tide or just after - this means you won't have to walk miles to include the sea in your shot and the sand won't be churned up or covered with sunbathers! As the tide recedes, a single set of footprints in pristine sand with a setting/rising sun makes a great shot.



Check out the tide times on the go with the 'Marine Weather App' by accuweather or plan on-line beforehand in conjunction with thinking about sunrise and sunset times.
Wide-angle lenses are great for those expansive, big space shots while a telephoto lens is good for isolating a scene.

Just remember that even in benign conditions, the seaside is a harsh environment for your camera gear - be vigilant about keeping sand and sun cream well away. Take your air blower to carefully remove any grains that land on your camera before changing lenses / opening compartments. Wipe your kit when you get home with a damp cloth to remove any sea salt and rinse your tripod in fresh water if you've been in the surf.

Summer flare
We normally try to avoid camera flare but it can be used deliberately in Landscape Photography to enhance the sense of summer sunshine. So, experiment with some shots that include sun flare - using wide angle lenses makes it easier to do this.



Try shots where the sun is just at the side of your frame, or fully include it and compare results. Using a smaller aperture (higher f-stop number) will produce a more defined rendition of the sun than a large aperture (where the sun can look like an unsightly blob!)

Use a polarising filter
Polarisers help cut out reflections and boost saturation - this can really enhance your landscape photography images during bright sunshine. They help deepen blue skies and make colours look much more vibrant. Polarisers work best when the subject is at 90 degrees to sun, so think about keeping the sun over your shoulder for best results.



Polarising filters absorb 1.5 stops of light, meaning shutter speeds will be relatively slower (although if you're in bright sunshine, this shouldn't be too problematic).

Think silhouettes
On your summer hols, there's nothing nicer than watching a setting sun on the beach with those lovely warm colours. A low sun can be great for landscape photography images, but subjects between you and the sun will turn into a dark silhouette lacking shape and texture.




Use this to your advantage and purposefully take silhouettes to convey drama and mystery in your images. You need a strong, recognisable shape such as trees and people in interesting poses. Just position the subject between you and the sun. Use a Meter reading from the background (not the immediate subject itself) to create the silhouette effect.

No time for Golden hours?
The best time to photograph landscapes is the hour around sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately, this can be very late or very early (at mid-summer in the Shetlands, sunrise is 03:29am and sunset 22.41pm!). So, if you have to rule out the golden hours, how do you make the most of a scene when the suns high in the sky?

Firstly, a lens hood can help prevent the sun getting into your lens and causing flare (unless you want flare - see above). In combination, try to have the sun positioned behind you when you're shooting. This will help improve contrast and prevent the washed out look that can otherwise happen.

As mentioned above, using a polarising filter is helpful, particularly during summertime, do don't leave home without it.

If you want to take portrait shots, get your subject into some shade - squinting and hard shadows on someone's face caused by a sunhat isn't going to produce a good result. This might be a parosel / umbrella or the shade of a building.

I suppose the main thing is not to write off the whole of summer - with a bit of work, you can get some great results. If you want to learn more about our Landscape Photography workshops and courses, check out our Workshops page.

Good luck!

Rod
Buttermere Landscape Photography & Video
16th July 2014 - 0 comments
Here's a little video from our shoot Landscape photography shoot in the Lake District (Buttermere).

Enjoy!
Landscape Photography & Video from Helvellyn
16th July 2014 - 0 comments
Was doing some Landscape photography in the Lake District last month and I've just uploaded a new video taken from some timelapse clips and stills. Enjoy!

Rod
"Nice shot, you must have an expensive camera"?!
07th July 2014 - 0 comments
People often view a good mountain landscape image(or image from other photographic genres) and make the above exclamation. This can be a little irritating if you know a lot of effort went into making the shot and the camera was only a bit part player in the anatomy of the successful image.

I run landscape photography courses in the Lake District and clients and students always comment on the amount of thought and planning that goes in BEFORE the shutter button is even pressed.

I've been exploring British hills and mountains for nearly 20 years (see www.outtherepeople.co.uk for more details) and capturing fleeting moments within them has increasingly become a passion, no, an obsession of mine. During that time I've come to realise that my successful 'chance' images are heavily outweighed by images conceived, planned and executed with LOT's of forethought.

I created an image this week I think is a good illustration of the type of process many photographers go through when creating their landscape images.


The bothy above Buttermere

Stage 1 - Conception. 'Haystacks' was Alfred Wainwright's favourite fell and I completed my round of 'Wainwright's' on its summit back in 2003. On the ascent, I passed by an easy to miss bothy - a rudimentary shelter built by quarrymen to protect them from the ravages' of the weather. I explored inside, read the little log book recording people's visits to this remote outpost then curiosity satisfied, I moved on to wildcamp alongside Innominate tarn. At sunrise the next morning, I walked to the summit of Haystacks and completed my Lake district Challenge. Eleven years on, the tiny photographic seed that had been sown that afternoon would eventually come to fruition. Photographs are initiated in the brain with an idea - once that idea takes hold you can start to think about how you're going to convey that idea. That's where planning comes in.

Stage 2 - Planning. Some images take little planning - 'grab' shots become apparent in an instance and a casual press of the shutter release and your concept is captured in photographic form. Other shots such as this one can be captured in much the same way but will often lack the elements to transform them from an 'ok' shot, into a good, or even 'great' shot.

So what planning did this shot require? When I first started to think about the scene from the bothy in photographic terms, I realised that the North facing slopes and crags of Red Pike, High Stile, High Crag and Haystacks (on the left hand side of the shot) were in shadow all day for much of the year. For a couple of weeks around the longest day of the year, the sun sets a North-Westerly direction, dropping over the Solway and illuminating Crummock Water, Buttermere and hopefully giving a glimpse of light to the crags with the last of the day's light. A couple of tools help the photographer with these calculations - The Photographers Ephemeris (http://photoephemeris.com/) and Memory Map (http://www.memory-map.co.uk/) are both useful in understanding where the sun and light will be at any given point or time - a crucial piece of information for photographers.


A shot looking down Buttermere, waiting for sunset.

Ok - So I now knew where and when I wanted to take the shot, but you also need the Lake District weather to play ball - photography can be disappointing from inside a ping pong ball of cloud! I use the Mountain Weather Information Service (http://www.mwis.org.uk/) and Lake District weatherline (http://www.lakedistrictweatherline.co.uk/) to check if it's worth making the trip or not. Fortunately, good weather coincided with the good angle of sunset this year.

So, things are coming along but you need to think about the photographic equipment you want to take with you? You could just take EVERYTHING, but you've got to carry it - fine for a roadside shot, but what if you're going up a mountain? I decided to take my main camera (Nikon D700). I knew I wanted to include the bothy, the fells and the sunset in the shot so a wide angle lens would need to be included. At the same time I'd be shooting into the sun with inevitable flare. So I took 24mm, 50mm and 200mm prime lenses to minimise the flare that would occur (my zooms cope less well in these conditions).

With the sun on the horizon, there'd be a massive difference in the contrast range of the image - from the brightness of the setting sun to the shadows of the crags could not be dealt with by the dynamic range of my camera. So, filters would be required - I eventually decided on a reverse neutral density filter (0.9) to reduce the brightness of the sun whilst allowing the tones within the foreground to be recorded.

By the time the shoot would be over, I could head down in gathering darkness, or stay out and enjoy the mountains - I chose the latter. This meant also wild camping gear including:

Rucksack
Sleeping bag & Map
Bivi bag (waterproof sleeping bag cover)
Cooking equipment
Food and brew ingredients
Map / Compass
Head torch

Stage 3 - Execution - After the conception and planning, it's eventually time to take the shot! Firstly, I pinpointed the composition I wanted- having spent lots of effort just getting to the spot, I spent 15 minutes shifting around to get to the best vantage point I could. This wasn't ideal as behind the hut is a steep slope of waste slate making it difficult to get comfortable but I settled on the best spot I could find.

Next was getting the camera on the tripod and fine tuning composition within the 24mm focal length I'd selected. Nudging the camera a fraction left/right, up/down, ensuring that there were no scrappy edges and the elements within the composition were arranged as pleasingly as I could manage.

Then, I attached the remote shutter release and switched into aperture mode, selecting f16 for good depth of field and good rendition of the sun with a 'starburst' look. I also set the camera to 'mirror lock up' to minimise vibrations and any possible camera shake. Finally, I switched off the camera's fancy autofocus system - instead using old fashioned manual focus so I could focus at the optimum spot for the aperture to maximise depth of field using the distance / aperture markings on the lens. Then all that was required was to sit in my rather uncomfortable position for the next 90 minutes, intermittently taking shots as the sun moved in the sky and the scenes lighting changed drastically.

Shooting into the sun is technically challenging and I didn't quite capture in a single image everything I wanted. That said I'm still happy with the end result. I hope this blog has given a sense of the process worked through when trying to elevate an image above the status of a casual grab shot.


View from the Bothy Window

So the next time you think "That's a nice shot", you must have an expensive camera" spare a thought for the photographer and consider what they might have done to make the image look good! If you've any questions about this blog, or any other article, just drop me a line.

Rod Ireland
Nikon D810 out today!
26th June 2014 - 0 comments
Nikon have today announced the release of the D810, a Nikon FX-format digital SLR camera.



If you're coming on one of our Landscape Photography workshops in the Lake District with the new Nikon D810, then don't be suprised if I pay it lots of attention!This looks like it's an incredible tool for anyone interested in Landscape Photography in places like the Lake District.

An effective pixel count of 36.3-million pixels will produce the sharpest, best image quality in Nikon history. They've removed the optical low-pass filter (only an option on the D800e) and have adopted the latest EXPEED 4 image-processing engine.

The rest of the spec:

ISO 64 to ISO 12800 (and expandable outside this range)
Extremely accurate AF
Vibrations generated inside the camera have been reduced
Supports recording of smooth, extremely sharp 60p full-HD (1920 x 1080) movies.
High-speed
continuous shooting at up to 5 fps with the FX-format image and 7 fps in DX

So, if anyone out there has one of these they'd like me to test drive feel free to contact me!

For The Digital Photography Review first impressions, click here
Rheged - Lake District Photography workshop Prize draw
23rd June 2014 - 0 comments
Rheged held the Mountain Photography exhibition last month and we had a a "Rod Ireland Photography" stand in the main hall. We held a prize draw, offering two lucky winners a photography workshop in the glorious Lake district.

From nearly 50 entrants we drew out two lucky winners - Beth Tompkins and Adam Bennett, both from Cumbria.

(C) Adam Bennett

After discussing possible locations, we settled on Haweswater and Riggindale for the first day of the workshop, followed by the area around Hallin Fell, Ullswater for the second day. We enjoyed warm and dry weather and even had to take out hats and sun block on two consecutive days - not a regular occurrence in these parts!


(C) Adam Bennett

The two day workshop included topics such as:
• Image visualisation and composition
• Getting away from automatic and optimising use of Aperture, Speed and Manual modes
• Introducing more advanced tools/techniques to make images stand out
• Evaluating images and identifying successful elements within them
• The use of filtration to improve 'in-camera' images
• Introduction to post-processing tools & techniques


Adam in action above Martindale

Unfortunately, Beth had to pull out of the weekend at the last minute so Adam was lucky enough to have one to one tuition and was able to select a lake district location of his choosing for day two of the workshop!

Adam said "I learnt lots from the weekend and have plenty to take away and think about in order to progress my photography. The biggest thing for me was understanding the importance of the creative process and pre-visualisation that you work through in order to create a special image, before even thinking about the technical aspects. It was a great help- thanks very much".


(C) Adam Bennett - A panorama created by stitching several images togethre

If you're interested in a photography workshop in the Lake District, details can be found here.