Almost Weekly Photo

Polar Bears Up Close!

If you had to choose a position from which to…

Trying Something New?

Bhutan mountain landscape.Phase One XF, 100MP Trichromatic back, 240mm Schneider-Kreuznach…

The (Mini) Photo Essay

The Boss is getting cold.Phase One XF, 100MP Trichromatic back,…

Wide or Close?

Wangdue, BhutanPhase One XF, 100MP Trichromatic back, 35mm wide-angle lens…

Bhutan Forest
Canon EOS 5DSR, 300mm lens, 1/1000 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

A suggestion: photographers wanting to improve their landscape photography should learn how to light for portraiture. A lot of my experience and perhaps expertise is based on lessons learned from portrait photographers.

If you’re outside in the middle of the day and the sun is more or less directly overhead, how do you light a good portrait? Assuming you have no reflector or fill-light, one of the most elegant solutions is to position your subjects so their back is to the sun and their whole face is in shadow. Expose for the face and you have relatively soft, even light. There is likely to be a ‘rim’ of light around the subject which can also work well. The only downside is that your background is probably overexposed – but at least your portrait is well lit.

Now put on your landscape photographer’s hat. Don’t worry so much about the soft light on the face, but pay attention to the rim lighting. Now go out into the landscape and see what you can find by pointing your camera towards the light.

As mentioned, I’m currently in Bhutan with David Oliver on a photo tour and these photos were taken on a previous visit. They are in the ‘middle of the day’, using a telephoto lens and I am looking ‘into the light’. I love the rim effect which is produced by the top-back lighting. Add a little contrast when you process the files and you have another example of making the light work in the middle of the day.

More versions of rim lighting trees in the middle of the day.

This isn't rim lit so much, but by darkening down the exposure, I think it works quite well!

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to the New Zealand ‘Middlehurst’, Antarctica, Canada, USA, Iran and Bolivia. Full details on the Better Photography website!


Yosemite with Yellow
Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 240mm Schneider, f11 @ 1.3 seconds, ISO 50.

Winter in Yosemite can be a wonderland and Tony Hewitt and I have been very lucky on the last two photo tours to get fresh snow! The white stuff completely transforms the landscape, of course, but it also changes the colour palette. The heavy dark greens of the fir trees are replaced with lighter blues and greens.

And yellows.

A botanist is probably going to tell me the two yellow saplings are dying, have been poisoned or have an insect infestation. I will be disappointed to learn that the colour is not a good sign in terms of health or longevity. However, as a photographer, the yellows created a centre of interest.

Photographed on the new Phase One 100MP Trichromatic back, I processed the photograph in Capture One where I could use its colour editor. Picking out the yellows in the leaves, I increased the saturation and turned the hue round a little to produce the result you can see here. There certainly is a wonderful separation in the colours created by the Trichromatic back - it's a cleanness of colour.

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to the New Zealand ‘Middlehurst’, Antarctica, Canada, USA, Iran and Bolivia. Full details on the Better Photography website!


The perfect yak? Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan
Canon EOS 5DSR, 50mm lens, 1/320 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

When you travel, do you go for the iconic shots, or just sit back and let it happen? I think for my first few trips, I definitely went for the iconic shots. If I were in Paris, I'd want to shoot the Eiffel Tower.

But that was many moons ago. Today, given how easy it is to see photos of the Eiffel Tower, I think people are looking to create photographs that show a personal experience, rather than a copy of all the postcards we have ever seen. Or should that be, a copy of all the Instagram posts!

So, while you're in Paris, a shot of the Eiffel Tower is probably required, but it doesn't need to be the focus of your photo book, photo essay or audio visual.

In Bhutan, the iconic subjects are monks, dzongs, mountains and yaks. Yes, yaks!

On a previous trip, I had been photographing yaks as I saw them, but without much enthusiasm. It would be nice to have a good shot, but not paramount. For the shots I had, they were in uninteresting locations, the light was too harsh, or they just weren't good looking as far as yaks are concerned (not that I'm an expert, mind you).

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