Hello, I'm Mark. I've been interested in photography most of my life. Actually that's not exactly correct! When I first got a camera, I thought photography was shoot everything that moved, or didn't! But as I got older, I re-calibrated my definition to be, “I am interested in LIGHT and its dramatic effects on landscapes”. This is still my current working definition.
Early Years of Photography
I remember as a young adult noticing shadows cast by clouds on the rolling green hillsides of the Yorkshire Dales whilst cycling. I remember the sun burning off the mist and producing that wonderful diffused ethereal glow. For me it has probably been more watching the light than actually taking photos; just watching and listening when you are in a place of serenity and outstanding natural beauty is a very precious gift.
However, transferring what I saw into a photograph, well that is a very long story but to keep it short, I have made lots and lots and lots of perfect monstrosities! And I mean really disastrous! My early photographs would make a dustbin ashamed to contain them!
My early experiences were shot on 110, 35mm and medium format film. Most of my early disasters were produced with a Lubitel twin lens reflex which I still have. Moving on to Olympus Trip then the classic Zenit-B. I now shoot with a Canon 500D and Canon 5D Mkiii. The 5D Mk iii is just amazing and is what I use for serious landscape work, but the 500D is still my weapon of choice if I’m just out and about.
Here are some of my early cameras:
I have always loved experimental photography, one of my best early b/w shots was shot using a twin lens reflex with a welding filter strapped to the front in order to take a picture of a partial eclipse. I wasn't sure whether it would be okay or not (pre-digital), but I got my friend Andrew who could afford his own dark room to develop and print the medium format film. When he brought the finished product me, I was totally amazed that it came out okay. I still have that photo in its frame and although I can see many flaws in it, it was fabulous to capture such an amazing event (see picture to right).
Since 1998 I have been taking my amateur photography a little more seriously and have spent many hours reading magazines and journals. Nowadays there is an amazing amount of free video advice out there on the net which I still immerse myself in from time to time. There has never been as much good advice available for today's photographers!
My Photographic Style and Genre
My guess is that most photographers take all sorts of picture styles but gravitate towards a particular genre. For me that genre happens to be landscapes. I just love to be out there in a remote setting chasing the last bit of cascading sunlight before the storm hits! I love the challenge of landscape photography because there are so many variables that you cannot control; but if you are there and patient enough, done your homework then with a bit of luck, you may get that shot, check out "Moonrise over Hernandez" by Ansel Adams. My philosophy is if you spend all your time post processing you will never be in the right place at the right time when Lady Luck waves her magic wand.
My other love is night-time photography which I always seem to struggle with, but I just find fascinating.
“Oh definitely, yes I do!” I shoot RAW, get it as good as I can in camera, and then process the RAW file if it needs it. Actually to be honest all my photos have been tweaked by post processing. My camera just hasn't got the dynamic range my eyes have and so I use post processing to increase that dynamic range. Sometimes I need to do very little and sometimes I do a lot. I love HDR but only if it looks natural when it is finished! The Nik suite has a fabulous HDR component but I use Photomatix HDRpro, a great addition to any serious landscape photographers kit bag. I really don't like the grungy, unnatural, fake imagery which frequently raises its head all too often on various photographic sites. If my photograph doesn't look right to me I will make it right by post processing. A bit of dodging, burning, neutral density gradient filters, contrast and exposure tweaking is all available to me; so I use it! It is nothing new, the same techniques have been used to make prints in the darkroom for years - to me I use the modern equivalent tools. Like Trey Ratcliff, I am proud to say I definitely post process my images!
Canon 500D, Canon 5D Mkiii, Canon 20mm f/2.8 usm prime, Canon 50mm /f1.8 prime (nifty fifty!), Canon 24 - 105mm f/4 zoom lens, Sigma 70 - 300 DG zoom, Canon 430 EX-ii for fill flash, Canon angle finder - for low down, foot level work, Manfrotto 190X-ProB tripod with swivel ball head, Benbo No. 1 tripod with with multi-heads, Rollei mini tripod, Sekonic L-758 and 308S light meters, Hoya multi-coated circular polariser, Hoya multi-coated ND400 filter, Cokin series ND and ND Grad filter system.
World Vision UK
This is ultra important to us, and something we are really committed to.
Exclusive Landscapes is proud to support the work of international children’s charity World Vision UK. For every photograph that we sell on our website, we donate 15% of the profits to World Vision’s life saving work in 100 countries around the world. Please visit their website for further details
I would finally like to thank my wife Kay for her belief in my amateur photographic skills. She is always there to inspire me when I get stuck in a rut; and more often than not, she sees the opportunity that I usually manage to miss.
So in the immortal words of a modern day hero - Brian F Peterson,