Frequently Asked Questions
What gear and equipment do you use?
My go to is a Sony A7. It’s a really decent bit of kit; equally great for photos and video, with a full frame sensor packed down into a small, mirrorless body. For me the size and weight of my gear is really important; for a while I toyed with the idea of getting a Canon 5D, but I spend a lot of my trips living out of a single bag, so the compact design of the Sony won me over.
I’ve used a variety of lenses in the past, but it’s the Sony 28-70mm lens that gets the most use – often I have to respond quickly to my surroundings, and a telephoto is great for capturing a wide range of different subjects. The other lens I always take out with me is the Samyang 14mm, a great budget wide-angle lens, that’s good for huge landscapes and astro-photography.
My gear’s usually wrapped up in a Matador Camera Base Layer, which keeps it safe but also highly accessible – I cannot commend this camera case enough. For years I struggled with a large camera case, or awkward silicon case, but often find myself trying to climb over boulders and step stones over rivers with my camera just hanging from my shoulder. This case keeps it safely padded, showerproof, and tethered neatly to my hip.
My Joby Action Gorilla Pod + Ballhead lives in my bag, and is what I primarily use as a tripod. The running trend with all my gear is versatility, I want something that can adapt to any situation without being too big of a hinderance upon my movement. I’ve got a Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod, which spends most of it’s time in the boot of the car, occasionally being whipped out for short walks or astro shots.
For aerial photography I use a DJI Mavic Pro, which following the familiar theme of size/versatility/weight was bought as it is the best tool for the job. As a piece of kit and technology it’s incredible, being able to capture alternative angles and perspectives on subjects is invaluable, and all packed down into something that easily fits into a day bag. I use it in a variety ways, from the more typical aerial photos that drones enable you to take, high altitude, inaccessible places or top-down photos, but also much lower to the ground to help get a slightly different perspective on a landscape. This alternative angle is quite often only a few feet above head height, or hanging slightly over the edge of a cliff or river, but is great in those times when you want something a little more than your feet and the terrain can provide. To aid my shooting and filming with my Mavic, I use PolarPro Cinema Series Filters that help me adjust and adapt to the different lighting and weather conditions.
I’ve got a GoPro Hero4 Silver, that I always carry with me, but it rarely gets used. I find it’s usually too wide-angled, and doesn’t shoot high enough quality for what I’m after, but it’s one of those things that you won’t miss until you’ve left it at home for the day.
I’ve never been one for using a designated camera bag, and a lot of the time the bag I take out with me is dictated by the amount of stuff I need to take. If I’m out on a short walk I’ll take a day bag (Patagonia Black Hole 30l), but often I’ll have sleeping gear, cooking utensils and food all loaded into a big 75l+10l rucksack, or if I’m travelling an car bound an 80l Duffle Bag. The important thing for me is it being comfortable, easy to access, and, above all, waterproof. When traveling light (usually if flying) one of Matador‘s packable bags comes in great use, weather it’s their Freerain 24l Backpack, that compresses down into the size of your fist, or the slightly bigger Beast 28l Technical Backpack; both of which are small enough to pack into your suitcase but then function brilliantly on location.
For a long time I shot on an old Canon 400D. This is the camera I learnt to shoot on, and used for a good 7 years. We’ve been through a lot together, and I know it like the back of my hand. Yes, good gear does make a difference to the quality of your shots, but at the same time, so much more goes into a photo than the camera itself. Photographic eye, positioning, post processing, knowledge, and more all go into a photograph; if you want to take photos you should use what ever you are able to get your hands on.
Do you sell prints?
Yes! I’m currently in the process of trying to find a better way of producing and selling prints, but for now feel free to send me an email referencing any photos you’d like and I’ll get back to you.
How did you get started?
I’ve always been a creative and active person. Photography really started for me when I was spending a lot of my teenage years skating or BMXing. I was always the guy who’d have a camera with me (I think I even used a cheap Canon point and shoot to get started). As I grew up and spent more time in the outdoors, finding my hobbies and the things I love to do, the camera came with me. I think it’s important to have an interest in your subject: whether its wildlife, nature or portraiture, you’ve really got to be into what you’re doing. Your passion for the subject will encourage and drive you to do more and progress yourself.
Do you have any tips for photographers starting out?
Get out and shoot. There’s not much more to it than that. You don’t improve without putting in the ground work. What really helped kick-start me was posting a photo every day. The drive to take enough photos I deemed of a high enough quality to post consistently really helped to get out and develop my skills.
The other thing I’d advise is to be inquisitive. When you see a shot you like ask yourself questions about it – what is it that you like about it? what techniques have been used? what settings were they using? Being keen to learn is always a great way of developing skills.
I always shoot on full manual, and pretty much always have. Part of this stemmed from using a camera for so long that really wasn’t very good at shutter/aperture priority, but also because I like to know that I’m in control. I’m not by any means stating that this is the best way to shoot, and many people switch between settings depending upon circumstance, but for me it’s just the way I’ve always done it. I’m comfortable with it, even if it might mean taking a short or two before hand to find the right set up.
What draws you to the outdoors and shooting landscapes?
I’ve always been an outdoor person. Right from a young child I’d spend most of my time outdoors, riding bikes or exploring in the woods. My dad started taking me on my first trips to the Lake District and Snowdonia when I was around 7, which helped plant the seeds of what was to come. As I’ve grown older I’ve found a real love for nature. I find it calming, refreshing and exhilarating all at the same time. I think that most people spend too much time inside these days glued to the television and social media, and that’s not what I want to see when I look back at my life.
How do you discover new locations to visit?
I tend to get my inspiration from a number of different places. Instagram and the Internet in general play a big part in it – I’ll often see a photo and become obsessed with it, finding out where it is and how to get there. I’ve got a pretty solid selection of screenshots on my phone of places I’d like to go.
But as well as that I love the sense of adventure. Nothing beats the feeling of discovery and exploration – I think this is something that rings true with almost everyone. So I also spend a lot of time study Ordnance Survey maps on Bing, or trawling through Google Earth searching for landscapes of interest, places to walk or locations to camp. I think it’s refreshing to head out with no real plan, no real idea of what you’re going to see. Sometimes that can lead to a flat disappointing day, but the contrast of finding something incredible makes up for that a hundred times over.
What is your favorite place that you’ve been?
A few years ago I spent a week on the Isle of Rùm, in the Inner Hebrides. It was my first time travelling to Scotland, and it really opened up my eyes to the beauty of the British Isles. Rùm is an island with only around 30 inhabitants (although it boasts 900 wild Red Deer), and at little more than 10 miles across it’s quite a small place. Prior to this trip I’d made several trips to the Peak District, Lake District, Snowdonia, and the Brecon Beacons, but this was the first trip where I really felt like I was in the wild; rugged remote landscapes, without footpaths, roads or civilisation. That island, and that trip will always be special to me, and it’s somewhere I’d really like to go back to at some point.
What have you got planned in the future?
I’d really like to start branching out internationally more, making trips to Norway and The Alps. I’d love to go to the US, visiting Yosemite, Zion, and the other great National Parks. That said the UK really has a lot more to offer than most people believe: I’d really like to spend more time in the Highlands of Scotland, perhaps doing the NC500 at some point, or even venturing to the Outer Hebrides.
Can we go out shooting/walking together?
Yes, I’d love to. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people through photography and have had some really great times getting to know people round a camp fire or climbing a mountain. If you’d like to go on a trip or meet for an afternoon’s shooting hit me up on the contact page.
My questions not been answered?
If you’re still searching for an answer, drop me an email on email@example.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.