Torridon

Torridon is in the Scottish Highlands, and the views are breathtaking!

Loch Torridon
Upper Loch Torridon

This was taken at sunrise.  The walks around the loch are beautiful as are the walks in the surrounding mountains.  Beware, during the winter these walks are not for the faint of heart!

Scottish Mountains
Mountains in Scotland

Scotland is a rainy place, a very rainy place.  The highlands (especially in winter) are no exception!  However, this also makes for great skies!

Gairloch
Sunset in Gairloch

The next day we travelled to Applecross which is also a stunning place.  I suggest checking out the Applecross Inn.  Great people, Great food and a beautiful place.

Applecross in the Highlands
Across the Loch in Applecross

Seriously, if you can make it to the highlands you really won’t be disappointed.

More to come

Advertisements

Winter in Market Square, Cambridge

Winter MArket Square Cambridge

It snowed heavily overnight and the temperature got to about -2 degrees.  We decided to go for a walk up the castle mount and on our way back we walked past the market square.  I loved how the orange lights contrasted with the rest of the weather.  Overcast and entering the blue hour of sunset made for a great image.

Winter MArket Square Cambridge
Winter in Cambridge

The snow has pretty much all melted now and I’m not sure we are expecting any more, but one day of snow on the weekend brought smiles all round!

Scotland here we come

This Christmas, instead of tucking into an array of food and cocktails (starting at 8am) Candice and I will be hopping in a car and driving to Scotland.  We both have the time off work, Candice is finally in the UK visa in hand (well purse at least), and we figured why not visit one of the most beautiful places on earth?

First stop: Glasgow for the night, just passing through here on our way to Torridon.  I cannot wait.  After Torridon, we will drive south towards Fort William for two nights.  Just outside of Fort William is the Glenfinnan Viaduct.  Known to most of us as “That bridge from harry potter”, I can;t wait to try and get an image out of this area.  Looking up at the train times, it may even be possible to get an image of the Jacobite steam train passing overhead, we will have to see.

After Torridon we continue to head east to Comrie.  NYE (or Hogmanay in this part of the world) the small village of Comrie holds a fire festival (Flambeaux).  Thought to date back to pagan times, this fire festival welcomes in the new year through the burning of torches.

This trip is going to be a great experience and I cannot wait to take lots of images to share with you all.

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 17.36.28

As you can see, a long way to travel over 7 days, but we will do it.  I’ll try to update as I go but I’m not promising anything here!

Have you been to Scotland?  Is there anything we simply MUST see/do?  Please comment below!

Mill Road Winter Festival

It is that time of year again.  Christmas lights go up, the temperature plummets (this side of the world at least) and local communities gather for street festivals.  Our newly adopted community is no different.  Mill Road in Cambridge closes off for one day of the year to host a massive street party with lots of bands, food and a fire truck pull by the firefighters.

The London Eye

London's Eye from St James' park

This weekend I visited London again. I know there seems to be a theme of constantly visiting the one city but it really has many opportunities for different images.  I had originally planned to get an image of Buckingham Palace at sunset.  Buckingham Palace is crawling with people, it is absolutely heaving with tourists.   Unfortunately, I stupidly left my cable release at home and so couldn’t take an exposure longer than 30 seconds. This meant that no matter what I did, and barring some heavy post-production which I really didn’t want to do, there would always be some tourists lurking in the image.  I really wasn’t that happy with the image I did get, and the sky just didn’t light up with colour that was being promised by the interesting cloud an hour before.  I stayed through the blue hour and ended with an image I am sort of happy with and will share next.

On my way back to the tube station I happened to walk through St James’ park.  It was by pure chance as I had originally intended to go back via Trafalgar square, but not having my cable release I would end with the same tourist issue.  As I rounded the corner and walked over the bridge I caught a glimpse of the top of the London Eye.  Such a beautiful and iconic sight.

If you like it or have some constructive feedback, please leave a comment.

London's Eye from St James' park
London Eye

Queensland – Glasshouse Mountains

Glasshouse Monuntains Sunset

Apologies for the non-travel related pictures for the last few posts.  It has taken me a while to get around to editing and posting some images.  I last travelled to Australia in August, to visit the family and also to graduate (woo hoo I’m now technically a Dr).

As a little backstory, I was born and spent my childhood years in the UK, my parents moved to Queensland when I was 16, and I moved to Melbourne when I was 24.  This meant that after graduating in Melbourne I flew up to beautiful Queensland to visit my parents (and brothers).

They live in a small township called the Glasshouse Mountains, which if you’re ever travelling in that part of the world you should DEFINITELY visit.  It is also next to Australia zoo, so if you’re into your touristy zoo and want to see a croc…you should probably go there too.  A bit on the pricey side though.

Anyway, back to the mountains.  I first took Candice to visit my parents years ago and we always intended to hike the Beerburrum track, but never managed to fit it in.  Ok so it was mostly my laziness and it being too bloody hot or humid but still, we never actually hiked.  This last time, however, I promised Candice I would stop being lazy and do it, but that we had to wait for sunset. After taking the 45-minute odd hike up we waited for about an hour and a half. Annoyingly about 2 minutes ahead of us were some French Instagram backpackers.  How do I know they were instagrammers? Well, that would be the hour and a half they waited, then the 5 minutes of the sunset that they ignored to take a photo of one of them with a hoody on, looking forlornly in the opposite direction. The million photos that they took of the one guy “modelling” and then buggering off without a second glance at the sunset.  I’m sure they have a huge following and are encouraged to continue being generally pretentious asshats but what annoyed me more was their general lack of respect and disregard for the environment by leaving their empty plastic water bottles on the ground as well as their joint butts.

Glasshouse Monuntains Sunset
Glasshouse Mountains, Qld, Australia

Having taken the image we waited a little longer, picked up after asshat and asshat’s girlfriend (who had left as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon) and we started the walk back down.

All in all it was a great evening and the Qld slogan really came true for us that night.  Beautiful one minute, Perfect the next.

 

Colourise 

It’s been a while since I’ve been motivated to take any images. Partly due to some things going on outside of photography that has stopped me, mostly mental, and also because I just haven’t been anywhere. Well ok that’s not true, I did make a trip back home to a Melbourne and I have a few from there I will post up soon….when I find the memory card. Quick pro tip….keep your memory cards safe!

Post though I wanted to share so,etching that I found my self enjoying immensely, and am determined to do lots more of.

Taking old photos that were shot in black and white and bringing them into the colour world.  As a scientist in my day job I chose two important scientists to start, and I think will make it a bit of a passion piece. Please be aware that these images were NOT taken by me, but I did colourise them.

Please let me know what you think in the comments. The first is Nikolai Tesla and the second is Rosalind Franklin.

img_0186img_0187

Is it a selfie if you use lights?

Back with the light testing, but this time for the low key portrait.

The set up here was a soft box at almost 90 degrees to the model with the camera straight on.  The first portrait has a grid to help control the light more, the second two are softbox sans grid.

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

Self Portrait 3Self Portrait-2

Due to my incredibly small flat, it wasn’t possible to get low key AND a back light without some serious photoshopping (middle image DID have a hair light).  What I do like about it though is that the back light does help to separate me from the black background. Unlike the last which actually looks a little sinister, helped by the lack of separation light.

Is it really a selfie though?

 

 

 

Learning to light

I’ve had a single Canon 430EXII for a few years and mostly use it on camera when at weddings for shots in the crowd, at the reception:

Single on Camera Flash
Single On Camera Flash

Whilst the subjects are having a great time and this can be seen from their expressions, the lighting is so so.  So times it is just important to get the image and capture the moment, and in the case of weddings, that is certainly true.  The bride doesn’t care how a photo is lit as long as the image evokes the awesome feeling of the day.  I normally would have bounced the light off a wall or ceiling but unfortunately, the ceiling was a glass dome that was too high, and we were too far away from the wall.

I decided to buy a second flash (Neewer something something) which was about £30.  Adding in a second light behind the subject helps to cut them out of the background.

I’m still waiting on my Octabox (Softbox) to arrive, but I decided to give the two speed light session a go without the aid of light softening modfiers and in an enclosed space.  The setup was as follows:

Lighting Setup

This is a diagram of my living room (I’m such an artist!).  1: The Neweer Flash set to half power gelled green and pointed at the wall.  The wall is white (or eggshell, or cream…or whatever people call white paint these days) which helps to take on the green colour.  Pointing the flash at the wall also helps to provide a huge back light to cut the subject (in this case me) out of the back ground.

I then had a second Flash at 2: gelled purple and an omnibounce on the top.  Due to a lack of reflector, I was trying to help get enough light under my chin to stop it becoming dark and accentuating my…ahem….less than desirable squidgy chin.

The camera (at 3) was straight on and set to a 10-second timer.

Here is the final result:

Self Portrait
Self Portrait

 

There are a few thing I learned doing this:

  1. My beard trimming SUCKS, I look like I have a goatee
  2. Using colours that are opposite on the colour wheel really adds to the image
  3. Having a soft box would have key lighting easier
  4. Having a flash meter would have taken a good 10 minutes off the setup!
  5. Don’t go too heavy on the purple in the face
  6. Keep the key light (the one lighting the subject) slightly higher than eye line for more flattering results

I’m not particularly happy with the shadow but as I was using a bare flash, this can’t be helped really.

Lastly, I had set up a white sheet over the window with the idea to soften the light and use it to fill in the shadows.  I’m not convinced this actually worked and would have been better with a reflector.

Does anyone have any advice?  Please leave it in the comment section

New portfolio website

Its been a bit of a hectic year so far, what with moving countries and then learning to live on my own for a while (visa issue, dont ask). So I have been neglecting to update or really solidify my portfolio.

Im going to make a special effort to shoot more and keep my portfolio updated. Lets start with the new look website found at www.alexanderdavenport.com.

I’ll still be maintaining this blog, especially to showcase my new images as they come up, but my portfolio will be much more of a stripped down version. I will be updating it and putting up new work both paid and unpaid, but the idea is that only the best of the best will be presented there.

 

Today’s image is one from a while ago, but it is of my wife showing me the local wildlife in the alpine region of victoria, Australia. It is also a celebration as she just landed a job at Parks Victoria, her dream organisation, so congratualtions!