Monday, 17 December 2012

New winter lifestyle shoot - hiking in Wales

Last month we were shooting some outdoor lifestyle images in Wales. Snowdonia in November was always going to be a bit of a gamble with the weather but on our shoot day we were blessed with perfect winter conditions - soft cloud but dry and no wind. We woke up the next morning to a howling gale and horizontal rain, so luck was definitely on our side.

Big thanks to Katie Higson for producing and assisting and putting up with my terrible driving; Keith and Emma for modelling; and Gaynor and all the crew at the National Mountaineering Centre at Plas y Brenin for being such wonderful hosts.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Canon Lens Toolkit

Earlier this year I undertook an epic shoot for Canon, creating a whole new image library showcasing their vast array of lenses. Using 7 cameras and 33 different lenses we were shooting for 17 days across 4 different countries, shooting everything from lifestyle images in London to landscapes in Scotland to extreme skiers in Switzerland. I also got to play with some cool kit including a pre-productiuon 1DX, the funky 17mm tilt-shift lens and "the beast" - the new 800mm super tele.

The first fruits of our labour are beginning to appear with the creation of a new lens toolkit for use by all of Canon's sales team and resellers across Europe.

Big thanks to Charlie and James at Canon, Duncan at TAG for the fantastic design, Katie Higson for production and assisting, Carolina Svensson for hair and makeup, Kajsa Soderlund for styling, Tim Stephens for carrying all the bags up the ski slopes,  Beanie, Lolo and the amazing Erik at Faction for being such awesome skiers, Chris at Tate Modern, Sian at the British Museum, Simonetta for fixing everything in Venice, and last but not least the crew at Leila's shop for keeping us supplied with all that delicious coffee.

Friday, 16 November 2012

New posters for Cafe Rouge

A little unusually for me we were shooting in the studio last month, this time for Cafe Rouge. We shot a series of quirky portraits of people enjoying food to promote their new refurbishment and the posters are now starting to go up around London. Many thanks to James at Cafe Rouge, Kim at Fish Pie, Katie Higson for assisting, Emma Slater for hair and makeup, Max for the studio, and Zara, Ross, Ali and Jamie from BMA. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

New work from Spain

Last month I was out in Spain shooting in the mountains and down on the beach, catching the last of the summer weather. After 3 days of shooting in 4 different locations with 12 different models, here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. Big thanks to Barbara Piemonte for pulling together the production, Katie Higson for assisting, Paca Navarro for hair and makeup and all the models for putting up with my Spanglish :-)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

South Tyrol winter campaign

It seems a lifetime ago now, but way back in March we were in the Dolomites in Northern Italy shooting the winter advertising campaign for the South Tyrol tourist board. I already knew the area as I've skied and hiked there on holiday in the past, and they're probably the most beautiful mountains in the world - so it was a real pleasure to go there for work. The images were shot as composites and put together in post.

Head out to the ski show in London this week to see it large on some billboards and keep an eye on all the ski and travel magazines for more coverage.

Big thanks to Max, Martin and Carmen at South Tyrol Marketing, Adam Hanmer at FourBGB, Katie Higson for assisting, Nel Haynes for food styling and Stef at Happy Finish for the retouching.

We were back out in August to shoot the summer campaign which will go love next Spring - watch this space!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

New vintage travel series online

I'm super pleased to announce some new work I've got online. I had the idea at the end of last year of shooting a new series of images to show I could create high production value work. Wanting to tie in with the theme of travel, I envisaged a 1930s travel shoot set in London and Istanbul.

The story revolves around Clara Hayward, a young woman who is bored with her life in London and embarks on an adventure around the world, first stop the Orient Express!

I wanted to evoke the feeling of the golden age of travel, and create a set of cinematic, atmospheric images. The whole series was shot over 3 days, in a beautiful house in London, at Loughborough station and in Fitzroy Square in London.

You can see the whole series of 6 images in high-res under the Projects section of the website here. I've also created a whole micro site showing how the images were put together so if you want to learn about the production from start to finish then go here.

The whole thing has been packaged up into a mailer with hand made airmail envelopes and mailed out to 200 contacts around London, and a custom designed email sent out to a wider audience. I'm really pleased with how the whole thing turned out.

Big thanks to the whole team who worked so hard to make all of this happen: Alexa Montgomery for locations and production, Kajsa Soderlund for props and styling, Emma Slater and Carolina Svensson for hair and makeup, Katie Higson, Tom Fewell and Claire Pepper for assisting, Marcus Harris for retouching, Peter Clark for designing the blog and mailer, and of course Emma Rice for being the perfect Clara.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Canon advertorial for Lonely Planet

Back in July I was asked to shoot some urban landscapes for a Canon advertorial running in the wonderful Lonely Planet Magazine. The advertorial was to feature the 10-22mm super wide zoom lens, and soon a Canon 7D and a 10-22 were in my hands.

I spent a couple of evenings dodging rain showers and here's the result. See it in the September issue of Lonely Planet Magazine.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

More lifestyle photography

A few pictures from a lifestyle test shoot a couple of weeks ago on Primrose Hill. Big thanks to Katie Higson for once again making it all happen, Lesley Vye for hair and makeup and Claudia and Will from BMA Models.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Quick test shot

A quick lighting test on the studio roof yesterday in between the rain showers

Monday, 6 August 2012

New mountain sports photos

I'm just back from spending a long weekend in Switzerland and made a few new mountain sports photos. The weather was pretty mixed - at one point we were running back to the hotel through a lightning and hail storm! - but we managed to get a few fun shots. Big thanks to Dan and Janine Patitucci and Matt Anderson at Viewfinder. Here you go:

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Another lifestyle test

A few images from another lifestyle test I shot last week. Big thanks to Katie Higson for making it all happen, Kajsa Soderlund for styling, Amy Saunders for hair and makeup, Natasha, Jason and Megan at BMA for being great models, Steve Howse for trusting us with his beautiful bike, and finally Jess at the Vintage Emporium for letting us use her wonderful cafe.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Shooting the Faction ski team with the Canon 1DX

Back in February I was shooting new imagery for Canon, highlighting the capabilities of their lenses and their new flagship camera, the 1DX. We headed out to Verbier in Switzerland to shoot with the guys at Faction, an awesome ski company based there.

Big thanks to Beanie Milne Home and Oskar Pedersen at Faction and the crew at the Thyon terrain park for making it all happen, and of course all the team at Canon Europe. Click here to see more pics on the website.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lifestyle test

Some images from a lifestyle test shoot last week. Big thanks to Katie Higson, Emma Slater, Miles Willis and Zara, Ross and Gemma at BMA.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Shooting with the Canon 1DX on the Isle of Skye

Earlier this year I worked on a 2 month shoot for Canon, creating new imagery to highlight the capabilities of their lenses and their new flagship camera, the 1DX.

With 33 lenses and 7 cameras my studio was overflowing with equipment, and as the first brief was to shoot some winter landscapes we packed it all up, boarded the Caledonian Express and headed up to the Isle of Skye.

Skye is a wonderfully scenic place, but after 3 days of grey skies and rain I was beginning to fear the worst for our 5 day shoot. Anyone planning to shoot in Scotland in the middle of the winter needs a bit of luck, and thankfully ours came on day 4.

Religiously checking the weather forecast every evening, the next morning looked like it might be clear. We were up at 5am to start the one hour drive, parked the car and hiked up for another hour through the dark with our head torches on, and arrived on location at the Old Man of Storr just as the horizon started to glow.

The cold snap had turned the rain from the day before into a thick coating of snow. The wind was howling a gale and although it was cloudy, there was just enough of a gap in the clouds for the sun to burst through as it came over the horizon, and we were treated to once of the most beautiful sunrises ever.

Within half an hour the sun rose into the clouds and the landscape returned to it’s previous dull grey, and by the time we got to Portree to warm up over a hot chocolate it was raining again.

Click here to see a few more landscapes from the shoot.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Featured in Outdoor Photographer Magazine

I was recently featured in Outdoor Photographers Magazine, check the article out in this months issue.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Going wireless with the 5D mark III - the WFT-E7

 Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of shooting wirelessly to a laptop. My post on how to set up the Canon WFT-E4 is the most read on this site and has over 100 comments. The WFT-E4 fits the 5D mark II like a moulded battery grip providing dual controls for shooting verticals. This is an excellent design, with the only drawback being the transmitter is specific to the mark II. It simply won't fit on any other camera.

So the new 5D mark III takes a new transmitter - the WFT-E7. To their credit, Canon have tried to design the new one so that it fits all their cameras - you don't need to buy a new one every time you upgrade. Unfortunately, in the process thay have made some design decisions that make it almost useless for the way I shoot.

Instead of being a moulded grip, the WFT-E7 is a simple oblong block that attaches to the bottom of the camera using the tripod socket. While this means it can attach to any Canon camera, for me this is where thing start to go wrong:

- the transmitter is wider than the camera and sticks out the sides, making it very un ergonomic to handle
- the camera can no longer be attached to a tripod, as the tripod thread is now blocked
- the transmitter has to be connected to the camera using a USB cable!
These 'features' makes the WFT-E7 almost useless to me:

Firstly, I often use the WFT on a tripod. Sure you could have the WFT attached to something else as it now has a cable, but in that case I might as well be tethered directly to the computer. 

Secondly, the rest of the time I use the WFT handheld. The new WFT is so unergonomic it makes the camera awkward to hold and gets in the way. It also precludes the use of a battery grip if you do want dual controls for vertical shooting - it would have to attach to the tripod thread under the grip, which is exactly where your hand would go to hold it.

Finally, by connecting to the camera using a cable, it defeats the whole purpose of going wireless - avoiding having to have wires!

So I sent it back within an hour of receiving it.

Unfortunately the 5D mark III has not been designed with the small connection port on the base that the mark II had. This means Canon will NEVER be able to release an integrated grip type transmitter like the WFT-E4. Oh well.

Thankfully the mark III takes Eye-Fi wireless SD cards and they seem to work quite well. A full report on how to set them up and how well they work will come soon in a follow on post.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Canon 5D mark III - initial impressions

Sorry for the technical hitch - I posted this a couple of weeks ago before disappearing on a shoot and no words showed up! Here's trying again....
The Canon 5D mark II is one of the most highly anticipated cameras of the last few years. Mine arrived on Wednesday. While I haven't had much chance to piut it though it's paces yet I thought I would post my initial impressions here.

First of all, a quick reminder of the headline features:
- 22MP full frame sensor
- 6FPS
- ISO 25600
- Improved AF
- 100% viewfinder coverage
- 1040k dot 3.2" LCD
- Dual memory cards

To be honest, when I read the spec sheet they had me at 'improved AF'. While an excellent camera in so many ways, the achilles heel of the 5D mark II has been its autofocus. My EOS 3 film cameras from 1999 had far superior AF than a 2008 mark II, and my cameras were permanently set to use only the central AF point as it was the only one that could reliably lock on to anything.

So I ordered a 5D mark III body the moment I read it included the same AF system as the new flagship 1DX. There are 61 auto focus points spread across a large section of the viewfinder, and they are customisable to your heart's content. You can choose different modes depending on what you are shooting, configure the camera to cycle only through 15 or 9 points for greater speed, choose AF or shutter priority etc.. In this way it is similar to the 7D.

Fortunately there are other things that have been improved too:

Overall build quality feels extremely solid, and Canon claim the weather sealing improved over the mark II. In fact the build quality and control layout are very reminiscent of the 7D. It inherits the same ON/OFF switch located beside the lockable mode dial, the larger buttons and a dedicated movie/live view button to the right of the viewfinder. A new 3.2" screen produces contrasty images. The shutter sound is decidedly tinny however, and makes you feel like you are using a toy camera. I understand this is the price we pay for 6FPS and reduced shutter lag and vibration, so I can live with it but it does sound very cheap!

Two new buttons are the Q "quick menu" button, that brings up all the cameras settings on the rear screen and adjustable using the rear joystick, and a new 'Rate' button that allows you to rate images during playback from 1 to 5 stars. This one seemed pretty useless to me, who rates their images in camera? But my friend Toby who I share a studio with claimed he would use this all the time on his documentary shoots, so YMMV. In any case, many of the buttons are programmable and can be set to other functions if you choose - this is a great move on Canon's part.

Another nice feature is the viewfinder which now has 100% coverage and, like the 7D, incorporates electronic overlays such as grid lines and active AF points. Along the base there is now a +/- 3 stop exposure scale rather than the previous 2. All useful stuff.

The body can now take dual memory cards. You can set the camera to switch automatically when the first one is full, record RAW files to one and JPEGs to the other, or write every picture to both cards simultaneously. But unlike the 1DX which takes 2 CF cards, the 5d mark III takes a CF card and an SD card, which is somewhat less useful unless you have a collection of high capacity SD cards lying around, which I don't. It will take an Eye-Fi SD card however which may replace the need for the WFT wireless transmitter in some cases.

And finally we come to image quality. Like in the 1DX, Canon have resisted the siren call of higher megapixel counts and the 5d Mark III receives a very modest increase to 22MP. In my initial very basic tests high ISO quality is greatly improved, with ISO 6400 shots looking cleaner than ISO 1600 shots from the Mark II. I haven't yet had a chance to test colour rendition and dynamic range, but initial results are very promising. If general improvements are in line with the 1DX I was shooting with last month then I will be very happy indeed.

The new DIGIC 5 processor adds the ability to process RAW files in camera, as well as blend multiple exposures and create HDR images. I would normally choose do do these kind of things on the computer where I have much more control, but can understand that it might be useful to be able to do this in the field occasionally. I haven't yet had a chance to test these functions yet so stay tuned.

Overall the 5D is feels rather like a 7D with a 1DX sensor inside, and that's no bad thing. With improved frame rate, ISO and AF the Canon 5D mark III has truly become a 'do everything' camera. All of the weaknesses of the mark II have been addressed. Unless you need the blazingly fast frame rates of the 1DX then this is all the camera you will ever need.

Retailing at £3000 including VAT the mark III is not cheap - a mark II can now be bought new for half that amount. So is it worth it? If you need good AF, shoot at high ISOs or need higher frame rates then the new camera is a big step forwards. If you are a landscape shooter typically shooting on a tripod at ISO 100 and manually focusing then maybe not. As for me, I've replaced one of my mark IIs and I'm sure I'll replace the other before the end of the year.