Showing posts from 2015

Happy New Year

As 2015 draws to a close I have had time to think back on what has been an eventful 365 days.  
This year I have travelled near and far thanks mainly to my work for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series.  2015 has seen several trips to France as well as to Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, USA, Japan, China and Bahrain.  
I got to tick a few items off my bucket list in 2015.  I took a day out after the race in Texas last September to travel down to San Antonio to visit The Alamo.  I also took a day to see some of the old parts of Shanghai with a trip out to Zhujiajiao and the Seven Treasure water towns.  I also finally got to visit the Grand Mosque in Manama during my trip to Bahrain.
Paris remains my favourite international city on the planet, with several trips to the French capital in 2015, including a family holiday in the summer.  The terrible events in November with the terrorist attacks claiming so many lives have only made me more determin…

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No1 Gannets Circling Bass Rock

This was one of the last shots I took on my X-Pro1 before it went for a swimming lesson in the harbour on the Isle of May.  

The boat taking us out to the island from North Berwick circled around Bass Rock and the gannets were overhead as the sun broke through the clouds.  I captured this image looking straight up from the boat with part of Bass Rock in the frame.

The shot was taken on the X-Pro1 and the Fujinon XF18mm f2 lens and makes it into my 2015 Top 10 because of the dramatic lighting highlighting the spectacle of thousands of seabirds circling overhead.

After this shot was taken the boat took us out to the Isle of May.  The camera fell out of my jacket pocket as I got off the boat into six foot of sea water.  The harbour master fished the camera out for me but the camera and lens were both dead.  I managed to recover the images and videos from the card.  The camera and lens were replaced by my insurance company.

This image is my favourite shot of the thousands of images I have tak…

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No2 The Scottish Parliament Building

The Scottish Parliament Building is situated next to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh and is one of those modern structures that divides opinions.  Personally I like it, it is very striking and makes a bold statement about Scotland as a nation.

I had a couple of hours to kill on a trip to Edinburgh earlier this year so I went for a walk around Holyrood armed only with my Fujifilm X100 - the original X-Series camera.  Once again the weather was very changeable and I found myself dodgy rain showers, but when the clouds cleared the light on the building was wonderful.

This shot was taken at the back of the Parliament as the sunlight hit the strangely shaped windows.  I decided to tilt the camera up and on an angle because the abstract shape of the building suited this type of composition.  The image was converted to monochrome in post production with NIK Silver Efex Pro2 software.

This image made it into my 2015 Top 10 because of the subject but also to prove that the original 12MP X-Series cam…

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No3 Life Boat

One of the high lights of 2015 for me was the invitation to take a trip out on the Dunbar lifeboat.  I have a great admiration for the men and women who risk their lives for others who get into trouble in and around the coast of the UK.  They are all volunteers and the job that they do is fantastic.

I joined Gary Fairbairn, the Coxswain of the RNLB John Neville Taylor , and the rest of the crew for a trip out around Bass Rock and back to the lifeboat mooring at Torness.

Seeing how the crew works up close was a privilege and I am proud to support the work of the RNLI.

This shot of the John Neville Taylor was taken at the Dunbar Lifeboat day in the summer and is framed by the walls of Dunbar Castle at the approach to the harbour entrance.

Happy memories and an experience I hope I will be invited to repeat at some point.

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Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No4 Evening at Seacliffe

This shot was taken at Seacliffe, which is along the coast between Dunbar and North Berwick and has spectacular views out into the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock.  The beach is a present of beautiful golden sand which is flanked on each side by cliffs and rocks.

This shot was taken during the summer on a warm, sunny day just as the sun was setting to my left.  Using the Fujifilm X-T1 and XF10-24mm f4 I took a long exposure of the scene out towards Bass Rock.

This shot makes it into my Top 10 because, for me, it sums up the beauty of the East Lothian coast and the reason why we have chosen to make our home here.

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100 X Photographers Exhibition

2016 will be a special year for Fujifilm as the Japanese camera manufacturer celebrates the 5th anniversary of the launch of the X Series, which began with the X100 and has led to Fujifilm becoming the leader in the Compact System Camera sector with cameras such as the X-T1, X-E2, X-Pro1 and extensive range of Fujinon lenses.
In January there will be an exhibition of 100 images in Fujifilm HQ in Tokyo and one of my images has been chosen to join 99 others by photographers from all around the world.  The UK has the largest representation with 11 of the 100 photographers.
Starting on the 16 January exhibition will be open to the public and there will be daily talks by photographers and members of the Fujifilm team that developed the X-Series.
For more details go the Fujifilm website page -

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No5 Eau Rouge

Eau Rouge is probably the most famous corner on any race circuit in the world.  The run down from the first corner at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamp circuit means that race cars are flat out as they travel through Eau Rouge and then face the steep climb up through the right and left at Raidillon in the distance.  The combination of Eau Rouge and Raidillon is the stuff of motorsport legend, where the greats have won and lost races on the 7km circuit through the Ardennes Forest.

The climb is very steep and it is very difficult to convey this in a photograph.  I used the Fujifilm X-T1 and the XF10-24mm f4 at 10mm.  Placing the camera on the group I framed the shot with the painted kerbs and the white line as a lead in to the image and the track just trails off into the distance.  By getting down low I have managed to show some of the steep climb that the drivers face.

The final stroke of luck was the light and the clouds.  The sun lit the scene perfectly and by using a Lee 0.9 ND Grad filt…

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No6 The Sax Player

Street Photography is a very difficult genre to get right and I am by no means an expert at it.  I joined a Fujiholics Street Photography tour of Edinburgh with fellow X-Photographer Matt Hart to test the new Fujifilm X-T10 and the XF90mm f2 Fujinon lens.

This sax player was under one of the bridges leading to the Grassmarket in Edinburgh and the side lighting was perfect for a shot on the X-T10 and 90mm lens.  The shot was transformed into a moody mono in Silver Efex Pro2.

This shot makes into my Top 10 favourites of 2015 because of the subject and the lighting.  It also proved to me that the X-T10 is a brilliant performer and is not second best to my usual X-T1.

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Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No7 Patterns in Nature

I love searching for patterns and textures in nature and the Fujifilm X-T1's X-Trans sensor picks up the colours and textures perfectly.

In late spring the woodland around our home in Dunbar is carpeted with ferns and the pattern created by the stems folding out from the centre attracted me to take this image.  

The image was taken on the X-T1 and the Fujinon 10-24mm f4 looking straight down into the centre of the plant, that stood at around 1 metre high.  I had to make sure that my feet and legs were not in the shot!

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Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No8 Barns Ness Lighthouse

While Paris is my favourite overseas destination, no8 on my Top 10 list is closer to home and this is the Lighthouse at Barns Ness.

The iconic coastal shape of the lighthouse is universal around the world and we have plenty of examples along the East Lothian shoreline.  The lighthouse at Barns Ness is just east of Dunbar and is just 5-miles from my front door, making this very accessible for a spur of the moment shot.

This image was taken in early March at sunset and the long exposure has made the very calm sea a blank canvas.  I placed the lighthouse on its outcrop of land in the top third of the image to give it a standard 'rule of thirds' landscape composition.

The low sun has given the image a warm glow and this, coupled with the long exposure. gives a calm and peaceful feel to the composition, which is very different to the 'wild and windy' images I usual come back with from this part of the Scottish coast.

This is why I have chosen this image to be no8 on my Top 10 I…

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No9 Eiffel Tower Surprise

Anyone who is a regular visitor to this blog will know that I love photographing I Paris.  I am lucky that I travel to Paris for business several times a year and this gives me the opportunity to explore around the famous and not so famous parts of the City of Light.

The Eiffel Tower is one of my favourite places to photograph and the 1000 foot high structure dominates the skyline of Paris, in fact the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris.  I have plenty of shots of the Tower and I now try to find as many different angles as possible.

This shot was taken from the Paris office of the World Endurance Championship last February and while the Eiffel Tower is situated in a park on the bank of River Seine, this image taken using a telephoto lens, has compressed the perspective so it appears the Tower is in a densely built up area. 

Also being such a large structure I like to zoom in and parts of the Eiffel Tower but ensuring that the image is still easily recognisable for the viewer.

This shot i…

Merry Christmas

Wishing all our clients, readers and partners a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Instead of sending cards and paying for postage I have donated the money instead to the RNLI to support the brave men and women who help keep the people who venture out to sea around the UK for work or pleasure safe.
More information on the RNLI HERE

Ten Favourite Shots of 2015: No10 Rannoch Moor Sunrise

Over the next few days as 2015 draws to a close I will be posting 10 of my favourite images from the last 12 months and sharing the reasons why that particular image has made it into my top 10 of the year.

Let's start with a shot I took back in January on a very snowy Rannoch Moor.  We arrived before dawn and the snow was very deep.  Keeping one eye on the clouds and the horizon in the east I waited for the light to change as the sun appeared above the horizon.  With high winds and fast moving clouds there was no guarantee that the sun would actually appear above the horizon but with all landscape photography you need to be patient and also have a little bit of luck.

On this particular morning Lady Luck was on my side as the sun did appear and the light struck the tops of the mountains.  I had the X-Pro1 and Fujinon XF55-200mm ready and captured the fast changing scene as the light changed.  In fact the light only last 30 seconds but I had managed to capture the scene, exposing the …

The Old Bridge

While on our quick one day tour of the Highlands yesterday we headed to the old bridge on the River Lyon.  

This stone bridge is visible from the road on the opposite bank of the river but is usually obscured by the foliage on the trees that line the road.  However with it being winter we were hoping that we could get a clear shot.

While there were no leaves on the trees, the river was running very high after all the recent heavy rain and the usual place to stand on the side of the river was underwater.  So we took some shots of the bridge through the branches of the trees to give a 'hidden secret' feel to the shots.

The images were shot in black and white using the monochrome film simulation on the X-T1 and I used the XF50-140mm f2.8 to zoom in on the bridge and the falls.

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Dodging The Rain in the Highlands of Scotland

Today has been a day of highs and lows as we visited the Highlands of Scotland around Loch Rannoch.  The low was the almost constant rain that dogged us all morning and the high point was when the rain front moved away to reveal some blue skies before the next front came in driven in by the high winds sweeping Northern Britain.

This shot of a lone silver birch tree surrounded by reeds was taken late in the morning not far from Kinloch Rannoch.  The sun was low in the sky to my left as I scrambled over the boggy ground to get to the point where I could get the shot.

We had plenty of other opportunities before sunset at 15:30 and will be posting more images when I can.

This image of the lone tree was taken on the Fujifilm X-T1 and the Fujinon 10-24mm f4.

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