Category: Photography

Snow on Dartmoor

Snow on Dartmoor

Where I live, I have the best of both worlds, halfway between the coast and the moors. This does mean though that when we got snow on the moors I have to make sure I can get there and get back!

So, when it snowed for the second time recently, I gave it a fews days until I knew the roads around Dartmoor were passable and with a few hours to spare I headed to one of my nearest Dartmoor walking areas, Belstone.

I only have to walk to the end of my road where I live to see Dartmoor in the distance, so I knew there was plenty of snow to still photograph. On the road into Belstone I could still see the big drifts along the edges. Parking up in the village car park and walking the 500m or so to get to the moors, builds the excitement of seeing the snow cap hills just beyond.

The pathway opens out and gives you a good view of the north end of Cosdon Hill.

Entering on Belstone Common, we were amongst the sheep again eating the grass between the patchy snow.

The path here is a bit of a gully and was non existent, as it had been filled with snow, upto 3ft in places!

You had a choice, follow the tops of the path, or on the path at the edge of the drift and hope you could easy cross it when that edge disappeared!

I wanted to get to the views of Steeperton Tor and Irishman’s wall, but was pushed for time and there were so many good views to photograph.

As you get closer, you a teased with the view of Steeperton Tor in the distance.

But, I made it in time. It’s always are great view!

And it deserves a panorama image!

Having reached my target with just enough time to spare I turned around to get one more panorama, Irishman’s Wall and Belstone Tor.

Backtracking along the path to the edge of the common I was met by more sheep!

The rest of the trip was a gently downhill walk back to the car.

This is quite a straight forward walk of about 3 miles from the car park to the wall and back without much incline change.
My walks are difficult to judge in time as I’m constantly stopping to take photos or have kids in tow. But this was 2 hours from start to finish.

Torview Vineyard in the Snow

Torview Vineyard in the Snow

I have been working on a project with a local vineyard, Torview. We are doing a year project to photograph the vineyard and follow a grape vine through the seasons. I’ve called it, ‘life of a grape’!

Recently, as we are all too aware, we had some snow! I took the opportunity to head to the vineyard, just a it had started, as I didn’t want to risk get stranded in the snow. As it happened, when I got there, there was a break in the snow showers.

Throughout the season, there is plenty to do a on vineyard and as you can see, there is still plenty of pruning to be getting on with.

It’s a tough job and you need some good gear to cope with the seasons. It was exceptionally cold with temperatures that we don’t normally have. I think on this day it was around 0 -1 (quite mild compared to what it got too!). I found that my gloves couldn’t cope with this, but for my new coat, it wasn’t a problem.

I think Tim was well equipped for it.

I want to capture the vineyard in all weather if possible and we were lucky to get snow to be able to show it like this.

This photo shows the vineyard from the bottom corner through the unpruned vines with the farmhouse in the background.

Capturing the Life of a Grape is going to be a nice project and show just what happens throughout the year at the vineyard. We’ll see the vine start to bud and grapes growing, and hopefully some sunshine too!

This was the second trip, I wrote a brief post on the first trip. If you want to follow the journey, I’ve been posting to Instragram (@LeoPhotographyUK) and Twitter (@LeoPhotography) with #LifeofaGrape. Torview wines can be found on Instagram @TorViewWines

In the Vineyard

In the Vineyard

Being a photographer means you get to photograph many different things, from people, to products and sometimes, products before they become the product!

Yesterday I was out in a Vineyard in north Devon photographing vines, no grapes or even leaves, just the bare vines as the grapes start a journey from vine to bottle.

It was a wet and drizzling day, with clouds and haze in the distance, but hey, it’s January!

Follow the trip of the grapes with me as the vines grow their grapes and grapes turn in to wine.

Photo Restoration

Photo Restoration

Old photos are amazing memories. Most of us have an old box of photos that we occassionally get and out flick through. Sadly though over time these photos can fade, or have got damaged, either with a tear, scratch or worse.

Old photos are amazing memories. Most of us have an old box of photos that we occassionally get and out flick through. Sadly though over time these photos can fade, or have got damaged, either with a tear, scratch or worse.

The good news is, with computers, these days it doesn’t have to be the case. I can scan your old photos and digitally restore them to their former glory. Although not all can be recovered, that vast majority can be and you can then enjoy these memories again, this time on your computer or other device.

Your photos are scanned to a high resolution and then digitally edited to restore the missing detail, or correct the faded colour, or even remove strains or replace missing parts.

Once your original photo is scanned, it isn’t touched in anyway and you always have that as the original memory.

It’s is great when you have a wonderful photo of a family member from the past, capturing one instance in their life and even better if that photo is restored to its former glory

Please feel free to contact me for a non obligation quote

Digitising Slides, from the Red Box!

Digitising Slides, from the Red Box!

As a kid I grew up with motorsport in my blood. My Granddad was an F1 mechanic as was my Dad. I’ve listened to the stories, we have photo albums of F1 cars & mechanics and of course seen photos of both Dad & Granddad in books.

When I was younger, we had (and still do) a red box of slides. Many of them were of me as a baby, but in this box is another red box and this was the interesting one.

I used to like as a kid looking through the smaller red box, in there were slides of a Cooper F1 that had been in a crash and was being rebuilt, there was a Can-Am Lola showing it being built and doing a test run and 2 Surtees TS5 cars.

So, what better job could I have then digitising these slides. I’ve spent the afternoon, going through the slides and photographing them, then processing them on the Mac to create digital images.

Here are some examples.

As you can see, these have kept their character, but are now digital for easier use.

The Red Box, will still have it memories, but the photos are not out for easy viewing!

So, if you know of anyone who has slides and would like them turned into digital images, please contact me for a cost.

HSCC Grand Prix at Brands Hatch

HSCC Grand Prix at Brands Hatch

I find myself in a lucky position. My Dad is an ex-formula 1 mechanic and over the past few years he has made connections again with some of his old mechanic friends.

This means that he occasionally gets to go to interesting events and I get to tag along!

A few weeks ago I was at Williams, admiring their F1 Museum collection!

Yesterday, we got a day out at the HSCC Historic Superprix, with full paddock access and grandstand tickets. Very nice.

So, it was time to dig out the old big lens and go and try and shoot something fast!

We started in the paddock, so time to get some great close ups and listen to some real noise from the 50s! The Coopers, which was my Dad team were there, along with a few Lotus, and a wonderful Ferrari, that was once driven by Phil Hill and many other cars.

Then it was out on track and time to see if I could still photograph something quicker than a fast moving toddler.

Where we were standing there was a good view of Paddock Hill Bend at the end of the start straight, which meant I got some nice photos of the first corner. Luckily no accidents, but we did have a couple of spinners.

Then I got close to the fence and tried my panning skills. I wanted to be as close to the fence as possible, to help remove the fence pattern that could appear in the photos. With the act of panning, this also helped and I got some great closeup fast moving action shoots.

I’ve also processed the photos in an old style, some in black and white, and some with a old photo effect to add to the mood of the event.

You can view more photos from the day on my Motorsport Gallery

What do you do with your Photos?

What do you do with your Photos?

Everyone these days take 1000s of photos. Gone are the days of film when you just took 24 or 36 photos. With digital cameras and smartphones, you can take 24 photos just like that!

So, what do you do with them?

Do you share them on Facebook, post them to Instagram, or use an app to get them printed?

Whether you take them on your digital camera, or smartphone, the problem of what to do with the images still exists.

Memories are important, so that makes these photos important. Taking a photo and capturing the memory is one thing, leaving that photo on your computer or phone, never to be seen again is another.

I personally have around 75,000 photos that I have taken, excluding photos for customers, but I don’t have 75,000 printed photos. However, I have made photo books, canvases, framed prints and collages, used photos as backdrops on my phone and mac, created digital slideshows of places I’ve been, all in an attempt to make the photos I’ve taken easily accessible and to be seen every day.

So, it’s worth thinking about. We all love photos, love looking back at old family photos, old holiday photos, photo from our grand parents and so on, for our Kids it will be very much a digital photo album, but it’s important not to just rely on our digital devices for our memories. Print! Print big, put lovely canvases on the walls and create photo book of your memories.

Rescue photos with basic editing in Lightroom

Rescue photos with basic editing in Lightroom

How many times when you are out and about with your camera, do you see a scene and think how lovely, so you take a photo, only to be disappointed with the results.

If you look at the photos below you will see that these have suffered with the above scenario.

This is why you should never just delete a photo, because with a few simple adjustments in a photo editor, in this case Lightroom, you can rescue your photos*. I have only made a few simple adjustments to the basics section in the develop module to correct these photos.
This is just using a single RAW file and no HDR processing.

In this first example, the camera has exposed for the sky, and you can see the rocks in the before side are virtually black. The after image gives a more balanced natural look. Using the shadows slider, along with the others in the basics tab, helps retrieve those details.

The second example shows a more balanced foreground but overexposed on the sky. Again, without HDR process, some simple adjustments in the Lightroom basics tab fixes this. Dragging the highlights slider will bring out the details in the sky with some adjusts of just the basics sliders.

This final example, the camera seems to have got it wrong all over the place and more manual intervention should have been used, never the less, using the same techniques as above, this photo has been saved.

This process is just one of the things I teach in my 1-to-1 sessions. I cover importing, cataloging, editing and exporting.

*there are limits to what can be recovered, and less can be recovered with JPEG files over RAWs.

Halloween Fancy Dress Photo Shoot

Halloween Fancy Dress Photo Shoot

As with most parent with young children will know, kids love to dress up at Halloween.

We had one very willing Fairy Witch wishing to show off her costume.

So I set up the studio with a bit of Halloween lighting and started taking photos.

She poses, waits for the shot, moves to a new pose and waits again! This is wonderful as I managed to get lots of great expressions. It was actually quite difficult to keep up with her!

Here is a couple.

If your Kids had a great costume, why not book them in for a quick photoshoot. Even if its not a Halloween costume, make a booking and get some memorable photos!

For more information on our other photoshoot and offer, please visit our portraits page

Where Did August Go!?

Where Did August Go!?

Hmm, for the first time, I think, I’ve actually missed a month and have blogged anything. Strange thing is, I thought I had. July and August have been such busy months, that it not surprising.

So, just as a quick entry I thought I’d post a photo that I took at the BMRC Auto Historica event that we attended last Sunday. I knew there was going to be a low past from the BBMF, but I forgot to take my big lens!

As it happened, the Lancaster & Hurricane flew over so low, that I didnt need it. This shot was taken at 75mm.

A Low Flypast