Soaring High

Category: Newsletters 14 March 2017

An Andean Condor soaring high over the mountains near Tupungato, Mendoza Province, Argentina. Canon 5DS R, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II lens @ 263mm, 1/125 sec @ f11.

Take a second look at the image above. Do you see it bottom-right? It's an Andean Condor, soaring high over the Andes, tiny in the frame. Once spotted those few dark pixels in the form of the iconic South American bird of prey are enough to lift the image from a pleasing capture of dramatic light over the mountains to one with far more resonance. Well, that's what I reckon, anyway. A stroke of luck? Of course, luck plays a part in most shoots, but then again you do have to be there in the first place ready to greet Lady Luck when she does come along. The truth is I remember spotting the bird and pressing the shutter instinctively, but then getting on with making the most of the dramatic light, forgetting that particular decisive moment until I came to edit the RAWs back in Milborne Port a month later. Flicking through the multiple frames in Lightroom at the end of a long day peering at a glowing monitor it would have been so easy to have missed the Condor capture; another lesson learnt.

Since our return from Buenos Aires I have not exactly been soaring high, but chained in front of the computer more or less every day immersed in Lightroom, Photoshop or Premiere Pro. Chasing the light around Argentina for the best part of a month is all well and good, especially in the dark days of our northern winter, but there's a price to pay. It's an inescapable fact for us photographers that for every hour spent behind the lens the same needs to be spent back in the digital darkroom, editing the results. That transition from treading boldly on the far side of the world to pale-faced geek does not come easy.

The Andes from the vineyards of the Uco Valley near Tupungato, Mendoza Province, Argentina. Canon 5DS R, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II lens @ 100mm, 1/30 sec @ f11, polarising filter.

It was ever thus. Wading through hundreds of rolls of processed film, laboriously cutting, mounting and affixing captions to transparencies was an intimidating, time-consuming job of work back in the '80s and '90s, one I don't miss. But of course there was and is much pleasure to be had in seeing the fruits of our labours come to fruition, especially now as a big beautiful print of a soaring Condor emerges with the click of a mouse; it's the final consummation. But not the end of the work, not by a long chalk. Now, on top of all the image editing and post-production, I've the videos to produce.

In this month's edition (Issue 62) of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine for example you will find alongside the Behind the Lens and How it's Done features from South America the accompanying Video Blog, plus the usual two Post-Production Video Tutorials. Putting those together, bringing in the images, footage, sound, graphics and music and editing it all into a watchable short film is a hugely creative and rewarding process, but I do have to set aside 3 days of intensive concentration hunched in front of the screen to get them knocked into shape. Still, it has to be done, as the videos have become a hugely important part of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine, not to mention tonight's Roadshow in Winchester. And as for the investment of time I'm always short of, there's only one response; quality over quantity, every time.

This month's Video Blog is from Argentina's Quebrada de Humahuaca.

There's quality aplenty on offer in the March Edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine. From our regular f11 columnists Ross Hoddinott contemplates losing weight, Bas Meelker is shooting Amsterdam and Ben Pipe reports from Kazakhstan. Meanwhile we've an icily outstanding Guest Feature by polar specialist Hilde Foss, plus as usual your images with constructive appraisal from myself in the f11 Member's Gallery.

In addition to my offerings from South America there's my Stepping Back; Rooms With a View feature ruminating on some of the more notable places we've bedded down over the years from tents and hovels to embarrassing luxury.

An image from the Stepping Back feature in this month's Chasing the Light Online Magazine: a detail of huaso's saddlery, Chile.

Speaking of your images the judging of the f11 Member's Your Vision 2017 Competition is underway right now; the winners will be announced this coming weekend at The Photography Show. I'll be at TPS March 18-21, showing my recent work on the Páramo stand each day at 12:00 before presenting The Fundamentals of Post-Production in The Adobe Theatre at 14:45, again every day. In addition, there will be a gallery of my prints on the Fine Art Foto Stand. See you there?

We've had a flurry of bookings already for the Yorkshire Dales, Capture to Print and Franche-Comte Photo-Explorer Adventures we announced last month, but for now spaces are still available. Join us for a long weekend of photographic excursions and tuition in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales on our special Capture to Print Landscape Photography Workshop based at the incomparably situated High Trenhouse near Malham in September 8-11, or in the Franche-Comte region of eastern France, October 20-23, 2017. We'll be exploring this beautifully rural yet little visited region of rolling fields, wooded valleys, deep limestone gorges, waterfalls, chateaux, vineyards, villages and the mountains of Haut Jura just when the fall colours should be at their prime.




Join us in beautiful Franche-Comte this autumn for a Photo-Explorer Adventure.

Also in our News this month we welcome onboard the new Chasing the Light Online Magazine Editor; Ian Farrell. As one time Editor of Professional Photographer and an experienced photography journalist, Ian brings a wealth of knowledge to our whole f11 Project. To accompany Ian's arrival coming soon will be a whole new dedicated website just for the new look Online Magazine; watch this space.



Over five years on, the Online Magazine we publish exclusively for our f11 Members is soaring high. If you're not yet an f11 Member it's surely now time to come on-board. The annual subscription, unchanged at just £39 a year, represents astonishing value; f11 Members have access to all 62 and counting back issues, plus free e-books. If you're still not convinced you can peruse a whole f11 sample magazine and watch a video explaining what it's all about.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge, Bristol, England. Canon 5DS R, 24mm TS-E lens.

The other day, just to remind myself I'm still a photographer, I went and shot the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Exposing pixels overlooking the Avon Gorge in gorgeous late afternoon light was a blessed release, and a nostalgic one; it was there in Bristol that I went pro way back in '85. 32 years ago, I must be getting old, but some things don't change; the thrill of the chase and the pleasure of the capture still sets my spirits soaring high. It's what we do, and who we are, isn't it?

Now it's time to prepare for my shows at The Photography Show, which inevitably means more video editing before hitting the road north, but like video editing it has its rewards. Beyond that; more travel, more adventure, more dawn patrols, and inevitably, more editing. See you there!

The road to the NEC (via the Quebrada de las Conches, northern Argentina). Canon 5DS R, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II lens.

Keep exposing...

Photo: Alice Hatcher
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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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