Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Low Down at Spa


I carried out a track inspection this morning looking at the new Red Zones (restricted areas for photographer access) that have been installed ahead of this weekend's World Endurance Championship race at Spa-Francorchamps.

While I was there I took the opportunity to grab some moody low level shots of the track and the kerbs using the X-T1 and the 10-24mm f4 Fujinon.  With the sun poking through the cloudy sky I used a Lee 0.9ND soft grad filter to balance the exposure.

Here are some of the shots from around the 7km circuit at Spa-Francorchamps.





Monday, 27 April 2015

Bluebells


During our walk along the John Muir Way near East Linton yesterday we came across a small patch of bluebells growing alongside the path.  The overhanging trees created pools of sunlight amongst the flowers which provided some great contrasty light with which to shoot.

Using the X-T1 and the 56mm f1.2 lens I took these three images of the bluebells.  Selecting a wide aperture of f4 I was able to throw the background out of focus while the flower I was concentrating on was perfectly sharp.




Sunday, 26 April 2015

John Muir Way - East Linton


This afternoon we decided to go for walk in the sunshine along the John Muir Way near East Linton.  The John Muir Way stretched from Dunbar all the way to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland, 134 miles / 215km in total and was opened to celebrate the founding father of the national parks in the USA who was born in Dunbar.  John Muir was an explorer, mountaineer, conservationist, botanist, amateur geologist and writer of distinction. 


The John Muir Way near East Linton runs alongside the River Tyne and Preston Mill, which is a National Trust for Scotland property.  Preston Mill, with its distinctive Dutch style conical-roof, was East Lothian’s last working water mill.



The 2.5 mile stretch of the John Muir way crosses the river at three times, with two fords in the river for farm traffic.  The crossings allow walkers to take in the river and the scenery as it meanders its way through the East Lothian countryside on its way to the sea at Belhaven, just a few miles away.







As spring is well underway there are plenty of wild flowers and plants growing along the riverbank and the path way. The trees are also starting to be covered in leaves, giving the area a very springlike feel in the sun as we walked along.





Walking back towards East Linton to pick up the car the rain clouds started to gather, producing some dramatic light over the town and over the near by Traprain Law.




CLICK HERE for more information on the John Muir Way

CLICK HERE for more information on Preston Mill

Images taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 and either a Fujinon XF10-24mm f4R OIS or Fujinon XF56mm f1.2R


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Saturday, 25 April 2015

VIDEO: Long Exposure Landscapes Workshop Promo



The third promotional video for the MacLean Photographic workshops has been completed and uploaded to YouTube.

This video is for the Long Exposure Landscapes workshops and features some of the long exposure landscapes that have been captured in and around East Lothian.



INTRODUCTION

The use of Neutral Density filters to lengthen the shutter speed used to blur water and clouds has been one of the most useful and creative steps forward for landscape photography in recent years.  However it takes more than just fitting a ‘Big Stopper’ to a wide angle lens to create a photographic masterpiece.  In this workshop we will show you how to get a great shot using the long exposure technique for landscape photography. 


DATES FOR WORKSHOP
The following dates are available for this workshop

  • Thursday 21 May 2015
  • Saturday 27 June 2015
  • Wednesday 15 July 2015
However if don’t see your preferred date listed please contact us to see if we are able to conduct this workshop on the date that suits you.

CLICK HERE for more information on this workshop


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Friday, 24 April 2015

Beaches and Castles Workshop Promo Video


Here is the second of the three promotional videos that are being unveiled to advertise the three MacLean Photographic workshops.  Yesterday we unveiled the 'Woodland Exploration' video and today we present the 'Beaches and Castles' video, which was produced using Apple iMovies.


INTRODUCTION 
A one day tour showing our guests some of the best locations in East Lothian for wonderful beaches and fantastic historical buildings.  With its location close to the English border, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders has many examples of 13th and 14th century fortresses that stood guard against English incursions.We will take our guests to one inland castle, one clifftop fortress and one of the several beautiful sandy beaches on this stretch of Scotland’s coastline.  The itinerary depends on the tides on the day the tour is run.  Guests will also be given a choice of the venues we can visit.
DATES FOR THIS WORKSHOP
The following dates are available for this workshop. 

  • Saturday 23 May 2015
  • Saturday 20 June 2015
  • Saturday 18 July 2015
CLICK HERE for more information on this workshop and booking information.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Woodland Exploration Workshop Video Unveiled


A few days ago we unveiled the dates for three photographic workshops we will be running this spring and summer.  The first of these workshops is called 'Woodland Exploration' and the dates will be 9 May, 1 July and 4 July.

To help promote the Woodland Exploration Workshop we have produced a short 2 minute video using some of the many images we have taken over the past two years here in East Lothian. 


For more information on the Woodland Exploration Workshop CLICK HERE.  You can also book a workshop through the website and readers of this blog will receive a 10% discount on any booking in 2015.  Simply quote BLOG10 when you book.

We are now working on the second video for the Beaches and Castles Workshop and hope to post it this weekend.

We hope you enjoy the video.



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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Starry Night



With the forecast for the Northern Lights over southern Scotland looking promising and with clear skies I decided to walk out to Belhaven Bay to see if I could capture this amazing light show.  However lady luck wasn't with me and the Aurora didn't appear.

But my efforts weren't a complete 'bust' as the starfield above Belhaven Bay was amazing and so I set the XT1 on the tripod and set about capturing the scene.

Photographing at night is a challenge in itself, especially with an electronic view finder (EVF) as everything is dark.  I did heed my own advice and took a torch with me to check the settings and to focus I set it to manual and infinity on the 10-24mm.



The other issue is the movement of the earth. Anything above 20 seconds and the stars will blur.  So to capture the stars the ISO had to be set to 3200 and the exposure around 20s @ f4.

For the 'star trails' I dropped the ISO back to 200 and the aperture to f11 to give me an exposure time of 32 minutes.  This gave me the movement in the stars.  



Battery Life Issue on the X-T1
However this long exposures highlighted, once again, the major issue with the operation of the batteries in the X-T1 vertical grip.  

The batteries in both the camera and the vertical grip were showing fully charged before I pressed the remote release to begin the 32 minute exposure for the star trails picture.  Despite this, at 22 minutes into the 32 minute exposure the battery in the grip went red and then died, causing the camera to shut off, even though the battery in the camera was fully charged.  This is not the first time this has happened to me while using the X-T1 - it happened while videoing a press conference at Silverstone 10 days ago.  

It is VERY annoying and something that Fujifilm needs to address in future updates or camera evolution.  Battery life has always been a problem with the X-Series cameras, I carry plenty of spares and with normal exposures it isn't a problem - but for long exposures it is. Surely Fuji can devise a system that allows a seamless switch over of power between the two batteries to stop the camera switching off mid exposure or mid recording?

Luckily the camera had recorded enough detail in the stars for me to use the shot. I was cold and tired by this time and the thought of standing around for another 32 minutes didn't fill me with joy.  Luckily I had the shot, so I packed up and walked home.  Maybe next time and I will remember to put a fully charged battery in the grip before I start a very long exposure shot in future.


Images taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 with a 10-24mm f4 lens


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Crazy Paving at Skateraw



The geology in this part of Scotland is amazing and very diverse, a very visual reminder of the volcanic past of East Lothian.  The beach at Skateraw looking west along the coast to Barns Ness is one of my favourite areas to captures the different types of rocks.

Near the shoreline is a slab of rock that looks like crazy paving and even has seaweed growing in the cracks, much like our path at home but substitute grass for the seaweed.

Now I am not a geologist, I don't know what type of rocks these are or what caused the formation but as a photographer I like the shapes and the textures. So this evening, as the sun was setting in the west, I headed out to Skateraw to take some shots as the tide receded.






Monday, 20 April 2015

Parliament Cairn - Calton Hill




On Calton Hill in Edinburgh is a cairn with a beacon on top with plaques giving details and the significance of the various stones used in its construction.  The cairn was built to commemorate the vigil for a Scottish Parliament held at the foot of Calton Hill, and celebrating the “yes, yes” vote in favour of a Parliament on September 11th 1997.

After the vote in favour of a Scottish Parliament in a referendum, the Scottish National Party members who had spent 1980 days from 10th April 1992  in a “vigil for a Scottish Parliament” at the foot of the hill wanted a permanent reminder of the event. 


Although roughly built, a cairn is a potent symbol and this one celebrates events of national  and social importance. Attached are various plaques, with a quote from a poem by Hugh McDiarmid, and small plaques recognizing our connections with people, places and events, emphasising Scottish identity and wider struggles for democratic representation. 


A small plaque commemorates Jane Haining, a Scottish teacher who died at Auschwitz; another marks a stone from near the cottage of Robert Burns in Ayrshire, whilst a small “paving stone for democracy” from Paris in 1968 commemorates the student revolutionaries who fought for more democratic rights.


This cairn is situated down the hill from the Nelson Monument and visitors to Calton Hill tended to gather at the National Monument looking at the view over Edinburgh or watching the sunset to the west.  This gave me the opportunity to read the plaques and to imagine the thoughts of the Scots who, after 300 years, finally had a parliament in Scotland once again.  

As an Englishman living in Scotland (with a proud Scottish heritage) I am an advocate of the Union and voted as such in last year's referendum.  But I am also in favour of more powers for Scotland and Scots having more say over how money is raised and spent in this country and this cairn symbolises that.  

What extra powers Scotland will get in 2016 after the next General Election in three weeks time has still to be announced.  But for Scotland the change will be profound as more powers will be coming to Holyrood. 

In my opinion this will make the 2016 elections for the Scottish Parliament more important than the election for Westminster on May 7th because if income tax powers are devolved - and Education, Health, Police, Roads etc are already decided in Edinburgh - then the only thing that Westminster will decide is foreign policy and defence.  For people living north of the border, the Edinburgh parliament will decide on the things that affect us on a day to day basis, making Scotland an independent country in all but name.







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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Saturday, 18 April 2015

New Workshop Dates Release for this Spring / Summer


New Photographic Workshop dates in and around Dunbar now available with a choice of three workshops to choose from.  Each workshop costs £150 for a full day.  With a maximum of just three photographers on each date you will be assured of maximum amount of attention.  One to one workshops are also available on request for an extra £75.

Beaches and Castles

A one day tour showing our guests some of the best locations in East Lothian for wonderful beaches and fantastic historical building.  With its location close to the English border, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders has many examples of 13th and 14th century fortresses that stood guard against English incursions.We will take our guests to one inland castle, one clifftop fortress and one of the several beautiful sandy beaches on this stretch of Scotland’s coastline.  The itinerary depends on the tides on the day the tour is run.  Guests will also be given a choice of the venues we can visit
  • Saturday 23 May 2015
  • Saturday 20 June 2015
  • Saturday 18 July 2015
CLICK HERE for more details and to book this workshop


Woodland Exploration


As well as stunning beaches and historic sites, East Lothian boasts some of best natural woodland in the United Kingdom with many British species flourishing amongst the rolling hills and glens of Eastern Scotland.
One of the best, and most diverse, woodland areas is at Tyninghame which is close to the estuary of the River Tyne. This ancient woodland covers a large area and features many different trees, plants and wildlife that provides so many opportunities for photographers of all levels.
This tour will show you some of the best areas to photograph and also provide guidance on how to shoot in different light amongst the trees and foliage.
  • Saturday 9 May 2015
  • Wednesday 1 July 2015
  • Saturday 4 July 2015

CLICK HERE for more details and to book this workshop

Long Exposure Landscapes


The use of Neutral Density filters to lengthen the shutter speed used to blur water and clouds has been one of the most useful and creative steps forward for landscape photography in recent years.  However it takes more than just fitting a ‘Big Stopper’ to a wide angle lens to create a photographic masterpiece.

In this workshop we will show you how to get a great shot using the long exposure technique for landscape photography. 
  • Thursday 21 May 2015
  • Saturday 27 June 2015
  • Wednesday 15 July 2015

CLICK HERE for more details and to book this workshop


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By clicking on the adverts you are helping support this blog - thank you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Peaceful Evening at Seacliffe


Last week at the first race of the 2015 season at Silverstone was a bit 'full on' but this was to be expected as I have worked in motorsport for many years and every year it is the same.  Now we have the first race of the year under our belt then the rest should be a bit easier.  

Since I got back to Dunbar on Monday I have been working on the post race information and also preparing for the next race in Belgium on the 2nd May.  So yesterday evening, with the sun shining, I downed tools and grabbed the camera bag for a much needed walk on the beach at Seacliffe.




The evening light was wonderful with the low sun behind Tantallon Castle throwing deep shadows mixed in with golden light hitting Bass Rock just off the coast in the Firth of Forth.

I set the X-T1 to take long exposure images as the sun slowly set to my left and while I waited I just sat taking in the view and watching the Gannets fish in the sea.  Sometimes you have to just slow down and appreciate what you have and this was one of those moments.  

We are very lucky to live in this part of the world as Scotland has some of the finest scenery anywhere. It is certainly a nice counterpoint to the 'full on' life we lead in motorsport and I can recharge my batteries before the next trip to Belgium in 12 days time.








All images taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 or X-Pro1 with a 10-24mm f4 or 18mm f2 or 35mm f1.4 or 55-200mm f3.5/f4.8


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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

MacLean Photographic run Tours and Workshops in East Lothian and the Borders of Scotland.  CLICK HERE for more details and availability

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'