Alex Sharp Travel Photography: Blog http://www.alexsharp.com/blog en-us Alex Sharp (Alex Sharp Travel Photography) Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:26:00 GMT Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:26:00 GMT http://www.alexsharp.com/img/s/v-5/u966985373-o1030849764-50.jpg Alex Sharp Travel Photography: Blog http://www.alexsharp.com/blog 120 80 Gift Ideas for the Photographer in your Life http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/gift-ideas-for-the-photographer-in-your-life People often ask me what they can buy a camera crazy person in their life that wont cost the earth :-)

There are lots of smaller gifts you can buy that will be of great value to a photographer and that only cost a few pounds.

If they don't have a tripod and want to start trying night photography, you can get a reasonable tripod from Ebay or amazon or the like for not a huge amount of money, they start at just £7.95, but I've seen some on there for around £23 and they look quite a bit more substantial and would make a great gift for the photographer in your life.

Next on the list would have to be some really much cheaper products - things such as lens cloths, having a few of these handy is always great, plus a really sneaky gift that will impress the photographer in your life is a UV filter for their lenses. If you have a look at their DSLR when they're not around, have a look to see if they have a UV filter, these come in handy for several reasons, but the main one is, having one of these screwed onto the front of your lens means if you knock your lens against anything it is the filter that gets scratched and not their lens. To make sure you get the right size filter for their camera-  take their lens cap off the camera and you will see a size in mm - it might say anything really - 49mm, 52mm, 67mm but then you can buy the correct size filter for their lens :-) you can also buy these on Ebay and Amazon and all good photo shops at a variety of prices, but they start from around £5.00.

You could also check to see if they have a polarizer filter too :-)  you can buy these online too, once again check the filter size on the front of the lens you want to buy it for and they start at the same price as UV filters.

There is of course also my new book - 12 months of Photography Ideas and Projects that you can find in my shop for just £10.

Mountains, AustriaMountains, Austria

If you want to spend a little more money on them, I sell vouchers for one to one training from £95 for a half day.

I hope whatever you decide to buy for them they enjoy using, I'm sure they will :-) maybe a subscription to their favourite photography magazine would go down well too ?

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) worcestershire photography training photography photography hints and tips photography training workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/gift-ideas-for-the-photographer-in-your-life Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:00:00 GMT
One to One Teaching vouchers - available as Christmas gifts until 18th Dec http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/one-to-one-teaching-vouchers---available-as-christmas-gifts-until-10th-dec If you are still looking for the perfect gift for the photographer or budding photographer in your life, what not buy them a voucher for some one to one training. You can book them a half day or full day and I tailor the courses to suit each person, so whatever it is they would really like to learn, that's what we cover, plus some basics too.

We can visit any local town or country park, I travel all over, but often spend days in Stratford upon Avon teaching photography as well as Worcester - town centre and around the countryside too, Birmingham City Centre is another popular location. If you would like to book a session for a group of you then please just get in touch. I bring my laptop along too, so that you can look at your work as we go along and you can see what is working and what didn't go so well.

There are notes for the time we spend together too, for you to take away and remember what we covered, but let's face it, you can't beat getting out with your camera and having a go for learning what works rather than sitting behind a desk :-)

If you would like to buy a voucher for a friend or loved one, or for yourself, please just get in touch. When you buy a voucher for somebody to give as a gift they are valid for 12 months and if the day we arrange is lashing with rain, then we can always arrange a different day.

Just call or email to get in touch for a voucher

Tel: 07885472010 or Email: alex@alexsharp.com

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography traing worcestershire photography training photography training stratford training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/one-to-one-teaching-vouchers---available-as-christmas-gifts-until-10th-dec Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:00:00 GMT
What to Photograph In December http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/what-to-photograph-in-december Whilst we have all of this fabulous snow try and get out with your camera at some point if you can.

If you can find a pristine untouched area, get in there and grab some shots before it has foot prints all over it.

Stay warm, your batteries wont last as long in this weather, so make sure you carry spares and also wrap up warm yourself. Keep your spare batteries in an inside pocket near your body to keep them warm.

Light can change quite quickly as it bounces off the snow and as sun comes out and then heads back off behind a cloud, so you may have to wait a little while for that perfect moment, but the moody light that you get from the cloudy snowy days is well worth photographing

Remember if you are shooting in Autofocus, your camera will struggle if everything is white - try and find something in the frame for it to focus on, otherwise put it into manual focus and set the distance you want to focus to on the lens.

If you are out taking photos whilst the snow is still falling, just try to keep it off your lens so as not to get blurred specs in your images.

If you are wanting to photograph the snow at dusk, you will need a tripod with a slower shutter speed - as above. You can up your ISO to get more light to hit the sensor and this will also enable you to have a faster shutter speed, but really to get a good quality image, put your camera on a tripod and use a slightly slower shutter speed and if you have a shutter release cable use one as this will stop any camera shake whilst you press the shutter. Below I focused on the trees and let the snow that was falling blur.

If your pets enjoy the snow,get out there with them and capture them in the snow too. (This is Eli, one of my huskies)

If you shoot your images RAW remember you can always brighten them a little in raw when you edit, if you prefer you can brighten the images whilst taking them - as your camera will try to darken the snow down, so up your exposure compensation by a stop or two if need be to stop it looking too grey.

If you are shooting the snow on a sunny day, you may want to try spot metering or partial metering to see if it handles the light better with the white of the snow.

Once you come back inside leave your camera to warm back up slowly, DON'T put it on a radiator or near the fire to warm back up.

Don't delete any of your images until you get back too, have a look at everything on your computer before you start deleting photos, so take plenty of memory cards out with you too - plus have fun :-)

The other things is always take a fully charged mobile phone with you and be careful not to wander onto any frozen water by accident.

If you would like to sign up for my monthly hints and tips newsletters, please email me through my contact form and let me know and I can add you to the free email Newsletters.

Thanks, Alex.

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography hints and tips photography training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/what-to-photograph-in-december Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:00:00 GMT
12 months of Photography Projects and Ideas - my new little book http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/12-months-of-photography-projects-and-ideas---my-new-little-book My new book is now available, full of great ideas to try each month with your camera, whether you are out and about or at home, plus it really doesn't matter whether you shoot on a DSLR, point and shoot, or even your phone camera, it's about getting out there and having a go, being creative and trying new things, there's something in there for everybody. It's A6 in size, so just the right size to fit in your pocket, or pop in with your camera.

There are 32 pages with the cover, two pages for each month, plus 3 pages for you to write your own notes too, so you can jot ideas down whilst you're out and about with it, or as inspiration strikes.

The book is just £10 and including a couple of keyrings to put your own photos in once you've started your projects.

You can contact me to buy a copy or buy one through the shop, which will appear shortly if not already there when you read this.

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography project book photography photography book photography training training http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/12-months-of-photography-projects-and-ideas---my-new-little-book Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:39:12 GMT
Photography Hints and Tips for July - Don't Blame Your Gear http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/6/photography-hints-and-tips-for-july---dont-blame-your-gear Lots of people I've spoken to recently have said to me,

" If i had a better camera I'd take better photos",

I don't take offence - I do always laugh at them though - it shows such a lack of understanding of photography, if you put a great camera in the hands of somebody who does not know how to use it - they will not turn into a great photographer anymore than putting somebody into an engineering workshop with lots of machines and expecting them to be able to manufacture precision items for industry.

Having an expensive camera does not make you a great photographer - knowing how to light, compose and use the settings on a camera to get the result you want ,makes you a great photographer. Seeing the image and being able to capture it exactly as you want others to see it, that makes you a great photographer.

I've taken some great photos on my iphone - which cost a lot less than my professional camera kit.... My point is, if you bother to learn how to achieve the results you want with your camera - and of course you need to know what you are trying to achieve - that is the key.

Before you take the photo, think about what you are looking at and what you are trying to capture to show people, spend a moment looking to see if you need to slightly change your angle to make it more interesting - or maybe make it look a bit different to that view that everybody else has taken 1000 times before. If you're photographing an animal - your horse or dog, don't look down at the dogs head, try lying on the floor and looking up at your dog maybe??? If your in the field with your horse get down in the long grass and have a few pieces of grass in the foreground of the photo out of focus with the horse in focus behind ??

Think about the lighting - is the sun out? or is it a dull day - dull days offer soft light, sunny days offer harsh light and sharp, black shadows. Is it dusk or early morning? Think about where the light is coming from and where your subject is standing. If your subject is a building, there is not a huge amount you can do, but you can think about the angle of the photo, can you move even a few feet to get a better angle or perspective that will then put the sun in a better position if need be ? Some people like to get some sun glare in the frame it's a bit retro and can be nice if done well.

Once you have the question of available light sorted and where you need to be to get what you require from the available light, look at your framing - is there anything in the frame that you would rather wasn't there ? - If you're outside somewhere check to make sure that there's no bins in the photo or other unsightly objects that if you just reframe slightly can be lost from the image ? If you're on the beach and lying in the sand for a low down shot - does the sand in the foreground have any big sticks or cigarette buts or rubbish that needs removing ? If you get it right when you take the photograph then when you get home you wont wish you'd paid more attention.

Learn how to use light and get the exposure right, learn how to be happy with your composition and framing, look for interesting angles and these few things can change your photography dramatically. If you want to practice, don't look outside and think " it's a dull day there's nothing I can do today", use the dull days with the flat white sky to have a go at some macro work outside - or go to the woods and shoot textures and think about framing and composition with all of those tree trunks and straight lines to play with.

There is always something to photograph and some fun to be had, just have fun and use your imagination.

If you would like some one to one help learning how to get more from your camera please get in touch, I do short two hour sessions for 1 person for £80. You can call 07885472010 to book in.

Alex Sharp Photography. Full Time Professional Photographer based in Worcestershire, England.

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography training photography training in worcestershire and the west midlands training worcestershire http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/6/photography-hints-and-tips-for-july---dont-blame-your-gear Fri, 30 Jun 2017 11:11:43 GMT
How to get More from your Camera and your Day Out with it http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/4/how-to-get-more-from-your-camera-and-your-day-out-with-it Things to think about before you start taking photos; Starting with the basics and the very first thing - spare batteries, always have at least one spare battery - you don't want to have spent a long time either trekking up a mountain, hill, or through a national park somewhere to find that your only battery doesn't work, sounds simple, but I've had people turn up to learn how to use their camera only to find that their only battery is dead.....

Next on the list - memory cards - ensure that you have either one large memory card, or if you have smaller ones - several, this means that you wont have to delete images whilst you are out and about due to running out of memory. I always tell people not to delete images whilst they are out and about anyway - wait until you get back and can look on your computer at what you have shot before you get rid of any of your images.

Next - whilst we are talking about memory and this is really something to think about..... do you shoot jpg or RAW, remember that if you set your camera to jpeg you are saving a file that is reduced in size by reducing the picture quality.... something for you to think about...

bailed hay, Englandbailed hay, Englandbaied hay in field

There are pros and cons to shooting RAW, but if you want to be able to blow your images up larger, or edit them at all then you are better off shooting RAW - it means you can save less images to the memory card, but memory cards are so reasonably priced these days that this is not such a big issue. It does mean that you will need more space on your computer though for storing your images - I have many external hard drives that I save my images too. However, if you are not planning on doing any editing afterwards - or blowing all of your photos up to large sizes then a good quality jpeg will be absolutely fine for you, like i said - it's something to think about, and remember that if you change these settings for different shoots, always remember to change them back if you need to before the next photo shoot.

Let's run through a few of the modes that most cameras have, a lot of people don't want to start using their camera in manual mode it worries them, so they would rather use the presets on their camera - that's fine too - just make sure you use the right one for the right scene, otherwise your photos wont turn out well - and once again, you also need to remember to change the setting when you move to a different scene type as it were.

For instance - your camera will probably have a "sunset" option - this option will ensure that your camera maintains the rich and beautiful colours of the sunset before you - however - if you decide to put a person in front of that sunset remember to add flash to light up the person or they will be a silhouette.

Your camera will also most likely have a macro or close up setting too - often dipicted by a small flower - although it shows a flower, it can of course be used for all kinds of macro subjects - insects, jewellery and other small objects. This camera setting keeps the subject sharp, but throws the background out of focus for you. As you see below it means that the grass behind becomes softer meaning that the viewer of the image will focus on the flower.

If you are going to be shooting macro images you will also want to think about having a tripod with you to keep camera shake at bay. there are various types of tripod available, you can pick up a reasonably priced one on ebay or other such sites for not much money at all, they may be quite lightweight but if you hang a weight - such as your camera bag from the centre of them - there is often a hook - you will find this helps to stabilise them very well - plus if you are still worried about camera shake then you can either use the timer on your camera - meaning that you are not actually touching your camera whilst taking the photo, or get yourself a shutter release cable - these do not cost a lot and are available for most mid cameras upwards.

Wherever you are going with your camera - if you are going alone - make sure you let somebody know where you are going and when you intend to be back - and when i say going alone that doesn't include the dog, your dog wont be able to call somebody for help... well some can, but you know what I mean, dress appropriately and carry water if you're going off the beaten track and ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged.

I'll write more about using your camera and its' different settings later this week, but in the meantime if you would like to have a chat or if you would like to have a 1 to 1 tuition session then please just get in touch, I offer a variety of options from email/project tutoring to out and about sessions with the camera and laptop so we can see your results whilst we're on the move.

 

 

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/4/how-to-get-more-from-your-camera-and-your-day-out-with-it Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:12:17 GMT
A year in Africa http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/4/a-year-in-africa My next Journey to Africa lasted for a year.... in the days of no internet or mobile phones this was a long time to be from home with little contact - I left my family a list of poste restante addresses - post offices in major cities I was planning on stopping at a long the way - so that they could write to me if they wanted to - I would also try and call home from these places too - often it was a couple of months between phone calls..... Life has changed so much since then. That was 1992.

I flew out to Gambia and travelled across the Banjul river  and into Senegal. The first night in Banjul everything felt a bit worrying - with no real plan of where to stay - I ended up renting a room of a local family for the evening. They were very friendly and intrigued by travellers as they didn't get many coming through.

I stayed in a square concrete room - with no furniture and no glass in the window - they were still building it - but it had a roof to keep the rain off and so that was all that mattered really.... next morning I jumped on a local bus and headed off to cross the Senegal border.

African borders were always interesting places - mostly because i was never sure how much I would have to bribe the guards to let me through.... I had been advised to buy cheap watches and things to "aid" the speed of crossing and also dollars in small notes helped tremendously....

sunset over the sahara desert, Moroccosunset over the sahara desert, Morocco

West Africa is French speaking, and although a few words differ - it's quite easy to get by when you manage to recall your French form school.

West Africa wasn't the friendliest place I have ever been I have to confess, it may have changed now of course, but 25 years ago I had stones thrown at me and all sorts, it wasn't a welcoming environment back then.

In Senegal I visited Dakar, then travelled inland to Tambacounda and headed for the border to Mali - across another river and on to Kayes, from Kayes I followed the river by road - south towards Bamako - the capital of Mali. The clothes that the women in Mali wore were fabulous, really brightly coloured fabrics with big bold patterns that just leapt out at you demanding their attention.

Things that really stick n my mind about Mali - as well as the brightly coloured clothing of course was the red of the earth, and so many of the buildings there are made from mud, the colour of the thatched mud huts was incredible. As I travelled through even tiny villages in the middle of nowhere you would see signs for Coca Cola and Guiness - it seemed to be the one part of the western world that had reached them.

Whilst I was there Mali was just coming out of 23years of being in a military dictatorship and was having a democratic election, so there were lots of hand signals that it took me a while to work out what they meant  - they were simply to show how they were voting to passers by I discovered.....

Asian BuffaloAsian BuffaloAsian buffalo

Mali is of course also home to the famous Timbuktu - which if ever you get the chance to visit you should go.

There are lots of rivers to cross as you travel through West Africa and their condition is variable - but mainly they are not good, some have many planks of wood missing and so if you are in a car, bus or the back of a truck you need to help find replacement wood so that the vehicle can get across - life was never dull....

Bamako was my first contact with home from the post office in the capital city - at this point I had been gone around 4 weeks. it was nice to find some post waiting for me at the post office too.

From Bamako I travelled to Mopti, which used to be a small fishing village, I'm sure it has changed dramatically over the last 25 years, back then it was all mud built buildings, lots of small wooden boats on the rivers and lots of horse drawn carts taking goods around town.

From Mopti, I travelled through Bandiagara and Koro and crossed the border in Burkina Faso.

West Africa is also home to voodoo - they are believers and in the next chapter when I get to The Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin I will share  a couple of very different experiences that I had with some local families off the beaten track.

From a photography point of view, I carried 3 cameras all film cameras - this was way before digital came along - and at every border crossing they charged me a camera fee - 5 dollars per camera and a couple of cheap watches from the local market seemed to be the fee......

The rules were the same then as now - no photography at borders - border guards even in small outposts have guns and aren't worried about using them.... mostly they carry AK47'S always pay any toll charges that you need to pay and always always check that they stamp your passport correctly..... i have too many horror stories to share really - that my family still don't know about, but being careful in West Africa is vital, i can't imagine that rural Africa has changed too dramatically.... when you travel stay safe and enjoy the journey.

 

more soon.

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography training http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/4/a-year-in-africa Sun, 02 Apr 2017 19:03:17 GMT
Photo Experience Days http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/2/photo-experience-days If you would like to spend a day with me learning more about your camera and how to get more creative with it and get more from it, then get in touch.  A day out doing something you enjoy, with somebody who is as excited about photography and cameras as you are.

bailed hay, Englandbailed hay, Englandbaied hay in field

We can have a chat a choose a place to go that will help you to have a go at some new challenges that you may not feel comfortable having a go at on your own, so if we need to go to the seaside and tackle some seascapes, or try some night time photography - or maybe we're going somewhere more exotic for a day or two, the choice is yours, the adventure is out there waiting for you.

Where will your camera take you this year?  If you have questions about what you can learn in a day and what can be achieved why not get in touch for a chat - I'm very friendly and no question is ever a stupid question....

                                        Email your question to alex@alexsharp.com or call me on 07885472010

                      Whatever you would like to photograph, wherever you would like to go, just call and let the adventure begin.

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/2/photo-experience-days Mon, 27 Feb 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Photography Hints and Tips For Snowy Landscapes http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/2/photography-hints-and-tips So here are a few tips to help you in the snowy weather, so if you're off skiing or just to colder climes hopefully this will help you to get some great shots.

1. Whilst sunny days make for great photos with the beautiful blue skies against the pure white snow, don't let a lack of sunshine stop you getting out there, just remember that if you have a grey or off white sky and then a snowy foreground, find something to have in the photo to break the image up - a row of trees, a house, mountain peak, whatever you have around you, just use something to stop the scene being one large grey rectangle with nothing of interest to really focus on.

2. Never delete any images in your camera whilst you are out and about, wait until you can get back and look at all of them properly on your computer to see what works for you and what you don't like. Sometimes images that you think don't work, when converted to black and white can become the most dramatic.

French Alps, Morillon, FranceFrench Alps, Morillon, France

3. Other things to remember, carry plenty of spare batteries, cold weather can dramatically alter the operating time of the battery in your camera. Be patient as whilst you are out and about if it is a cloudy day, you may find that as the cloud moves and you get a small bit of sunshine breaking through in small rays, you get the best shots, so look to the sky and see what's happening before you move location.

4. Play with your shutter speed, if you have snow falling and you use a slower shutter speed you will see the blur of the snowflakes, which can be very pretty - you will of course need a tripod for good results. Likewise using a faster shutter speed will stop those pretty snowflakes dead in their tracks and gives a different effect again. The slower shutter speed can also give you movement in the cloud if it's not actually snowing whilst you are out.

It's really about looking around you and working with what you have been offered by the weather Gods :-)

5. You will probably need to over expose your photos by 1 to 1.5 stops - as your camera will naturally want to under expose a snowy scene, however if you don't believe me - make sure you shoot in RAW and you can pull the exposure up to where you are happy before you convert it to a jpeg.

6. Other things to think about are what you are going to be wearing on your hands. I have some silk thermal glove liners that I wear under some more heavy duty gloves, so that when I take my gloves off, my hands are able to use the buttons on my camera and still keep reasonably warm from the cold weather that surrounds you. Never let your fingers get too cold.

7. If you have a polarizer filter this can be very useful,  but be careful not to over use it, the shot at the very top of this blog doesn't have a polarizer filter on it all although everybody assumes it does. Using one can help darken blue skies though, adding definition to clouds and eliminating glare too.

8. The best piece of advice that I have for you though is to charge your batteries, wrap up warm, get out there and have a go at capturing some fabulous wintery scenes and enjoy yourself and remember that if you are looking to capture people whooshing past on skiis and snowboards use a fast shutter speed ;-)

If you are interested in a 1 to 1 experience day get in touch, they can be tailored to your own needs and a 7 hour day is £195.

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/2/photography-hints-and-tips Sun, 26 Feb 2017 21:44:11 GMT
Away for a little while - with the camera of course :-) http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/1/away-for-a-little-while---with-the-camera-of-course Hello Everybody,

Just a quick blog to say that I'm off to the mens downhill in Kitzbuhel, followed by a week of skiing for myself, with the camera of course..... Upon my return I will share some of the photos and also write some blogs about photographing in the snow as I know a lot of people never get it quite right and so i will share photos and settings which hopefully will help you all. I will check my email whilst I'm away, so if anybody has any specific snow scene questions please send them over and I will tackle them all upon my return. I will be back at the mac on 30th Jan to share pictures with hopefully nothing broken.

This will be the view from my balcony for the next week - I'm really looking forward to the mountain air, the skiing and being able to shake a cowbell at the downhill, but I am really going to miss my fluffy boys :-( I know they'll be in safe hands though.

I'll share photos soon. Bye for now and send your snow scene questions to me at alex@alexsharp.com

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/1/away-for-a-little-while---with-the-camera-of-course Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:25:28 GMT
Happy New Year http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/1/happy-new-year Hello Everybody,

I hope 2017 is a fabulous year for you all and that you have some truly magnificent adventures with your cameras this year.

 

Remember that camera adventures can happen anywhere and everywhere, you can create your own or come across them by accident, so make sure that your batteries are always charged and you always have a memory card at the ready in your camera.

This year there will be plenty of hints and tips and in a couple of months time there will be new workshops available too.

If you are interested in a 1-2-1 photo day these are £195 and can be tailored to suit your own personal needs.

For full details drop me an email or give me a call, vouchers are also available to give loved ones as gifts.

Email: alex@alexsharp.com  or call: 07885472010

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) courses midlands photo photo training west midlands) photography photography courses photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/1/happy-new-year Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:23:47 GMT
Travel and Photography Part One http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2016/4/travel-and-photography-part-one I get asked quite a lot about places I have traveled to - what's my favourite place, what kit do I take with me - does traveling as a woman on my own not bother me etc etc. So I thought I would cover off these questions with a series of blogs.

I started traveling without my parents when I was 17 - it was just a ski trip to Austria with a friend - nothing fancy, but it made me realise how easy travel was - even in the 1980's with no internet or mobile phones.... wow do you remember those times ?????

The first proper travel adventure was in 1989 - I was 19 and wanted to see some of Africa, so I had a 5 week adventure down the East coast of Africa and traveled from Nairobi in Kenya, into Tanzania - where I headed out to Dar es Salaam and caught a ferry over to Zanzibar - this was not a big tourist resort back then, there weren't many hotels or tourists really, just a few backpackers - myself included. From Zanzibar I talked a local fisherman into taking me to Prison Island in his little boat for a few dollars - what an amazing place. This was where I first met some very old and very large tortoises..... they were just huge... I should probably add, that I met some lovely people along the way, I like to think I am pretty streetwise and can judge situations fairly well - I have gotten myself out of some crazy situations that I will mention in the following blogs, but on this particular trip - the worst thing that happened, was on the return journey from Prison Island to Zanzibar the small boat broke down..... too far to swim and no mobile phone to call for help - I pulled out my trusty Swiss army knife and we took the engine apart and fixed it whilst bobbing up and down in the sea, screwed it all back together and carried on back to shore. I never leave home without it.

I spent a few days exploring Stone town and Zanzibar before heading back to mainland Tanzania on the ferry and continuing my journey south.

I used to carry a Polaroid camera with me back then too, so that I could leave photos with people I met - I would take photos with my then Nikon film camera for myself and then leave people with photos of them and their friends from my Polaroid, which everybody seemed to love having.

Travel is a great way to broaden the mind and experience the world and all it has to offer and whilst the world is a changing place, I remember my travels of pre-internet times and pre-mobile phone times with very fond memories, you truly were away from it all - thrown into a foreign land and it was so easy to immerse yourself with their culture and absorb all of the experiences that you had every moment of every day as there really was no easy way of contacting the outside world once you were out of a main city.

I continued south through Tanzania and visited villages and National parks along the way. The lion photograph below was taken on my Nikon with Fuji Velvia film in Ngorongoro National Park - yes in 1989......

scarred lionsscarred lionslions by lake in ngorongoro crater

I have been back to Ngorongoro Nat Park several times since, it is a lot busier now than it was back then - there are a few too many tourists there for my liking these days, when you're down there you almost feel like you're in a zoo.

Reaching the lesser visited regions in today's world entails more planning and money than it used to, as travel has improved it means people can go anywhere they like a lot easier than 20 or 30 years ago - there are pros and cons to it all, I wont go into them here today.

From Tanzania I continued down into Malawi camping next to the Lake for a week and exploring and enjoying the area at a place called Salima Bay. I also visited Kande Beach and Cape McClear before a visit to Lilongwe the capital. I explored several nature and forest reserves in Malawi before heading slightly north again to cross the border into Zambia.

I crossed the border somewhere near a town called Chipata as I recall and headed to South Luangwa National Park, caught a bus to Lusaka and then headed out to Lake Kariba, which was another beautiful place. I then followed the main route that everybody takes out that way - from the lake back up to the main road to Choma and then down to Livingstone. To my then end goal - Mosi Oi Tunya - The smoke that Thunders - Victoria Falls.

Back then you could Microlite over the falls - I'm not sure whether they have started doing it again now, it was stopped for many years due to the amount of crashes and deaths, but I did it and it was amazing, seeing the falls from above was truly magnificent, the following day I rafted down them - which was another fabulous experience - although to find out the day after that somebody lost a limb to a crocodile brings home the true danger of these sports.

In the 5 weeks that I had taken off work, I had reached Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, which was my plan and so I flew to Harare (capital of Zimbabwe for two days and booked my flight home. I loved Harare, it was a wonderful city - I'm sure it is much changed these days, I have never been back, even though I have been back to Zimbabwe several times since.

I travel - now as then on these trips, with a light rucksack - I try and keep my rucksack to 15 or 16kg, but my camera bag over the years has increased in size and weight, especially when I started taking underwater photographs, but that too is a whole other story.

The problem with Travel Photography is that it becomes a little addictive to say the least - I have traveled to over 100 countries and there are many more that I still want to go and explore and enjoy. I also learned along the way how to make my trips pay for themselves, this becomes more important the more you travel, with rising costs of flights and the further afield you start wanting to go - Africa for example can be traveled across quite cheaply if you are prepared to bush camp, where as getting to Antarctica, Tibet or the Galapagos Islands is at the other end of the price spectrum.

That is where the internet becomes incredibly handy, these days you can find local companies in the place you are going to and book directly with them - missing out an agent and their fees, often getting taken on extra visits to places that you wouldn't even know about on trips if you had booked with a big holiday company. For me it's about getting off the beaten track when I go to most far flung places and getting off the tourist trail to see what else is out there, what might I be missing. Don't get me wrong, diving in the Maldives is a wonderful thing, but so is bush camping in Zaire :-)

My camera kit is now all Canon, with canon lenses and an Ikelite underwater housing, but I will cover exactly what is in my kitbag another day.

You don't need to jump on a plane to Africa for a year to have an adventure, sometimes a day out in the woods can be just the break you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and put a zing in your step and get some great photos too.

Being Creative feeds the soul, go and look for unicorns, you never know what you might find.

Look out for the next chapter - of where me and my camera went next in the next week.

Dusk in the MaldivesDusk in the Maldivesdusk falls in the maldives

 

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) femal travel photographer photography training travel photography worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2016/4/travel-and-photography-part-one Sun, 17 Apr 2016 17:06:32 GMT
April Update http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2016/4/april-update Hi, I hope you are all having a wonderful April and everything that it is throwing at us weather wise - I woke up to 2 inches of snow this morning - although it didn't last long - it was very pretty and now of course we have beautiful sunshine - literally 4 seasons in one day today.

I am not up and about quite as usual - I'm having a little time out - after a quick knee op - many thanks to Mr Bell, Mr Phaktar and all of the wonderful nurses that looked after me. I'm recovering well and will be running around again in no time - or so my dogs hope anyway ;-)

So - that's why there haven't been any mountain photos so far this year - I haven't been able to ski or climb those beckoning peaks - but fear not - I already have my mountain trips booked for next year - so keep looking back.

Things to try out in April. If you are looking for inspiration for your work this month - there are the 1000's of blooms bursting from the ground that you can try your hand at photographing - maybe the tadpoles in your pond or local pool in some woods can give you some opportunities - it may not be winter, but I still

I have robins in my garden everyday at home - maybe you can set up some bird feeders and try your hand at capturing the birds that come into your garden ?

 

    

If you don't get may birds coming to your garden, why not get down to your local town where there is a river, near us we have Stratford, Worcester and Bewdley with plenty of birdlife on the rivers - anywhere with a lake or a river gives you a great place to get close up to birds and also have a go at capturing birds in flight. If birds aren't your thing, then how about a trip to your local woods - whilst there are landscapes to frame  - think about the detail too - look to the bark and the forest floor and see what you find.

When you are taking your photo, think about how you are framing it - what are you including and excluding from the frame - move if you're not completely happy. Plus although you may take the photo in colour, you may be thinking that when you get back to your computer it will be magnificent in black and white instead???

This about the time of day that you are going out - make sure you dress appropriately. Late in the day as the sun is going down - you may not be able to see a great sunset from where you are, but it may give you some wonderful long shadows, which can add great drama to an image. If you're new to landscape photography, why not practice your rule of thirds.

                           Try placing your horizon in the different thirds of the frame and see the way it alters the photo.

If you have any questions about any photos that you have taken, why not send them in to me along with your problem/question and we can discuss them on here - often sharing a problem can help others learn. If you would like to book a half day or full day session with me for one to one tuition please just drop me an email I have dates available from mid May.

Have a great April.

 

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) courses hints midlands photo photography photography training tips training travel west worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2016/4/april-update Sat, 16 Apr 2016 15:18:45 GMT
Exhibition at Slimbridge WWT 10th Feb until 18th April 2016 http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2016/2/exhibition-at-slimbridge-wwt-10th-feb-until-18th-april-2016 Hi Everybody, well it's been a very busy start to the New Year.

My first exhibition of the year starts in a coupe of days at Slimbridge WWT where you will be able to view a collection of my bird photography from around the globe, including penguins from Antarctica - I mention it as they are popular and i always get asked if there will be penguin photos - yes there will :-)

So if you have any questions about it please just drop me a line or if you are down that way please pop in and have a look.

 

 

 

There are also bird photos from Morocco, the Galapagos and England included in the exhibition. More blogs soon with hints and tips for your photography for the year ahead.

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) exhibition photo photography slimbridge workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2016/2/exhibition-at-slimbridge-wwt-10th-feb-until-18th-april-2016 Tue, 09 Feb 2016 11:01:33 GMT
Foreground, middle ground, background - don't overlook any of these.... http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/11/foreground-middle-ground-background---dont-overlook-any-of-these When you look at your chosen scene with the naked eye, your brain quickly picks out subjects of interest. The camera  however doesn’t discriminate – it captures everything that is in front of it, which can often lead to a cluttered and messy picture with no clear focal point if you're not paying attention to what is in front of you.

So what you need to do, is choose your subject, then select a focal length or camera viewpoint that makes it the centre of attention in the frame.

You can’t always keep other objects out of the picture, so try to keep them in the background or make them part of the story. Sometimes though simply moving a couple of feet - forward backwards or side to side may be enough to remove any unwanted distractions from an image though.

If you are trying to keep an image simple, then Silhouettes, textures and patterns are all subjects that work quite well as a simple composition.

However, when you’re shooting a large-scale scene it can be hard to know how big your subject should be in the frame, and how much you should zoom in by. Leaving too much empty space in a scene is the most widespread composition mistake. It makes your subject smaller than it needs to be and can also leave viewers confused about what they’re supposed to be looking at. Remember distraction in a photograph isn't always caused by an object - sometimes it's caused by the lack of an object.....

To avoid these problems you could zoom in to fill the frame, or get closer to the subject in question - I prefer the getting closer to the subject option when it is an option - obviously this isn't always possible. The first approach flattens the perspective of the shot and makes it easier to control or exclude what’s shown in the background, but physically moving closer can give you a more interesting take on things and make you see alternative options for framing.

Zooming in may be the easy option, but it's not always the best option for the image.

Another top tip tomorrow. If you would like to sign up to the monthly online class please just get in touch. It is £40/month and you get weekly emails with ideas for subjects to photograph,plus projects to set yourself that will help you to improve your photography. Whatever the weather you will have things to try with your camera.

It also includes two monthly reviews - one in the middle and one at the end of each month of your work and what you have achieved throughout that month and then pointers to move forward.

This can also be purchased as a gift for somebody, please just email for details.

alex@alexsharp.com

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography training online midlands photography photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/11/foreground-middle-ground-background---dont-overlook-any-of-these Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
The Tripod - why use a tripod?????? http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/11/the-tripod---why-use-a-tripod If you’re serious about your landscape photography you need to use a tripod, a decent one. A tripod carries many benefits to landscape photography - The most important of these is that it keeps the camera absolutely still so you’ll produce sharper images, even at ‘safe hand-holding shutter speeds’.

When you’re shooting with a small aperture at a low sensitivity setting, the shutter speed is often likely to be on the borderline or lower than a safe hand-holding speed, which makes a tripod essential. You can get a tripod on ebay and the like from just £15, so if you don't want to jump straight in to an expensive tripod this may be the way to go - to help keep it more stable - as tripods at this price tend to be quite light and often flimsy you can hang a weight - your camera bag for example off the centre of the tripod to help keep it steady whilst shooting with it - you may also find that a shutter release cable can help - as then you are not having to touch the camera or tripod at all whilst taking the photo.

Shutter release cables can also be found quite cheaply on Ebay and other similar sites - but make sure you buy the correct one for your model of camera.

Another benefit of using a tripod is that it holds the camera in the same place while you take shots at different exposures or with different focus points, so if you want you can create composite images with wide dynamic range or extensive depth of field this is the way to do it.

People often see this last point as being more of a disadvantage rather than an advantage,but a tripod often slows you down. The benefit of slowing down is that you tend to give more consideration to image composition. It makes you stop and think a bit more about what you are putting in the image and what you are cropping out of the image.

For more top tips tune back in tomorrow ;-)

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) learn photography in birmingham photography workshops in the west midlands photography training worcestershire photography workshops workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/11/the-tripod---why-use-a-tripod Sun, 01 Nov 2015 09:00:00 GMT
ISO - What it is and how to get the best results using it http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/10/iso---what-it-is-and-how-to-get-the-best-results-using-it So what is ISO?

Your camera’s ISO setting is its sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is. This is measured according to international standards, so ISO100 on one camera will be exactly the same as ISO100 on another.

Each ISO setting is double the one before: if you increase the ISO from 100 to 200, you double the camera’s sensitivity; and if you increase it from 200 to 400, you double it again. This carries on through the ISO scale.

This is deliberate. The ISO settings are designed to double (or halve) the exposure in the same way that the lens aperture settings & shutter speed settings are, and this is why the lens aperture, shutter speed and ISO are often described as the ‘exposure triangle’.

For example, if you wanted to use a faster shutter speed without changing your aperture, you can increase the ISO instead.

The relationship between lens aperture, shutter speed and ISO can quickly get complicated, but there are drawbacks to changing the ISO which mean that in practice you tend to change the ISO only when you have to.

OK, so an example of when you may use a high ISO could be if you are somewhere dark and either can't use a flash or if you don't have a tripod and need to let extra light in and don't want camera shake - you can up your ISO and maintain a faster shutter speed.

In a church for example or a cave maybe. Some historical buildings wont allow use of flash so if you have no tripod with you - having a higher ISO will give you the extra light on the sensor that you need.

However is you are trying to capture the best Landscape image possible - remember to take your tripod and use the lowest ISO that the camera naturally offers without being enhanced - most cameras offer ISO 100 as their lowest ISO - this will give you the best quality image from the camera as it will have the least amount of noise in the image. To understand this fully, next time you go out with your camera, take the same shot using all of the different ISO settings and when you get home look at them all next to each other on your computer and see the difference.

I used High ISO's inside the cathedral, as it let more light in when I didn't have my tripod and so wasn't able to use a slower shutter speed without getting camera shake.

On the image below I used a lower ISO.

bailed hay, Englandbailed hay, Englandbaied hay in field

Watch out for the next top tip.

Vouchers for photography lessons are available for Christmas presents. Please call or email for details.

alex@alexsharp.com

 

 

 

 

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography lessons photography lessons west midlands photography photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/10/iso---what-it-is-and-how-to-get-the-best-results-using-it Sat, 31 Oct 2015 09:00:00 GMT
Where to Focus and what Aperture to choose for Landscape Photography http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/10/where-to-focus-and-what-aperture-to-choose-for-landscape-photography So to get a great landscape photograph there are plenty of things to think about, today we are looking at aperture and focus.

 

Not all landscape images require the image to be pin sharp, but a lot of images do require pin sharp focusing. An example of a photo that doesn't require pin sharp focusing is when you have a long shutter speed and your overall look of the sea or sky in the photo is full of movement and so blurred rather than everything being pin sharp.

However in the majority of situations a beautiful landscape photograph needs sharp detail in the foreground and also in the background. This means that you need to have plenty of depth of field, so small apertures are the way to go. Remember a small aperture is a larger number - so an aperture of f/16 or f/22 is going to give you more of the image in focus than an aperture of f/4 which will give you a small amount of the image in focus.

However, its not enough to select your aperture of f/16 or f/22 and expect an amazing result, you also need to focus on the right point of the scene to get the full benefit of your chosen depth of field – (the zone of acceptable sharpness that extends in front and behind the point of focus).

The general rule is that the depth of field extends roughly twice as far behind the point of focus as it does in front.

Most people select a small aperture and then focus on the horizon - this isn't going to do you much good - as this means that if you focus on the horizon, a small area in front of the horizon will be sharp, but a lot of depth of field will be wasted because it extends beyond the horizon - and you don't see it.

So instead you need to focus at a point that’s roughly one third of the way into the scene as this makes a good approximation of something called hyperfocal distance focusing.

It means you will get a good majority of your image good and sharp, which is what you are looking for in a good landscape photograph.

When you are looking at your landscape before you that you have decided that you want to capture to memory and share with other people, think about what it is within the image that you are trying to share - where is your point of focus going to be - what is the important part that needs to be your point of focus? So there is something for you to think about when you take your next Landscape photograph.

Look out for tomorrows top tip. If you would like to have a one to one session and learn more about how to use your camera please just get in touch. you can email me alex@alexsharp.com or call me on 07885472010 to book in. In the new year I will be offering monthly online classes and also monthly group meet ups with a maximum of 3 people in a group, watch out for more details.

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography workshops training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/10/where-to-focus-and-what-aperture-to-choose-for-landscape-photography Fri, 30 Oct 2015 19:17:02 GMT
Travel Photography Tips http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/7/travel-photography-tips If you have your Summer holiday planned and your camera is included in those plans, then there are plenty of things to think about before you leave home.

The more obvious, but often most overlooked, are things like battery chargers, don't forget to pack them and also pack a travel plug for them if you are leaving the country. Mains leads - for lap tops and your phone.

Memory cards, formatted and ready to go. Charge your batteries before you leave home to and put a fresh one in your camera a long with a fresh memory card so if you need to quickly grab your camera and capture a moment you are ready for action.

When I travel, I take my lap top as it means I can upload my images whilst I am away and I also take an external hard drive too - secondary back up - ensures images are safe even if something happens to either the laptop or the external drive.

By having the laptop with me it also means I can review what I have photographed as I go along.

I know you're on holiday, but it's worth getting up early and going out with your camera - for two reasons - firstly to miss the hustle and bustle of having other tourists around - and if you are in an area with a market getting stall holders setting up in morning light can be beautiful, and the other reason that no matter where you are the morning light is stunning, whether you are in a city, beach or other location, it is worth getting up early even on one morning of you holiday if that's all you can manage.

If you are going to a location for the first time, Google it - do your homework and find out where the best spots are, what time the sun rises and sets, tide times - you don't want to get caught on the rocks trying to grab that fabulous shot when the tide is coming in at you quicker than you can get off the rocks. There are some great guide books out there too to help you, Lonely Planet and Footprint guides all keep their books very well up to date with hints and tips of where to stay and great places to go in any destination world wide.

They will also give you an idea about what weather to expect at different times of the year and if you are going to see wildlife then the best time of year to see different activities in different locations - the migration in East Africa for example or penguins hatching in Antarctica.

When you are at your chosen location, try to find new viewpoints, so if you are at a market for example - is there a rooftop cafe around that you could have easy access to that will give you an aerial view of what's happening in the market square, if you then also get close up shots of the products and some interesting shots around the market these aerial style shots can help to complete the story of the place you have visited, giving the person viewing the images a really good overall view of where you have been.

And if you are fortunate enough to be going to the Caribbean or Maldives then don't forget the polariser filter for the sky and water. Whilst you may think having such beautiful skies and sea can make it easy to get a great shot,  you need to get the composition of the image right or it will be just another blue sky with blue water.

Dusk in the MaldivesDusk in the Maldivesdusk falls in the maldives This shot above was taken in the Maldives at dusk with a slower shutter speed to get a soft motion across the water.The shot below was taken with the camera in the water so that I could get the raindrops actually hitting the top of the pool and capture the splash.

The next step of course is going underwater with your camera, but I think that's a whole new blog, enjoy your holiday wherever you go and remember the sunscreen too.

If you would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter please just use my contact form and let me know.

 

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) and hints hints and tips photography tips" travel http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/7/travel-photography-tips Fri, 17 Jul 2015 08:00:00 GMT
Things to Photograph This Summer http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/7/things-to-photograph-this-summer So if you are looking for some ideas of things that you can photograph this summer. Why not have a day out and go somewhere new for the day. I went to New Quay for a day and got some great photographs of dolphins and seagulls too.

Taking time out from your normal day to day activities with your camera can force you to try new techniques. So whether you want to try photographing moving objects maybe - cars, birds, bikes, motorbikes, animals running, the principle is the same - you need to decide whether you want to freeze the object so that you see it pin sharp or whether you are going to have a slower shutter speed and see some movement.

Once you have chosen your subject you then also need to think about your framing, these images are straight out of the camera, they are not cropped at all. I shot them on my Canon 70-200mm lens - so the image above was shot at 70mm - and the one below at 200mm.

I like the framing on both, I think it's a personal choice - it's about what you want to share with the person viewing the image - with this close up I really wanted to share the seagulls face - the eye in particular. I also like the way the light shines through the edge of the feathers. Remember when you have a moving object like this to give it space in front of it  - room for it to move into as it were - looking room. If you framed this image so that the seagulls beak was at the edge of the left hand side of the frame it would look quite strange.

Also to explain the aperture of this photo was f4. this means that only a small amount is in focus - so if you look - the wing at the front and the birds head and body is in focus, whilst the far wing is slightly softer and then the background - sea and sky are just a blue blur - thus making the viewer of the image look at the seagull without any background distraction. So this is something else to think about when you are taking your photograph, if you wanted the entire background in focus you would need to have an f stop of f16 or f22 for instance.

The easiest way to remember what f stop you need is to think of it like this - the larger the number the more of the image will be in focus. so f2.8 will give you a tiny amount of your image in focus where as f 32 will give you an entire landscape in focus.

So moving along - finding new things to photograph can push you out of your comfort zone, but trying to photograph new things and practice new techniques will help to push you forward and improve your photography and of course a couple of things to remember - don't delete any images until you have seen them on your computer screen and use the file info to learn from any mistakes you may make.

Other things to think about are - when you are out in the sun and you can't see the image on your camera screen properly try using your histogram instead to check for correct exposure.

Make sure your batteries are well charged and that you have plenty of memory for your camera too, as well as a lens cloth in case you get any dust or water splash your lens.

Think about what you want to show the viewer and how you want to show the person viewing the image - are we capturing the motion or letting it blur to show some movement.

You can see the droplets of water in this wave as it crashes along freezing its' motion - a slower shutter speed would give you a soft white blur of water showing movement - as seen below.

If you would like to get my hints, tips and photography ideas newsletter each month, just drop me your email and I will add you to the newsletter list, you can unsubscribe from it at any point in time.

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(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photo photography training http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2015/7/things-to-photograph-this-summer Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:40:55 GMT