August 2013 - Widening Horizons

Category: Newsletters 05 August 2013

Widening Horizons

Wild ponies on Exmoor, Somerset, England.
Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm f2.8 IS L II lens @ 145mm, 1/250sec @ f8, ISO 200.

While the rest of the country basked Exmoor is swaddled under a blanket of… cloud or sea mist? I can’t tell. So be it. Inland over the horizon the hot hazy conditions brought by the Azores High Pressure System parked over the British Isles predominate; great for barbecues, not so for landscape photography. Here under the cloud at least my sky has some mood, and the absence of haze means I can see the distant horizon of Bossington Hill and the Bristol Channel beyond my chosen twisted tree. I watch and wait, willing the mare and foal to walk into my frame. They could of course choose to go in any direction, but I’m betting they’ll opt for joining their palls on the other side of the tree. Will they, won’t they? Eventually the pair obliges and the shutter clicks. The drug of exposure courses through my veins.

My first job for the National Trust was here on Exmoor, way back in 1986. We’ve been returning ever since to this moody, evocative region incorporating sweeping moorland, deep wooded valleys, thatched cottages, babbling streams, secluded bays, picturesque villages and plunging cliffs. It’s not an easy landscape to photograph, but’s that’s the challenge. This summer I’ve well and truly got the Exmoor bug, so much so that we’ve decided to run a new type of Photography Trip enabling you to join us here this autumn.

Dunkery Beacon & Bagley, Exmoor, Somerset.
Canon 1Ds mkII converted for infrared, 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens @ 33mm, 1/320 sec @ f8.

We’re now offering three different types of Photography Courses; Photo Explorer Adventures and Bespoke One to One or Small Group Tuition. Our Workshops for groups of up to 10 are for those who want to improve their photography on a structured course comprising location shoots mixed with tutorials, demonstrations, tuition and briefings both in the field and in the lecture room. I and my highly experienced fellow professional Jon Gooding form the Tutoring Team.

Our next Jurassic Coast Capture to Print Digital Workflow Special on November 14-17th is one such course, designed to take our guests through the complete experience from exposing on the cliff tops at dawn to walking away after 3 full days of photography and workflow tuition clutching a big beautiful shiny print of their very own masterpiece. We have just one place left on this popular Course.

March '13 Jurassic Coast Workshop Gang.


Tarr Steps, a medieval clapper bridge across the River Barle in Exmoor National Park, Somerset.
Canon 5D mkIII, 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens @ 63mm, 1/320 sec @ f8.

The Exmoor Course  will be the first of our all new Photo Explorer Adventures. These Courses do pretty much what it says on the tin; they’re designed for those who want to join me whilst exploring the full photographic potential of an enticing region. The framework of these courses mirrors how I work on my own photography trips. Dawn and dusk patrols, photo-shoots and location searching will fill the day, interspersed with the inevitable banter and informal interaction. Our maximum of 5 guests will receive just as much input and guidance from me as on the Workshops, but in a small group in-the field environment. These Photo Explorer Adventures are orientated to the needs of guests confident in their basic skills and techniques who would like to indulge their photographic passion with like-minded people. We’ve big plans to span the globe with our Photo-Explorer Adventures; watch this space. 

Finally the Bespoke One to One or Small Group Tuition option is for anyone from complete beginners through to aspiring professionals or keen enthusiasts who would like a program tailored completely to their needs. It’s an opportunity to have your photography, field craft and post production skills honed and constructively appraised to help you develop your craft over the course of a day or longer. Let us know your needs and we’ll come up with a plan; [email protected] .

Along with hanging around on the Moor waiting for the ponies I’ve several steep learning curves to conquer this summer; if the truth be known I’m scared. At least the ascent of the first; video editing, has been commenced. This month’s Issue of the Chasing the Light eZine features Part One of my Utah Video Blog; Red Rock Blues. It’s the first I’ve edited myself, and for a few days of exasperating hair pulling frustration while grappling with the daunting and unfamiliar Adobe Premiere Pro software I wondered why I’d made such a rod for my own back. Eventually it came together, and, whisper it, I actually enjoyed the creativity of it all. Let’s face it I’ll never be a Spielberg but the ability to produce multi-media content for our f11 Members and the Road Show is exciting. I may have been in this game far too long but it’s refreshing to still be widening the horizons.

Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, England.
An image from this month’s eZine feature “Wide Boys”.
Canon 1Dx, 8-15mm f/4L fisheye @ 8mm, 1/30 sec @ f8, ISO 1600.

Speaking of wide horizons I’ve been having fun with an 8-15mm fisheye zoom whilst doing a feature on extreme wide-angle lenses, also for the eZine. It does give a somewhat unusual view of the world. For a full roundup of what’s in this month’s Issue here’s Editor Freya Dangerfield:

In his Seeing the Light series, this month David considers the different and fun opportunities of shooting infrared, and his Field Trial presents Part 1 of an exploration into the creative potential of using super wide-angle lenses. How It’s Done re-visits a shoot David completed for Royal Mail of the Roman Baths in Bath and the various challenges this presented.

From Behind the Lens in this month’s eZine; shooting the Canon Job in Patagonia. Photo: Robbie Black

In Behind the Lens, David shares Part 2 of his diary recording his recent advertising job for Canon in Patagonia. And for Stepping Back he recalls a trip to Ireland, shooting the Round Tower at Glendalough with a pack of Celtic photographers. This month we have two videos for you; the Fundamentals of Post Production Video Tutorial slots in alongside the Seeing the Light feature as David takes us through the processing of an infra-red image; whilst his latest Video Blog takes us to Utah for the first part of Red Rock Blues.


For our Guest Feature we’re delighted to welcome Lucie Debelkova to our team of illustrious writers, as she describes her photo passion for the Middle East, and the perks and pitfalls of being a female photographer living in that region. In addition we have the Member’s Gallery, with constructive comments from David on member’s work.

Marine Iguanas & crab; the Galapagos. An image from this month’s f11 Member’s Gallery by Bruce Alexander from California. F11 Members can submit images monthly for inclusion in the Gallery with constructive appraisal from myself.

The second steep learning curve that lies immediately ahead involves the Chasing the Light Road Show. We Crew are currently immersing ourselves deeper and deeper in the world of multi-media because this autumn we kick off a series of events presenting an all new Road Show to the Society of Danish Photographers in Aalborg on Oct 12th. That will be followed by a show in Chester jointly hosted by the Chester Photographic Society and Mold Camera Club on November 7th and a series of seminars on travel photography at the PhotoLive Event organised by Future Publishing in London over the weekend of October 26/27th. You can check out the complete program for that event here, and quote code "SC15" to obtain a 15% discount on all ticket prices.

Sunrise nr Luccombe, Exmoor National Park, Somerset.

Building a new Road Show is another daunting job of work, but satisfying. I’ve always enjoyed marrying up photography with music, graphics and moving images. It takes me back to my student days piecing together complex audio visual programs using the clunky multi projector steam age technology of the day. Now we’re using techniques we couldn’t even have dreamed of then, but there’s a lot of software to navigate our way around. My sanity is a vague memory.


I hope all of you who have downloaded the new Composition Tutorials eBook are enjoying it. It’s available as a pdf download (free to f11 members) or from the iTunes Bookshop.

So maybe we’ll see you in Denmark, Chester, Hammersmith, on the Jurassic Coast or on Exmoor. Before that Wendy and I have an adventure in the Yukon looming. Now that should be a place for exploring wide horizons.

Keep exposing.

The road to Cloutsham, Stoke Pero Common, Exmoor, Somerset.
Canon 1Ds mkII converted for infrared, 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens @ 61mm, 1/125 sec @ f9.


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Every month we publish an issue of our unique magazine Chasing the Light exclusively for f11 members. With features from behind the lens and on the road with David Noton it combines stunning photography with David's unique style of writing. Technical features, humorous anecdotes, travel notes, a member's gallery, news and the stories behind the pictures make it an entertaining, informative and inspirational monthly read and information resource for all who love photography and travel. All this for less than the price of a coffee and a biscuit a month. F11 members can also download other exclusive content such as Despatches+ and video blogs for free as they become available.

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