Latest News

Rhubarb Strumble
27th March 2014
A play on words there but I do like Rhubarb Crumble.

I'm planning to head off to the Pembrokeshire area of Wales to see what the Uk's only Coastal National Park has to offer. A bit of research will be needed but, by the looks of things, Strumble Head Lighthouse could make a nice subject (see what I did there with the title).

Then a quick trip to Rhubarb Lighthouse and the trip is complete. I'm kidding of course. Rhubarb use in lighthouses was banned in 1812 due the requirement of the Napolionic Wars when it was a vital ingredience of gunpowder.

There you have it, a completely rhubard story.

So, between now and then, I need to track down some nice areas to visit and keep my fingers crossed for nice Welsh weather.

Can't beat being at the coast.
Competition Win at Work
14th March 2014
I work at Mott MacDonald which has offices around the country as well as oversees and we run a global photography group.

Happy to report that out of the 250 entries for this months 'sunset/sunrise' my shot below claimed first prize.

I'm now setting off for an all expenses paid, month long lecture tour of all Motts offices in the world (with first class travel) to talk about photographic techniques to an avid audience of fellow employees.

I wish. My photo gets put up in head office for a while (which is nice). Hope they remember to add my website details.

Levels of Fitness
24th February 2014
Its official - my body isnt as young as it used to be. The hair is more interested in blocking the plug hole than staying on my head, my thigh strains itself at the thought of running for a bus.

Still, I get the urge to venture out and manage to drag my weary to the top of hills in search of photographs. Why do they always insist on putting the good views at the top of hills?

With one such effort in mind, I set off early to head out to Macclesfield Forest having tried to pick the route to my destination that had the least out of vertical climbing. Parking near to Trentabank Reservoir, I ventured out through the forest (surprising uphill) and half an hour later crested the last rise at the top of Shutlingsloe (more steep than the forest and with half an hour plodding already behing me).

I had a feeling that the sunrise might make the trip worth it and it didnt let me down.

At the moment have a look in Latest Work

All that was left was the downhill walk back to the car, past the hill runners going uphill. Runners! Uphill! Taxi for Steve if you ask me.

Bulgaria in Autumn
09th February 2014
With some unusual longer term planning from me I'm off to Bulgaria later in the year. It look likes a great country for landscapes as I'm looking forward to that. Autumn colours and scenery make for some great photographs.

Unfortunately I don't know much else about Bulgaria except he was in charge of litter picking in Wimbledon Common.

You can follow my itinerary with the map below - starting at Sofia, heading south and then east.

I expect plenty of time to rest, lots of sleep and spare time. No, not really.


View Bulgaria in a larger map
Return from Slovenia
30th January 2014
I'm back from a very hectic Slovenia workshop - at times I sped round faster than a snowy owl.

Despite my pre-trip worries the weather gave us a break and the first winter snow fell the day before we arrived. The temperature was never greater than 2 deg C and mainly in the region of -2 deg C. Generally I didn't feel the cold and pretty much everything I took with me proved effective at keeping the cold at bay. Except for my feet. Poor old feet. I eventually found a combination of socks and a heatpad that seemed to do the trick.

The scenery was fantastic with the covering of snow and hoare frost and the forests looks particularly amazing. The locations were varied, some new and some old and all worth a visit. An afternoon was spent on a 3 hour hike up a snow covered ski trail on a mountain in Austria until we reached the summit at around 7500ft. It was like walking up the Empire State building whilst being punched around the legs and kidneys by tenacious flyweight boxers. In the end, my body felt like the boxers had won.

So with early starts and late finishes the trip was a hectic one. One night was spent taking a star trail photo when the temperature was about -11C at midnight. And this was before I discovered the optimum sock combination. Poor feet.

During the trip I became the creative force behind 'Priceys Hot Pants' which I'm sure you will be seeing in all good retailers in time for next winter. Unless they exist already. Or unless nobody wants them. Or both.

At the moment images will be located in Latest Work and in time they'll be in Photos of Slovenia

Low Light Competition Winner! (update)
29th January 2014
Pleased to say that my night spent freezing my low lights off at Solomans Temples taking stars trails was deemed worthy of first place in www.ephotozine.com Low Light competition.

http://www.ephotozine.com/competitions/vanguard-competition-week-7----low-light--217

Thanks to all the judges who picked my shot from all the entries which was a great surprise.

So as they say - Watch the skies, everywhere, keep looking. Keep watching the skies (film quote bonus for 10 - send entries on a sealed down envelope)



This image is located in Photos of the Peak District

Update:

The legs arrived today so thanks to ephotzine and Vanguard for the prize. There Auctus Plus 323Ct legs and my first impression is that they are well put together and on the heavy side. Hopefully this adds to stability and is better than any flimsy lightweight models.
I'll try and have a field test and see what they're like in action.
Damp and Wet - Slovenia Forecast (update)
17th January 2014
I've decided that I better check just how cold it's going to be in Slovenia. Up until now. I'd been working on the basis that it was obviously going to be cold, in the same way as Australia is hot.

So, imagine my surprise (as they say) to find out that at the moment its about 7 degress, wet, and has a grand total of 0cm of snow.

I used to worry about ski forecasts in my younger days as one of the worlds leading snowboarders (leading - well, infront of my mate Martin down the slopes sometimes). I didnt think I'd be waiting on the snow again.

Well, there's still time but it looks like those frozen waterfalls will be hard to track down.

UPDATE: Checked again 22/1/14 for the forecast at the resort Kranjska Gora and the temperature has dipped from last week. Seems to be around 2 degrees and some wet snow is possible.
New Page Title
08th January 2014
I felt a new title at the top of the page was in order so I've had a bit of a go.

After much debate and a can of beer, I plumped for a snappy 'Stephen Price Photography' approach. It seemed appropriate.

Hope it looks OK.

So until the next revamp, and probably after more beer, I'll run with it.
Slovenia Winter Visit
01st January 2014
Well, now its January and another year of working 9-5 looms, I can start to make a few plans for my forthcoming return trip to Slovenia.

Last October the temperature varied from 20C in the valley bottoms to 0C (with wind chill making it colder) at the top of the Mangrt Pass when the sun disappeared.

In January, the temperature average varies from 5C to -5C, which gives an average of a nice round 0C.

I'll need to invest in some new thermal vests and some fleece lined trousers - the last pair of fleece trousers I bought was a few years ago so I hope they still fit (the onset of middle age spread may have done for them). If I can talk myself into it, then it might be time at last to buy a proper winter jacket to keep the heat in and be properly breathable. And new gloves.

I have a pair of walking crampons for my boots which I suspect I'll need.

Photo wise - snow and ice should be prevalent which will be good. Frozen water and waterfalls ought to make great subjects. I'm wondering whether it will be hard to keep any condensation of the lens when the temperature dips.

The only real problem I can see will be getting to and from Stansted given the UK's appalling lack of ability to deal with any snow that arrives before I depart.
Can't beat at bit of Coast
16th December 2013
I'm looking forward to the Xmas holiday - really just for the break from work.

Now that the longest day approaches I find that it’s a good time to head out to the coast as there is actually enough time to drive there and arrive in good time for sunrise.

I do enjoy the peace of a deserted beach which can be very rewarding. I made a recce out this weekend and was pleased to find that Mother Nature didn’t disappoint. The only snag is I'll have to venture further afield to find some new locations.

Plus, the beach is one of the few places where waders are sociably acceptable.

Saved in Latest Work for the time being.

Slovenia in Winter
09th December 2013
I enjoyed Slovenia in the autumn so much that I've taken the opportunity when it just arose, to go back there after the New Year.

http://www.slovenia.info/?love_skiing=0 has positive things to say about the winter sports scene and we're actually staying in a ski resort. It was pretty tourist free back in October and it will be very interesting to see how busy it gets.

I'm looking forward to seeing how all the locations we went to before look with a winter coating of ice and snow - I'm sure it'll be cold and sunny. Probably very cold.

There will be some Lake Bled photographs no doubt but it will take some doing to get high up in the mountains. Sheffield can't even manage to keep the roads open with the first flurry of snow - the city grinds to a halt. Hopefully, the Slovenians will be much better at managing such things.
Reaching for the Stars
28th November 2013
Ah - the stars, the universe, the big picture. Is there life 'out there'? Do they have their own version of I'm a Celebrity? (I'm a Vogon?) God, I hope not.

In the spirit of cosmic research, I decided to try photographing star trails when the next suitably clear night presented an opportunity.

So a cold and clear night saw me sat atop the hills over Buxton last weekend, composing a shot of Solomans Temple whilst it was still light enough to see what I was doing. Having had a couple of failed attempts before in different locations, I decided to include the North Star, Polaris for maximum effect. For this I used Google Sky Map on my smart phone to try and work out where the North Star would be.

Once I was set up, it was just a case of waiting for it to get dark. I was surprised at the number of folks who still visited the tower even when it was fairly dark. Dog Walking. Just dog walking I told myself. I've heard other people meet up to walk their dogs in lonely car parks. I'm sure it wasn't that.

So after much waiting and lowering of temperatures I decided it was dark enough and set my camera off taking 30 second exposures continually for an hour. Basically, it was a lot of pics for one shot. Finally, a torch lit shot of the tower clinched the nights work and it was back home for tea and medals.

On the lessons learnt front I discovered that all those frozen puddles I'd been wandering through in the dark actually turned out to be freezing cow pats. Who knew they crunched the same way as icy puddles? I do now.

Practically, some sort of chair would have assisted with all the waiting around. Top tip there.

Finally putting all the frames togther took a while but I liked the results which are saved in Photos of the Peak District. I hope you like it too.

Photo of the Week
19th November 2013
Ephotozine, www.ephotozine.com, which I post to every now and again, have made by photo of the sun rising over the lake Bled their Photo of the Week for w/c 18 November 2013.

Nice surprise!

I will move all my Slovenia pictures to Photos of Slovenia in due course.

Surfaced from the Lakes
11th November 2013
I'm back from long weekend in the Lakes which turned out to be a good break from the routine.

Weather wise it was a very mixed bag as the kids say (I assumed someone still says this, I'm not really down with the homeboys anymore) - Saturday was rain, sleat and some sun, Sunday was glorious sunshine and blue skies whilst Monday was typical Lake District drizzle and rain.

I was based near Troutbeck, and ventured out Rydel Water, Loughrigg Tarn, Ullswater, Elter Water and Tarn Hows. Good stuff.

As usual, the trip through up a few new things:

1. Parking in the Lakes will eat up your loose change - note to self is to join the National Trust (another note to self, 'Trust' not 'Front')

2. My Paramo summer trouser are great with their lightweight material and large pockets. However, as they only touch me at the waist and the ankles they are really not good, as I found out, when the temperature dropped close to zero. I might was well just stood there in my underpants for all the warmth they provided. Note to self - wear nice underpants.

3. I forgot that buying a new lens (my 16-35mm) means that I have to buy all new ND filters again. Note to self - consider a cheaper hobby.

4. Long exposure night trials aren't great in freezing, damp conditions. My lens kept fogging up and my tripod developed a lovely coat of frost. Must try again warmer conditions. Refer to item 2 for trouser report.


Perfect reflections at Loughrigg Tarn
Dipping into The Lakes
05th November 2013
I'm off to the Lake District to look out for some autumn colours. I'm not exactly sure what leaves I'm going to find due to the recent spell of windy weather but it still looks as though most of the leaves are late turning into their autumn foliage this year.

I'll be based near Ambleside at a pleasant country cabin, owned and hand crafted personally by mate Dave (well, the shed was hand built). With a bit of luck I'll even have fresh bed linin.

More research required - locations I have in mind are Grasmere, Elterwater and Loughrigg Tarn.
Back From Solvenia
27th October 2013
What a fantastic break!

My workshop holiday in Slovenia went very well and we were blessed with some superb weather which mean it was a extremely productive time for photography. A typical day meant an early alarm call at 0400 (4 am) to head out for sunrise at either Plan A or Plan B, and then we were on the road until about 2000hrs (8 pm). Tiring, but worth it.

The autumn leaves were at their best and mornings were generally misty and interesting, which some good low cloud cover thrown in for effect. I don't think it could have been a lot better really.

I was very impressed with Slovenia, the countryside, the mountains and the places were all clean and interesting. Very peaceful at this time of year (especially at 6 am) but they say it can get very hot and very busy during the summer months. I would definitely say that Slovenia is a hidden gem.

Being close to the Italian border we were able to expand the field of photo opportunities and again, the lakes and mountains were superb.

This time I didn't lose any equipment but I have swopped by 17-40mm lens now for a 16-35mm version, which I hope will be even sharper.

It'll take me a while to process all the shots - but here is a starter for 10.



Welly Improvements
14th October 2013
A slightly left field entry for a photography blog, but I thought I'd share a new piece of field kit which seems to have made life easier.

I always wear wellies or waders (usually waders) for many secanerios including sandy beaches, wet woodlands and river wading - excellent for keeping sand at bay and getting to those trickey to reach watery locations. The only problem is that water tends to lead to mud and slippery rocks and the lack of grip on wellies has always been a problem. Somewhat dangerous, which is just what you dont need making your way over a slippery rocky foreshore late at night.

So I thought I'd see if I could improve matters and have bought some ice crampons - http://www.amazon.co.uk/ICERS-Ultimate-Heavy-Duty-Grippers-conditions/dp/B004F8B6U6 - so far they have preformed very well in mud and river beds. Feels a lot more secure underfoot.

I'll keep using them and see how they go.
Location Guide - Stanage Edge Area
12th October 2013
There are many popular location for photography in the Peak District but, with my newly discovered Google Map function, I'd thought that it might be a useful if I shared a small guide to some of the easier to access Dark Peak locations which are the favourites of many photographers.

Generally, I think the locations of Stanage Edge, Higger Tor, Over Owler Tor are popular both because of their great views and typical Dark Peak gritstone edge features but also because they are easily accessible from some good parking locations. I've shown both on the map below.



Stanage Edge
Free parking is available in ample lay-bys and a relatively short stroll brings the intrepid photographer to the Edge. Stanage is the largest of the gritstone edges that overlooks Hathersage and is also popular with walkers and rock climbers. I've seen many rock face being tackled and this can make a pleasant photographic subject on warm summer evening. Stanage is also known for its population of abandoned millstones, which again, although a popular subject can make a great photographic composition.



Higger Tor

Higger Tor was probably the first location I photographed when my passion for pictures started to take hold. Again, like Stanage Edge its very easy to access and has good views of the Hathersage Valley. Hope Valley Cement Works can be seen in the distance and the distant layering of the Edale Peaks make nice photographic compositions. I tend to like Higger Tor for sunset shots. Due to its popularity you'll definitely come across more than one fellow photographer adding to your composition. Sunrise is also popular, with the sun rising over Burbage Rocks.



Carhead Rocks
Carhead Rocks never seem to be as busy as Stanage Edge and for Higger Tor, and for that reason I quite like visiting this location. I like the feeling of having the place to myself and being able to enjoy the peace and quiet. The boulder known as the Knuckle Rock makes for a nice sunset composition - well worth a trip.



Over Owler Tor and Millstone Edge
Finally for this section, Over Owler Tor and Millstone Edge. Parking is down at Surprise View car park but this time there is a charge for daytime parking. The parking meter doesn't take coins nowadays so don't forget your debit card. The early riser for those dawn photos enjoys free parking before 10am and, in the summer, you can take advantage of the parking charges finishing at 6pm as well. The walk up to Over Owler Tor is a reasonable uphill step so allow some time to reach there when you are planning your visit.
I prefer to visit Over Owler Tor at dawn and Millstone Edge at sunset.

Slovenia in Autumn - Now with Map!
02nd October 2013
Now its October I'm looking forward to a short break to Slovenia on a Guy Edwardes Workshop to shoot the autumn colours. Lakes, villages and mountains should be on the agenda.

I haven't been to Slovenia before so I thought research was needed - www.slovenia.info

"Slovenia lies in the heart of Europe, where the Alps meet the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain meets the Karst. This small green country measures 20,273 km2 in area, and is home to sincere, hospitable people of great diligence. It has an exceptional number of top athletes, and a wealth of cultural creativity. In Slovenia it is not difficult to compare the value of goods and services, as they are priced in one of the world’s major currencies, the euro."

So, lets check.

1. I like green. Its my favourite colour for grass etc so that's a good start.
2. The people are diligent - that's good, getting served in the bar should be easy
3. It has a number of top athletes. I should blend right in.
4. Cultural and Creative. I watch BBC2 and once made an excuse for late homework, described by my teacher as 'creative'. Again, a perfect fit.
5. The Euro - I've definitely heard of it.

So, all in all, it sounds like my ideal break.

I'm hoping the weather is on my side but of course there's no guarantees.


View Larger Map
Return from the Sutherland Coast
18th September 2013
Well I'm back from a workshop in the far north, Sutherland in fact on the North West Scottish coastline.

The company was Aspect2i and the leader for the week was Paul Gallagher who was a great guide and photographer. Always free with his tips and advice it was a very agreeable break away from work.

We were based in Kinlochbervie, a thriving metropolis of more than about 120,000 homes. Oh no, hang on - sorry, about 12 homes (got the decimal point wrong). The peace and quiet was very refreshing and it was a good base from which to explore the area.

Sticking mainly to the coastline, locations included Oldshoremore, Durness, Droman Bay, Scourie and Pollin Bay. I can honestly say that these were some of the most pristine beaches and clear seas I have come across and I'm sure there are many more similar spots along this wonderful coastline.

The weather was as varied as you might imagine with our fair share of rain, drizzle interspersed with the occasional clear spell. My preferences for photographic conditions still remains with the appearances made by Sun but dull conditions did make good conditions for coastal long exposures. There are no bright spots in the breaking white peaks of the waves to burn out which is definitely a benefit.

I'm still not by inclination a black and white photographer but I can see the potential and its something that I can work on.

As usual, there were casualties. We mark the passing of:
Hoya Pro 1 Circular Polariser (2011-2013) - sadly missed
77mm lens cap (2012-2013) - died from injuries received trying to protect Hoya Pro 1

We pay homage to the following who still feel the effects of their time in action:
Canon 24-105mm lens - recovering from wounds
Gitzo 3542 tripod - bravely soldiering on despite suffering damage to leg joints

My wish list (as always) has grown and having experimented with a 24mm Tilt/Shift lens I can see the benefit of this for landscape photography.

I will post shots as and when so keep checking back in the latest work. So cheers and I'll have another pint of Heavy.