Full English Breakfasts, November 2014

Category: News 11 November 2014

Dunkerry Beacon from Porlock Hill, Exmoor National Park, Somerset, England. A 9 frame panorama; Canon 5D mkIII, 24-70mm lens @ 45mm, 1/13 sec @ f18, polariser.

It always happens. After a pre-dawn rise followed by several hours spent loitering on lofty, breezy hill tops the conversation inevitably shifts from the light, lenses and filters to bacon, sausages and eggs. OK, I'll admit I'm usually the instigator in this, but it's an undeniable fact that on most dawn patrols the choice between fried, poached or scrambled becomes a weighty decision that needs to be discussed earnestly. On our first morning we'd stood in the rain on Bossington Hill waiting for Exmoor to reveal itself. As we eventually trudged back to the car, sodden, craving a coffee and ravenous I predictably brought up the ever popular topic, speculating this time on the possibility of that guilty pleasure; fried bread. Roger the GP, one of two in our small Workshop group, disapprovingly informed us all that such breakfasts are very bad for us. Thanks Roger. I declined to mention as we trudged soggily back to the car that I reckon to consume some 50+ such repasts a year. There is you see an inextricable link between photographic productivity and cooked breakfasts; every photographer knows that. We'd been out since dark o'clock and still had another hour ahead getting all arty with the autumnal splendour nestled in Happy Valley before heading back for breakfast. The prospect of a bowl of muesli just didn't quite lift our dampened spirits as the smell of bacon would.

Autumn colours in Badgworthy Wood, Doone Valley, Exmoor National Park, Somerset, England. Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm lens at 145mm, 30 secs at f22, polariser & 0.6 ND filter

On the final morning of the course Roger is tucking into his third straight Full English Breakfast, complete with fried bread and black pudding, and it must be said, looking particularly well on it. David, sat opposite, is struggling but will not be defeated by his fourth successive FEB, whilst I, pacing myself with the prospect of the Jurassic Coast Workshop imminent, am trying to look smug with my breakfast risotto and fruit, but secretly wishing I'd followed my instincts and gone for the Cardiac Special too.

For the last three days we've certainly earned our bacon; on the moor and in the valleys, stood beside the tripod waiting; for the light of course, but also for branches to blow, ponies to look up or, more likely, for it just to stop raining. Every time we extended our tripod legs it seemed to start pouring yet again. Our camera bags are by now a soggy, damp mess, as is the interior of my Land Rover, and the weather sealing of our gear, both photographic and clothing, has been well and truly tested, but no one is complaining; in fact we're exultant, because it’s been real Photographer's Weather. The regular dousings were inevitably followed by five minutes of the most exquisite low, slanting crystal clear light bathing the sparkling landscape in its fall colours beneath dramatic skies of towering clouds and rainbows. It's been a long weekend of light to die for, with breakfasts to match. Don't you just love autumn?

The Source du Lison, Massif du Jura, Doubs, Franche-Comté, France. Canon 5D mkIII, 24mm TS-E lens, 2.5 secs at f16, polariser & 0.9 ND filter.

Autumn is possibly the best season for we landscape photographers, as my Stepping Back feature in this month's Chasing the Light Online Magazine reflects on. I've had a good one this year. An impromptu decision to head for the limestone gorges of the Jura in Franche-Comté in late October paid off. There in the wooded valleys of the Loue and Lison I whiled away long hours totally engrossed in the photographic potential of one small area, often not moving more than a few hundred metres all day, totally captivated, and loving it. Such opportunities for uninterrupted photographic indulgence are a treat to be savoured; I’m so glad I just ignored life’s clutter and went for it.

The spontaneous impulse to load up the car and head for the Jura was prompted by an off the cuff Facebook post by French photographer Nicolas Logerot. Thanks for the tip Nicolas; I suppose it illustrates that while most of us have misgivings about the phenomenon that is Social Media used well it can come in handy. You can join our photo-banter either on Facebook or Twitter.

Lods in the Vallée de la Loue at dawn, Massif du Jura, Doubs, Franche-Comté, France. Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm lens @ 135mm, 1/30 sec @ f11.

Speaking of Facebook I mentioned the C word in a post last week and got a right ticking off. Still too early with just over a month to go I guess. I will however just mention that if any of you are planning on buying a present for any reason there are my books, such as The Vision and films such as Photography in the RAW, or slightly less stocking stretching but unbeatable value a Gift Token to redeem against a year's subscription to our Chasing the Light Online Magazine, which we publish monthly for our f11 Members Not sure what it's all about? There's a video you can watch to explain it all and show you just what you or your loved one are missing if you're not yet an f11 Member.



Exmoor at dawn from Winsford Hill, Exmoor National Park, Somerset, England. Canon 5D mkIII, 70-200mm lens at 200mm, 3.2 secs at f11 M

This month’s edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine (insert link) once again takes you around the world with photography, features and videos to inspire and inform. My Behind the Lens and Video Blogs report from under the stars in California’s Sequoia National Park, with an accompanying Fundamentals of Post Production Video Tutorial. Our stable of highly talented professional photographic columnists have been roving the globe too; James Maher ventures into New York’s Central Park at night, Chris Weston is up to his neck in the Zambezi River with bathing elephants and Ross Hoddinott is scrabbling around in the woods shooting mushrooms, while our Guest Feature this month highlights Benjamin Park’s unique portraits from the streets of Tokyo. There are also your images in the Member’s Gallery, my 10 Commandments of Editing a photo-shoot and ruminations on the strange world of photographic competitions in The Bizz. Speaking of competitions the deadline for entries to the f11 Member’s Your Vision Competition (insert link) is fast approaching; you have until midnight on December 31st. If you win a day with me I can promise a full English breakfast will be involved.

An image from this month’s edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine: the Milky Way over the Sierra Nevada from Hanging Rock, Sequoia National Park, California, USA. Canon 1Dx, 14mm lens, 20 secs at f4, ISO 12800

I’m now loading up again, this time for our Jurassic Coast Workshop. Doubtless my Full English Breakfast quota will be topped up again. We’ll be announcing our Workshop Schedule for 2015 in the next few weeks, and you will be the first to know, here, on the website and on social media. Until then….

Keep exposing.



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