user_mobilelogo

Cleaning 2As a user of mirrorless cameras for many years, I know how easy it is for the sensors to become dusty very quickly. This is because they don't have a mirror that conceals the sensor like a DSLR. Yet, it's surprising how many workshop participants I come across who still send their mirrorless cameras away for professional cleaning as soon as they notice dust in their images. If you are one of those people then this article should save you a lot of time and expense!

Adding mist to an imageHere's a quick tip. As early autumn is known for the best time for mist I choose suitable early morning locations to take advantage of it (which usually includes a lone tree or two)! Utilising mist in an image can really lift the emotional connection to an image. It's particularly useful for separating and/or isolating a component (i.e. a tree or building) from its surroundings, which helps simplify an image. There are times though, when you get to a location, that you find that the mist has burnt off or subsided in some way leaving a composition with less mist than you would have preferred. Fear not - there is an answer in post-production!

Give your old raw images a makeover!Recently, I've been running 'Theme Weeks' on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in which I post one image per day over a week based on a different theme each week. It's been a great exercise in coming up with ideas but it's also been a great opportunity to look back at my archives from years past. Whilst doing so I've been noticing that some of my earlier images could do with a makeover and I wanted to explain how you can achieve this with your own images.

If you've been a user of Adobe Lightroom for a number of years, it's likely that you've experienced many updates along the way. Those updates have incorporated many new tools which have transformed the way we now work. When Lightroom was first launched I used it for basic adjustments before exporting the image to Photoshop for adding the final touches thereafter. These days, unless I need to do really advanced editing, pretty much all of my processing (and printing) is carried out in Lightroom. However, have you thought about how your older images might benefit from a makeover using these new tools?

Multiple Exposure Images using the iPhone by Mark BanksAs a landscape photographer, I find myself in the most beautiful places around the UK and I'm blessed that I can spend some of my own time taking photographs. However, on a lot of occasions, I am on location with participants running workshops. This means that my time is spent helping others to make beautiful images. This is something I love to do of course and is particularly rewarding when all the elements come together to create an amazing experience.

Lindisfarne by Mark Banks Photography North East EnglandApart from camera skills, the other big reason for people attending my workshops is to understand more about composition. This is a big subject in itself and although I'm always happy to discuss my thought process when taking an image, I do encourage participants to come up with their own and, importantly, explain their reasons for those they find. This can be great fun as I ask them to use my A.B.C. of composition whilst looking. This isn't a rule (I don't like rules!), but rather a useful way to make sure their image works as an overall idea. Obviously, I go through this thoroughly on a workshop but let's just touch on the basics here...

Exporting and Importing in LRAs a lot of my residential workshops include post-processing of images I often get asked: "how do I Import my edited images into Lightroom when I get home?". So this is a quick tutorial for those of you who attend not only my workshops but others where you have processed your images using Lightroom and you wish to see those image edits on your main computer later. There are many different ways to do this but this is the one I recommend. I have also supplied some screenshot images below to help with understanding this workflow, which will expand when you click on them.

Smart CollectionsMy final article on the subject of Collections is about Smart Collections. These Collections filter your images automatically, saving you time and effort in the process. All you need to do is set up one or more rules and Lightroom will do the rest.

Lightroom Collection SetsAs already discussed in my previous articles, Lightroom Collections are a great way to organise images of a certain genre without them ever leaving their original folder - saving hard drive space and making images even easier to find. However, there may be times when you want to organise these Collections within a main Collection category. This is where Collection Sets come in.

Collections can be found below the Library Panel in LightroomFollowing on from my last blog regarding Quick Collections, this time I want to expand on Lightroom's Collections panel (not to be confused with a Quick Collection). The Collections panel can be found below the Folders panel on the left hand side of the Library Module. They are a great way to organise selected images into one area for easy access - but it's much more than just an organiser as I found out a while ago! 

Quick Collection in Adobe LightroomI've been using Adobe Lightroom since its inception and over the years I've watched it get better and better. I think one of its greatest assets is its Library system - including Collections. However, there is one Collection which I use the most and is already set up from day one. That is the Quick Collection. 

Left and right brained thinkingWhy is it that some people appear to find it easier to make a pleasing photographic composition than others?

Well, it seems we all have two ways of thinking - verbal, analytical, sequential and visual, perceptual, simultaneous. Broadly speaking the left part of our brain is responsible for the former and the right part is responsible for the latter.

The problem is that In the western world, the range of subjects we are taught from an early age focusses more on needing to use the left part of our brain (what I would call the academic side) than the right (the artistic side), which might be the very reason some people struggle when it comes to composition. I come across this a lot when running photography workshops. I will often hear participants complementing another on their photograph and wishing they'd found it themselves - when they may have only been stood a very short distance from the other participant when they took it.

Train your brain

Well, if this all sounds familiar, don't despair because you can train your brain so that you can find more pleasing compositions more often

Lee graduated filter setGraduated filters come in numerous varieties from a host of different manufacturers, so there's plenty to choose from. However, I often find a workshop participant that would have been better served if they had bought filters with a different strength of graduation to more closely match their camera's sensor size. As good quality filters are not cheap I thought I would put together this short article to explain the reasons for choosing the right graduated filters for the job required. 

One of the most common questions I get asked when running my landscape photography workshops is about focusing - or more specifically, "where do I focus to get everything nice and sharp from front to back"? So this is obviously a big problem for a lot of landscape photographers - and one which isn't being answered by studying hyperfocal distance alone. I guess this shouldn't come as a big surprise, because hyperfocal distance is rather complicated to master and from experience, I find it just doesn't work as I expect it to when I use the method myself.

I do have an answer though!

I'm delighted to have been asked for a second year to run a series of one-day workshops for the Royal Photographic Society. 
These workshops are a great way to accelerate your photographic skills along with meeting up with like-minded photographers with a passion for landscape photography. Although discounts are available for RPS members you do not have to be a member to take part in any of these workshops.

Full details about my RPS workshops can be found here.

Crummock Water in autumnThis year has been such a glorious year for landscape photography and I'm really pleased that I've been able to enjoy it with other like-minded people when running workshops. I've shared fabulous experiences and helped other photographers take amazing images in the Scottish Highlands, Isle of Lewis & Harris, Isle of Skye, Lake District, North York Moors, North East Coast and the Yorkshire Dales. Shortly I will be

RPS Journal Magazine article - Mark Banks using filters in landscape photographyI'm delighted to be collaborating with the Royal Photographic Society in running a one day workshop on using filters for landscape photography.

Masterclass WorkshopsAs we speak I'm on a ferry back to the Isle of Harris & Lewis to run a 5 day Masterclass workshop based in Uig on Lewis.
Last year, workshop participants were given a challenge to create a book of 30 images between them demonstrating the beauty yet brutal nature of Harris. In just 5 days they had taken stunning images, edited them and created this beautiful Blurb book using the Book module in Lightroom ready for publishing. They also created some wonderful Haiku's to accompany their images and also involved the guest house owner who supplied some local sayings not only in English but Gaelic, too! It was a great experience and each participant received a copy of the book as a memento. So much so whilst returning on the ferry they booked me again for this year so they could create a sequel, this time on Lewis. I can't wait! :) 
This workshop booked up within a couple of hours

2017 will be the 9th year of my proud association with running photography workshops at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. I will be running my own 4 x one-day workshops and co-leading 3 x 5 day residential workshops with Joe Cornish at various locations around the North of England. News of the residential workshops will be added here in a forthcoming news article. This article is to notify you about the former one-day workshops...

I'm delighted to announce that I'll be running another two 1 day photography workshops from the Joe Cornish Gallery in September, 2016.

Beginner's Landscape Photography Workshop - September 15th, 2016

The beginner's landscape photography workshop is the perfect place to start on your photographic journey. I will help you demystify the myriad of settings on your camera and demonstrate an easy to follow approach that will keep with you forever!

Learn more »

Using Filters in the Landscape - September 29th, 2016

One of the most difficult challenges that confront landscape photographers is the correct use of filters. Most use them as a tool to maintain the correct amount of light hitting the camera sensor, generally to avoid over-exposing the sky. Yet, filters can transform an image in many more creative ways than this.

Learn more »

Decorating with weather and light 6As a teacher of landscape photography, the most common question I receive from participants the days prior to an upcoming workshop is about the weather. Most are usually along the lines of "if it's pouring down I presume you will postpone the workshop?" (or words to that effect). Now, I have to say that it's certainly nicer to teach in glorious sunshine than when it's raining cats and dogs and yes, if the forecast looks like heavy gales and a total wash-out then I am likely to postpone - but mainly for reasons of safety. Otherwise, I adapt my choice of location depending on the latest weather forecast as I do when I go out to make my own images.

DSC0793 MO Solitree USDuring the summer months I like to get out to do some hill walking at least 2 to 3 times a week - usually with my wife. Although we walk in beautiful locations I generally don't come across an image to return to at a later date. Maybe this is because I simply don't have my 'photography' head on or that I'm generally sticking to footpaths, which it would seem, don't always offer the best view points.
This is why this image I've named 'Solitree' is one of those rare images that I did indeed find whilst we were out walking recently. We had only been walking for around fifteen minutes when I stumbled across this scene and just knew I had to return to it.