One of our readers-Mark Wood who has just set up his own forum shutterchat sent me a mail with a couple of questions so here goes
1.Where is the place that inspires you most photographically? Where you can lose yourself and just be immersed in the things around you?
I have always loved to be in woodland and when i lived in the UK i would spend hours and hours just sitting and watching what was where and when, But it wasn't until i moved to Switzerland that i had the chance to shoot at altitude and this is where i really found inspiration,Every thing about it is different from the air to the clothing needed especially in the winter where it could be -20 without wind chill, You have to be sensible even down to drinking water as you dehydrate just as much in the cold as you do in heat, To stand in virgin snow and follow animal tracks is something special, Since leaving the Alpes and Jura mountains in Switzerland i have shot in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado at 14000 feet so altitude sickness and thin air are another problem and now i go to the Great Smoky Mountains here in NC
2,Also what approach do you take to night time photography? Both City and in the wild?
This is a harder question as it covers a multitude of of photographic situations, Firstly when shooting wildlife at night i make a situation where the animal will come to me, Basically i make a stage which i bait, Once the area has been baited for a couple of weeks and the bait is going or is gone the next day then you are ready to start photography, I set up my camera on a tripod, I set the lens to manual mode and prefocus on where i have hidden the bait and use a cable release so i do not have or need to touch the camera/lens, I use a small torch just bright enough to see and wait and wait and wait, Over a period of time you will know what times the animals tend to show, I tend to shoot badgers like this but fox i prefer to shoot in daylight as they really do get spooked with flash, Since moving to NC i have shot fox,raccoon and opossum in my garden where i have a garden spot light on the baited area every night, The wildlife gets used to the light and i can then use my camera in AF mode, Have in mind what effect you want to give with your lighting, I normally use 3 or 4 flashguns,2 in the front and 1 or 2 behind to give some depth to the image, But i have used just 2 behind to give a rim light effect, Get the image in your head first then go out and get it on camera
I have never tried to shoot wildlife at night in a city but have shot cityscapes at night as well as some night scenes in New York, I shot the NY city scape with a tripod mounted camera/lens and shot a series of images using a remote release, The camera was in manual mode and after a couple of test shots i found out the shutter speed needed and shot them all at that then stitched them together with PTgui, Its fun also to take a wide angle lens into the city at night and shoot with the flash set to rear curtain to get some decent motion blur
So there we have it, Our first question time, Thanks to Mark for starting it off, Now if you have a question just drop a line here or to myself or Martin and we will do out best to answer them