Alex Sharp Travel Photography: Blog http://www.alexsharp.com/blog en-us Alex Sharp (Alex Sharp Travel Photography) Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:37:00 GMT Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:37:00 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 Tripod - Do you really need A Tripod ? http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/tripod---do-you-really-need-a-tripod If you’re serious about your photography you need to use a tripod, a decent one, not all of the time, but there will be many occasions when it is so useful and makes the difference between having an amazing photo or a big blur that you can't make out.

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. If you want to shoot night time photography - stars, northern lights or fireworks - guess what - yep you will also need a tripod ;-)

For more top tips tune back in tomorrow ;-)

Dusk in the MaldivesDusk in the Maldivesdusk falls in the maldives

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) phootgraphy training west midlands photography photography hints and tips photography training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/tripod---do-you-really-need-a-tripod Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Ideas for Things to Photograph http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/ideas-for-things-to-photograph Some days it may seem like you just don't know what to photograph, maybe you have already photographed the birds on the feeder 100 times or more and maybe the flowers just aren't inspiring you or maybe the weather isn't inspiring you to go outside and photograph the flowers, so here are some ideas for those days, when you just need some new ideas to give you a creative push.

I will start with the immediate things around us that you may be ignoring or choosing not to think about photographing because you think it may be too hard, sometimes we need to photograph something that challenges us as it will push us to understand our cameras more and what we can achieve with them and also help us to seek solutions to our photographic problems.

So if you have dogs or cats, you could start with them, birds - maybe not on feeders, but as they fly in and out of your garden, why not try and capture them in flight, I know this may be harder than whilst they sit at the bird feeder, but it makes you think about what type of photo you want to capture - do you want a slower shutter speed showing the movement in their wings? Or a faster shutter speed freeze framing their movement ?

pelican in flightpelican in flightpelican in flight

Maybe think of projects you could set yourself and try and think outside the box with the themes - so you could have a colour theme - so pick any colour, yellow, red, black, white, blue, think about shades textures objects associated with these colours, it can be food or objects - cars, bikes, toys, etc. or a pet - your dog or cat or horse if you have one.

Look at details too - rather than the entire object - a close up of a section of a face can be truly beautiful.

 

Maybe your chosen topic for your project could be water - so not just a stunning waterfall or lake with fabulous reflection, but maybe the rain, puddles, a tap running - filling a glass of water - dropping things into a glass of water - maybe your pet dog drinking from his bowl of water - water running down a piece of glass - maybe you can see things through the water - reflections of flowers etc.

If you're stuck inside and need something easier to get hold of to inspire you, then how about raiding the cutlery draw - spoons and forks, can make for interesting shapes and use different light sources and backgrounds to add interest, or flowers in a vase - even fruit, you are surrounded by everyday objects that you could put by a window - to use natural light and capture in a way that you have never tried before.

Remember to think about your aperture too and what you want to show people who see your photo.

 

 

Maybe you are fortunate enough to be able to take a whole day to get out and about with your camera - jump on a train and go somewhere new - London, Birmingham, Manchester, a beach somewhere or national park - the lake district or Snowdonia, just enjoy a proper day out with your camera and get inspired again.

Whatever you decide to go out and photograph have fun with it, push yourself and try something new and don't forget to share, show me what you get up to. More ideas coming soon.

If you would like to book in for some one to one tuition Email: alex@alexsharp.com

 

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photo photography training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/ideas-for-things-to-photograph Wed, 21 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
What To Photograph on a Wet February Day http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/what-to-photograph-on-a-wet-february-day What can we do when it keeps raining and we still want to go out taking photographs???

Let's face it February has been a little damp so far, but don't let that stop you from enjoying your love of photography.

Well you can put your camera into an underwater housing and turn a normal walk through the woods into a different kind of view of the woods. You could also use a Go pro for this or get a splashproof pack for your phone camera - on Ebay they cost just a few pounds.

I got quite wet - but the camera stayed beautifully snug in it's Ikelite Housing. I have the Canon 5D MarkII with the Ikelite housing and get some great shots with it.

Don't let the weather stop you getting out there taking photos, rain and water can get you some great effects.

So go out and have a play, whether you have a GoPro that you can put underwater or a housing for your camera or even if you're just getting shots of the floods, remember to have a play with capturing the motion of the water, be it freeze frame or fluid, and feel free to share some of your shots, it's great to see what you all get up to.

Raindrops on spider webs, reflections in puddles, crashing waves and rock pools - rain on your swimming pool ? Depending on where you live, use whatever water source you have around you to capture some truly fabulous watery moments.

For more ideas I still have some copies of my pocket photography left, they are just £10 and full of ideas to keep you busy every month of the year, contact me for details or to purchase one.

Email: alex@alexsharp.com

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photo training west midlands photography photography workshops worcestershire http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/what-to-photograph-on-a-wet-february-day Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Where to Focus and what Aperture to choose for Landscape Photography http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/where-to-focus-and-what-aperture-to-choose-for-landscape-photography Hello Again,

I hope you are enjoying these February Blogs, there will be one a day for the rest of the month to try and help as many of you out there get out and enjoy getting some great results.

Today is all about Landscape and Aperture, what Aperture do you use Do you experiment?

To get a great landscape photograph there are plenty of things to think about, but 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 of 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?

This should give you something 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.

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography workshops training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/where-to-focus-and-what-aperture-to-choose-for-landscape-photography Mon, 19 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Foreground, Middle ground, Background - don't overlook any of these.... http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/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.

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. 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

 

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) midlands photography photography training photography training online training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/foreground-middle-ground-background---dont-overlook-any-of-these Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
ISO - What it is and how to get the best results using it http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/iso---what-it-is-and-how-to-get-the-best-results-using-it 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 if you take time to understand and practice you will soon get to grips with it.

There are drawbacks to changing the ISO which mean that in practice you tend to change the ISO only when you have to. Drawbacks to upping your ISO depend on your camera, but the higher the ISO number the grainier your photograph may start to appear, this is something that will differ from camera to camera depending on the newness and quality of your camera.

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 to the camera and don't want camera shake - you can up your ISO to 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 an ISO of 100 - it is a bright sunny day so there was plenty of available light.

bailed hay, Englandbailed hay, Englandbaied hay in field

Watch out for the next top tip.

Vouchers for photography tuition are available for gifts. Please call or email for details.

alex@alexsharp.com

Tel: 07885472010

 

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography lessons west midlands photography photography lessons photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/iso---what-it-is-and-how-to-get-the-best-results-using-it Sat, 17 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
What Are Leading Lines and How To Use Them in Your Photographs http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/leading-lines-and-how-to-use-them-in-your-photographs Todays' blog is all about leading lines what they are and how to use them.

So what are they ? Leading lines are horizontal, diagonal or vertical lines that lead the viewers eye through the photograph.

A landscape photographer will often use a leading line to help create depth within a photo and draw the person viewing the photo into the image further.

In the images below I have used the lines of the wooden balustrade to lead the viewers eyes into the middle of the image where the majority of the boats and interest lie. The lines of the hills at each side of the image also all point  the viewer back into the middle of the photo to where the boats sit on the water.

The artist Henri Matisse once said "A line cannot exist alone;it always brings a companion along. Remember that one line does nothing; it is only in relation to another that it creates a volume."

Above the line of the reflection of the sun on the sea leads your eye up to the top section of the photo where the actual sunset is.

A leading line is as you can see - an actual line - it can be a coastline, where rock meets sea or sand meets sea, an actual road going off into the distance, a river trailing off, or footpath into some woods maybe, a row of trees in a park, or lines that cut through a harvested field, I'm sure you get the idea. It is a very simple principle, but a very effective one if used correctly.

There are several leading lines in the image above, they all lead you towards the door at the back of the image and then up towards the amazing ceiling in the passageway of the cathedral. The image below shows how a centrally placed tree lined river, with light shining right down the middle of it has multiple leading lines all leading you the same way through the image.

This image shows how effective lines are for taking the viewers eye through an image, if a line has a slight curve to it then it may slow down the viewer looking at the image, where as the  short leading line of the light on the river above takes you straight in to the centre of the photo. The upward motion of this leading line can be very dramatic, a lot more so than a horizontal leading line.

Multiple diagonal leading lines that converge at a vanishing point in an image are very effective, railway lines or a long road going off into the distance can be some of the strongest ways to show this, although the photo above goes off into the distance, it doesn't quite have a proper vanishing point.

We can discuss vanishing points in another Blog post, I hope this gives you some food for thought though, so next time you are out and about with your camera try and get some leading lines in the image, have a practice, think about where and how you are placing them, think about the rule of thirds too, does it matter where you put the lines within the image - will they stop in the middle? or a bottom or top third of the image ? So much to think about - mainly though I would just like you to enjoy having a go and using your camera and taking some "you" time out of your busy life.

If you would like to send me your images please do show me what you are up to, it's great to share.

More soon, Alex

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography traing worcestershire photography training photography training stratford upon avon training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/leading-lines-and-how-to-use-them-in-your-photographs Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:00:00 GMT
One to One Training Around Worcestershire and the West Midlands http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/one-to-one-training-around-worcestershire-and-the-west-midlands Lots of you had cameras for Christmas and are getting in touch about having some one to one training. I love that so many people are taking time to themselves to start doing something they love.

Taking the time to learn something new and have a little "you" time is great for all kinds of reasons - as well as learning something new and achieving new things in the New Year, I truly believe it is good for the soul and god for ones mental health.

It takes you away from your everyday routine and gets you thinking about something completely different - even if it's just for an hour or two. If you can get out in the fresh air with your camera too then this is even better, fresh air added into the equation adds to make you feel so much better about yourself and your day.

When I start teaching somebody new, we start at the very beginning, I like to see how you use your camera, how do you fame images, how do you show people what you are capturing, once I can see where you're at then we can make a plan to get you moving forward and achieving all of the things that you want to be able to do.

Whether landscapes are your thing, or you want to tackle night time photography or macro photography, all you have to do is let me know what your long term goal is - if you have one and we can head towards it, if you want to learn just as much as possible then we can set some goals for that too. Most people find a whole day can be too much and like to do half days (3.5hrs), so they can learn new things and practice what they have learnt and then we meet up a few weeks later and I can see your progress and we tackle some more new challenges.

The whole idea though is that I make it as fun as possible for you, we do not sit at a desk writing things out, we use your camera and you can make notes as we go along, but you are learning by taking photos. We may sit at my laptop to see how the photos look from time to time, but then we are back off photographing again :-)

Escaping the world and enjoying a new hobby or potential new business is a marvellous way to spend a day or a half day.

I can cover whatever topics you wish, including how to make money from image libraries if this is something you are interested in.

To book in a half or full day session please just drop me an email or give me a call;

Email: alex@alexsharp.com or call me on 07885472010

There will be Blog posts every day now until the end of the month full of top tips and ideas to help you get out there and start enjoying your camera more and more, so stay tuned in.

 

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) camera training have fun learning to use your camera learn to use your camera one to one photography training photography training http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/2/one-to-one-training-around-worcestershire-and-the-west-midlands Thu, 15 Feb 2018 11:07:20 GMT
Photography Tips To Start the New Year off Well http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/1/photography-tips-to-start-the-new-year-off-well A lot of people look at their photographs and compare them to all of the hundreds of others that we see daily on Instagram, Facebook and plenty of other social media and Professional photographers websites and whilst it's fine to look at other peoples work for inspiration, comparing your photos to theirs can have the adverse affect if you're not careful. It can start to make you think that maybe you're not good enough and that you can't compete with these people and eventually you pick your camera up less and less until you realise you haven't taken a photo for months.....

If you can't get out, or have limited time, then try something different, I mean if you usually take landscape images try something very different , grab a bunch of flowers in the house, try some macro shots of the flowers, use the light from a window - and if it is too harsh for you, then soften it with some soft, thin fabric at the window if need be.

If that doesn't inspire you then why not try revisiting some old images from a trip somewhere, have a look at the RAW/Original images again and see if you would process them any differently to how you did the first time around.

If you're looking for inspiration look on Instagram, but don't compare your work to other peoples. If there is somewhere you can go locally to take photos, then why not Google the place first, look at the images others have taken and try and look for a new or different viewpoint.

The Idea really is to put yourself outside of your usual comfort zone with the subjects that you take and try something completely new, birds in flight can often be a real challenge for people, so if that's something you've never tried, get yourself down to your nearest patch of water and have a go, with whatever flies passed. The main trick if there are a lot of birds- is to pick one and stay with it.

pelican in flightpelican in flightpelican in flight

A fast shutter speed - higher ISO if you need to let more light in, and pan with the bird to keep the bird sharp in focus.

pelican in flightpelican in flightpelican in flight

Don't give up if you don't get great results the first time, keep trying, challenge yourself to get it right.

If you've never tried wildlife photography and you can't afford a safari or wildlife trip to Alaska or Canada, then why not just take yourself off to your local safari park for a couple of hours and see if you can great some great animal portraits - take a long lens with you though as you can't always get that close to the animals. Remember - set yourself a challenge and don't give up on it until you have achieved a few results that you are happy with.

galapagos tortoisegalapagos tortoiseclose up of tortoise face

If you would like any one to one training, I offer half day and full day sessions, so please just get in touch.

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography training training workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2018/1/photography-tips-to-start-the-new-year-off-well Thu, 04 Jan 2018 09:00:00 GMT
A New Project for January http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/a-new-project-for-january If you are still looking for something different to try in January, then why not try something very different - and rather than a choosing a different subject to photograph why not try using a different lens - if you have a prime lens - or lenses pick one - maybe the 50mm for example and set yourself the challenge of taking all of your photos during January with just that one lens. It will make you think quite differently about how you use your lens and the way you photograph things.

If you don't fancy the prime lens challenge, then how about shooting everything in black and white ?

If you don't have a prime lens and worried that you will cheat if you try and set your zoom lens to 50mm for example, then why not hire a lens for a long weekend, lens-hire.co.uk have some great offers for lens hire and it means that you don't have the expense of buying a lens, their rates are very reasonable.

 

If the local woods don't inspire you anymore, look slightly further afield - Slimbridge is a great alternative, have a little mooch on Goggle and look for other local days out for something different to spice up a photography day out.

There are many options for days out with your camera that will get you excited about your photography again.

Maybe you choose to shoot a series of dusk and dawn images, or actual sunrise and sunset images. Whatever you choose, stick with it for the whole month and try a produce a really interesting series of images to start your year off with.

Have fun and let me know how you get on - and if you still need more inspiration I have my Book of Photography Ideas for just £10 to give you monthly inspiration.

Have fun

Alex

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography hints and tips photography training training workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/a-new-project-for-january Sun, 31 Dec 2017 09:00:00 GMT
A Happy New Year to You All http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/merry-christmas-and-a-happy-new-year-to-you-all I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas and I hope the New Year brings you some amazing adventures.

For those of you who have been lucky enough to have new camera kit I hope you also have plenty of time to get out there and play with it, and for those of you who have been bought photography training vouchers - I'm really looking forward to meeting you all.

If you would like one of my pocket sized books of ideas to get you motivated, then you can buy them via this website or email me for details if you prefer. More books will soon be following in the series, some will be downloadable, some will be little paperbacks.

Have a fabulous New Year and I will have plenty of news of what's going on next for you all at the start of 2018.

Best Wishes

Alex

 

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography training photography training stratford training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/merry-christmas-and-a-happy-new-year-to-you-all Wed, 27 Dec 2017 16:23:51 GMT
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/merry-christmas-and-a-happy-new-year I would just like to wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and a Fabulous New Year.

I hope you all have a wonderful time with your friends and family and of course that Santa brings you all of the things you wish for, including maybe a camera, or a tripod, or a new camera bag,Mac - if you've been really good -  or anything else photography related ;-)

Stay Happy and safe and have a wonderful time.

Merry Christmas Everybody.

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography training training worcestershire workshops http://www.alexsharp.com/blog/2017/12/merry-christmas-and-a-happy-new-year Sun, 24 Dec 2017 09:00:00 GMT
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 ?

 

]]>
(Alex Sharp Travel Photography) photography photography hints and tips photography training worcestershire 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

 

 

]]>
(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.

 

]]>
(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.

]]>
(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.

]]>
(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.

 

 

 

 

]]>
(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.

]]>
(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.

 

]]>
(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