Going outdoors to shoot portraits of children seems much more natural to me than being in a studio. I like to fit portraits into a scene. With a little planning you can create beautiful images. People have beautiful gardens that can be used or try local parks.
Look for nice even lighting, open shade is ideal. Under trees, arches in the shadow side of buildings.
I particularly look to reflect seasons, the first photograph was taken in a local park. You need to have good communications with the family to organize the shoot and type of clothes. The autumnal colors of the leaves in the foreground is reflected in the child’s clothes.
Rather than leave shots to chance, plan to get the child in the right place you want to shoot. Then let them be children. Let them behave naturally.
They only have a short attention span so get the shots quickly and move on to the next spot. Make the shoot as much about play as the photography as you can.
Make sure that you take a variety of shots from full length to close ups of the face. Remember that you are satisfying not only the parents but grandparents. All will like different shots so offer variety particularly if you are looking to sell and maximize sales.
The shot below is one from a walk through a park. Not traditional as the little girl is facing away from the camera. Nevertheless it is endearing as you see her face as she carries her dog. It would make a lovely piece of wall art for people rather than a close up of a face.
Plumpton rocks in Yorkshire is a beautiful 30 acre parkland. The opening times are limited so it is best to check the web site here if you plan to visit. Plumpton rocks can be found between Wetherby and Harrogate.
It has had a lot of restoration work done in recent years to restore it to its former glories. It does come with great credentials, Queen Mary described it as Heaven on earth and Turner painted it. A recent version of Swallows and Amazons was filmed there.
Choose from a variety paths to walk. The focus of walking is round the lake. The lake is man made with a dam at one end. You will walk through woodland and between the impressive grit stone rocks. The rocks around the lake are beautiful and have wonderful names such as Lovers leap and Lions den. Finding your way round the paths seems like walking through a maze.
Some of the Yew trees growing are just beautiful and seem to grow through any gap in the rocks.
Rather than having too much of a plan, it is best just to go and explore.
The lake isn’t big but is a beautiful setting and the rocks look magnificent. Go there for a lovely day out and explore.
Bronte country near Haworth is one place that should inspire your creativity. Some of the worlds greatest literature was written and inspired by this area. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte certainly left their mark on the literary world. A map of the area is here.
I wanted to make a good walk so parked up in Howarth and walked to the falls. There are places to park nearer if you don’t want to walk too far. There are plenty of tourist attractions in Howarth about the Bronte family. My main focus was to get to the waterfalls.
The walk takes you through the village, along a path at the side of the
road. After about a mile you join a track. It’s a good walking track. You follow the path past the Lower Laithe reservoir, across beautiful moorland to the falls. It is classed as an area on outstanding natural beauty. You can see why when you look at the views.
When you arrive at South Dean Beck there is small bridge. This is known as the Bronte bridge. It was rebuilt a few years ago after being destroyed by flash floods.
The fist image is of the small falls to the left as you approach the bridge. The water cascades down the beck. I used a long exposure on the shot to get that smooth feeling in the water.
The falls themselves are not spectacular but in beautiful surroundings. The second shot is another long exposure shot. It gave me that smooth water with the sky reflected in the water. It does the image a great feeling of depth to the image.
Be inspired and pay this area a visit, you won’t be disappointed.
Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire is run by the National trust. The Shropshire hills are lovely for walkers. Beautiful heather clad rolling hills. When you arrive you park by the stream.
The path up the valley is rocky so be careful walking. The walk follows the stream up the valley. As you walk up you will see the small but pretty Lightspout waterfall. It’s a lovely place to take a break. Just be a little careful climbing down to it. There are plenty of big rocks to sit and have a drink from your flask.
From the waterfall you can carry on walking up the valley taking a route to the right or to the left. Either way will take you to the hill tops. There is a big circular route to follow. The walking is fairly easy though obviously you are climbing up.
On a good day the scenery is amazing as you follow the route along the top of the hills. It is worth stopping a couple of times to take in the views.
As you follow the path round it will take you back to the valley past the waterfall. When you get back to the valley there is a cafe waiting for you. Something I like to take advantage of.
The main photo shows the stream that you follow up the valley. I set the camera to f22 to give a large depth of field. You must get as much in focus as possible on a shot like this. Having something to lead the eye and give depth to an image. The stream does this perfectly.
Pick a lovely day and you will have great experience. Go get some great images.
It is the time of year that I get planning for future photography trips. The first item on the agenda is to sort the clothing for the winter. When you are out in the landscape you need to be prepared.
My walking boots are solid and waterproof so good for winter. Make sure your boots have enough room for 2 pairs of socks, a thin layer next to skin. A thick pair of wool is the best for the thick outer pair. I have purchased some heavy weight walking trousers. When you are stood about setting up camera equipment or waiting for the light, you can get very cold. When very cold a pair of thermal long johns will be needed as well. Stood about in freezing weather conditions is not about fashion.
Layers are what you need up top so start with a thermal vest. A good long sleeved shirt. On top of this should be a fleece. For the outer layer is a good insulated coat. Though I have a good waterproof coat I am adding an insulated down jacket. You do need to retain heat as much as possible.
Hats and gloves are a necessity as well. Most of your body heat is lost through your head, keep it covered. You need to keep the hands warm to work the camera.
Extra survival equipment is always kept in my photography rucksack which has been talked about previously.
I am in the early stages of planning a major photography trip for next year. The trip will be in April next year. My plan is to do what is called the Scotland 500, starting and finishing at Inverness. The plan is to buy a camper van before this trip as wild camping is possible in the area. The route could change a bit by April but I will fill you in on details as plans progress.
I had a lovely afternoon at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. It’s a place which I am familiar having visited many times over the years. It is run by the national trust so does cost to get in unless like me you are a member. I do visit many national trust places over a year so it is worth joining. I would encourage anyone to join.
This particular afternoon was sunny with light clouds and plenty of blue
sky. I decided to walk round the lake. It is an easy walk of about 3 miles and the paths are good and well laid out. The scenery changes a lot due to a mixture of mature woodland and open parkland. The beautiful bridge here is one that you walk over on the route. With the light as beautiful as it was it gave a wonderful mirror image of the bridge in the lake.
There is plenty of wildlife to photograph as you walk round the lake. As a result I did stop a couple of times to put the long lens on and photograph a few birds.
My main aim was to return to the visitor centre before sunset. I wanted to capture the sun setting on the lake. The best laid plans of mice and men!! When I got back I took a few shots as the sun was getting low on the lake. I quickly realized that I was too low down, the sun was setting behind the trees.
I quickly jumped into the car and drove up to the main entrance. It is up on high ground looking down an avenue of trees, not quite the lake I would have liked but a spectacular fiery sky.
The Cauldron Falls at West Burton in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire are very easy to reach. You drive into a small village and park by the green. Be sensible and thoughtful with your parking. North Yorkshire has an abundance of impressive waterfalls and you would need a good holiday here to get round them all.
The falls are part of the Walden Beck which flows down to the River Ure near Aysgarth.
To get to the falls just walk down through the village along a short path and you reach the falls.
You reach an old stone bridge first. If the water isn’t flowing too heavy and you are careful you can get down to water level to photograph. It is lovely setting with the waterfall stepped down. There is a narrow ledge to put the tripod on if you like long exposures. It is always my preference with water and worth the time it takes. It is an idyllic setting so there should be no rush to leave.
Just past the bridge is the Cauldron waterfall, it isn’t big but is quite impressive and picturesque.
As always with all waterfalls they are better after some rain. You can get round the back of the fall if the flow isn’t too heavy and you proceed with care.
If you follow the road down next to Walden Beck there a plenty of spots to stop and photograph.
For the technical among you I am looking at getting a external mic for my Nikon to add some short videos to the blog. I will add how I go with this in the future. From what I have read the internal mics are just not up to the job. As a result I am at the moment I am studying reviews and studying the technical details of what is required.
Autumn is the time of year for foggy days and frosty mornings. Because you can’t see far doesn’t mean you cannot come up with images. You just have to be experimental and see what you come up with.
Autumn is great time for color. The variation and depth in the color is amazing. Add some frost to it and it can become quite magical. Here a simple shot of a fallen tree with some brambles growing round is lovely. The colors in the natural world are stunning. This type of shot can be taken anywhere close to where you live. Most of us have small wooded areas nearby.
When you are doing this type of shot you have to think in more abstract way. Taking parts and making them into an image. Keeping too much in the image can make it too confusing.
When photographing in woodland it can be dark. You can up the ISO to get a better exposure for hand holding the camera. I prefer to go for better quality so carry my monopod with me. I can usually get away with exposures up to 1/2 second with this.
On foggy days, the camera doesn’t see as well as your eyes. That doesn’t mean you cannot come up with great images. I took this shot on higher ground. The fog was laying close to the ground. You could see the tree tops sticking out of the fog.
When the sun rose it lit the clouds above the mist. Don’t be afraid to photograph in any sort of weather. Use your imagination. You can come up with something to be proud of.
On a lovely autumn day I decided to do some walking at Keld in Swaledale. When I say walking I mean it fits around the photography. I did some research and came up with a lovely walk taking in a few waterfalls. This area of Swaledale has many to choose from. The walk that I chose is here. I didn’t take in the last falls Kisdon. The photography takes a lot longer than the 10 mins they allow at each fall. I will visit this another day.
The first falls that I visited was Hoggarth’s leap. A lovely multi tiered waterfall.
It has a large pool in front of it. It is a little limited on where you can photograph from. Definitely worth a visit though. From here I walked down to Catrake falls. These falls are spectacular but not very good for photography. You cannot get to the bottom of them and the photographs from the top are too limited. Maybe there is a different route here and I will look into it for when I go back.
I will move onto the last part of my walk which is East Gill force. I have done this for reason. You will find out why very soon. The image that I have chosen is where the beck joins the river Swale. It is a beautiful spot which is framed by trees. I have added two walking poles to my kit and were much needed walking down the path to this fall. I have found the walking poles an invaluable part of my kit. After the accident I had a while ago they will remain part of my kit.
Visiting Wain Wath Force was the middle section of the walk. The reason for leaving until the end was that I wanted to leave the image to make it the largest image. It is such well known waterfall. The water flow was quite small. It is set in such spectacular scenery. It is a must if you are in this area of the country. I love the colors of the autumn trees. I have used a 30 second exposure at f22 on the shot to get the smooth look to the water.
Go out into the countryside and see a wonderful world. Go photograph it.
Back for another visit to do some walking in Padley gorge in the Peak district. Just a place I love to visit. Any time of year it is just beautiful. The times that I love best is when the sun is shining through. When the sun shines it gives a beautiful dappled light effect.
It is quite a dark place as there are a lot of trees blocking out the sun. When the sun comes out it just turns magical. As it is quite dark I was carrying my tripod with me. It is needed if you want high quality images.
When I park at the road side I usually walk down the left bank looking downstream. On the way back I cross over a bridge and walk back up the right bank of the stream. It just gives a different of the terrain.
As I walked down Padley gorge I spotted this scene. I set up the tripod and fitted the camera. I try always to use 100 iso for the best quality images.
The technical details for those interested are the camera was set to f22 with a shutter speed of 1.5 seconds. The focus was on the rocks on the nearest part of the falls. There is good focus through the image.
Dappled sunlight gives a great depth to an image. It gives an image a 3 dimensional effect. The effects and colors on the water vary greatly. The flow of the stream through the image leads your eye through the image.
What matters most with any image is that it holds your interest. This has that magical feel of the light that I saw on the day.
There are many beautiful parts of the Peak district. I believe That Padley gorge is one of the best. Go visit and take some beautiful images.