Before I became interested in photography, If someone had have asked me about Location Scouting, my initial though would have been related to the process of film making, but as a result of offering horse portraits as a photographer, I have found myself often looking for suitable locations, scouting old railway tracks, hidden Bluebell woodlands and rustic tracks.
One of the many hurdles in relation to finding good Horse portrait photography locations apart from the need for great landscape aesthetics, is suitable access which is also key, if the access is not suitable people cannot transport their horses and many great locations just cannot be used which can be frustrating.
Although I use portable lighting, equipment wise, C Stands are still vital in terms of safety, especially when booming lighting. Up until recently, the locations that have found to be most suitable have been, Skipwith Common, Parlington Lane, Old Coach Road and Howell Woods, but I’m constantly seeking out new locations and ideas.
One of the first locations I ever used was Brodsworth Country Park and I discovered that by walking along the Roman Road towards Highfields, was there was a great little track for autumn Horse Portrait Photography. Although I have been back and used this location twice, access is problematic and it seems to have become the playground for off road motor bikes and they use the old railway network to ride up and down, so sadly, this location is not so good at weekends.
There is a bridleway that runs past Wortley Hall (The Timberland Trail) that looks promising, as the bridleway has lots of potential for varied Equine Portrait Photography location shoots, from open fields, together with undulating tracks with a few tree clusters, there is good parking access too, so I am looking forward to shooting here in 2020 as I have not used this location so far.
Recently Fran & I went out into south Yorkshire on a Horse Portrait location scouting expedition and despite it being a damp and wet December day, we discovered a stunning place location wise, it is without a doubt the best location for equine portrait photography that we have found to date, so roll on spring 2020. I will then be able post a few horse portrait photographs examples once we have used it.
Know of any potential locations for horse portrait photography shoots or would like any questions you may have answered? I would love to hear about locations, or if you would you like to get involved with a spring collaborative shoot in south Yorkshire send us an email and we will keep you informed as to when and where we will be shooting.
Despite the advances in technology you cannot learn everything online. We think we have a unique way to develop new skills in relation to off camera flash, so If you feel that your photography skills or creative expression have hit a wall, why not join us on a Get Out & Learn Workshop and try photographing Red Squirrels with flash?
Due to the location and uniqueness of photographing Red Squirrels with flash, I only facilitate this workshop with a maximum of two people. I have two meet up locations: Hawes & Ribble Head. The duration of the workshop is a maximum of three hours and the cost is £40 per person.
Hidden below the Transylvanian landscape in Turda sits a large underground wonderland with a brightly lit modern art theme park nestled 120 meters below the surface of the Earth inside one of the oldest salt mines in Europe.
Salina Turda is the largest salt mine museum in the world, and easily the most incredible. Salt extraction on the site’s surface started in antiquity, but the work expanded underground during the Roman occupation of Dacia. The salt was extracted manually using pickaxes, hammers, chisels, and steel wedges, by free people who were paid in florins, ale, and loaves of bread.
The mine was closed in 1932, but it was used again during World War II as a bomb shelter. After the war, the mine served several purposes, one of which was a warehouse for storing cheese. Regardless of its history, this salt mine is not just a huge museum, but an epic tourist attraction. It was even ranked by Business Insider as the most beautiful underground place in the world.
Today, Salina Turda has been transformed into an incredible underground theme park.When you visit, you’ll head down about 400-feet before reaching the submerged wonderland. Once inside, you’ll find an amphitheatre, a bowling alley, an underground lake with paddle and row boats, and even a Ferris wheel. You’ll also find a mini golf course and ping pong courts.
The stunning rugged caverns walls are like surreal paintings and the result of mining that carved out over three billion tons of salt. Salina Turda is open year-round. Costs vary based on your preferred package, but will typically be around 15 lei (about £3) for adults and is worth every penny, there’s nothing else like it in the world.
When it comes to lighting modifiers, don’t be fooled by the hype, the quality of the materials are important, but the brand name will not make the light quality superior or transform you into Annie Leibovitz. However as Annie Leibovitz knows how to light, she could use any modifier to create a good image regardless of it’s brand name.
I have purchased various lighting modifiers over the years and think I have found one of the most versatile lighting modifiers I have ever seen and used, what is it? A HWAMART ® EOS100B 100cm 39″ Easy Open Silver Soft Umbrella Softbox.
For my uses a modifier above “39 for outdoor use becomes an issue if there is a breeze and anything smaller than “39 is just a tad too small in relation to size, distance and light quality. However, this conclusion has resulted after experience of photographing Horse Portraits outdoors, whilst trying to keep kit portable, packable and of good quality.
The HWAMART ® EOS100B provides the sweet spot in terms of the quality of light it produces in relation to its size, quality and price. The softbox is built around an innovative and integrated spring-loaded rod system that quickly snaps into place. There is also Included is a detachable beauty dish deflector as well as two levels of removable diffusion panels and a honeycomb grid. With these options you have many different ways to achieve different lighting for most situations.
What is the build quality like? Is it as good as Westcott? I guess time will tell, but for the price it is very close and far better than most of the gear coming out of China.
If you are getting into lighting and are looking for your first light modifier, the HWAMART ® EOS100B is worth considering, if I had the choice of only having one lighting mod, this would be it. Price wise it’s in the middle, the price tag is neither low or high and from my experience, this price point provides quality without paying for the name and unlike most of the cheap kit from china, it will last if you take care of it. Moreover, learn to use one light properly and you can achieve some great images, spending a fortune on kit won’t provide any short cuts, you have to put in the effort and practice.
Photographers have a wealth of creative tools at their disposal today that enable the creation of some truly amazing images in relation to lighting. Despite Adobe Photoshop making almost anything possible image manipulation wise, have you ever wondered how similar images of today were crafted and lit 30 years ago?
There are past photographers whose body of work stands the test of time and whose names are very well known and there are others whose names fade. This year I have decided to improve my lighting skills and knowledge so I have been searching for good learning material and recently I learned about a photographer I had never heard of, Dean Collins.
Dean Collins? If like myself you have not heard of him, once you discover what he did and created, if you are interested in lighting, you will see that he was a lighting pioneer.
Mr. Collins was a photographer that specialty was light – understanding it, controlling it and making it do anything he wanted. Although the videos on YouTube look dated with the eighty’s hairstyles and clothing and the technology looking like pieces from a museum, at the core, there are still little learning gems that shine as brightly now as they did over 30 years ago.
Why is Dean Collins still relevant today? His workshops taught about the properties of light and instead of focusing on current trends, he stuck to the fundamentals that are still as relevant today as they were 30 years ago and if you have never heard of him, personally I think he deserves discovering either via YouTube or an internet search.
I have just purchased a second-hand book called “Photographic Global Notes” Although the book has contributions from numerous photographers from around the globe, they were all lighting pioneers in what they did and there are plenty of insights and learning opportunities and it only cost me £4.50 with delivery.
If you are looking for a simple manual flash trigger set, the Flashpoint R2 SPT is a great option in terms of price and functions. The R2 SPT is a single firing pin transceiver and is the first simple universal flash trigger set that is compatible with the Godox X 2.4 GHz Radio Flash System.
Inexpensive Receiver – Universal To Fire non Godox Lights
Single Firing Pin Transmitter – Universal To Work On Any Camera With Standard Hotshoe
Increased Range – Up To 150m, or 300m Using R2 SPT as both TX & RX
The Flashpoint R2 SPT are Transceivers, with the Transmitter and Receiver units in this case being exactly the same device. A manual switch on the side simply assigns the unit as Transmitter (TX) or Receiver (RX) as required.
Being Single Firing Pin only, the R2 SPT do not provide TTL or HSS, though this allows them to work universally, as well as providing longer range.
Acting as a Transmitter to R2 enabled flashes, the R2 SPT will provide Remote Manual Power Control. (Not when acting as a receiver though).
Flashpoint R2 / Godox X – 2.4GHz RF Radio System
Range – To 300m (R2 SPT as TX & RX)
Range – To 150m (Between R2 SPT and R2 / Godox X System)
Wireless Shutter Release (In Sync With Flash – TRX Mode)
Type-C USB Port for Firmware Updates
3.5mm Sync Port
2.5mm Shutter Release Port
Powered by 2 AA Batteries
Functioning as a Receiver unit, the R2 SPT provide an economical way to simply fire you existing non- Godox lights in sync with the camera.
The R2 SPT provide a 300V safe trigger voltage on both the Sync Port and hotshoe, so even most older flash units should be safe to use connect to the receiver.
NOTE – In RX Mode all buttons on the R2 SPT (except the SET / TEST Fire Button) require a long press to have any effect. This is so that settings can not be bumped and changed accidentally.
Functioning as a Transmitter unit, the R2 -SPT (being single firing pin) are universal to work on any camera having a standard hotshoe.
The R2 SPT feature 5 individual quick access Group buttons – A / B / C / D / E .
in TX Mode the R2 SPT provide Remote Manual Power Control of the Godox X System flash units. As well as turning the Modelling Light and Beep On and Off remotely.
Only Remote Group Control (ON / OFF) is available with R2 SPT as receiver.
NOTE – Double pressing a Group button turns that Group ON and OFF, and Holding a Group button turns that Group on only.
Integration with other brands of flash
Prior to my lighting kit being predominantly Godox, I hade various types and brands of lights, if I wanted to combine them with my Godox kit, I needed numerous leads and other triggers which made quick setups not so quick.
One piece of lighting kit that I still use and love are my Einstein’s, by Paul C Buff and by using R2 -SPT trigger, I can combine the Einstein’s with my Godox lighting kit. I don’t have remote power control of the Einstein, but if I use the Einstein as my main light and meter for that, controlling all of the other Godox lights is simple and for Horse portraits this just works and very well.
I would love a Godox AD600 pro, it would really speed the process of lighting up, but the justification in terms of cash outlay would be a stupid move and as I only use the Einstein’s for specific scenarios where I need to pack a lot of lighting power, I can usually get by with the Godox kit I have anyway. The R2 SPT trigger is a cost-effective simple solution to my needs and I also then have a back for any situations where my Xpro 2 trigger might fail.
I really hope Godox release these in the UK, I had a friend order mine and then ship them to the UK, but even with the postage, the R2 SPT’s are still a bargain.