Online Learning Platforms for Photography & Lighting Are They Worth Paying For?

Online Learning Platforms for Photography & Lighting Are They Worth Paying For?

Copyright of the above image belongs to Michael Clark. I have posted this image on this blog to make people aware of his class “Michael Clark Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer” which is availble on CreativeLive. A linkdirect is available at the bottom of this blog. I receive no payment or benefit in kind in promoting this class, I just thought others may find it informative.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to learn photography and lighting, there were three main options, read a book, sign up at night school / college, or attend a workshop. The internet has enabled numerous online learning platforms the ability to deliver learning to any digital device where ever you might be and at whatever time you choose, which I think is great.

The online photography training market has boomed in recent years and almost everyone is wanting you to subscribe, receive special bonus material, or take advantage of their once in a lifetime limited offer, the problem is separating the great from the average.  Over the past eight years, I have accessed CreativeLive, Linda (now Linkedin) KelbyOne and a host of other online videos, some have delivered very good learning opportunities and others not so good, which is why I decided to right this blog.

Visit any online learning platform in relation to photography and type in lighting and virtually everything will be either, portrait, wedding or family related, but if you want something specific in relation to lighting, you will probably find that the choices quickly diminish rapidly.  I have been looking to improve my lighting knowledge and skills, especially for location lighting in relation to outdoor pursuits and leisure activities, so when I came across Michael Clark’s “Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer” on CreativeLive, my initial thoughts were, that might be worth buying. I decided to look through some of Michael Clark’s work and managed to find a few YouTube clips and as a result decided to pay for the class on CreativeLive.  

 

The full set of classes cost me $10, so that works out at roughly £8,  you can also download each of the classes, which is another reason why I thought, I would take a punt.When you pay for the class you will also find some PDF’s that come with the class. Personally, I think the class is worth $10, just to listen to Michael Clark talk about what equipment he uses and why. The course is not designed for people with no lighting knowledge at all and it won’t make you a lighting Jedi Knight either, but it is certainly one of the more unique classes on CreativeLive, or any online learning platform, but you will have to watch it for yourself.

Like everythingg in life, you pays your moneny and you make your choices, so only you can determine if online learning platforms are worth paying for.

 

Michael Clark Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer Link

The Long Mynd Ponies

The Long Mynd Ponies

The Long Mynd is a heath and moorland plateau that forms part of the Shropshire Hills in Shropshire with the high ground designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The AONB area lies between the Stiperstones range to the west and the Stretton Hills and Wenlock Edge to the east.

Fran and I decided to base ourselves at a campsite called Small Batch in Little Stretton as we could then access the Long Mynd via various routes that would provide plenty of walking and photography opportunities.

The open expanse of the Long Mynd has a unique wild beauty, with areas of heather and bilberries scattered across the sculpted valleys in virtually every direction you look. Although I knew there were wild ponies on the Long Mynd, I was unsure how many there are or the locations where you might see them.  

Although there are plenty of images of the Long Mynd Ponies to be found online, I personally found little information about them in relation to how many there are and some of the areas where you are most likely to find them.

The only information I did find stated “The Ponies have grazed on the Long Mynd at Church Stretton, Shropshire, for centuries, with Historical grazing rights held by the Long Mynd Commoners allowing 48 ponies on the land”

Fran and I hiked via The Owlets to Carding Mill Valley and then forked left along Light Spout Hollow towards Pole Bank before joining Jack Mytton Way to return via Minton Batch. The route was just over seven miles and the vistas are spectacular.

We first came across some ponies along Light Spout Hollow, just below the small waterfall (Lightspout). Our next encounter with a different group of ponies was towards the junction of Jack Mytton Way and Minton Batch. We stopped for lunch here and the ponies came and found us, one in particular was very inquisitive and came right up to me.

The Long Mynd is an area of stunning beauty, so whichever ever method of transport you take to see the landscape, you certainly won’t be disappointed. You can drive up to the top of the Long Mynd in a car although the road is very steep and narrow and certainly not advisable for people with a fear of heights.

Fran and I spent four days in the Little Stretton area walking and taking photographs and will be returning again as there are lots of other walks and wild ponies still to see.

MagBounce & Green Lanes

MagBounce & Green Lanes

The Coronavirus is having an effect on everyone and everything so lots of people are finding themselves with more time on their hands, which could be a good or bad thing depending on one’s financial circumstances. Before the Covid19 crisis, distance and travel were not an issue, it is perhaps only now that we are missing the ability to where and when we desire. I personally am trying to keep my photographic brain active even if we are confined to our local area, although this has led to Fran & I discovering some beautiful local Green Lanes and making the most of our one form of exercise a day. I don’t always take a camera with me on these little escapes from the house, but I decided to revisit one of Green Lane we have discovered and take a flash, a Magbounce and a very small and portable light stand on the walk and take a few images whilst out walking keeping kit lighting kit as portable and light as possible. As my main focus of photography work is equestrian and lifestyle photography, I mainly use C Stands for my lighting, so keeping kit light and ultra-portable is not so important. I think the last wedding we photographed was about three years ago and used to bounce flash and or use a reflector. We had a wedding booked for July, but since the lockdown, this has now been cancelled. However, I had planned on using some very portable lighting kit during the wedding (Magbounce & Magsphere) as wedding are fast paced small and light becomes a priority. I have had some Magmod kit for a few years now and to be honest it rarely gets used, but I have never owned or used the Magbounce, so decided to give it a try prior to the wedding we did have booked before it was cancelled. I purchased the Magbounce just before the Coronavirus pandemic, as my intention was to spend the spring and early summer playing around with it and see what was possible with it, yes you can bounce light off of walls and ceilings, but I was curious as to what the Magbounce could do where there were no wall or ceilings, it was the portability that really appealed to me. As far a testing out the Magbounce out fully, it’s still early days, but for a really small portable lighting mod, so far, it’s growing on me. Will the Magbounce replace the lighting mods I use for equine and lifestyle off camera flash? No, it won’t, but I do intend on trying out some new ideas and for locations where there are no walls or ceilings and I want ultra-portability, this little lighting mod does have a lot of potential.
Horse Portrait Photography & Location Scouting

Horse Portrait Photography & Location Scouting

Horse Portrait Photography & Location Scouting

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.

Salina Turda

Salina Turda

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.

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