Tim McAndrew Photography: Blog https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Tim McAndrew Photography (Tim McAndrew Photography) Mon, 25 Sep 2017 19:56:00 GMT Mon, 25 Sep 2017 19:56:00 GMT https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u1015665008-o83871459-50.jpg Tim McAndrew Photography: Blog https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog 120 120 Portrait Photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/9/portrait-photography Portrait Photography

After the massive success of my last BLOG I thought I'd better move on to a more positive post!!  OK rants aren't your thing, I get it :-)

So back in 2004, when I began my photographic journey, it started with a single photo on a beach at sunset in Anglesey, North Wales.  I loved the way it looked on my 3-mega pixel Kodak point and shoot.  So, for many year I practiced and managed to upgrade to a DSLR (Canon 350D) and then a full frame 5D.  All this time I took photos and tried to not get anyone in them.  That is more professional isn't it!?  Now as a new dad I took a lot of photos of my family but these were for family snaps (more important than any of my other photos of course).

I didn't have anything against portrait or people shots in fact many of the photographers I followed mainly took this sort of shot.  I started thinking that maybe I should try it.  Now I'm more of an introvert so dealing with people while learning what I was doing scared the living daylights out of me.  It was about this time I joined a Camera Club and one of the reasons I did this was to try different types of photography, including portrait work.  Within a few months, we had a studio shoot, I soon realised that this was going to be a much harder task than I thought.  Here are a few shots of that first session, not too bad for a first attempt?

A few months later we had a shoot at the church hall where we meet.  This time we had an alternative model and a dancer.  I'd always wanted to photograph dancers as I'm a big Joe McNally fan.  Here are my efforts.  I must say I made a right mess of the flash settings and had massive shadows that took ages to remove.  These were ugly shadows from too much on camera flash, not the nice soft shadows that can create a great atmosphere.  The on-camera flash was just supposed to fill in and trigger the main lights.

For several reasons, including the lack of shoots at the club and it being much harder than I thought I didn't try again for over 18 months.  I spent that time watching and reading about lighting and one of my favourite photographers was Frank Doorhof.  When I found out he was coming to the UK and running some workshops I booked straight away.  This was exactly the kind of photography I was looking for.  Amazing models and styling and an old mill!  We've got plenty of old mills in the Greater Manchester area :-)

I learnt an awful lot that day and even more when I read his "Mastering the Model Shoot" book!  Here are some of my favourite shots from the day.

I know this is not everyone's cup of tea but personally I love it.  

I've been very lucky to meet and photography Graham Currey, who is a local photographer, model and actor.  He's a man of many talents!  He's started putting together great shoots with several different types of model in great locations with Emma Finch, another great photographer. This year so far, I've done 5 shoots and I've got another coming up in a few weeks.  I can't wait!  I'll leave you with a few of my favourite shots.  As always if you'd like to comment then please do.  It's always great to hear from you all.

           

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) learning lighting model photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/9/portrait-photography Sun, 24 Sep 2017 21:32:45 GMT
It's ALL about the gear! https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/8/its-all-about-the-gear It's ALL about the gear!

Ok this title is click bait, I admit it but have you ever noticed that all those photographers that preach about the photographer being the the only important thing and gear being unimportant are shooting with very expensive, top of the range cameras!  I recently read an article by an equantance which was very like this but the truth is that it is also very much about the gear. Otherwise we'd all be using cheaper entry level cameras, wouldn't we? This photographer shoots with a Canon 1DX ffs!

Shooting 12 frames a second definitely makes it easier to get that critical moment in sports action doesn't.   Now I may not have such a top of the range camera and to be honest I don't need it. A basic camera with a full frame sensor is more than enough for me. 

Now of course it's not all about the gear, as we all know. I know a German photographer who's work is spectacular and all done using an entry level DSLR. I also know several great photographers shooting with very expensive equipment. Sometimes the quality of the camera or more importantly the lens help create the photo but only in the hands of a skilled photographer. There'll always be the "all the gear......no idea" people around proving this. 

Sunset Fields IISunset Fields IITim McAndrew

Anyway rant over, just shoot with what you have and enjoy the experience 😎

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) gear rant https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/8/its-all-about-the-gear Fri, 04 Aug 2017 22:09:02 GMT
Mam Tor https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/5/mam-tor Mam Tor

Mam Tor is hill Castleton in the High Peaks of Derbyshire. Mam Tor means "Mother Hill" because after the many land slips small hills have formed on the eastern side of the hill (below). 

Above if one of the many iconic shots that you can get on the way up Mam Tor.  The snaking road into Edale.  One of the reasons that this is so popular is its accessibility.  There is a National Trust Car Park at the bottom of the hill that gives easy, but slightly gut bustin access.  This of course makes it a busy place to be even on an evening.  See my post on One Minute On Earth blog for proof of this :-)

This week we went as a group from our camera club.  It proved a popular venue with most, although the light wasn't quite as good as it could have been.

The paths a well maintained and there are some great photo ops at the top too!

All together a great evening.  Well worth a visit.  The view along the great ridge above is actually a better sunrise location Here is the view at sunrise in the snow.

Shortly after this a runner ran through, opened the gate and the sanow fell off it!  Shot ruined! 

Thanks for visiting my blog once again.  Please leave a message below if you can, even if its just to say hi!

 

All the best

Tim

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) Location Guide Mam Tor Peak District landscape photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/5/mam-tor Fri, 26 May 2017 21:26:58 GMT
Guernsey https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/5/guernsey Welcome to Guernsey!

Okay I admit it, I've been really lazy with this blog!  For those that have been glad of the rest from my blogging, you must thank Lin Zee for my return :-) He sent me a message to see if my blog was working because nothing had happened for so long!  Yes, life has got in the way.

So, I've been going through a photography block, nothing new or unique about that, it happens to most of us at some stage so I thought "What could I write about?".  Well my blogs are more pictures than words so a subject matter that I've use a lot is the Island of Guernsey.  Why? Well because that has been my families holiday destination for the last 15 year.  Wow how boring am I going to the same place!  Well we love it there and it gives me a chance to take some photos when I have both time and a beautiful coast line to go with it and I know the Island very well which helps.  So here are a few photos I've taken over the last few years.  

The first picture (above) is taken from Grandes Rocques at Sunset.  This is a 30 second exposure.

The capital of Guernsey is Saint Peter Port and that's where you will find Castle Cornet (below).  Well worth a visit!

Of an evening, I sometimes walk the cliff paths on the South coast of the Island.  The evening light can be majestic!

If you're into history there are plenty of old forts and watch towers as below, dating up to the second world war.  

 

But my favourite subject is the coast line.  It’s probably because I don't live the coast so I make the most of it while I'm there :-)

 

Thanks for the visit and please leave a message if you want to.  It would be great to hear from you all!

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) Guernsey Seascape channel Islands landscape photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/5/guernsey Mon, 15 May 2017 20:42:21 GMT
Ladybower Reservoir https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/3/ladybower-reservoir ladybower reservoirladybower reservoirladybower reservoir

Ladybower Reservoir

 

As you may know, many of my photographs are taken in the Peak District, which is close to me and many others who live near Manchester or Sheffield in the UK.  Being so close to two major conurbations, as well as Derby to the south, means it’s a popular place to visit.  In fact, it is estimated that ten million people visit the Peak District each year.

Ladybower reservoir sits in the northern part of the park and is a great place to visit for a stroll in the countryside.  I say stroll but you real can choose to go for a long hike onto the moors or just to go around the reservoir itself.  The reservoir is large so plan your route in advance!

Another from last weekAnother from last weekThe view of Ladybower Resevoir from the hills. The reservoir is split in half by the A57 Snake Road.  The bridges themselves are great to photograph and you have several angles to choose from.

********* Wandering around the edge presents you with an abundance of subjects.  In the northern section, there is a pipeline running directly across the water.  It makes for an interesting shot if you put your lens through the gate.

Ladybower is the lowest of the three reservoirs.  The one just above is Derwent and this overflows into Ladybower over the top of the dam.  This is an amazing sight and sound when in full flow.

Derwent OverflowDerwent OverflowWater from the Derwent Dam flowing down towards Laybybower as the snow starts to fall. From Last saturday.

For more of my work please visit my website at
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There is a car park and shop where you can get some refreshments at northern end of the reservoir and some wonderful views to take in.

Ladybower is a Y – shaped reservoir and to the south as well as another bridge to photograph there are views across the water that are perfect for sunset shots.

Shadow and Light IIShadow and Light IILadybower Resevoir One of the most amazing parts of Ladybower are the overflows.  These “Plug Holes” usually sit above the water level but once all three reservoirs are full the overflows can be seen in full flow.  Breath-taking to see and hear!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my location guide to Ladybower and please comment if you can J

Thanks

Tim 

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) Ladybower Location Guide Peak District Reservoir photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/3/ladybower-reservoir Sat, 04 Mar 2017 20:47:02 GMT
Why I quit 500px! https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/2/why-i-quit-500px Back with a new blog post but first the disclaimer!  These are just my feeling, opinion.  Many of you won't agree with me and that's perfectly fine, I respect your opinion.

OK with that out of the way lets get to the story.  Although I had an SLR when I was a kid I didn't really know how to use it.  I could manually focus and use the built in light meter but as to the rest I had no idea.  Just like today I hear you shout!! :-)  So when I really took up photography was 2005 when I bought a shiny new Canon 350D.  Why Canon?  Just because they were marginally better and cheaper than the main competition.  I got a proper camera for a couple of reasons, one because I went on holiday and took a sunset picture with my first digital point and shout and loved it but also I had a young family.  So for years I taught myself how to take pictures and just shared them with the family.  I got a lot of praise, as we all do from our families and slowly started to improve.  I said slowly as having young kids takes up most of your time :-)

One of my learning sources was Scott Kelby and some of his books, I started watching some of his shows and that's when I became aware of 500px.com.  There were some amazing shots on the site and an offer on so I got a membership.  That was in 2011 but i didn't post anything for a few months so my first post went on line in February 2012!  I waited for my likes and fav's to come in! (tumbleweed)

So my photos were ok but getting no response did bring me back down to earth with a large bump to my ego :-)  Of course we all know that the more you put into social media, the more you get out.  I therefore began to "engage" with the community which basically meant I liked a lot of images and I mean a lot!  This went on for quite a while and I gradually started to get some traction, I was hooked.  Now I know now that I got way out of hand and probably annoyed a lot of users.  My photos were getting far higher than they deserved but I was getting better, trying to compete with the great shots.  I started getting my photos onto page one of the site, which gave you much more exposure and a lot more likes.  Eventually I hit gold and got to number 1!  This is the photo!

I was a god! My shot, called "Speed Bumps" had archived what I'd obsessed about.  I've done it, I don't have to chase this anymore I though! But just like a drug I was hooked!  I wanted that feeling again and again, but when I my other shots didn't do as well it made me feel bad, it was a downward spiral.  Now a lot of you are probably, quite correctly, thinking how ridiculous this all is and you're right.  Looking back now I still don't know how I got sucked in.  

Now on the positive side I definitely improved my photography and I met a lot of great people who are very talented.  We had some good banter and jokes, I'm still digitally in touch with some of them.  I have Kevin Haggith from Canada, Vinni from Norway, Lin and Ash from Australia and John Harper from Wiltshire.  We still joke around but now just on Facebook.  If I've missed anyone apologies, I have a terrible memory.

Fairy GlennFairy Glenn

Going cold turkey!

Now giving up the adrenalin rush wasn't easy.  I wanted to press that delete account button so many times. I started the process of closing my account on other sites that I'd joined first until there was only one left.  I also got some inspiration, John Harper deleted his account.  I contacted him and although his experiences had not been the same as mine I still felt that I could do it.  So late last year I left and the relief was wonderful.  I don't miss chasing the fame and I have a lot more time to do more productive things.

My experience did get me thinking.  Are photography contests of any use?  I still enter them at my photography club but I have to say I don't care if I win.  If the judge has some good advise I take it on board and otherwise ignore it.

In the social media age we live in, I guess I'm not the only one to get addicted but I'm out now and feel all the better for it!

If you'd like to make a comment then please do, it would be good to know what your experiences are.

Take care

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) 500px drug leaving media social https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2017/2/why-i-quit-500px Wed, 15 Feb 2017 23:22:37 GMT
Conwy Valley Workshop https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2016/7/conwy-valley-workshop Conwy Valley Workshop

with Rick Sammon

Rick SammonRick Sammon

Back in 2012 I noticed that Rick Sammon, a photographer i'd followed for a number of years, was doing a workshop in North Wales.  He was posting pictures and I wondered, "How did I miss that?".  After some googling I found out it was a free workshop which made it even worse.  I vowed to keep an eye out next year so I could get a place!

I of course missed the first post and when I did see the announcement it was full!  Gutted that'd missed it once again I registered for the waiting list without thinking I had a chance.  Then two weeks before the workshop I received an email.  A place was available :-) 

After some very short notice rearranging with work I booked my place.  I was over the moon!

The workshop was for 2 days and these are some of the images I got.  When I look back I think this was a real turning point for my photography and especially my editing.  I may have overdone some of these but I think you learn in time to pull the editing back a little.  I've always looked to produce the feeling I had at a location rather than just capture what happened.

Fairy fallsFairy falls Fairy Falls IIFairy Falls II Bridge Over Fairy FallsBridge Over Fairy Falls Gwydir Uchaf ChapelGwydir Uchaf ChapelTim McAndrew

One of the things we did on the producing HDR images but using manual exposure rather than bracketing your shots.  The chapel above was one of my first few attempts. 

River flowRiver flow River flow IIRiver flow II Old BridgeOld Bridge Llanrwst Bridge and Tea RoomLlanrwst Bridge and Tea RoomTim McAndrew Fairy Glenn light raysFairy Glenn light rays Fairy GlennFairy Glenn Old FarmOld Farm Bridge at Ysbyty IfanBridge at Ysbyty Ifan Snowdonia VistaSnowdonia Vista

The Welsh countryside was a great backdrop to work in.  Its such a photogenic place.

There were of course many of us on the workshop and I've stayed friends with quite a few of them through social media.  We were lucky to have such a great group of people.

Our groupOur group

This is us waiting for the light at Fairy Glen.  

Chasing RainbowsChasing Rainbows

Catching a Rainbow on the way back on the last day.

I had wondered if a workshop would be worth spending my money on before this experience, my conclusion was most definitely yes. 

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) blog conway conwy photography rick sammon tim mcandrew timmcandrewphotography valley workshop https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2016/7/conwy-valley-workshop Sun, 17 Jul 2016 14:50:04 GMT
Manchester Photo Walk with Matt Granger https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2015/9/manchester-photo-walk-with-mat-granger Manchester Photo Walk with Mat Granger

IMG_6013IMG_6013Tim McAndrew

For those of you who don't know Matt, he's a Australian photographer who's become very well know because of his YouTube channel.  He was known for a long time as "That Nikon Guy" but has dropped this recently although he does still use mainly Nikon Gear.  His channel has some great free photography tips.

Matt was over in the UK doing some training workshops in Edinburgh and London but decided to stop off for a few days in Manchester!  Matt often has photo walks in the cities he visits so when I found out there was one local to me I thought it would be cool to meet him.  As you can see from the group photo there were many other like minded people.  We wondered round Manchester taking some street shots and chatting between us.

We met near the library and council buildings before moving on to the Northern Quarter and a few beers :-)  

Matt came across really well and made the effort to talk to as many as he could.  Got to say he was an extremely nice chap and we all had a great time.

Here are a few shots I took on that evening.  

IMG_6015-HDRIMG_6015-HDRTim McAndrew IMG_6021-HDRIMG_6021-HDRTim McAndrew IMG_6024-HDR-EditIMG_6024-HDR-EditTim McAndrew IMG_6027-HDRIMG_6027-HDRTim McAndrew IMG_6033IMG_6033Tim McAndrew IMG_6036-EditIMG_6036-EditTim McAndrew

IMG_6059-HDRIMG_6059-HDRTim McAndrew IMG_6065-HDR-EditIMG_6065-HDR-EditTim McAndrew IMG_6092-HDR-EditIMG_6092-HDR-EditTim McAndrew IMG_6101-HDRIMG_6101-HDRTim McAndrew IMG_6044IMG_6044Tim McAndrew IMG_6046IMG_6046Tim McAndrew IMG_6063IMG_6063Tim McAndrew IMG_6087IMG_6087Tim McAndrew

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) Granger Manchester Matt Photo Walk monochrome https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2015/9/manchester-photo-walk-with-mat-granger Sat, 26 Sep 2015 17:12:54 GMT
On Minute On Earth 2014 https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2014/12/on-minute-on-earth-2014 One Minute On Earth 2014

One Minute On Earth 2014One Minute On Earth 2014

On the 21st of June 2014 (Summer Solstice) I took part in a special photographic event.  The event was organised by http://www.kujaja.com/ which is a website that produces photo books that are sold to raise money for charities.  Having been prompted (several time :-) ) by James Gramm during the run up to the night I had to come up with a location and hope for better weather!

The idea behind the project was for photographers all over the world to take a photo at exactly the same time.  Capturing a moment in time across the world and to support the Vuka Ntomboyi Culture Home’s shelter for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Langa South Africa.

Mam Tor seemed a good location being very accessible with great views too!  The time of all the photos had to be 9pm GMT so 10pm BST for the UK. Sunset was around 9:45 so there was still going to be plenty of light available.  Its a short walk up to the summit from the car park but I got there nice and early to get a good spot.  Its a busy place during the day and especially in the morning for sunrise shots so I wasn't surprised to find a photographer in place.  Luckily he packed up in plenty of time for me to get into position and check my composition.

As the time approached I was alone on the hill, or I thought I was!  I had the feeling I was being watched.  I turned round and found I was being watched by several sheep that had moved up behind me.  Panic over :-)

Just before 10pm I was joined by a party of friends who were spending the Solstice on the hill. After a quick chat I took the shot above, 5 bracketed exposures and combined in Photoshop later.  Check out the photo book at http://photobooks.gallery/en/ or http://www.kujaja.com/en/photobooks/photos/one-minute-on-earth-2014 to see all the shots from around the world.  Below are a few others from that evening.

All the Best

Tim

 

Mam Tor SunsetMam Tor SunsetTim McAndrew Mam Tor Sunset 2Mam Tor Sunset 2Tim McAndrew One Minute On Earth 2014One Minute On Earth 2014Tim McAndrew

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) Mam Tor One Minute On Earth Peak District photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2014/12/on-minute-on-earth-2014 Tue, 30 Dec 2014 18:35:38 GMT
Middle Black Clough https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2014/12/middle-black-clough Middle Black Clough Waterfall

Black Clough Waterflow IIBlack Clough Waterflow II

Welcome to my blog!  I've always been a big fan of photography blogs.  They've really helped me out when it comes to learning new techniques and improving my photography.  Of course the technical side of photography is important but the best way to learn is to get out there and practice so after reading up on long exposure water photography I needed somewhere to go try it out.

We are lucky as amateur photographer to live in the world of the internet where so many people share information for free and this includes location guides.  As the Peak District is on my door step I wanted to find a waterfall within easy reach to try out my techniques.  When I found this location guide I knew it was the perfect place!  The blog I found was supurb! Here is the link for you to take a look. http://www.duncanfawkes.com/middle-black-clough/ Many thanks to Duncan Fawkes for taking the time to publish this! He has some great photos too.

If you read the location guide it has all the details on how to get there and what to shoot so I won't repeat any of those details here.  I have just one additional note to make.  When crossing the stream, especially when the water levels are high, you probably need wellies to get across and watch out for all those slippery green stones.  I've slipped a few times up there.

At the top of Middle Black Clough is the waterfall.  You need a wide angle lens to get best out of the location as its quite cramped I used my 17-40mm lens and just about got everything in.

Middle Black Clough WaterfallMiddle Black Clough Waterfall

As great as the waterfall itself is I actually find that the smaller cascades that you find on the way up more interesting and varied than the waterfall itself.  There are countless opportunities to make good compositions all the way up.  These are just a few examples.

Peat Waterflow IIIPeat Waterflow III Peat Waterflow VPeat Waterflow VPosably the last in the series. Sorry for not getting to your picture over the last few days. Been sorting out my photos and uploading low rez verions as some ended up on another site. Peat Waterflow IIPeat Waterflow II2nd in my series of shot of the waterflow in the peak district. Peat WaterflowPeat WaterflowWaterflow in the Peak District with that distinctive orange peak colour.

The last photo is of my favorite cascade. On many of these photographs I only used a polarizing filter.  The reason I used it was two fold.  One to reduce the light levels and increase the shutter speed and get the flowing water effect and secondly to cut down on the glare on the surface of the water.

Cascade (Middle Black Clough)Cascade (Middle Black Clough)

To achieve the more silky longer exposure I use a variable neutral density filter.  The longer 30 second exposures also give some nice effects in the water that you don't see with the naked eye.

The following photographs are of the main stream that winds its way down to the reservoir.

Lower Black CloughLower Black Clough Black Clough WaterflowBlack Clough Waterflow Black Clough Waterflow IIIBlack Clough Waterflow III

There are of course better know areas in the Peak District that are as good, if not better than Middle Black Clough but one of my favorite things about the location is that its quiet.  Once you've crossed over the water you only occasionally see other people and they are usually fellow photographers. It is also just off the busy Woodhead Pass so is very accessible from the Manchester area.

 Thank you all and feel free to leave a comment!

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(Tim McAndrew Photography) Middle Black Clough Peak District Waterfall photography https://www.timmcandrewphotography.com/blog/2014/12/middle-black-clough Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:16:06 GMT