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Alexanderplatz, Berlin

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Alexanderplatz, Berlin – February 14

A couple more shots from a recent trip to Berlin. We were staying in Alexanderplatz, and most of the views around this area are dominated by the Fernsehturm, the iconic TV tower – especially the view from our hotel room (see image below). The tower was built in the late sixties, as a symbol of the German Democratic Republic’s strength (as well as to transmit TV!) and was apparently partly modelled on Sputnik.

Alexanderplatz itself felt curiously soulless and bleak in our sunny but cold February days in Berlin, with its Brutalist architecture, chain restaurants and shops, and empty open plaza – but it made a great base for exploring Berlin, as well as providing some spectacular views of the Fernsehturm and the cityscape.

Nikon D7000 – 1/400 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 – 14mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Nikon D7000 – 1/50 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Summery Feeling

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Summery Feeling, Pevensey – July 2013

The recent beautiful weather in the UK has definitely put me in a summery mood. Here are a couple of shots from last summer…

Nikon D7000 – 1/400 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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Nikon D7000 – 1/500 sec at f/2.5, ISO 100 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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Rise Up, Alexanderplatz

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Rise Up, Alexanderplatz – February 14

The text on the yellow notice in this shot feels totally at odds with its situation. I think I know what it means – can any German speakers out there provide a translation so I can be sure? Danke!

‘Erhebe dich, erwache, oh Licht meiner Augen. Erhebe dich, erwache, oh weites Herz in meinem inner. Erhebe dich, erwache, oh gefesselte Göttlichkeit im Menschen.’

Nikon D7000 – 1/30 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 – 16mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Balloons, Mitte

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Balloons, Mitte – February 14

A string of colourful party balloons tumble down the empty, Sunday morning streets of Mitte in Berlin – a hangover of the previous night’s celebrations.

Nikon D7000 – 1/250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 320 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Mother and Child, Nara Koen, Japan

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Mother and Child, Nara Koen, Japan – September 2011

Here’s an image I often come back to. It may not be a technically great shot (frustratingly), but of the shots I took that day, its the one that keeps drawing me back to look again. I think its partly the sense of movement in the figures, partly what you read into their body language (the mum striding forward, the kid leaning back) and partly the composition of the shot. And then there’s the texture and colour of the wood of the temple doors, those fantastic big lanterns, how the girl is holding her Winnie the Pooh bag over her arm like a little handbag… There’s lots I like about this shot.

Nikon D100 – 1/80 sec at f/4.5, ISO 400 – 35mm (AF35-80mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Pool

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Pool, Upton House – July 2013

I noticed that I’ve been posting a lot of black and white shots recently – time for a splash of colour, I think. This shot was taken last summer at Upton House in Warwickshire. It was a very hot day, and the old open air swimming pool was very inviting. I love the colours in this shot, and the composition brings to mind a David Hockney painting…

Nikon D7000 – 1/250 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100 – 18mm (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6)

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La Grande Dame

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La Grande Dame – August 13

Another shot from last summer’s trip to France – my wonderful mother-in-law Karin, taken in the small town of Riberac in the Dordogne. I don’t know whether she would appreciate being called ‘la grande dame’, but it seems very fitting for this shot.

Nikon D7000 – 1/500 sec at f/2.2, ISO 100 – 50mm (50mm f/1.8)

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Falling, Auckland NZ

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Falling, Auckland NZ – January 2013

We began 2013 in New Zealand in the middle of summer – quite a difference to this New Year in London’s winter. This shot was taken in Auckland’s Toi o Tāmaki art gallery, in a very cool installation which was basically a cube with mirrored ceiling and floor. There are a couple more shots below, including a selfie.

Nikon D7000 – 1/25 sec at f/5.0, ISO 100 – 16mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

 

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Nikon D7000 – 1/13 sec at f/5.0, ISO 100 – 16mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Nikon D7000 – 1/13 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Eight Years On, France

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Eight Years On – August 13

During the summer we found ourselves on a picturesque bridge in the tiny village of Bourdeilles in south west France where eight years before I had taken a shot of the kids with their grandparents, which now hangs on our wall at home. Realising where we were, I tried to recreate the shot (from memory) – as you can see I didn’t get it quite right, and Josh is too heavy to lift now, but completely by chance there are details in there that do match up – Nick’s stripy t-shirt, Karin’s shades and top (and the fact that she doesn’t seem to have aged a day). But the best thing is seeing how the kids have grown into the wonderful little people they are now. I’ll post the next installment in 2021!

Nikon D7000 – 1/160 sec at f/5, ISO 100 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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The Journey Home

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The Journey Home, London – November 2013

I filter what I post to this blog by only including photos that evoke a strong reaction in me – and sometimes these shots happen in the most unexpected of places, like sitting on a commuter train on the way home after a long day out. Harsh, artificial lighting, the motion of the train and the close proximity of so many other people going about their daily routine – these may not be the ideal elements for a good portrait, but that’s what I love about photography; you can be in the most unlikely of situations and still capture something that speaks to you.

Of course the fact that I see so much in this photo is highly subjective because I know the subjects so well (they are my sons, after all). I wonder what others see…

Nikon D7000 – 1/15 sec at f/5.0, ISO 400 – 15mm (10-20mm f/4-5.6)

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Big Ben, London

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Big Ben, London – November 2013

I’m always looking for different takes on subjects, and realised as I wandered past Big Ben yesterday that I hadn’t really looked at it from this angle before – probably because to see it from here you have to stand in the middle of a very busy road! I grabbed the shot as the lights changed and hoards of people crossed the street. I like this view because there is no other clutter to detract from the two main elements in the shot.

Nikon D7000 – 1/13 sec at f/5.3, ISO 400 – 18mm (10-20mm f/4-5.6)

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Big Hand, London

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Big Hand, London – November 2013

I was shooting for a silhouette with this shot, but once I saw it on-screen I liked the detail in the foreground, so I upped the levels in the shadows a little and played around with the split toning function in Lightroom until I got the look I wanted. I like that the foreground figure, with the rigid looking cloth folds in his top and the fact that he is standing on a plinth, looks almost like a statue – quite fitting for his position in front of Buckingham Palace.

Nikon D7000 – 1/50 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4-5.6)

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Vancouver Commuter

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Vancouver Commuter, Canada – March 2013

I was out and about shooting around Vancouver city centre on a cold, grey Thursday morning when this guy shot past me on his unicycle. It was still pretty early, so I can only assume that he was commuting to work! I like the way the trees form a natural frame and give the shot more depth – I think that’s what makes it work for me.

Canon 5D Mark II – 1/400 sec at f/1.2, ISO 100 – 50mm (EF50mm f/1.2L)

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Crossroads Of The World, LA

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Crossroads Of The World, LA – March 2013

The ‘Crossroads Of The World’ on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. There are some great old buildings around this area, harking back to the glamorous heyday of Hollywood. This development, which was built in 1936, was once a busy shopping centre – in fact, it has been claimed that it was the first outdoor shopping mall in America – and its frontage with its spinning globe has become a Hollywood icon. Today the stores are gone, and the bungalows around the central building – built to look like an ocean liner – are inhabited by producers, script writers, casting agencies and the like.

Canon 5D Mark II – 1/20 sec at f/16, ISO 320 – 16mm (EF16-35mm f/2.8L)

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Light, Périgueux France

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Light, Périgueux France – August 13

This shot was taken in Périgueux Cathedral. Périgueux is a beautiful old town in the Dordogne in south western France, and the cathedral is striking, with domed roofs and a rather phallic tower (or is it just me? Pic below). I’ve been inside the cathedral many times before, but on this particular morning the sun was shining quite intensely through one of the stained glass windows, throwing a beautifully hued light across the nave. It was a tricky shot to expose for, and a relatively long hand-held exposure, but I was pleased to capture at least some of the beauty of the light.

Nikon D7000 – 1/4 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100 – 13mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Red Coat, London

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Red Coat, London – November 2013

A shopper at the Christmas market in Covent Garden. Her stillness and her vibrant red coat made her stand out in the crowd, and she feels like an oasis of calm and concentration in the midst of the busy scene. The warm lighting from the stall illuminated her perfectly.

Canon 5D Mark II – 1/15 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400 – 35mm (EF16-35mm f/2.8L)

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Dog walking, LA

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Dog walking, LA – March 2013

A girl and her pooch going for a Sunday morning walk in LA. I like that both she and the dog were looking straight at me as I took the shot (with similar looks on their faces), and the splash of colour on her sock, which stands out against the muted colours of the rest of the shot.

Canon 5D Mark II – 1/3200 sec at f/2, ISO 100 – 50mm (EF50mm f/1.2L)

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Stars over Saint-Martial-Viveyrol, France

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Saint-Martial-Viveyrol, France – August 13

An evening spent outdoors with a trusty old tripod and my ISO and shutter speeds pushed to the max. The Perseid meteor shower was delivering even more spectacular night skies than normal over Saint-Martial-Viveyrol, deep in the French countryside and miles away from city lights and other noise pollution. I was outside shooting until 2am, and the shot above is my favourite, with the old farmhouse in the foreground. Although I saw lots of meteors that evening, I only caught one on camera – the first of the images below.

Nikon D7000 – 30 secs at f/4, ISO 5000 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Nikon D7000 – 30 secs at f/4, ISO 5000 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6) – the meteor is visible with a green tail

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Nikon D7000 – 30 secs at f/4, ISO 2500 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Nikon D7000 – 30 secs at f/4, ISO 4000 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6) – those lines are aircraft cutting across the sky

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Arles, France

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Arles, France – August 13

An alleyway leading to the Roman amphitheatre in the beautiful city of Arles in the south of France. The quality of the light in this area is amazing – all of the shots I took around here have the same warm quality, but especially in Arles and Avignon, with the sun reflected and softened by the ancient stone walls. This shot was taken in the middle of the day, when the sun is sometimes too harsh to capture good photos, and still the shot has that rich colour and soft light that makes me want to look at it on a cold grey October morning in London.

Nikon D7000 – 1/100 sec at f/9, ISO 100 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Deckchair

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Deckchair, Polesden Lacey – May 2013

Sebbie reading all about the history of Polesden Lacey, the country estate of Edwardian society hostess and friend of the Royal family, Mrs Greville, on a beautiful spring day in May. The little details in the picture – the concentration on the leaflet, the grassy knees, the bright red shoes – they tell you a lot about Seb’s personality.

Nikon D7000 – 1/2000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100 – 50mm (50mm f/1.8)

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Mont Saint-Michel, France

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Mont Saint-Michel, France – August 13

The stunning, romantic splendour of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. An incredibly photogenic subject, the biggest issue in capturing the serene beauty of the place was finding a vantage point that avoided the masses of visitors (I visited during the first weekend in August – a notoriously busy time for vacations in France). Overall I was happy with this shot – though I would have chosen a different lens if I had my time over again. Hopefully it goes someway towards capturing the majesty and mystery of this very special place.

Nikon D7000 – 1/800 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 – 55mm (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6)

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Portrait of Karin

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Portrait of Karin, Verteillac, August 2013

A portrait of artist Karin Weber (who also happens to be my mother-in-law). Karin lives in Saint Martial Viveyrol near Verteillac, in the Dordogne in France, and she creates wonderful indoor and outdoor sculptures, as well as evocative oil-paintings, many inspired by the beautiful towns and countryside around her home. This headshot was taken for her promotional materials and website. I’d been shooting on my Nikon D7000 with a 35mm prime lens, and decided to switch to my trusty old 50mm prime as I know it produces a nice bokeh effect. Karin did a great job of maintaining her fantastic smile though out!

D7000 – 1/320 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100 – 50mm (50mm f/1.8)

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Kitten

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Kitten, August 2013

My sister’s cat Tabby recently had a litter of four kittens who are now at the age where they get into everything! I was taking some photos for her as they are now 8 weeks old and ready to find new homes. Here’s my favourite – who wouldn’t want him?

Nikon D7000 – 1/800 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100 – 35 mm (35mm f/1.8)

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Mapua Wharf, NZ

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Mapua Wharf, NZ – December 2012

Boxing Day in the sun at Mapua Wharf near Nelson – and a bit of diving into the sea from the wharf. I could tell straight away that this shot would look great in B&W, with the heavy shadows of the midday sun and the grain of the wood. A tiny bit of clean-up in Photoshop to remove a lens flare, and I was happy with it.

Nikon D7000 – 1/12 sec at f/13, ISO 100 – 18mm (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6)

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Little Angel 2, Auckland NZ

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Little Angel 2, Auckland NZ – January 2013

Taken in Auckland, where a homeless charity was asking you to ‘be an angel’ and donate at Christmas with a guerrilla campaign around the city. Seb’s angelic expression was just perfect for this shot.

Nikon D7000 – 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Little Angel, Auckland NZ

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Little Angel, Auckland NZ – January 2013

Taken in Auckland, where a homeless charity was asking you to ‘be an angel’ and donate at Christmas with a guerrilla campaign around the city. The colours that Josh was wearing and the texture of the wall works together with the unexpected addition of the wings to make for an arresting shot.

Nikon D7000 – 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100 – 19mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Sunset, Queenstown NZ

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Sunset, Queenstown NZ – December 2012

The beginnings of a beautiful sunset over Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown in New Zealand. The town almost seems to have been specifically situated to capture the best angle of the sun setting as it disappears behind the mountains at the far end of the lake.

Nikon D7000 – 1/400 sec at f/8, ISO 100 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Lara

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Lara – January 2013

My beautiful wife Lara on her birthday – a cold and frosty day at Claremont Landscape Gardens in Esher, close to where we live. Nice natural diffuse lighting with no direct sunlight – quite a difference after spending the last month in the New Zealand summer.

Nikon D7000 – 1/400 sec at f/1.8, ISO 100 – 50mm (50mm f/1.8)

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Beckett

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Beckett – January 2013

My fantastic little nephew Beckett, having had his face painted at Nelson Jazz Festival in New Zealand, New Year’s Day 2013. It was a little cloudy, and the light was great for portraits – very diffuse. I painted out a distracting guy-rope in the background, but apart from that the image is as it was captured in camera.

Nikon D7000 – 1/60 sec at f/5, ISO 200 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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Mount Cook over Lake Matheson, NZ

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Early Morning view of Mount Cook over Lake Matheson, NZ – December 2012

An early morning shot of Mount Cook over Lake Matheson on the West Coast of New Zealand. The lake is a short drive from the town at Fox Glacier, and waking up to brilliant sunshine after a couple of days of grey skies, I packed up my gear and headed straight down to the lake to get some shots before breakfast. My reward for getting up early was a completely deserted lakeside walk and unspoilt views of the mountains over (and in) the crystal clear lake.

Nikon D7000 – 1/320 sec at f/13, ISO 100 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Frosty Sunday Morning

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Frosty Sunday Morning – December 2012

A beautiful clear frosty Sunday morning walk in early December and lots of opportunities for a keen photographer. The steam from the horses in the sunlight, the hard frost on the grass and branches, the long shadows because of the angle of the sun – perfect.

Nikon D7000 – 1/320 sec at f/5.6 ISO 100 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4-5.6)

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Rock-ola, LA

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Rock-ola, LA – August 2012

Taken whilst waiting for breakfast at Mel’s Drive-In in Hollywood on a Sunday morning. No post work has been done on the colours – this is how I captured the scene in camera (I love the 5D!).

Canon 5D Mark II – 1/50 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200 – 16mm (EF16-35mm f/2.8)

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Owl hat

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Owl hat – November 2012

Seb in his owl hat, on a recent walk. I like the exposure and the colours and the rendering of his skin tones in this picture – and of course his cute dimples!

Nikon D7000 – 1/30 sec at f/5, ISO 100 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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Five-Bar Gate, Polesden Lacey

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Five-Bar Gate, Polesden Lacey – November 2012

This was quite a tricky scene to capture. The foreground was heavily in shadow and the sun shining into the field was very bright. I’d seen the dog bounding across the field from some distance, so I had time to set the camera, fire off some shots, then adjust the settings before the dog got to me.

Nikon D7000 – 1/400 sec at f/3.2, ISO 100 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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Graveyard, Stratford-upon-Avon

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Graveyard – November 2012

This shot of a rather forlorn looking figure in the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, the church in which Shakespeare is buried, was taken on a beautiful and bright November day. The trees filtered the bright autumn sunlight, creating an interesting dappled effect across the graves. A bit of judicious cropping gave me the image I was after.

Nikon D7000 – 1/50 sec at f/3.5, ISO 100 – 35mm (35mm f/1.8)

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View From The Top, Box Hill

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View From The Top, Box Hill – November 2012

The view from the top – what a fantastic place to be, standing there on top of the hill with your brother, able to see for miles in all directions. We had a dramatic November sky with the sun bursting through the clouds, and wood smoke rolling across the valley below us. Perfect.

Nikon D7000 – 1/320 sec at f/9, ISO 100 – 10mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Hunting, Box Hill

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Hunting, Box Hill – November 2012

Box Hill is a wonderful place with amazing views and fantastic woodland walks. Josh had found a shot he wanted me to take, which I did, but before doing so I got an even better shot of him surveying the landscape. His pose reminds me of a scout in a western, or a hunter tracking his prey. The angle of the sun and the wood smoke drifting over the field help to make this a really satisfying image.

Nikon D7000 – 1/25 sec at f/22, ISO 100 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Green Pool, Ockham

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Green Pool, Ockham – October 2012

It was a very overcast day, and we’d been walking across the heath near Ockham. As we were heading back, the sun broke briefly through the clouds, and I knew I had to try and grab the shot. I shot off about eight images, bracketing the exposure to try and capture the dramatic sky whilst exposing for the foreground – and this shot best caught the scene I wanted.

Nikon D7000 – 1/250 sec at f/8, ISO 200 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Tall Tree, Ockham

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Tall Tree, Ockham – October 2012

We came across this tree while tramping across the heath near Ockham. The forest is cleared periodically to maintain the heathland and the animals living there, and this tall tree was standing alone. I really like that you can see my wife and son on the right of the tree, looking up at it – its only when you notice them that you see how big the tree is!

Nikon D7000 – 1/500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200 – 20mm (10-20mm f/4.0-5.6)

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Olympic Park, London

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Olympic Park, London – August 2012

The Olympic Park in East London has a number of amazing structures – not least the Velodrome and the stadium itself. This shot captures one edge of the Aquatic Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid, with the stadium in the background. It was a typical wild and wet August day in London, but the dramatic clouds and muted lighting helped add interest to the images I shot that day.

Nikon D3100 – 1/160 sec at f/6.3, ISO 100 – 18mm (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6)

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The Shard, London

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The Shard, London – August 2012

The Shard is an iconic and much photographed new building in London which now dominates the skyline. I wanted to find a different view of it, and liked the geometry and perspective of this shot, looking down More London Place.

Nikon D3100 – 1/125 sec at f/9, ISO 200 – 18mm (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6)

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Vinokurov – Men’s Olympic Time Trial

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Men’s Olympic Time Trial, Surrey, August 2012

Alexandr Vinokurov riding for Kazakhstan comes flying through Weston Green. Time trials are great for spectators (and photographers) as you get one cyclist coming through every 30 seconds. I shot each one as they came through, varying my technique each time. This shot was pretty successful. It was quite dark under the trees where I was positioned, so I had to push the ISO up a little to get a half decent shutter speed. I think I fired the flash for this shot also, and Vinokurov was wearing a very shiny kit – and the shot came together quite nicely

Nikon D3100 – 1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600 – 55 mm (18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6)

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From Griffith Observatory, LA

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View from Griffith Observatory, LA – August 2012

I took this shot from Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles very early on a Sunday morning before the crowds arrived – the only others up there were hikers and hardy cyclists. I love the design of the viewing machines, and wanted to ensure that the detail of the foreground was clear whilst also capturing the amazing view over downtown LA.

Canon 5D Mark II – 1/250 sec at f/8, ISO 100 – 35mm (EF16-35mm f/2.8)

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Cousins

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Cousins, Sutton Coldfield, August 2012

It is a very rare occurrence to see these four standing still and looking in the right direction without at least one of them pulling a silly face (as you can see from the second shot below!). Consequently, this picture is a very rare and treasured thing!  I think it captures all those fantastic things about being a kid – excitement, energy, camaraderie, fun, adventure….and possibilities.

Canon 5D – 1/40 sec at f/1.8, ISO 200 – 50 mm (50 mm f/1.2)

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