DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog https://www.danscape.shop/blog en-us (C) Daniel Cook [email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Tue, 01 Mar 2022 19:43:00 GMT Tue, 01 Mar 2022 19:43:00 GMT https://www.danscape.shop/img/s/v-12/u228088994-o679147889-50.jpg DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog https://www.danscape.shop/blog 120 90 Moving Mountain https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2021/10/moving-mountain

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Late light on the ridges of Appenzell https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2021/10/late-light-on-the-ridges-of-appenzell


If anyone has any excuse for me to head back here and spend a couple of nights in the mountain guest houses. Pls advise.

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Isolated Old Man https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2021/10/isolated-old-man A brief winter trip to Scotland and my first visit to the Old Man of Storr. After seeking the typical viewpoints and taking in the wonder of this geological sculpture we descended as the day-trippers began to churn up the paths. ON my way down however I stopped to take in a different view, just as the clouds rolled back in to isolate the old man from his companions.

DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY: // SCOTLAND \\ Landscape Photography Prints &emdash; Isolated Old Man


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Autumn Approaches https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2021/10/autumn-approaches


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Magic Matterhorn https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2021/9/magic-matterhorn

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Sunrise in the Baaaadlands https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/12/sunrise-in-the-baaaadlands

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Drama at the Storr on the Isle of Skye https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/10/drama-at-the-storr-on-the-isle-of-skye

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Win Hill above a Hope Valley Cloud Inversion https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/10/win-hill-above-a-hope-valley-cloud-inversion
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Long mornings. #peakdistrict #hellofrom

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A day that couldn’t make up its mind, between rain and shine. https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/10/a-day-that-couldn-t-make-up-its-mind-between-rain-and-shine

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Robust & serene. https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/8/robust-serene
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Water Meets Gravity https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/8/water-meets-gravity
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Water meets gravity. #iceland

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Sheffield Round Walk https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2020/8/sheffield-round-walk
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A couple of weeks ago I decided to do the Sheffield Round Walk. Picked the hottest day of the year by accident which made it a bit more a challenge physically and photographically. There can't be too many routes that take you through so much beautiful woodland, so many parks, and following so many streams before passing by a Lidl.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #sheffield @theoutdoorcity ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ More photos on my blog.⁠ ⁠⠀ #visitengland #respectprotectenjoy #LocalAdventureChallenge #neverstopexploring #lovegreatbritain #folkscenery #livefolk #modernoutdoorsman #nakedplanet #natureaddict #OurPlanetDaily #streetdreamsmag #stayandwander #ThelensBible #photooftheday @lovegreatbritain @visitengland #wildernessculture #WellTravelled #watchthisinstagood #RoamThePlanet #theglobewanderer #theweekoninstagram #beautifuldestinations #negativemag #stademagazine #fadedaesthetics #solarcollective #starrlightmag #take_magazine #sheffieldroundwalk

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How To Photograph Stanage Edge? https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2017/1/how-to-photograph-stanage-edge Well, that's the question I have been wondering for the last few years. Having seen Stanage Edge featured on BBC Countryfile this week it's reminded me what a special location it is.

Beautiful views across the Peak District and a variety of fascinating details and rock formations. So it should be easy to photograph right?

Stanage Edge is close to home for me and as a landscape photographer that's great. Having it within walking distance as a practice ground for all seasons. It's been a 'go to' location and it's been interesting to look back on the images I have taken there.

Yet it's one of the most difficult landscapes in the Peak District to feel like you are getting an original photograph.

Tackling The Scale Of Stanage Edge

It's a landscape all about size.  The edge is roughly 3.5miles (6km) long and walking the entire length is well worth doing to appreciate how far that is. However for a photographer it's too large to simply fit it all within a single frame. I'm always one to give it a try though, and the black and white image below is my best attempt to convey it's winding, snaking size in a single image. It's also proven to be one of my most popular prints.

Making Use of Sheep & Climbers

Many photographers will approach the composition to include a part of the edge and the setting sun in the distance. Luckily, due to the great distance of the rocky outcrop there is plenty of variety in this approach.

Yet I don't think I have an image quite that kind in my library. I have always focused either on a part of the dramatic view looking away from the edge, or a view along it's face making rocks the primary centre of attention. I've also found that if all else fails there is always a sheep or a climber nearby to step in and create an interesting image.

Stanage Edge Rocks!

I believe there is endless potential to find abstract pattern and texture detail images by looking inwards. Landscape photography shouldn't just be about documenting the view. It's important to see what makes up the area you are visiting, be it the rocks, plants, trees etc. That doesn't mean it's easy to achieve an engaging photo here, but there is certainly a wealth of opportunity to practice looking in more detail at the landscape.

An Edge For All Seasons

Seasons play a big part in how I've photographed in the area. I tend to visit most often in winter as it's close to home so I can reach it even in snow. The view away from the edge is so wide that there is always plenty of opportunity for some golden light most times of the year. A long midsummer evening can also be a great opportunity to sihouette the edge against a colourful sky or even to look straight to the sky.

The Sky Is The Limit

I'd really love to try some drone photography around Stanage Edge. When I next get my hands on one it will be one of the first places I head to. If you already have a drone I'd suggest making a visit and trying to make the most of the biggest outcrops and dramatic views towards The Great Ridge.

In the meantime I'm going to have to keep experimenting and testing myself with my feet on the ground.

Hopefully this has given a few inspirations for the many ways you can photograph a single location. Landscape photography is all about making the most of the conditions you encounter.

Here is a link to see more images and purchase prints of my images from the Peak District and a few more photographs of Stanage below.

Danscape.co - Peak District Prints

I'd love to hear any stories you have about Stanage Edge or your own experience photographing the area.

Leave a comment or email me [email protected]

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SCOTLAND PART 1 - A 5 DAY LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY ROAD TRIP https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2017/1/scotland---a-5-day-roadtrip In early 2016 Scotland was calling, so here's the story of a 1300 mile, 5 day road trip


It's not hard to love Scotland. You only need to have a poke around Instagram or Pinterest to find photos which make your jaw drop. I'd been watching some friends post incredible photos of Scotland and felt the need to get up there to see and soak in those landscapes. Mini Scottish Road TripMini Road TripThe first stop off at The Rest & Be Thankful

I set about planning a 5 day (fairly fast paced) road trip. It took me a couple of weeks to put the plan of the trip together using a web based app called Furkot which is ideal for a tight schedule road trip. The app takes information such as when you want to set off each day, arrive back at night, the MPG of your car for fuel stops etc and helps you see when you can squeeze more in or when you might be trying too much.

So here goes... I'm sharing the whole trip over a few blog posts to help inspire you to visit and plan out your own route.



Anyone who has limited time to try and see a whole variety of Scottish Landscapes. As a first visit to many of these places it was great. Every single day left lasting memories because we were seeing so much. I still can't believe how many stops we made on day 3's drive just because we encountered so many different landscapes around every bend. We also squeezed in two mountain hikes during the trip which you could choose to skip and maybe spend more time on the Isle of Skye. Although if you go to Scotland and don't climb at least one new mountain, you crazy! Hiking Up Ben ArthurAdventure BeginsOn the winding path towards Ben Arthur

You've got to enjoy driving for this trip. I don't normally but I did this time. I was amazed by some of the roads once we hit Wester Ross driving through fields then along the coast and through mountains all in the space of a few miles.

The trip plan starts from just south of Glasgow and ends in Edinburgh. You can of course do the trip in reverse, it's a free country (well kinda).

Anyways without further chit chat, lets get on to Day 1 of the trip.......



(Sunday 17th April, 2016)

Overlooking The A83 in ScotlandOverlooking The Rest & Be ThankfulSunrise didn't happen :(



Wandering The Wilds of ScotlandWandering The WildsLooking for a viewpoint down the other side. We left our hotel near Glasgow at around 5am and started out to try and make sunrise at The Rest & Be Thankful (where we would probably then not rest or be thankful).

The Rest & Be Thankful (TRBT from now on) is a scenic pass on the A83 (road nerd) which winds up to a point with great views in either direction of the road meandering through valleys and around the lochs.

Anyways, sunrise didn't happen the cloud just got a little bit brighter, but we were treated to a light dusting of snow. It was a quiet early morning and one of those times when you can hear the snow landing on the ground around you which gives it a magical feel.

Trainers on a wire in ScotlandA Sign ?Some drug dealers have better territories than others


Dancing in the snow in ScotlandSnow DanceNot sure what was going off here really. Snow falling over the road.Snow FallThe light snow falling quietly






The random pair of trainers strung over the power lines kind of didn't fit the fairytale atmosphere (and suggested drug dealers were lurking nearby).  We spent around an hour wandering the area and didn't find any drug dealers or much golden light so we headed down the hill to the start of the days mountain climb.



Hiking up to The CobblerIn The Shadow of Ben ArthurTwo hikers making their way up towards the mountain.

It's called The Cobbler because it supposedly looks a bit like a 'cobbler and his last'.

If you know what a 'last' is then your a smarter cookie than me, so I have no idea if it's an accurate name or not. The mountain's slightly more official name is Ben Arthur. I can see why they tend to call it The Cobbler as Ben Arthur does sound a bit like a dodgy act from X Factor.  Anyway I'm digressing a lot here.........

The path to The CobblerA Sneak Peak on the PathThe mountain sits overlooking the valley. Exploring The CobblerLight BreaksThe sun finally making it's way through the clouds on route up.

Starting from the car park just off the A83 the walk begins with a steep climb through woodland until you reach a shallow valley.


The path winds through the valley with mountains either side taking you to the foot of The Cobbler. By this point the clouds were starting to move and break due to the strong winds which meant there were occasional views of the mountain ahead and the loch behind so plenty of snappy snaps took place.


The route to Ben ArthurInto The Valley

We took the path which went to the right hand side of the mountain and then climbed steeply up to our left vis stone steps. On the way up we passed a group of volunteers who were building said stone steps, somehow managing to keep on working despite the incredible wind and occasional snow; much respect to their efforts.


Mountain PathStand & StareOne of the volunteers helping to build the pathway to the summit making his way up.

Valley below The CobblerThe view back down the valley from part way up to the summit. Stone Steps on the MountainStone steps to the summit.

When we reached the summit the wind was much stronger and there was plenty of snow and ice around. It's was brilliant! The reason you climb up to these places is not only for the views but also to experience a different world from that at ground level. You want to be able to look back up at the summit later in the day and feel a sense of wonder as to how different it felt back up 'there'. How much stronger the wind was, how much colder it felt, the hardness of the ice, and the worse the weather the better the dinner & beer tastes in the evening.

The summit of Ben Arthur is a fascinating world and one I'd definitely recommend visiting. It has a number of rocky outcrops and pinnacles to explore although on this occasion we headed straight to the highest point as the wind was making it difficult to hang around too long.


NothingnessNothingnessNearby mountain summit in the mist. The Great Why ?The Great Why ?The summit in the mist. The very top of Ben Arthur is on that little outcrop. The Lure of the SummitThe Lure of the SummitA minimalist view of the summit

Looking down from one outcrop to the other.

No sooner had we taken a few short steps down from the summit heading back towards Arrochar and the wind was gone. The direction of the wind was hammering only one face of the mountain, so there was a peaceful and calm haven right off the other side. 

And then it started to snow! Which was a magical way to descend from the summit.

Snow falling near the mountain.Beautiful snow falling around the summit. Mountain in the mist & snowSnow and mist.   Black and white mountain and loch.The view with the summit down to the loch.   Ben Arthur summit.Along the ridge of the summit.  

Usually my mountain walks go on a good 1-2 hours longer than planned, partly due to photos, partly due to getting lost, but this time we were ahead of schedule when we returned to the car. I really can't recommend this walk enough, it's tough enough to feel like a proper mountain hike, but short enough to do without taking up the whole day. It's also a really dramatic and different summit worthy of a visit in different conditions.

Route up to The Cobbler.Looking back up to the summit from the route of descent.



After whipping off the waterproofs & boots we then popped in to the small village of Arrochar and found the Arrochar Tea Rooms for a spot of lunch. I loved it in there; a nice informal cafe, smoke-tasty smoked salmon on tiger bread which was bloomin' lovely. Of course we also snaffled some cake and plenty of tea then headed off to find the hotel for that night.

We stopped at The Village Inn a busy and traditional feeling pub next to the loch which I'd definitely recommend if your stopping near here. The rest of that day was a lazy one catching up on a bit of sleep and getting ready for another early start.

If I was following this route again I'd consider skipping a night's stop in Arrochar just to spend more time further along the route in the Isle of Skye or Wester Ross. I figured after a long mountain walk we would need to rest (and we did) but if you skipped the mountain I'd say an evening drive up to Glencoe or Fort William would be a good move.




I'd love to hear your suggestions, comments and if you ever follow this route in the comments below.


Catch my latest travels on Instagram here.


Glimpse of an Old FoeGlimpse of an Old FoeAn image which always springs to mind from this walk. A glimpse of the mountain from between the trees.

Day 2 - Buchaille Etive Mor, Glen Etive, Glencoe, Fort William, Mealt Falls, The Quiraing, Portree

Day 3 - Old Man of Storr, Sligachan, Applecross Pass Bealach Na Ba, Lonbain, Torridon, Kinlochewe, Ullapool

Day 4 - Lochinver, Suilven, Ullapool

Day 5 - Nairn, The Cairngorms, Edinburgh






[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) 5 day road trip Britain Great Britain Scotland UK fuji landscape landscape photography mountains outdoors road trip scottish road trip travel https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2017/1/scotland---a-5-day-roadtrip Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:43:06 GMT
Develop Interests To Develop Photos https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/10/develop-interests-to-develop-photos In the act of making better photos, the ability to buy and operate a camera is significantly secondary to the requirement to have a genuine interest or passion.


The world presents an infinite number of opportunities to find what you really love and enjoy so go out and find that thing. Don't look at the end game of producing great photographs as a route of learning techniques and following a set of steps or rules. Yes, you must learn the basics, you must learn how to operate your camera but if you limit yourself to only that and focus all your energy on the process you won't create anything with a sense of yourself. You will only replicate others or you will only produce technically perfect work which says nothing about you, the life you have lived or the world you have lived in.


This of course might sound 'well fluffy' or like a regurgitation of all those inspirational Pinterest quotes but I swear it's the truth. It's why I have no real interest in taking photos of people at say weddings for example. I have the equipment and I know how to operate the camera but it's not where I find my inspiration, I'd do an OK job of it but I'd never want to slave for hours and hours getting every bit of knowledge I'd need.


To try and illustrate this I give the example of how I view my own journey with photography like this:

  1. Growing up I spent a lot of time outdoors in the Lake District and the Peak District. I didn't realise it at the time but I've come to love those places, and not just in a come and go way. I mean in a way that when you are there all you focus on is that place and nothing else.
  2. I lost touch with that interest and went about other things, growing up, music, making silly videos, songs, sport, eating etc all of which added more facets to my character, experience and approach to creativity.
  3. I found the landscape again, I clearly remember a first trip to the Peak District after probably 10 years away. I had been living in Sheffield for 3 years and hadn't even thought to go to the Peak District. On this trip and reaching the point along the A57 where Win Hill suddenly steals the view all those memories and attached feelings were stirred.
  4. I took a trip to Scotland for my birthday in 2009 to celebrate completing my degree. Again I reconnected to the landscape and the sensation of climbing mountains and enjoying spectacular views (we climbed Ben Cruachen completely out of fitness and appreciation of how long it would take).
  5. I started to go out to the Peak District more, I used it as a weekend escape when working in London.
  6. I wanted to capture the sights of the walks I was doing and decided to purchase a camera.
  7. Whilst working away in London I spent time on trains and in hotels reading photography magazines and online information to learn the basics of photography. I would then practice how to think about those settings when presented with various situations and I got to know the post-processing software I was using.
  8. Eventually (maybe 2-3 years later) when using a camera it became much easier to transfer my own vision and feeling into each photograph. A combination of using the camera correctly and learning more post-processing techniques. I spent time almost trying to be like lots of other photographers, replicate certain styles and location to find what I enjoyed. I experimented with different types of photography but none were as effortless and spending time in the landscape.
  9. I came to a position where I actively want to share my own style my own visions and I no longer try to make images for other people to enjoy, I simply hope that if I make an image for myself that it will connect with others. This provides a motivation to keep improving and learning, to keep soaking up information from all spheres. How to work with colour, shape, pattern, graphic design, cinematic tones etc.  Everything you experience can then be translated back to your approach to the next photograph you make.
  10. I started to want to explore more landscapes and places so that I could apply my new found photography skills and not only document the places I went but really capture the feeling of those places or at least express my own vision and experience in those places. I got to know other people who share this passion and in some way feel I've come full circle from step 1 with photography having been my way to outwardly express this love of the landscape. I could ditch the camera tomorrow and still be happy travelling and spending time in the landscape. But if the landscape became a flat barren expanse of grey and the sun just shone all day and night then I'd lose a part of myself, my past and hopefully future.


I really want to share my photographs not to prove I can operate a camera and work in Lightroom but to show you how I see the world, what's important to me, where I find enjoyment and to see if we share anything in common.


So seriously are you looking at photography as your end goal or are you interesting in something and want to make amazing photographs that show that thing, people, events, places, the planet, other planets, flowers, animals, pencils, glasses, wood, skin, climate change, socks ? 


* I'm not sure how this works if your genuine interest or passion is photography itself (mind boggles).


The single best Podcast I've ever listened to is the Ffoton Interviews Podcast with David Hurn, who probably conveys the above with actual experience and authority so go check that out here.


Sorry this is a no photos blog, but I so wanted to share these thoughts that the photography has come second.



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Bole Hill Quarry Sunrise Trip - 2nd October 2016 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/10/Bole-Hill-Sunrise-October In the words of Dave Chappell impersonating the words of Rick James, "Bole Hill Quarry is a hell of drug".

If I had to select a single location in the Peak District based on it's photographic merit the woodland of Bole Hill Quarry and Padley Gorge would probably take the fabricated award. You won't find those wide open postcard vista's, you might find some postcard autumnal scenes I suppose, but you will if you simply spend time there feel a sense of atmosphere you don't find in many places and that translates into creativity for me.


So, I had a weekend to myself last weekend and watched on social media as I missed an opportunity to grab another cloud inversion in the Peak District on the Saturday. I didn't get up early due to a late night on the Friday writing a blog post, checking out new music and drinking a bit of wine. With that regret as motivation I made a commitment to get out and about on the Sunday morning hoping for repeat conditions and another inversion opportunity.

To add a bit of interest to the morning I decided to try and film a few behind the scenes action videos, something of how these sunrise mornings unfold for me. If you know me, follow me on Snapchat (@dappadanboy) or have read some of my blog posts you may expect that these my behind the scenes 'VLOG' had it's fair sprinkling of sarcasm, silliness and bad accents along the way. Still I figured I could at least practice my on camera style, voice, content and video production skills.


The morning didn't really unfold as hoped, there was no cloud inversion or even any particular special conditions to write a blog about (hmm that's what I'm doing now). I planned to set off towards Ladybower from where I could assess the conditions and then maybe head to Castleton or maybe stay around that area and climb Win Hill for a different view of the cloud inversion. As soon as I made it out of the Sheffield boundary towards Ladybower I could see there wasn't a jot of mist, fog, cloud or other white substances in the sky. I decided therefore to head to the always photographically generous Bole Hill Quarry and here's what unfolded wandering around in the trees on my first ever VLOG on Youtube  ............

If you fancy keeping up to date with future VLOGS, Tutorials etc then please hit subscribe on my YouTube channel, I promise it will get better.

Danscape on Youtube



All the best



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Fuji Noise - The Great Auto ISO Decision on X-T2 & X-Pro2 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/X-T2-ISO-NOISE Fuji noise huh, the best in the game huh ? Maybe, but I'm not really interested in the whole game I just want to know how noise affects photos with the camera I use for shooting contrasty landscape scenes at sunrise & sunset.

So my X-T2 landed today. As I've already owned the X-Pro2 for around 6 months I wasn't really as excited as getting my hands on the X-Pro2 as the image quality (which is the most important thing right ?) wasn't going to be different. The lenses I had would be the same, and I already knew I'd love the X-T2 so really this was a bit of a functional purchase just to get hold of that tilting screen.

First things first, the X-T2 is great but I now see why the X-Pro2 get's the grand title of X-Pro. That thing is seriously robust by comparison, it just feels solid and more substantial in many ways. Hmm except not having a tilting screen :(

Anyway onto the main topic of today's lecture......


I've become very disregarding of ISO settings in the last couple of years. I used to be quite strict with making sure to take the tripod and ISO100 route for as many landscapes as I possibly could to ensure the best setting for each image. I think it's the influence of platforms like Instagram with their low resolution approach and a little realisation that great photos aren't made by a complete lack of noise but by being out to see great things. I have basically left my Fuji cameras in ISO AUTO mode for the last year or more and rarely switched out of it. I must be honest this has probably caused me some problems in post processing, not major issues with severe noise but the a little disappointment from time to time where I can see on a 5k screen a little more 'grain' than I would like in the shadows. Still it hasn't changed one bit my love of being in those places and capturing memories and I don't think it's prevented me from getting some worthy shots handheld and kinda ditching the tripod lugging duties. I have also been shooting a lot more in the wider open apertures (sharpness isn't everything) which naturally means more light and less need for high ISO's so again leaving the AUTO ISO to do it's thing hasn't been a problem. I tend to put minimum shutter speed to 1/125 to actually push the camera to use higher ISO's in exchange for being much more likely to get a sharp image and limit to ISO6400.

So, if ISO setting don't matter why write a blog post about it ?

Well I just fancied seeing what the real difference was between the ISO settings on the X-T2 I suppose. Not as a straight from camera view but with some adjustments in Lightroom that tend to actually cause noise to be a problem. Pushing shadows up, adding grain and trying to sharpen detail.


As you would expect, I took some photos of an Indian cooking book and a bear egg cup currently planted with an aloe in the late evening window light. Not my usual subject matter but the lighting was warm and natural for the late evenings where ISO comes in to play. The cooking book had some nice texture and colours, and the bear, is a bear.

All photos were shot in uncompressed RAW at f5.6, auto shutter speed with no exposure adjustment, auto white balance, and auto focus honed on the cooking book tree (which I now realise you can't actually see in these crops, but trust me all the same focus)

Once imported into Adobe Lightroom CC the adjustments made were, +80 Shadows, +20 clarity, Sharpening to 42 with detail turned up to full and masking at 56. Probably a bit more sharpening than I'd usually do but sharp photos are always better right ?


So the first thing I need to say is that ISO200 is the best, did you not know that already ? I mean it's really so clean and lovely that it is the best and wherever possible you really do need to use this setting.

That said and in total contradiction, there isn't much point in fussing about anything up to ISO 800, you really won't notice the difference unless you want to. You definitely won't notice the difference at normal viewing distance.

Where I feel it's worth comparing is to see just how different ISO200 and the higher ISO's are, so starting with ISO 200 - ISO 1600 ........

ISO 200 v ISO 1600ISO 200 v ISO 1600Fuji X-T2 Noise Test and Comparison Look to the right of the bear onto the whites of the wall and you will see some noise where the shadows have been pushed up. Considering this is a 100% crop it's pretty minimal noise, as soon as you zoom back out you wouldn't notice, and here is the rub the ISO1600 is actually the better shot simply because the ISO200 shutter speed whilst an admirable effort handheld is slightly blurred due to camera movement. Guess what that's the whole point of higher ISO, to give you the ability to get a sharp shot in low light so I've basically shown you nothing you shouldn't already know. Use higher ISO when you need to, lower ISO when you can.

So what AUTO ISO settings will I use on the X-T2 ? Well I think I need to see a wider range of the ISO impact to make that decision.  I still think I can get away with keeping AUTO ISO on but if I want to pay a bit more attention to noise and maybe from time to time get the tripod out, maybe I should take advantage of the 3 AUTO ISO options and create a low/medium/high setup.

Next up, ISO1600 v ISO3200

ISO 1600 v ISO 3200ISO 1600 v ISO 3200 Yeah, ISO3200 is a little bit worse than ISO1600, perfectly good for those quickly grabbed shots, atmospheric photos behind the scenes of a trip or indoors shots but I do actually think I find this too much noise to try and process a landscape image, especially if trying to work with the colours in an interesting way and adjust white balance, hue's, luminance etc.

Next up .... ISO3200 v ISO6400 ISO 3200 v ISO 6400ISO 3200 v ISO 6400

Well if I wanted to get a photo and ISO6400 was the only option then I'd have no issue with it but again I'd like to think if I'd made the effort to get up early, drive, put up with cold etc on a weekend it's a bit too much noise for that and I'd be disappointed with the limitations here.

And finally ISO1600 v ISO6400

ISO1600 v ISO6400ISO1600 v ISO6400 All things change in comparison and context, ISO6400 makes ISO1600 look very clean by comparison, not ISO200 clean but then why do you need a photo to show you that ISO200 is the cleanest setting right ? I think I could work with ISO1600 for 99.9% of shots, ISO3200 for 70% of shots, ISO6400 for 40% of shots. 

Like most stats, they are made up.


ISO is like a box of chocolates, if you read the label you'll know what you are getting. The hard part is deciding which one you want. Easy rolling, handheld freedom from the ISO settings or tripod wielding clean images ?

I think I'm going to try this;

AUTO ISO 1 - ISO 200 Default, ISO 1600 Maximum, Minimum Shutter Speed 1/60 - Walking about landscapes.

AUTO ISO 2 - ISO 200 Default, ISO 6400 Maximum, Minimum Shutter Speed 1/125 - Everyday Hussle

AUTO ISO 3 - ISO 200 Default, ISO 12800 Maximum, Minimum Shutter Speed 1/500 - Keep it Sharp.

Manual ISO Selection - When something amazing is unfolding in front of my eyes and I know I need the best possible quality.


Hopefully these comparison images have shown the difference in the key ISO settings and my ramblings may have at least made you think about your own approach to ISO settings. If not at least I've filled up my blog a bit and sunk a couple of glasses of red wine whilst listening to some new music.


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All the best




[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Auto settings for fuji ISO ISO for landscapes Nature ISO camera noise fuji fuji camera settings is noise important iso landscapes noise review settings what ISO what is camera noise which ISO x-t2 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/X-T2-ISO-NOISE Fri, 30 Sep 2016 20:35:46 GMT
Why I'm Swapping my Fuji X-Pro2 for an X-T2 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/why-im-swapping-my-fuji-x-pro2-for-an-x-t2  

...... because it has a tilting LCD screen and I enjoy taking photos of flowers.  Flowers tend to grow close to the ground and I don't want to lie on the ground all the time for the shot I want.


Shortest gear blog post ever ? Well I was going to make it even shorter.

See my collection of images shot on Fuji X Series here - http://dan-scape.co.uk/fujix





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[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) floral photographer flowers fuji choices fuji gear fuji reviews lcd screen which fuji which fuji camera x-pro2 x-t2 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/why-im-swapping-my-fuji-x-pro2-for-an-x-t2 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:51:51 GMT
Fuji XF90mm Lens, Some Flowers & Musings on the Fuji GFX Medium Format Idea https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/fuji-xf90mm-lens-some-flowers-musings-on-the-fuji-gfx-medium-format-idea When I see a lens sold as a 'portrait lens' I like to check out the close focus distance first to see if it has potential to use playing around in the shrubbery to get some lovely bokeh.

That's why I purchased the Fuji XF90mm, here a little sample of the kind of thing I'm talking about.  More to come soon on this front, but first some thoughts on the idea of a Fuji Medium Format Digital Mirrorless Camera, the GFX range.

I suppose it's inevitable as per the way the world works, bigger is better. Medium format is better than full frame and APS-C etc, not necessarily in an everyday noticeable way but if you really want it to be. Great photos don't rely on a minimum sensor size but being in great places or situations, but a medium format camera does appeal to me as part of a complete camera setup for landscapes.  I've been pondering (again) you see on the Sony A7Rii. I don't like the idea of two different camera systems but I do from time to time really want the option of using the ultimate camera just for purely psychological reasons of not thinking "if only I had". I always reach the conclusion that the Fuji is the best of both worlds and stick with it but what if I bought both worlds and could choose which world to live in on each trip ?

Well maybe with a medium format Fuji there is a worthwhile argument for having an X Series setup that's small, light, with great zoom lenses to shoot in a more flexible way and then whack a nice medium format Fuji in the cupboard/bag for those deliberate occasions and special trips. I like the idea of having a more deliberate camera setup, needing to slow down with the tripod and focus on capturing less quantity and more quality. If i venture out at sunrise to take photos I'd want to take the best camera I could lay my soft little hands on, but when I'm out walking in the lakes or peaks then I just want a couple of zoom lenses to cover something special occurring.

Anyway with the price of camera equipment from Japan after Brexit the GFX will probably be about £5k for the body alone so not an option for the short term, but I like to dream.

See my favourite images shot on the Fuji X Series Here - http://dan-scape.co.uk/fujix


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Loosely Assembled Thoughts - 5th Sept 2016 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/Danscape-Ramblings-050916 Followers Do Not Lead to Real Change


Do You Follow ?


Photography has basically become Instagram to me!


It's all I really think to publish my images to and I definitely try and aim my edits towards what 'fits' the trending styles of the day. Don't get me wrong you need to see what other people are creating from time to time, but to immerse yourself into that same world, day after day after day can't lead to new creativity can it ? Aim to fit in and please the masses will surely lead to conformity to single styles and a feeling that your own vision can't be worthwhile if it doesn't match the trends.

You need to Zig while everyone else is Zagging don't you to make anything really worth sharing ?


Time to ask more of the Why than the What.


Why am I taking this photograph, because it's showing something spectacular or because it might work on Instagram. I never used to take photos of roads and paths, sure it's common discussion that photographs need to have a leading line in the foreground but that used to be a challenge to find something naturally in the landscape.  Now it's just like Wham Bam stick a road down the middle of a square crop photo and it draws you in much like.... well standing and looking down the middle of a road. Is that wrong or is that the whole point of photography ? To play with visual elements that you know will lead a persons eye is surely the whole craft particularly with landscape photography.

I've always said that photography is secondary to the landscape itself for me, if I didn't love being outdoors on hills, mountains and new places then I probably wouldn't need a camera. Yet more and more it feels like I need to go out to these places to build up photos to share on Instagram, that can be viewed as a brilliant motivation the wrong motivation.

When I created the photograph above (in the editing stage, see the before RAW image below) I wasn't trying to fit into any style, arena, platform. I just started with an image which I took with the wrong lens and wanted to get the sunset colour and light. I focused on the part which stood out best to me and always has from this location which is the rolling hills of the Peak District and then probably accidentally I ended up with something a long way from the starting point. A light black and white image with little detail and lots of negative space.  This feels much more like creativity in photography and it's why I won't deny that I enjoy the time spent editing the images as much as the time sent taking them.

Surveyance (3:2)Surveyance (3:2) No preset could turn this RAW image into the final image I wanted to share!


Lights Out



[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) creative photography creativity insta insta presets instagram landscapes ludwig preset photography presets stand out thoughts https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/9/Danscape-Ramblings-050916 Mon, 05 Sep 2016 23:07:17 GMT
Loosely Assembled Thoughts - 29th August 2016 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/8/29th-august-2016 As August comes to an end summer feels like it has passed me by again. I haven't managed to fit in any day trips to the Lakes, long walks in the peaks or any early starts for photography. Seeing other peoples photos of a stunning cloud inversion with rainbow this morning was very inspiring to make sure I try and get out through the coming 2/3 months as autumn lands.

I spent yesterday exploring the woodland of Snake Pass with @h._b._ and @davemullenjnr of Instagram fame. I don't think I managed to take any bangers or even semi-bangers in the way of the photos but we did chat a lot about films and podcasts.  This meant I spent (rhyme style) this morning finding new podcasts to listen to, mostly along the lines of interviews and talks with successful people.

It turns out the key to success is mostly hard work and taking risks of failure.  Guess I'll leave the successfulness to others then ......

I did manage to sort a booking for an upcoming trip however which was counts as a successful day off for me.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon exploring a new route from home to the shops around the beautiful green lanes of Lodge Moor. The trip mostly involved meeting cows, stepping in cow pats in mesh trainers (not nice) and listening to the Adam Buxton podcast for light relief from all those successful folk (not that he's not successful).

One of those Windows XP kind of days with blue sky's and green fields.Processed with VSCO with a9 preset Sunny ShapesBeautiful farmland to be enjoyed on a walk around the outskirts of Sheffield

Things I procrastinated on today -

1- Going for a run

2 - Trying to source some sponsored accommodation or car hire for an upcoming trip to Iceland

3 - Writing proper blog posts with photos n that


Yet again I had thoughts of purchasing all the latest Sony gear for this Iceland trip as well today.  Every couple of weeks I flip between committing fully to the Fuji system and lenses for the trip and seeing the Sony full frame as the best option for such a big trip to make sure I have the best gear. Let's face it though going to Iceland in winter there will be a certain amount of practicalities that come into play;

A - I could get away with 3/4 lenses with the Fuji system that are super sharp, weather proof (apart from one), and compact.

B - These lenses would be Zoom lenses which means less messing around swapping lenses during a freezing wind, or some light rain etc which is most likely in Iceland.

C - I love the Fuji


Another day not sticking to healthy eating with a takeaway curry on the way as well as now being very tempted by a beer.



[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) blog curry dan_scape danscape diary inspiration motivation photography success takeout thoughts https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/8/29th-august-2016 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:43:16 GMT
Fuji XF90mm Sample Photos, Getting from Work to Home at F2.0 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/8/fuji-xf90mm-sample-photos-getting-from-work-to-home-at-f2-0 I won't even try to pretend this is a full or particularly informative review of this lens.  I only received it today and attached it straight to the X-Pro2 and snapped away a bit at work and on the way home, and then at home.

I purchased it on the back of reading some rather gushing reviews about the bookeh, sharpness etc and I plan to try and use it for some of my floral type photography and squeeze the most out of the creamy out of focus areas.

It was a bit wet, dark and gloomy today so I didn't get to go out and use it for anything flower related so instead here are some very random shots which I took and might at least show you something of Sheffield, my cooker and a few other bits.

What i would say is that as usual from Fuji it seems incredible sharp and it's very compact for the type of lens and quality.   Autofocus seems very quick and is seemingly silent to the average situation.

All the below photos are shot in F2.0, nice and wide open.  This is how I intend to use this lens so not much point trying to test it out at other apertures just for pixel peeping.  Who came up with the phrase pixel peeping I wonder ?  Great work.



Probably the best shot I got on the route home.  Very quick auto focus and this chap looks super sharp at full resolution on iMac retina.  Definitely a step sharper than other lenses at this length and similar to the xf60mm Macro/portrait lens.  His clothes do look mighty sharp, either he uses some top notch washing powder or this lens is sharp.

Probably the best shot I got on the route home.  Very quick auto focus and this chap looks super sharp at full resolution on iMac retina.  Definitely a step sharper than other lenses at this length and similar to the xf60mm Macro/portrait lens.  His clothes do look mighty sharp, either he uses some top notch washing powder or this lens if sharp.Street Jog F2.0 XF90mmProbably the best shot I got on the route home. Very quick auto focus and this chap looks super sharp at full resolution on iMac retina. Definitely a step sharper than other lenses at this length and similar to the xf60mm Macro/portrait lens. His clothes do look mighty sharp, either he uses some top notch washing powder or this lens if sharp.

First Shot, Paper Piles Detail.  This is cropped in a little but it did jump out as being super sharp.

Paper PilesFirst Shot, Paper Piles Detail. This is cropped in a little but it did jump out as being super sharp

It is a portrait aimed lens after all so here is a person.  Think the focus is actually on his collar and not face or beak but the background separation is tasty.  F2.0

F2.0 PortraitIt is a portrait aimed lens after all so here is a person. Think the focus is actually on his collar and not face or beak but the background separation is tasty. F2.0

Jacket test, to show the graduation of the out of focus and crispness of the texture.

Jacket ZipperJacket test, to show the graduation of the out of focus and crispness of the texture.

Lots of grease and dirt on the ceramic hob at home to show a little bit of the bookeh potential and the silky smooth out of focus grading.  Bear in mind this bookeh is just reflection of light and not back lighting it's pretty sparkly (technical review).

Dirty Cooker Hob F2.0 XF90Lots of grease and dirt on the ceramic hob at home to show a little bit of the booked potential and the silky smooth out of focus grading. Bear in mind this booked is just reflection of light and not back lighting it's pretty sparkly (technical review).

Some textiles lying around the place to show lovely contrast and out depth of field.​ Textiles Fuji XF90mm F2.0Some textiles lying around the place to show lovely contrast and out depth of field.

Another street shot, slightly missed focus here but I likes the composition dunt I so it's in.

Street Lines F2.0 XF90mmAnother street shot, slightly missed focus here but I likes the composition dunt I so it's in.

Home decor details and crispy sharpness of the lens.

Follow Your Dreams Fuji F2.0 XF90mmHome decor details and crispy sharpness of the lens.

Another portrait shot test ?

Polar Bear Shot with XF90mm F2.0Another portrait shot test ?

A little book shelf group shot in the final test.  VSCO preset applied.

Group Shot with XF90mm F2.0A little book shelf group shot in the final test. VSCO preset applied.


Lets face it, this lens is super sharp, seems to have super smooth booked and definite has that Portrait Lens Pop that adds a feel of professionalism.  I'm not sure these photos have anything to actually demonstrate the above statement but I have no reason to lie.


Hopefully I'll get out and find some flowers soon and see what I can come up with, either that or bump in to some real people to take portraits of.

See more of my Fuji X Series images here - http://dan-scape.co.uk/fujix



[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) bokeh digital fuji fuji 90mm fuji lens gear glass lens light photography portrait portrait lens review street testing tones xf90 xf90mm https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2016/8/fuji-xf90mm-sample-photos-getting-from-work-to-home-at-f2-0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 21:54:57 GMT
Fuji Musings - First Experiences and Plans https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/12/fuji-musings---first-experiences "I've Never Owned a DSLR"


I don't like writing about camera equipment, in general I don't like writing blog posts as I'd rather be working through my massive to do list. It's perhaps an indicator of the Fuji feeling that it kind of makes me want to write about their equipment in the same way it just kind of makes me want to pick it up and take pictures.


Well.... that headline statement is kind of true.  I've dabbled occasionally in the world of a used Canon 5D Mkii but each time I quickly disposed of it due to the large size and the 'hefty look' of it.  I've also owned a couple of Sony cameras with the translucent mirror which are similar but always felt like the first step on the way to the true mirrorless trend with their smaller size.  It might also be relevant to say I've never owned a manual film camera either given what I'm about to say below.

I want to write a few thoughts on various pieces of Fuji equipment I've had experience with when I can, and thought I'd start with how I dipped my foot in the water and haven't really looked back, but kind of still keep my Sony equipment for comfort/looking back.



  • I dabbled with a X100 about 3 years ago and kind of hated it. It was so far removed from the ease of the Sony NEX7 to use I wondered what all the fuss was about. I've kept about 4 photos from that couple of weeks including this one.

  • I then saw the X-E1 and 18-55 lens about a year ago, that seemed like a highly recommended travel setup for only about £400 so I took a dip expecting to return it after a week or so.
  • I messed around with a few nature photos and portraits on the way to the shops and when I saw them in Lightroom I was blown away by the image in terms of sharpness and that 'something else' which I couldn't put my finger on......

Flying Back from the ShopsA random photo of me taken by Timbobettso that just seems to have that Fuji feel.

  • I also enjoyed poncing around looking like a film camera hipster with manual controls but ending up with high quality digital images I could apply my own style too.
  • I decided I needed to see how the prints compared to my then current camera the Sony A7, especially for the nature shots I was into at that moment in time.  Again I was blown away with the prints which had an extra crispness and again that 'something else' about them.
  • The Fuji X-E1 suddenly became a camera that made me want to go and create more images, the way every camera does when you first purchase it but this feeling has really lasted.
  • Having seen the image output I decided to get the 60mm macro lens for the Sony.  It was much smaller than the Tamron 90mm I had for the Sony and I hoped to add a touch of the crispness I'd experienced with the 18-55 lens.  I wasn't disappointed at all and I soon found ways to make excuses to go out shooting more moody nature images.  Trips to the shops became hours long exciting routes taking in the wildflowers and hedges along the way with a small macro setup that produced images I love and looked all hipster cool to boot.  The idea of doing any of this kind of photography with the Sony or a DSLR seems unrealistic.  If i took the full size kit out I'd look like a photographer and I didn't want that, I still wanted to look like a person on the way to the shops mostly.


So I now had a Sony setup which had served me really well and I'd fallen for the Fuji feel.  I searched for the kind of Fuji v Sony phrase so many times, looking for someone else to make my decision for me.  I'd really enjoyed using the Fuji but I'd also created so many of my favourite photos with the Sony A7 I couldn't think to just discard it.  There was also the technical differences at play which you can't fully ignore.

I literally resent myself every time I type such silly questions into google hoping for someone to have posted an impossible answer to an unnecessary question.  I still do it however and have read so many arguments about the Sony Full Frame mirrorless systems and the Fuji systems being the best.  In summary I can tell you if you want the best features of each camera model and brand you will need to buy both cameras and native lenses.  If you want to buy only one and like most people can only afford to invest properly in only one then you will lose something.  Here's my currently logic on the pro's and con's, not about the handling and the tech spec's as such but the practical aspect's for my photography style and subjects.

I currently own a Sony A7, Sony Nex 7, Fuji X-E1 and Fuji X-T10.  Yes that's too many cameras!

  • For me personally I want the extra megapixels offered by the Sony sometimes as I enjoy cropping and playing with images after taking them, especially with macro nature shots to isolate elements of the image.  I have from time to time been frustrated by the 16mp of the Fuji in this regard.
  • I also find the Sony is capable of recovering much 'nicer' shadows that are less noticeably noisy in landscape images.  I've processed some images with the Fuji which leaves me frustrated in this regard also and wishing I had taken the Sony A7 out to play.
  • I found the Sony FE 70-200mm lens on the A7 to be a wondrous combination for my landscape images, the Sony really allowing recovering of the shadows and the lens being consistently crisp.

  • However I simply hadn't fully invested in the Sony FE lenses.  I had the kit zoom lens and it had produced some nice images but always felt like a lens I wouldn't take out to anything but family trips due to it being a compromise from prime lenses and not matching the potential of the sensor.  I have the FE 70-200 lens but all my others (20mm f2.8, Minolta 50mm f1.7, Tamron 90mm f2.8) were A Mount lenses converted to the A7.  This added bulk and weight and extra bits of kit but it was way cheaper than the Sony FE offerings which weren't quite as numerous at that time.

Looking back on these images now I wonder what I am doing considering taking up the Fuji system full time and putting all the Sony equipment up for sale.  Maybe this article is a farewell to the Sony equipment that has led to much loved images. Certainly the Sony A7 made me feel like a legitimate photographer who could deservedly hold his own getting up in the morning for sunrise, setting up the tripod and developing more creative images.  I had always felt the NEX 7 was a functional camera but without a Full Frame sensor to complete with the 5d Mkii I'd feel inferior rummaging around the trees of Bole Hill Quarry and bumping into a 5D wielding professional.



As I say above there is no single system to suite my needs, if I could or can afford it maybe holding onto both is an option but keeping the A7 and sticking with the A mount lenses doesn't seem to make sense given there are now well regarded native FE lenses available.  To get the lens setup comparable to my current A Mount lenses would however set me back around £1,700.

I have recently bought a Fuji X-T10 taking advantage of some black Friday discount as one of the frustrations with the Fuji X-E1 was it's slightly slow operating speed (bracketing would take an age), it's lack of a couple of buttons and it's lack of a flip screen for the low down close up nature photos I regularly take.  For £350 it seemed like a small price upgrade from the £200 I'd paid for the used X-E1 for a lot more functionality, it's also a little smaller and lighter.

I also now own the Fuji 55-200mm lens so have a fairly complete focal range covered in with the sharp zooms and along with the 60mm macro I can take all the images I love at high quality with three fairly small lenses compared to perhaps 5 larger lenses with my Sony setup. The 55-200 is a nice sharp lens (up to 135mm) and smaller in the bag than the Sony 70-200.

What I lack however is a wide angle lens for the Fuji and some of the juicy sounding prime lenses, especially a comparable 50mm prime a focal length I've fallen in love with since owning the Minolta f1.7.  To add the primes & wide angle option would probably cost around £1100 with used lenses, so less than getting something comparable for the Sony setup.

If size and convenience wasn't a consideration the perfect setup for me would be the Sony A7 with 20mm f2.8 for wide angle work and the FE 70-200 for tele zoomed work.  The Fuji would then cover the macro work and general travel camera with it's zooms and a mid range prime, it doesn't seem sensible however to have two completely different camera setups in your bag with such added weight and accessories etc.

My final though is how much I love the feel of the X-T1 when's I've briefly played with it and it's weather sealing would be an added bonus for Lake District trips and the like.  If I do stick with the Fuji system I'd probably end up getting one second hand for around £400 after selling the X-E1 and maybe the 18-135 lens as the ultimate 1 lens travel kit (adding another £350 for a used lens).  This takes the Fuji option for me up to around £1,900 I think I could then sell the Sony equipment for something like that amount to be cost neutral have 2 lovely Fuji cameras with a lovely set of lenses..........

........but only 16mp and those slightly too grainy landscape shadows.


I suppose if I went for the Sony lens investment option I could sell the Fuji kit for around £600 reducing that option to £1,100 investment, hmmmmmmm.  Then again what about the Sony A7rii, perhaps the ultimate camera! Small enough in size with a 35mm f2.8 on it, high resolution, in built stabilisation, good shadow recovery. I don't need it now but in a year's time with a price drop that's one hell of a camera to stick on the back of my existing lenses.  Then again would be A Mount lenses really get the best of out such a high res camera. It certainly wouldn't produce quite the same quality and feel or images as the Fuji. Do I really need such high resolution.  In truth yes sometimes.  Not for large prints sizes but for allowing crops on some of my work and still leaving a useable image.

As you can see I'm still undecided in so many ways and I'm trying to wait and see what Fuji do next in terms of sensor technology and to get my hands on some of the Fuji primes to see how much they improve from the zoom lens.  I have also ordered a silver 27mm prime lens to attach to the X-E1 just because it's silver mostly and small.

It's funny how a big part of any future decision has a tinge of emotional factoring, knowing which images I've taken with each camera etc and the love of the Fuji look and feeling. None of those things relate to technical spec, jargon or cost really.  I mean just look at all those dials they do exactly the same as the boring black Sony dials but I mean, just look at those dials ...........

Fuji X Series DialsFuji X series dialsLook at all those dials and retro vibes.

In future posts I'm going to talk more about my experience with each Fuji lens and some examples of image processing that has worked and where I've struggled with each system.


Until then, thanks for reading.  Hopefully this is a bit different from all the standard camera reviews and is based on a genuine long term experience related more to photography style that the camera numbers game.


Please feel free to get in touch via comments or email with your thoughts, experience & questions.

Also check out my latest work, styles and subjects.


Fuji X series dialsThe Fuji feeling from behind the camera.


[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Fuji X-E1 camera review cameras in use cost expense fuji gear gear review hipster indecision interesting thoughts lens system long term camera tests long term camera use photographer sony A7 spending money on cameras style system tests user experience versus x series https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/12/fuji-musings---first-experiences Thu, 03 Dec 2015 22:50:29 GMT
Equipment Confessions https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/10/camera-gear-confessions GEAR PANACEA


A Simple Timeline of my Camera Equipment Ownership

Hopefully this simple list will act to control my future belief in Gear Panacea.  The idea that a new camera will instantly resolve all the perceived problems you experience in photography.

It has been worrying to realise how many camera's I've forgotten I purchased. I've trawled through my eBay purchases & sales as well as my photo library to work out the dates when I've purchased and sold these cameras.  This isn't even to consider the lenses and accessories.

What's most relevant is how much I remember obsessing about each purchase to read every review & comparison and waste so much time being convinced X camera would change my approach to photography, only to now forget I've even owned it.

I'm not sure if this is a confession or a 'shine a light' moment, I've always known I've made some bad and unnecessary purchases.  I hope it's a prompt back to myself when I start doing the same things again (as I still do) in trying to weigh up for example if having the new Sony A7rii or the RX1rii will suddenly make some significant change to my photography.  Or should I wait for the X-Pro 2 Fuji and ditch the Sony A series ? ahhhhh

Overtime I might add some of the old reviews of these pieces of gear which still exist online as it might be amusing to see the grand statement about camera performance for what will now be regarded as a dated piece of technology.

I'm sure i'm not the worst for this kind of gear panacea, but I'm certainly not wealthy enough to afford the mistakes made in this list either.


1983ish - 2000ish


Various Film Cameras with no manual controls including a Pepsi Can Film Camera

Coleccionando Camaras (Flickr)Coleccionando Camaras (Flickr)


Nokia 6630 & Other Early Phone Cameras (1mp)


2003ish - now

HP Photosmart R817 (5.1mp)

(still lives somewhere in a box)


April 2010 - now

Sony HX5V (10.2mp)

(technically not mine, purchased as a birthday present but you know ...... & still lives somewhere in a box)


June 2010 - 27th November 2011 (received £137.50)

Panasonic DMC-FZ38 (12.1mp)

(first camera with some kind of manual controls, purchased to practice the tutorials in photography magazines and the like.  I'd say my first real intent to take photography on as a hobby)


December 2010 - 3rd January 2012 (received £360)

Sony SLT-A55V (16.2mp)

(first interchangeable lens camera, purchased with a 50mm & zoom/macro lens after a small bonus from work.  This was the first camera that prompted me not to go for a walk for a walks sake but to go out to make images)


October 2011 (paid £350) - 3rd January 2012 (received £240)

Panasonic DMC-LX5(10.1mp)

(a compact to accompany the DSLR, purchased after reading how it was much better than any other compact and had some manual controls etc.  In the end I found it a little too big to use as a compact)


November 2011 - 6th December 2011 (received £935)

Sony SLT-A77V (24.3mp)

(purchased before Christmas as an upgrade to the A55V and purchased with a Zeiss zoom lens, and sold on eBay a month or so later for at least £150 loss.  Nothing wrong with the camera, I just got post purchase remorse and decided a used full frame canon would be money better spent)


17 December 2011 (£784) - 5th Jan 2012 (received £784)

Pentax K-5 (16.3mp)

(after deciding against the Sony A77, the Pentax seemed like a good option, smaller, good lenses, well regarded for it's skin tones (i don't really take portraits)


December 2011 - 17th June 2012 (received £530)

Canon EOS 5D (12.8mp)

(entered the full frame world for the first time, but I entered without enough money or balls to buy good enough lenses and so I wasn't blown away with the image quality.  It was also massive compared to the Sony's and very different to use so it only left the house 3 or 4 times before being sold)


29th December 2011 - 6th June 2012 (received £260)

Panasonic DMC-GF3 (12.1mp)

(a temporary foray into micro four thirds world, which of course it the perfect balance of image quality and camera size.  I really didn't enjoy the quality of the images from this camera and rarely used it)


15th March 2012 - September 2012

Nikon Coolpix P300 (12.2mp)

(decided the micro four thirds wasn't pocketable enough and this compact was a good price at the time as the replacement was coming out.  I did actually use this a lot for family events etc and it's still owned by my mum today.)


March 2012 - now

Sony NEX 7 (24.3mp)

(the first camera I really fell for as soon as I picked it up, it felt perfect in the hand and the control system seemed to just work for me.  I still hold sentimental feelings towards it hence why it sits in the draw loosing re-sale value.  At least with the Sony A7 being the same lens mount it comes out every now and again with the zoom lens for a trip to the zoo or travel)


September 2012 - August 2015 (stolen)

Sony RX100 (20.2mp)

(purchased for a trip to Florence and finally the perfect pocket camera (until the mk iii came out).  One of my most used cameras perfect for street photos, gigs, family events and travel)


October 2012 (paid £242) - 30th Jan 2013 (received £150)

Panasonic DMC-FT4EB (12.1mp)

(because I needed to shoot snapshots in the rain and underwater of course, which I did, once)


24th January 2013 (paid £421.11) - 24th February 2013 (received £430)

Fuji X100 (12mp)

(tempted in by all the talk of it's retro goodness but found it difficult to use & slow to operate compared to the RX100)


August 2013 - 24th December 2013

Canon EOS 5Dmkii (21.1mp)

(purchased used with a good set of lenses as now I knew my panacea was to be found in the world of EOS 5D mkii, used for so many images that I loved, used for wildlife, landscapes and really what more could I need.  Well, only lasted a couple of months before the size & familiarity of the Sony became too much of a temptation )


24th December 2013 (paid around £1,300) - now

Sony A7 (24mp)

(the camera that seemed to tick all of the boxes!  Similar to the Nex 7 but full frame, I could maybe use some existing lenses and it would all make me feel like I could never need another camera again (until the mk2).  I went for the A7 and not the A7r as I didn't feel I could use the extra megapixels or afford the high end lenses required, I still think this was a good decision as it meant I could purchase the kit lens.  The A7 & kit lens was the combination I used to take my photo of the Arts Tower which won Urban View in LPOTY 2014)


27th April 2015 (paid £189) - now

Fuji X-E1 (16mp)

(seemed a good price for used camera which got rave reviews from Landscape Photographers, I need to get this Fuji thing out of my system I guess.  However, it has kind of stuck for me and I was really blown away by the image quality of the 18-55mm zoom.  The first time I purchased a print again it really stood out from some of the Sony A7 images so I went on to purchase a full lens set.)


30th September 2015 (paid £500) - 4th October 2015 (Refund)

Fuji X-T10 (16mp)

(seemed a good price for extra features from the X-E1, but in the end it produced the same images so was purely for a few conveniences that I can live without.)


5th October 2015 (paid £316) - now

Sony RX100M2 (20.2mp)

(needed to replace the old Sony RX100 for travel, wanted the mark iii version but decided to make a saving.  Still might return it.)


The Future

So here we are as of today (October 2015) and I am genuinely still obsessing about gear, I'd like to have the Fuji System at it's best and get some more prime lenses, a wide angle lens and possibly get the next generation of cameras, especially if they do manage to go to 24mp with the same quality as it's great to have the extra crop factor for some macro shots.

However there is also then the question of why keep the investment in the Sony A7 world, I feel like if I could get the higher cost lenses for that system (probably £3000 worth) it would then push out my desire for the Fuji, but I know I'd then be seeking to upgrade to the A7Rii which is reviewed as being a stunning camera with the best image quality around.

Basically if someone could give me the following gear for free I guess I'd be happy, maybe for a few years.  Happy to accept second hand or cash (around £7,000 should do it)

Fuji X-T1 and upgrade to X-T2 when that comes out

Fuji 10-24mm lens

Fuji 23mm Prime Lens

Fuji 35mm Lens

Fuji 50-140 lens


Sony A7Rii

Sony 16-70mm

Sony 55mm

Sony 35mm F1.4 or the Sony RX1rii

Sony 90mm Macro


or if I just kept 1 camera and spent all this money on travelling to stunning places...........


Somebody save me from myself.


[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) acquisition buying camera equipment gear money ownership photography selling spec technical technology used waste https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/10/camera-gear-confessions Fri, 23 Oct 2015 10:54:55 GMT
Your Most Loved Thumbnails (LPOTY 2015 Entries) https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/6/LPOTY2015 After having some success in LPOTY competition in 2014 with the Urban View Category I thought I'd offer up my thought process for selecting images to enter into the 2015 competition.


I don't feel particularly qualified to give advice on this subject.  Not only because I am not that experienced, nor have I judged competitions, nor do I feel my images are the best taken in the UK in the last 5 years.  It's also because it's a completely subjective process on which there are few consistent and worthwhile tips to offer which would make a difference.

What I'm recording here is my (conscious) thought process in shortlisting entries and why I personally choose to enter the few photography competitions I do enter.  Most photographers entering LPOTY will have to choose from a large library of recent images (in the last 5 years) and reduce that down to a few entries (1-25).  Here's a suggestion as to how to go about it, we will see if it bears any fruit this year or if it's a load of all ramblings.......


1 - The Thumbnail Test

I generally start my shortlisting by creating a new collection in Lightroom, setting it as the target collection (right click) and then reviewing my photos at their thumbnail size.  As I scroll through I can highlight the images that catch my eye, press B on the keyboard and it starts to fill the collection with those images which might just appeal to a judge who has only a few seconds to view your entries.  I think the thumbnail test is quite a powerful tool for competitions as it comes close to the kind of process a judge (at the first round of shortlisting) might be using.  They don't have time to understand the emotional element of an image or the subtle compositional decisions you may have made.  They are probably looking for the attention grabbers, those with powerful compositions, colours, tones, shapes, events etc.

2 - Trust Your Vision

A lot of landscape photographers take pride in forming their own vision and style over a period of time.  I think to some extent you have to ignore this mentality when entering competitions and not submit say 25 images all of a similar subject matter, tonality or atmosphere.  If you do take that approach the risk is the judges this year aren't in tune with your vision and even in round 1 you may miss out.  After all you can't expect every judge to uphold the same views on what makes a great image as you do yourself.  That doesn't however mean you should dismiss those images you feel are fully in tune with your own vision of the landscape and reflect your style of photography. I think it's finding a balance between the eye catching thumbnail images and those you already had in the back of your mind to enter as they are your own most loved photographs.  I think my Arts Tower image ticked this box for me, I had an attachment to the image which meant I always wanted to enter it not only or it's subject but because it felt like 'my style & vision' with the subdued blues & greys and simplicity found in the urban environment.  It's probably rare for those images you really feel connected to to achieve competition success, that doesn't however make them any less of a great image.  After all you should be taking and creating the photographs you want to see and hopefully that connects with a wider audience at the right time.


3 - Follow Others With Caution

A lot of the points here apply not just to entering competitions but photography in general, this point in particular holds true in that respect. Without diverting myself onto a big discussion into this matter, think about a balance of entries that aren't all like something the judges will have seen before. An example might be black and white urban architectural images which I image might dominate the urban view category 1st round entries.  You will have to take a really creative photograph of a building or city scene in that general style for it to stand out.  I'd say a similar example might be the typical sunrise or sunset images within certain locations.  If your image of say the Great Ridge from Mam Tor is entered it will be competing with at least a few other images from that same location and perhaps in a similar style.  What is it then that makes the judges pick your image ?  For me personally to submit an image of an unknown piece of the natural world and have that shortlisted would be more rewarding than having 'the best' photo of the Great Ridge that year.


4 - What's the Purpose

Finally with any competition you have to consider the end game, what is the organiser looking for and what will the images be used for. To some extent this point contradicts point 3 as I feel for the LPOTY competition some of the awards are actually looking for more iconic images of the British landscape which means often the well known locations.  The Countryside if Great award isn't going to be awarded to a more intimate monochrome image of vegetation say, it needs to be an appealing photograph to sell the British Countryside.  In the year 2015 there aren't many parts of the British Isles which haven't been photographed so those iconic landscapes are often the the most popular not due to people following the crowd but because they are genuinely the most dramatic, impressive or photogenic of landscapes.  Glen Coe for example is an especially beautiful, daunting and dramatic landscape easily accessible so it will always make up a good number of entries into the competition and rightly so.  Again it's finding a balance in your entries between the types of images to submit for your own artistic purposes and those that fit the aims of the competition.


So in summary, four points I'm thinking of along the way to entering some images.  I'll probably enter 25 as I'll feel then like I've achieved some kind of balance between each of the four points above.  I'll be hoping that each of them does well for it's own reason either due to the place getting recognition, my own style being recognised or it's appeal to the masses.  They are all valid reasons to enter the images and yet if they are successful or not they will all still hold that same meaning and purpose to me and hopefully others, just not in this particular competition.


Good luck to anyone entering this year.


[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) achievement competition images judges landscape photographer of the year lpoty photography selecting shortlist shortlisting submissions success uk urban view winner https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/6/LPOTY2015 Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:11:54 GMT
Mountain Motivation - A Steller Story https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/6/mountain_motivation A short story I put together for fathers day 2015 using the Steller App for iOS.

Recently I've had a desire to use my images in more of a story telling form. Photography & stories are intertwined, often when posting a single image at a time you don't get the full opportunity to tell a little of the longer term background to your images. Who is the photographer, what motivated them on that day, how did the images evolve out of a single trip or a single morning.

In this instance I've been building up a collection of images from weekend walks with my dad in various Peak District locations, and there are a few old photos I love from Lake District trips that I thought might be enjoyable to see together. On their own they tell of a single moment or trip, but together they tell you more about relationships, passions & motivations.

Hopefully I can make time for a few more stories to tell.

I'd recommend the Steller App, it's straight forward to use and the stories you can find are inspirational. It feels like a new and accessible way to experience photography.



[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) adventure dad explore father fathers day lake district lakes mountains outdoors pops https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/6/mountain_motivation Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:38:27 GMT
Mindfulness https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/6/mindfulness

Give me a macro lens and something natural and I can lose myself for hours. I don't feel the cold or hunger.

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) abstract close extract flowers ideas immerse love macro mindfulness nature outdoors photography plants show slide up wild https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2015/6/mindfulness Sun, 21 Jun 2015 21:28:53 GMT
A Sequence of Events https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/11/a-sequence-of-events How my image of the Arts Tower in Sheffield nearly never was.....

I'm not sure if this is worthy of a blog post and it may be just ramblings in the end, however I am trying to record more of my photography related thoughts so here goes.

The story of me taking the below image which went on to win 'Urban View' category of the LPOTY competition, or at least the story of how I might not have taken it.  Sounds exciting huh ?



​I start the story with my purchase of some second hand camera equipment.  I noticed via twitter that a fellow landscape photographer had decided to give up their DSLR (Canon EOS 5d Mkii) and switch to medium format film cameras.  In order to make a quick sale and to avoid selling through eBay and the like they offers their camera, 3 lenses etc for a very good price.  At the time I was using a Sony NEX 7 and was keen to try out the EOS 5D which I had seen as the equipment behind so many of my favourite photos.

Digressing slightly, I'd dabbled with a full frame Canon EOS 5D mk1 in the past and didn't get on with it but I thought that was partly down to never quite investing in the right lenses and not enjoying the bulk of the setup.  I subsequently sold that and replaced it with the NEX 7 which is a camera I can't bring myself to part with.  I realise it's weird to say this but when I first picked one up it just felt the perfect fit and has been used for some of my favourite photos.

At this stage I knew Sony were bringing out a full frame camera of a similar nature to the NEX 7, the A7 but comparing the price of that camera, the lenses available etc the option of a second hand EOS 5D Mkii seemed so much better value.  I went ahead and made the deal on the Canon, received the equipment etc and set out using it............


I'm a Sony fan boy.

I tried taking the Cannon out on several occasions but I was stuck with the same feeling as having owned the Mk1.  I found the camera wasn't intuitive for me to use, seemed too big and bulky to be my go to camera for 'nipping out' to take photos and I found myself still taking the NEX 7 as an alternative, defeating the point of my investment.

I owned the EOS 5D for around a month and as I read more and more of the Sony A7 it either became clear or I convinced myself that it was going to be worth the investment to combine my desire for a full frame camera, but one that felt liked I'd owned and used it before, easy for me to use, compact and light etc.  I also still had some Sony E Mount lenses to start me off with it and knew I could perhaps go down the route of using some vintage lenses to save money.


I decided that rather than try to sell the equipment on eBay which felt like I would have been trying to profit on the good deal I'd gotten from the fellow photographer so close after purchasing, I would at least use the Canon gear as a trade in at a local independent camera shop, Harrison Cameras.  It was also ultimately an easier way of getting hold of the Sony, I figured they would be reasonable and I'd at least get back what I had paid for the equipment having got hold of it for a good price.

(From here on I show off my impulsive side which often ends up costing me money but had I not followed it through I wouldn't have take my Arts Tower photo.)


It was Christmas eve, I finished work at around 2pm, (slightly hungover) and had decided I would go to buy the Sony from Harrisons.

In short i didn't get offered what I felt was a good value from Harrison Cameras for the Cannon equipment.  They informed me that the equipment was not in good condition, needed to be sent away for repair before they could sell it on etc etc.  Not knowing the Canon equipment too well I didn't feel I could challenge their comments particularly as I hadn't really used the equipment enough to suggest otherwise.

I therefore left the shop disappointed, I was hoping to be able to play with the new gear over Christmas and was also now worried I had bought some fault equipment that wasn't worth what I had paid for it.

I managed to drive about 10 mins away from the shop when I decided my disappointment was an indicator I should go ahead with the purchase anyway.  What good was having equipment I didn't enjoy using and would (in my mind) prevent me from getting out taking images ?  Also what good was having equipment in poor condition which I myself might have to send off for repair ?

I turned the car around, went back to Harrisons and made a deal, walked away with the A7 & kit lens.  I probably confined myself in my head I'd only lost a small amount on the Canon equipment and it could well have been in need of some service.  I spent several days over christmas getting used to the camera.  I took this photo on Boxing Day in Nottinghamshire ...........

Had I took the Canon with me around Christmas I probably wouldn't have gone out to take photos, instead staying in to enjoy a bit more food & drink it just didn't make me want to pick it up and explore.

Then on the 28th December when back in Sheffield I decided in similar fashion to go out and use my new camera to get some photos of Weston Park in winter.

I can confidently say, had I not turned my car around on christmas eve and purchased the Sony I would not have gone out that day with the camera to take the Arts Tower photo.

It is therefore a story of a few key decisions which led to me taking this image and most of them equipment related. I tell friend & family asking for equipment advise that it doesn't matter and to some extent that is true, but....


If you have equipment you don't get on with or for a particular reason (weight, size etc) you don't take with you more often then equipment is very important. I think to put it more accurately when people talk about not focusing on equipment it should be said 'if you are happy with your camera system, don't chase the next thing to come along'.

'If however your camera equipment 'prevents' you from getting the most out of photography then try everything you can to find the equipment that suits you best.'

It is difficult to resist the marketing hype sometimes. Many manufacturers would have you believe every new model will make you a better photographer and that is far from true, most camera upgrades are small or gimmicks.  I felt the Sony A7 was a genuine fit for my photography style/needs and think it was a good choice.

That's pretty much the end of my ramblings however there has been a longer term outcome from my experience.



I checked the Harrison Cameras website shortly after they re-opened from Christmas and I was disappointed to see my 'faulty' Canon equipment in 'poor' condition listed for sale & described as 'in excellent or good condition'. They were selling it for a fair uplift and had clearly not had to send it away for service or repair.

I honestly felt cheated out of some value for the equipment I had traded in.  We live in a capitalist world, people & businesses who make the most money are celebrated and people reading this might think Harrison's are perfectly in the right, they need to make a profit to compete and trading used equipment you are never going to get what you expect etc etc. Tough crap for me being so impulsive! I can fully understand that view, and had they offered me the same value without saying anything misleading on the condition of the equipment there is a good chance I'd have still done the same deal.  So it's a matter of principle (i sound like my dad now).

Putting it very plainly they misled me about the condition of my equipment (or they lied to the person buying it when listed as good condition ?). Specifically they informed me they would have to send the equipment off for repair which then listing it for sale only 2-3 days later over the xmas period as 'good condition' they clearly did not need to do.

I don't make snap decisions & try to avoid making decision that are based on old fashioned principles, but I feel with this dishonesty I had been taken advantage of and nobody likes that and worse still why would you return somewhere that has taken advantage of you.  

I still recommend them to others if buying equipment as there isn't much other choice in Sheffield aside from Jessops (and i dislike Peter Jones even more).  Before this purchase I had previously spent well over £2,000 probably £3,000 with Harrison Cameras and always felt they were a genuine independent business giving out sound advice from experts.  I would have chosen them any day over the horrible experience of going to Jessops, but now I tend to purchase online only.  I'm sure my comments here and my decision can be criticised but as I say I don't often boycott things or hold up mighty principles I just feel slightly ripped off and therefore I am exercising the choice of where to spend my money.


Thanks for reading,



[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) a7 arts tower canon choosing the right camera equipment dslr equipment lpoty photography sheffield sony https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/11/a-sequence-of-events Sat, 22 Nov 2014 15:44:41 GMT
Winner - Landscape Photographer of the Year - Urban View Category 2014 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/11/winner---landscape-photographer-of-the-year---urban-view-category-2014 I am very pleased to confirm that one of the photographs I submitted to the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition 2014 has been judged the winning photograph of the Urban View category.


The photo will be part of the annual portfolio book (nr 8) which is on sale from Amazon , it will also feature in the exhibition of all shortlisted images which will be located at Waterloo Station in London from the 1st of December.


In a photographic world filled with wider formats, typically the 3:2 format native to most digital cameras it can almost feel restrictive to shoot in other formats such as 1:1 or squares.  The rise of Instagram with it's native square format has helped me break out of the wide format pull and hopefully images such as this can show the power of the square.


This photo was taken in the winter months and my motivation for going out taking images on this day was nothing more than wanting to try out a new camera.  Everyone acknowledges from time to time that equipment does not make a photographer improve however sometimes acquiring new equipment at the least acts as motivation to get out making images even in the colder months.  


My final thought on this image is that is demonstrates that not all outdoor photography has to revolve around golden sunset lighting.  On this cold winters day the lighting took on an almost cold clean feel the exact opposite to the warm golden tones which often make for popular images.  

This photo is a personal favourite for me having lived in Sheffield for some 11 years and for many days passing by this building and at times studying in it.  I never however considered it to win the category and just hoped for it to be shortlisted into the exhibition given how much competition there is in the awards with the standard of photography being so very high.  Often your favourite images don't seem to get too far in competitions.  More than anything it's pleasing to see such a prominent building in Sheffield will be on display & proudly representing the city of Sheffield in the exhibition and being showcased in other publications.




[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) 2014 architecture arts tower award building competition landscape lpoty photography portfolio sheffield shortlist square success https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/11/winner---landscape-photographer-of-the-year---urban-view-category-2014 Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:00:00 GMT
Black and White Spider Awards 2014 - Nomination https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/10/black-and-white-spider-awards-2014---nomination I take real enjoyment from Black and White photography and look forward to entering images into the Black and White Spider Awards on an annual basis.  I don't know a great deal about the origin of the awards, but the standard of images which end up in the shortlists is incredibly high.  I am therefore delighted to have 3 of my 4 entries nominated across 2 categories.

I expect many of the photographers entering the competition specialise in black and white images, and that is certainly an approach I have considered on several occasions. If in some unlikely situation I was forced to produce only monochrome or colour images for the rest of my days I would take the monochrome route. Until that happens I don't think I will restrict myself for the sake of it as I find coming to every photograph with an open mind the most productive way to work.  For example I had sat on the above image of Cat Bells for perhaps 2-3 years staring at the colour version imported to my photo editing software and skipping past it regularly in my search for something new to work on.  When I finally decided I wanted to find my best shot of Cat Bells to hang on the wall I stopped on this one and as soon as it appeared in monochrome it really jumped out the screen at me.  The original image was interesting but the colours were fairly flat, there was no seasonal impact and the pathway was a mixture of dull tones which didn't give the desired effect of highlighting the path winding up to the summit.

For me self imposed restrictions on a style of photography wouldn't work, I am very fickle and lack discipline so I will always try several approaches to an image in the development stage and see what works best for the image and nothing greater.  On rare occasions an image will work well in both colour and monochrome and I don't feel it in some way lessens my work to publish both versions as they can highlight different parts of a good photograph and have enough interest to be viewed twice.

The B&W Spider awards is an international competition dedicated to monochrome or black and white images and judged by some of the most influential parties in world photography. What has pleased me the most about the photos nominated this year is that I have more of an emotional tie with them, sometimes your emotional opinion of an image can cloud your judgement on it's appeal to others so to combine photo's I love with some recognition is a great feeling.

Below are all my entries into this years competition with only 1 of the 4 not managing to make the short list and probably faced stiff competition in the people category.  Selecting the correct category for entry can be a tough decision but a very important one in photo competitions.

EntriesMy Black and White Spider Entries 2014





[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Architectural Award Black Competition International Mono Nomination White award bells cat district lake nature winning https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/10/black-and-white-spider-awards-2014---nomination Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:56:18 GMT
Gear Review - Jack Wolfskin Camden Town Shoulder Bag https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/8/gear-review---jack-wolfskin-camden-town-shoulder-bag The Jack Wolfskin - Camden Town Shoulder Bag / Satchel Bag has become a perfect companion for my mirrorless camera setup.  I feel the need to share !

Every now and then you stumble across a product which fulfills all of your needs.  In this case the product isn't even marketed at photographers but could and should be.

Get information on my latest gear blog posts and print offers by joining my mailing list

I happened upon this bag while browsing in the Jack Wolfskin shop at Grasmere in the Lake District.  I was not looking for a new camera bag at the time but I had been frustrated that in order to take a tripod out on shorter photography based walks I had to revert to a rucksack, or carrying the tripod which is far from desirable.

I had therefore wanted a shoulder bag which could accommodate a tripod in some way, however I didn't want it to look like a camera bag as such.

Enter the Camden Town shoulder bag.........

The Compact & Practical Shoulder BagThe Compact & Practical Shoulder Bag Ideal for more casual photo walks in good weather conditions.


I'm not one for long wordy reviews, or perfectly placed product shots but here are the practical facts on why I love this bag and urge people to look outside the usual suppliers of camera bags.


  • 2 straps at the base of the bag which support a compact tripod
  • looks great (not a 'camera bag')
  • perfect size for mirrorless systems and 1/2 lenses
  • well made
  • many, many pockets & compartments
  • easy access external zip


  • Ideal for mirrorless camera system users.
  • Size won't accommodate large DSLR and large lenses
  • Will take the smaller compact tripods you can use with mirrorless
  • Isn't waterproof but using dry bags will allow it to be used in fair weather through the odd shower.

In summary, I brought this as a camera bag by chance.  I have ended up using it daily as a bag for work as I like the style and practicality with various compartments.  I will be buying a second bag as a dedicated camera bag.

I previously purchased an Osprey rucksack to be my go to camera bag, with the same principle as this in many ways with it being a non 'camera bag' but more practical with a way to support a tripod and be comfortable to wear.  I now only use that rucksack for longer trips or in bad weather where the covers come in handy.  Otherwise it's the shoulder bag for evening walks.

PURCHASE HERE (or Cotswold and the like)



Camera InsertPurchase a padded camera insert from eBay (only a few £) to fit and protect your gear.



Without the padded inserts there is still good protection and plenty of different pockets to store accessories, filters etc in.



No space is wasted in creating several pockets for storing different items.



Including some great little internal side pockets (both sides) great for note book, filters, remote release etc.


On the external flap is a good sized zipped pocket where I keep most of my 'bits'. Batteries, lens brush, memory card, lens caps etc as it's very easy to access.


Side view shows the 2 external side pockets which compress well to stop anything falling out. Fit's a water bottle or other accessories. Also see the tripod on the base.





[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) camera bag classic compartments hipster padding pockets practical satchel shoulder style tripod https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/8/gear-review---jack-wolfskin-camden-town-shoulder-bag Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:59:21 GMT
Scottish Nature Photography Award - Shortlist https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/5/scottish-nature-photography-award---shortlist I am very pleased that one of the photographs I submitted to the Scottish Nature Photography Awards competition 2013 was short listed in the Environmental category and will feature in their portfolio yearbook.


The black and white image titled 'Man's Land Management' (above) was taken at Glen Nevis looking down on forestry works and footpaths in the area which left very contrasting 'scars' on the landscape which at the time I thought might make for an interesting B&W photo.  I took a few similar shots in the area waiting for lone walkers along the white snaking footpath as well but in the end this one seemed to work best.


Wonderful news to get some success in this competition and check out the winners which have now been announced on their website.

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Scotland award competition environment landscape nature photography portfolio shortlist square success https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/5/scottish-nature-photography-award---shortlist Thu, 08 May 2014 13:02:47 GMT
A 1st Exhibition - Connected 2014 (Nottingham) https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/5/a-1st-exhibition---connected-2014-nottingham I am very proud to have 3 images on display this month at the Patching Art Centre in Nottinghamshire as part of the Connected 2014 Exhibition.

The exhibition is organised by 2 dedicated photographers Rob Knight and Karen Leach  via the photo sharing site Flickr and include photographers images from all over the UK.  

It is great to have my images displayed amongst many photographers who's work I have often admired and to have work displayed in a location close to where I spent most of my childhood.

The theme of this years exhibition is 'A Tale of Two Cities' with many images from London and Nottingham on display as well as a strong focus on landscape and nature images in.

Here is a quick snapshot of the 3 images I have on display which I selected as they were taken in the city of Nottingham and in many ways represent something different from the bulk of photos I take.

Processed with VSCOcam with p8 preset

See these photos in their web gallery here.

I am also grateful to the organisers of the event and would encourage anyone who can make the trip to Nottinghamshire to visit and spend an hour or so in a very peaceful setting.

Visitors may also wish to make a charitable donattion and receive a copy of the eBook of all images here http://www.justgiving.com/rkphotographic

Thanks for reading

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) art city display event exhibition farm landscape london nottingham patchings photography public https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/5/a-1st-exhibition---connected-2014-nottingham Tue, 06 May 2014 18:29:08 GMT
My Photography Goals of 2013 and on towards 2014 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/1/Landscape-photography-goals-targets I don't enjoy the things but several management training courses have suggested to me that setting goals is a key part to achieving anything in your undertakings. It's one of the few teachings that I would convey to others. Breaking down your overall targets into a short list of achievable goals is a therapeutic exercise and in photography it gives a purpose to 'all those photos'


So how did I perform against my 2013 photographic goals ?


1. Get Out for More Sunsets & Sunrises

My intention for 2013 was to ensure I made the most of the periods that sunrises and sunsets were timed conveniently for my working hours.  This meant sunrise at around 6:30am and sunsets around 7pm.  These times generally coincided with Spring and Autumn seasons of the year.  I would say I managed to make the most of Spring sunsets venturing straight from work to a few new Peak District locations, however I failed pretty much all year with sunrises getting out only twice that I can recall one in spring one in autumn.

Some people may not see sunset/sunrise as the be all and end all of photography but golden hour lighting is something special and whilst it may be common place in photography now the quality of the light can't be denied.

The image on the right was taken on a trip straight from work in Sheffield to Higger Tor and has proved a popular image and one of the few occasions my pre-laned trip has led to an image I'm pleased with;


The below image was taken early in the year on a very cold sunset and rushing up to Whinstone Lee Tor.










50% Achieved and to be continued in 2014


2. Achieve 'recognition' in photography competition and have photo published in a magazine

Particular readers may see this objective as a little meaningless as photography competitions are not the motivation for taking the images in the first place and often competitions are seen as a convergence of style restricting creativity.  It could also be seen as an attempt for external validation which again shouldn't be the purpose of photography but for me in 2013 it was something I wanted to achieve as from time to time a purpose is needed for photography as a means of motivation and development.

During the course of the year I entered 5 competitions with the hope of achieving some kind of recognition, be it a shortlist of mention along the course of the judging process.  To expect to win a photography competition is futile as it's always a subjective process and can be influenced by so many factors.

I was one of 12 winners in the Severn Trent Water photography competition and while not winning the overall prize was pleased with this outcome.  

I also managed to get a shortlist nomination for the International Black and White Spider photography awards which are judged by some people working for 'big' names in the photography world.  I am also a lover of black and white photography and to receive a nomination was a great surprise and achievement for me amongst some brilliant B&W images.

During the year I also sent one set of images in to Outdoor Photographer magazine for one of their photography themed competitions and was pleased to have one of the images put forward selected and published in their October magazine.


95% achieved, to continue my search or a Landscape Photographer of the Year shortlist into 2014.


Photography Goals for 2014

My targets for 2014 are;

  1. Again to make the most of sunrise/sunset throughout spring and Autumn.
  2. I also need to make a point to get out in the snow further afield, it's been a few years since I made it out into the peak district in deep snow and it was a magical transformation of the landscape which I need to capture.
  3. Photograph at least 3 new locations around the Peak District.  I am not ashamed to say I tend to seek new images in familiar places I find the process much more enjoyable than rushing to a new location and capturing an already seen viewpoint.  In 2013 i spent more and more time in nature reserves within a 5 minute walk of my house and it's been a great help in developing my photography working on projects and creativity.  I will continue this trend but i'd like to explore new locations in the great landscape of the Peak District and see if I can capture something different.


All the best and thanks for visiting my website.

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) competition development goal new photography project skill skills techniques https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/1/Landscape-photography-goals-targets Mon, 06 Jan 2014 20:30:47 GMT
A Post on Post Processing - Get Creative https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/1/creative-post-processing-landscapes Photography is a diverse medium for artists.  Be it a journalistic record of events, a family moment or the abstract movement of waves, the potential to translate reflected light in new ways never ceases to go on.

In this post I wanted to outline my thoughts on how photographs are post processed in the context of creativity and endless possibilities.

Untitled ImageCreated from a single exposure taken on my 30th Birthday in the Car Park at Ben Nevis. I saw something I liked in the colours and light but it was not something close to how I finally processed the image.


I won't make it a drawn out post on the pro's and cons of every adjustment that can be made to a digital photograph as there is nothing new to consider in that area.  Rather I thought the best approach would be a series of short statements to try and sum up my views on using the post-processing stage of photography as a key part of the creative process and not always looking for that illusive, unattainable reality in images.

  • Simply capturing an image has come to mean to me only 50% of the whole process.  Consider that 2 people can stand in exactly the same position at the same time with the same camera and lens and produce the same image or they can produce dramatically different end products.  Part of that may be done in camera with exposure time, filters, aperture etc but the majority of what will set each image apart is how they are digitally processed before printing or publishing online.
  • Post processing is not new, I'm sure most photographers understand this but often it gets assumed that when an image is taken on a film camera then it must be more true to life.  No doubt that film can often translate the light better in many ways than digital however the use of film is (as above) still only 50% of the process.  The development of each image in the darkroom is still a unique approach to the raw 'data' (both words used deliberately) captured on the slide of film and can produce different results.  In terms of photoshopping images by including or removing elements this can also be done with film and there are many examples of historical photographs being altered in these ways.  So in summary don't let a few bad examples of digital post processing make you believe it's the wrong way to go.
  • I have never added any element into my images, I don't believe I will ever look to import another sky or add people etc into any of my images that would be where I suggest the manipulation of an image crosses the line.
  • To explain that point further I should say I find the act of photography engrossing, it is my 'flow' where time seems to fly by and all other thoughts dissipate.  Now to contradict this whole piece but I don't get the same feeling when processing most of my photos.  That's probably the reason I often take months to get round images I really enjoy.  It's probably why I decided to write this post rather than work on images I want to share.  Ultimately it's why I see no appeal in drastically altering the content of my images.  I will remove an obviously distracting element from an image such as a piece of litter for example and maybe that makes me hypocritical but I see the removal of minor elements from an image in order to make it more appealing as acceptable, importing anything simply not there for me changes it from a photograph to an illustration or a piece of digital graphic design.
  • HDR - I have made maybe 6 or 7 HDR images and only 1 is currently on my website.  I find I make more self appealing images without using HDR but I see the benefit in using HDR for some landscape scenes and it certainly appeals to many viewers.  Most photographers seem to dislike the HDR approach especially in camera, being honest I believe this is because it short cuts what used to be a skilled process in getting the best exposure for a given scene and often create a more instantly eye capturing image.  Therefore many photographers dislike the idea of HDR photography being presented alongside their much more time invested more subtle photography.
  • I try to approach processing each image a few days or weeks after taking it so as to come to it with an open mind.  This leads on now to explaining how I undertake my workflow on images.

My Workflow

  1. First confession, dun dun dun I use Apple Aperture to manage my photos and to make 90% of my edits.  I only really use Photoshop for graphic design elements or image sizing.  I may be one of a dying breed but the way Aperture integrates with Apple products is wonderful, I can quickly sync any images in a manageable preview size with any other Apple device from aperture and it reflects each edit i make.  Having these images on your iPhone is not essential but it can be great to show off a new photo before it's 'finished' or to remind yourself of what images you have to work on.  I'm not going to try and sway people as Adobe Lightroom has already won the battle and probably rightly so for their development of new tools etc, but I dread the day Apple stop developing Aperture entirely as I am fully integrated now.
  2. After taking images and importing them my first step is to shortlist images into 3 categories;
    1. Do nothing/delete
    2. Potential for Flickr/Experiments
    3. Potential for Website
  3. This grading of images is essential in the digital age as you will always take far more images than you can manage or that merit further attention.  The grading between Flickr and Website images is to try and distinguish images or real appeal and those with a little interest.  After they are grading a few edits are done in Aperture and then......
  4. They tend to sit in my smart album for anything up to 2 years so far.  Then .......
  5. When i eventually get around to working on the images I will view each one in the Color Efex Pro plugin for Aperture and it's here where I want to promote the use of post processing and experimenting.
  6. I use a tool like Color Efex Pro to explore how an image can be processed.  A cynical viewer might suggest I'm taking pot luck or letting the software take shortcuts for me however this is the real benefit of digital photography and shouldn't be quickly dismissed.  Often when I start with an image I may have an idea how I want the final output to look.  I may want to create a black an white image for example and can quickly view this in aperture to decide.  Beyond that fundamental choice I tend to keep an entirely open mind and move through the presets in Color Efex to see what catches my eye.  Much in the same way I approach taking the images, I don't plan or go with a preconceived idea of what the image should look like, rather I look for things that catch my eye.  Often this involves stacking multiple effects on images, then removing some and trying others.
  7. Once I come to narrow down options and experiment with several filters or effects I then spend anything from 10mins to 2 hours trying to refine and perfect the colour, focus, texture of the image until I decided I've found the best style for that photograph.

One final thought best illustrated by the definition of Saturation .......

"To a very full extent, especially beyond the point regarded as necessary or desirable."

A Google Definition of Saturation

Therefore this is not to say everything must be left untouched and 100% natural just don't over do it.


Here are some examples of images which I feel developed mostly on my computer screen and are not that close to how I first imaged the image when captured.  (click to view originals in gallery)


[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Aperture Art Color Digital Efex Image Natural Processing dark development experiment refine room saturate https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2014/1/creative-post-processing-landscapes Sat, 04 Jan 2014 16:32:04 GMT
Sony A7 Mirrorless Camera and E Mount - Manual/Vintage Lenses https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/12/a7-emount-lens-vintage-notes Don't discard your older E Mount Lenses straight away.  Here are my notes on lenses used with the Sony A7 camera

Hopefully for those mirrorless camera users out there these notes may prove of some use.  I have recently purchased the Sony A7 to replace my NEX-7 and decided to investigate more vintage lenses given the lack of full frame E Mount lenses currently available but in doing so I have also tested my existing E Mount lenses on the full frame sensor to see which may still have a life in the full frame world.

A few basic pieces of information.  The A7 is a full frame sensor camera accepting Sony E Mount lenses.  Most existing E-Mount lenses are not however designed for full frame sensors and will activate a APS-C crop mode in the camera, this mode delivers 10 megapixel size images.  This mode can be turned off resulting in heavy vignetting of images if light doesn't cover the sensor, these areas can then be cropped manually when post processing.  As the A7 is mirrorless it can also accept other manufacturers lenses via adaptors, this includes Sony Alpha mount lenses which will autofocus with the LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 adaptors (LA-EA3 only SSM/SAM motor lenses not screw focus).

How can the same lens give a wider field of view with less megapixels ?  Well these lenses whilst designed for APS-C sensors will sometimes deliver more light to the sensor area than is available on the APS-C sensor itself.  Therefore putting this same lens onto a full frame (larger sensor) the light and therefore image may extend slightly beyond the literal APS-C size part of the larger sensor.  Bear in mind the pixels on the Sony A7 sensor are much larger than on the Nex 7 (both 24mp but difference surface areas) and what occurs is a wider field of view but covering less pixels on the sensor.  Confusing but in real terms the practical issues depend how many megapixels you actually use, if you need 24 megapixels for every photo then using most of the E Mount lenses won't be viable.  I can't think of many instances where 16mp won't suffice for me.  I chose the A7 over the A7r for this reason as I have not ever reached a resolution limit with 24mp but I would reach a hard disc space and processing limit very quickly with 36mp's on every image.


The E Mount Lenses Tested on Nex 7 v A7 or APS-C v Full Frame coverage


Sony SEL1628 - Sony 16mm Wide Angle Prime E Mount Lens F2.8 (14mp on A7)

Having very briefly tried this lens on the A7 turning the APS-C crop mode off you can achieve approximately 14 megapixel (mp) image size if manually cropping the vignetted corners to the sensor aspect ration.  If cropping to suit a wider or narrower aspect ratio a 15 megapixel image could be achieved.  This lens on the A7 is very small and whilst 14mp may be a compromise from the 24mp on the Nex7 it still gives a slightly wider field of view and would make a very lightweight wide angle solution for travel etc.

Direct comparison here between this lens on the A7 and Nex7 to show the wider field of view.  (these aren't great photos and i'm not a lens tested so they aren't all calibrated for sharpness/noise comparison (though the A7 does blow the Nex 7 away with regards to noise).

NEX 7 - 24mp image                                                                           A7 (note the wider field of view all 4 sides) - 14mp image

Sony Nex 7 - Sony 16mm F2.8Sony Nex 7 - Sony 16mm F2.8Nex 7 - 16mm   Sony A7 - Sony 16mm F2.8 E Mount CropSony A7 - Sony 16mm F2.8 E Mount CropA7 - 16mm View

Sony SEL5018 - Sony 50mm F1.8 Portrait Prime E Mount Lens IS (16-20mp on A7)

To be honest I expected to sell this lens when i purchased the A7 as I intended to keep the Sigma 30mm on my Nex 7 (if i could afford to keep both) for it's smaller size and wider field of view.  I do however want a portrait lens for the A7 and am considering a Zeiss or similar vintage 50mm f1.4 via eBay with manual focus.  Then i thought for this blog I would try the 50mm expecting heavy cropping/vignetting on the A7 making only a 10mp image useable.  How very wrong my expectations were, this lens covers more of the sensor area than the 16mm and 30mm and is close to covering the entire sensor area.  It also looks amazing on the full frame sensor.  This lens is able to pull out 20mp images if cropped to suit the vignetting but will definitely give a 16mp image at the original aspect ratio.  I am therefore considering keeping this lens for the Nex 7 and using it on the A7. 16mp is plenty as after all when was the last time you needed a full 24mp portrait image ?  Also to note the image stabilisation (steadyshot) works and contrast autofocus works as on the Nex 7.  This is definitely the surprise lens and satisfies my 50mm needs for now though I may take a manual focus lens as well due to their relatively low cost full frame coverage.

NEX 7 - 24mp image                                                                            Sony A7 - 16mp image (note wider view)

Nex 7 - Sony 50mm f1.8 E mountNex 7 - Sony 50mm f1.8 E mountNex 7 - 50 mm E Mount     Sony A7 - Sony 50mm F1.8 E Mount CropSony A7 - Sony 50mm F1.8 E Mount CropA7 - 50mm E Mount

Sigma 30mm - Wide Angle Prime E Mount Lens F2.8 (16mp on A7)

This lens has been highly regarded on the NEX system for its low cost and sharpness whilst living in a very small frame suiting the NEX well.  I'm not sure if I will keep this lens going forward having seen the performance of the 50mm on a full frame sensor it seems to now eclipse this lens a little which seems duller in terms of colours/contrast.  Here are the comparison shots again the field of view is wider on the full frame sensor and comfortably creates a 16mp image.

NEX 7 - 24mp image                                                                             Sony A7 - 16mp image (note wider field of view)

Nex 7 - Sigma 30mm f2.8 imageNex 7 - Sigma 30mm f2.8 imageNex 7 - Sigma 30mm      Sony A7 - Sigma 30m F2.8 E Mount Comparison CropSony A7 - Sigma 30m F2.8 E Mount Comparison CropA7 - Sigma 30mm

Sony SEL1018 - Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom E Mount Lens F2.8 IS

This lens is not designed for full frame E Mount (FE Mount) however several tests and my own experience shows from 12mm zoom to 18mm zoom the lens does infact cover the full sensor area.  There is some heavy vignetting at some focal lengths and the distortion seems very heavy.  I intend to compare the distortion at some point and see how workable this is as a permanent wide angle solution on the FE full frame mirrorless sensor.  If useable this means getting a 20-24mp image via this lens on the full frame field of view.  This lens has been demonstrated on other websites a quick google search will show the coverage but it seems useable in theory.


Tamron 18-200 -  Tele Zoom with IS f3.6-6.3

In short this lens won't really suffice for a full frame sensor as it does only cover 10mp on the A7 (maybe 14mp on the A7r).  It's the most practical E Mount lens I have used on the Nex7 covering a wide and long focal length making it perfect for travel, it's quick to focus has IS but it isn't the sharpest lens.  Trying it briefly on the A7 the field of view is very restricted onto the sensor and would only achieve a 10mp image size, this is the kind of lens the APS-C crop mode was designed for.  I would suggest looking to purchase the Sony LA-EA3 or EA4 adaptors and purchasing a Tamron/Sony full frame zoom lens if you need to keep the telephoto option on the A7.  Bear in mind you will be looking at a much larger, heavier lens and probably sacrificing some autofocus speed in order to get the full frame coverage.

I may still keep this lens for use on my Nex 7 if it stays for the practical reasons noted above, I feel a strange bond to this lens as it's been attached to my Nex 7 for so long and been used on so many photos.



to be continued ........





[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) a7 a7r aps crop e e-mount fe focus frame full lens manual mirrorless mount prime sony vintage https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/12/a7-emount-lens-vintage-notes Sun, 29 Dec 2013 23:37:18 GMT
Black and White Spider Awards - Nomination https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/10/black-and-white-spider-awards---nomination OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE


LONDON 20th October 2013 - Amateur photographer Daniel Cook of The UK was presented with the 8th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee in the category of Architectural at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow. The live online ceremony webcast Saturday, October 19, 2013 was attended by photography fans in 75 countries who logged on to see the climax of the industry's most important event for black and white photography.

The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from the Tate in London, Heffel Fine Art, FoMu Fotomuseum, FTM Advisory, Camera Work, Art Stage Singapore, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris, to Fratelli Alinari in Florence who honored Spider Fellows with 246 coveted title awards and 938 nominees in 14 categories.

"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 9,456 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "Daniel's "Squeezing Nature," an exceptional image entered in the Architectural category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present him with the title of Nominee."

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.



I am very proud to have received a nomination in the 8th Annual Black and White Spider Awards.  The B&W Spider awards is an international competition dedicated to monochrome or black and white images and judged by some of the most influential parties in world photography.

My photo Squeezing Nature was nominated in the Architectural category and whilst not making an award or honourable mention, simply making the shortlist of nominations from the many thousands of entries is a great achievement I hadn't expected.


Below are my other entries into the competition.  If i'm honest my nominated image would not have been one of those I expected to make it through however that is the appeal of photography that everyone can view your photos in a different way and is looking for something different to you.

EntriesMy Black and White Spider Entries 2013




[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Architectural Award Black Competition International Mono Nomination White and https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/10/black-and-white-spider-awards---nomination Sun, 20 Oct 2013 13:47:31 GMT
Work/Hobby Balance https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/7/work/hobby-balance

Balancing an enjoyment of photography and the need for earning a living seems to be a constant battle for most amatuer and professional photographers.  This year I was fortunate to be able to combine work & hobby for a short while.  It's a subject which has been extensively written on and debated but essentially these are the conflicts simplified;


Working 8-6 v Landscape Photography in Good Light

Certain times of year this works nicely when sunrises & sunsets are timed an hour or so before and after work but generally you can't fit both in.

Working Mon-Fri v Interesting Weather

Most jobs won't allow you to have days off because a mist has rolled in, a cloud inversion may be likely or a storm is brewing.

Earning A Living as a Professional v Shooting What You Want

This seems to be the common message from those who decided to become professional photographers.  You have to diversify and often end up shooting subject which you have less interest in.  You may dream of shooting coast lines and peaks but end up with studio portraits and products to pay the bills.


A Great Feature of this building, wide views of Sheffield

There are many photographers who combine similar fields such as graphic design with photography to be able to balance the bills v passion equation.  For me the combination is between Construction and Photography which are often not perfectly aligned though there are times when you get opportunities others won't in the development of a building and changing a place.  

However, this year I have been given the opportunity to get involved in the development of my employers new website which has included taking promotional images.  It has been an enjoyable process and rewarding to see images I've taken be used across the website and in company brochures and literature.  

Whilst it's not a specific commission it is an opportunity to try and take images which fulfill a particular need, rather than purely images I enjoy.  I managed to get in some architectural shots of the office building and being able to get different perspectives on the unique aspects of our workplace and projects.  I have also taken and processed photos of all the staff in the business, which I would have liked to make a little more creative however due to the 

number of people and need for a consistent look to the site they have come out a little more 'plain' than I maybe think could be achieved.

The website design was carried out by Yorkshire Based Feel Created who managed to really fulfill all the requirements and introduce ideas that hadn't been considered.

Have a look around the website at www.m3-ltd.com, learn about my day job and see a few of these images put to use.


Showing the Office Building at itM3Promo


The Fun Group Corporate Shot The Hard at Work Corporate Shot


See More Work in The CityscapeConstruction Brochure Shot




[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Architecture Brand Brochure Business Construction Corporate Creative Day Job Management Office Project QS Sheffield Surveyor Website Workplace https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/7/work/hobby-balance Sat, 27 Jul 2013 11:26:27 GMT
Flickr Inspiration https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/6/flickr-inspiration I simply wanted to share a few contacts I have on the photo sharing site Flickr which provide me with inspiration to go out and take photographs and might do the same for you.  I know little about these photographers but I suspect most are enthusiasts with a real passion and skill;


Brian - Booksin

Simply my favourite contact at the moment on Flickr, a master of using colour, shape and form to create a beautiful abstract.  Photography that takes you a short while to appreciate what you are seeing is always interesting and shows the photographer enjoys the world around him thats being captured.  Brian makes the most of small frames of our urban landscapes and it's well worth viewing his photostream.



Mathieu - folken4461

His creative and emotive wildlife and animal photos caught my eye a little while back, here is my favourite example.



Scott Baldock Photography

Scott simply takes fantastic pictures from the City of London to the English Countryside, using black and white and colour images they all give the impression of making the absolute most of the world around him.  I often view his latest images with a little jealousy as he always creates something technically brilliant, eye catching and appealing.



Jose M. Vazquez

It may be that many of the photo's Jose takes are of familiar locations around Sheffield, but I find his view of the city I live in to be one of real appreciation and enjoyment treating it like a playground to develop and master photography.





[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) abstract amateur flickr inspiration photographers unknown https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/6/flickr-inspiration Sat, 29 Jun 2013 12:58:19 GMT
Severn Trent Competition Success https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/6/severn-trent-competition-success

I am very pleased to say that the above image 'Ladybower - A Classical View' has been selected as one of 12 images to be published in the Severn Trent Water, 2014 Calendar.

This represents my first photo competition success and allows me to celebrate achieving one of my aims for 2013.  My entry was very last minute for this competition and I hadn't expected to get success as my only shot was of Ladybower which so many other great photographers visit on a regular basis.  The grand winner prize is yet to be announced at the award dinner in July, I wonder what month I will represent.

This competition success is very welcome news as I was a little disappointed last month not to have made it down to the final few images for the National Parks 'Actively Yours' photo competition.  I had hoped one from the images below would be successful as i felt they really captured some of the reasons people visit the national parks.  I enjoy the process of entering photo competitions run by non-photographic organisations i.e. photos not purely being judged by other photographers as rather than it be judged on technical aspects of the image it will be judged on the feeling it generates.


[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Competition calendar ladybower landscape severn trent water winner https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/6/severn-trent-competition-success Sun, 23 Jun 2013 10:48:29 GMT
Mam Tor's Ugly Brother - A Location Guide to Back Tor https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/6/location-guide-back-tor Back Tor may often be considered as Mam Tor's uglier brother but still offers great photographic potential.

While not the same scale as Mam Tor, Back Tor is still a very interesting geological location and a prominent landscape within the National Park.  Indeed on my 1st trip along the Great Ridge it was Back Tor that stuck in the memory longer due to it's sharp crumbling rock face and very steep climb.


Approaching The Great Ridge

The quickest way to access Back Tor is by driving as far as possible along the crumbling road out from Castleton which  head straight for the base of Mam Tor.  There are plenty of places to park and from here walk along the road past Odin's mine until the road turns sharply left under the shadow of Mam Tor.  It is at this point you head right past the farm towards the Great Ridge at the point of Hollins Cross.  

It was along this road just past Odin's mine that I noticed a scene to be my 1st image on the day, a small pool of unattractive water reflected the towering peak of Mam Tor itself.  Whilst I write here primarily about Back Tor I am also keen to demonstrate a different take on any location.  This image felt different to me as i haven't seen Mam Tor with a water like reflection before.  I often associate images with sharp peaks and water reflections as Lakeland Landscape so it's great to be able to capture that style for one of the Peak District main icons.

Mam Tor Reflected_R7A7977

Reaching the Ridge

On reaching The Great Ridge at Hollins Cross I headed East towards Back Tor.  There were a few people walking the edge that day but it wasn't at it's busiest, so I was able to wait in several locations to capture the ridge itself as part of the composition without too many distractions.  

I have photographed from this position several times before as the landscape seems to fold on itself with Back Tor and Lose Hill just peaking over the top.  Combined with the leading lines of the wall and well trodden pathway there is great potential from here in any conditions, but I wouldn't consider it an attempt at an original take.  I do however like this image as a classical composition and also the scale it gives to the landscape with the tiny human figures standing proud but swallowed up by the landscape and clouds above.

The Foot of Back Tor

The essence of what makes Back Tor an interesting place to visit is it's crumbling rock faces which drop almost vertically down on it's exposed north face.  This is where the geological history is very evident as you can see the layers of what used to be seabed material being weathered and cracked away from the face.  It is also where you see the relationship between Mam Tor and Back Tor as Back Tor appears a smaller version of the landslipped vertical face on Mam Tor.

Here I would recommend avoiding the need to climb to the top of the peak and try for something a little different.  Capturing the essence of this peak is not capturing the views from it's summit but it's shape, scale and texture.

Looking for something to provide a little foreground interest I decided to explore the dispersed trees which are scattered at the base of Back Tor and which all seem to twist and turn their shiny silver trunks in different directions.  The image below is my most memorable image of the day as it sums up the purpose of my trip to capture a different view of a much visited location.

Dark Twisted Trees That Glisten

I then decided to focus on the landslips at the foot of the rock face.  Here are huge boulders and almost square cut rocks tumbling over each other, intertwined with now gradual curves of the landslips which have affected this landscape.  Again however it was the trees which caught my eye as they were shining brightly on one side in the sunset light but yet looked sinister with their twisted branches and jet black shapes away from the sun.    I wish in hindsight I ventured closer in to explore this area, this shot taken with a 200mm lens cropped away the landscape behind.  A place to visit again and explore more.

A Few More Attempts

I tried a few more compositions with the twisting trees in the foreground, trying to capture the texture of the trees and rockface I felt a black and white image would be best suited.  I have always noticed the numbers of crows which reside on Back Tor during the day seemingly using the vantage point to overlook the farming landscapes for potential food.  In this image you can just about see one circling over the summit.

A Final Sunset Image

I spent a little more time on some extracts of the trees and tree trunks but I have not yet had chance to process them here.  Just before the sunset fully however I looked up and spotted a few more classical compositions with the golden light now in full effect.

A Worthwhile Trip

I headed back the way I came around 8pm and was pleased with one or two images I managed to capture on this visit and pleased to have explored more deeply a place i have visited several times.  Unexpectedly in the end rather than the rock face of Back Tor it was the trees that seemed to draw my focus.  One thing that will always stick with me from this trip is the strong scent of being at the beach which hit me when climbing up to the ridge and something which at first i couldn't place.  Then it hit me on the return journey it was the melting snow and sandy earth stirring up the ancient side of this seabed landscape.

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) Back Tor Great Ridge Landscape Mountain Peak District Photography Sunset Trees black and white landslide landslip sheep twisted https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/6/location-guide-back-tor Sat, 01 Jun 2013 13:53:05 GMT
Praising the Sony RX100 - The Perfect Digital Camera? https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/5/praising-the-sony-rx100 Yes - it's the camera which ticks the most boxes for most camera users.  But about the price!

Very simple really but ....... here is a long winded explanation of why.

When asked for camera recommendations I have previously recommended either a Sony NEX for those looking to advance beyond the point and shoot or a Nikon P300/P310 for the best value point and shoot camera.

Since the RX100 was released I would now without doubt recommend that camera to both groups of users unless they are very intent on developing there photography to a range of situations where lenses and low light come in to play.


The boxes the RX100 ticks have direct benefits to users:

  • Compact - it will fit in a trouser pocket you have no excuse not to take this with you to work, play, travel
  • Large Sensor - close to micro 4/3 size and a clear improvement over compact and bridge cameras
  • Image Quality - it really is excellent for all but commercial studio uses and a huge leap from compact cameras generally
  • Manual Controls - giving the enthusiast all they need to play with
  • Easy Control System - the front control ring is excellent (try using it to control ISO for city shooting it's a treat)
  • Large Megapixel Count - Gives it great potential for street photography being able to crop difficult scenes and still have a high resolution image to display or print


Could I live with just the RX100?

Yes i believe i could for all situations except deliberate landscape & nature trips where I would feel i didn't get the most from my time not being able to play with real long focal lengths or wide angles and not being able to get a full range on depth of field.


Otherwise I generally choose the RX100 over my NEX equipment due to it's inconspicuous nature and flexibility.


A recent trip to London presented this dilemma, i knew i would get some time to photograph the city but couldn't decided if i could justify the NEX and 1or2 lenses or just stick with the RX100.  I decided the RX100 was completely sufficient and had no regrets, i took it everywhere and got some great shots.  Often secretly mocking those carrying round there tripod and DSLR to get the obligatory Tower Bridge slow shutter speed shot.  I got mine by resting the RX100 on the railings.  Who really takes a tripod on a city break ?


Boxes not ticked:

  • Price - in my case i think the camera is worth every penny but for those users who might enjoy it but can't afford £400 + it's a downside and stops this camera from being a best seller and probably wiping out a big chunk of sales for other camera brands.  However think of the bargin they will be when new models are announced and price drops kick in.

No mention of a viewfinder ?

No - if you want a viewfinder you will simply loose the compact nature of the camera and want it for a different purpose.  I love having a viewfinder on my NEX-7 but I happily sacrifice that for compact camera in the RX100 and i think most users would be the same. 

I have a few other desires in a camera like this but they are unrealistic such as a wider angle for example.

There are a few of the usual Sony software issues where they lag behind others for example bracketing for ISO/Dynamic Range/Style etc for some reason Sony seem to hate bracketing.


I purchased my RX100 from Harrison Cameras as soon as i saw the specs and got to test one in the metallic flesh.  I may have hesitated further but i had a holiday to Florence on the horizon and i knew it would be perfect, very glad I made a quick decision for once.


If in doubt simply buy one, you will not regret it.


Use it on holiday, with family, at concerts, on the street, in the car, walking, cycling, everytime.


For a more in depth technical review and all specs.


[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) compact get one holiday landscape pocket portraits powerful review rx100 sony travel useful camera https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/5/praising-the-sony-rx100 Thu, 09 May 2013 21:35:00 GMT
Can Sony produce a Nex 10 https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/5/sony-nex10 Following the announcement of the RX1 and the A99 SLT cameras from Sony it seems logical for most people to expect a Sony Nex 9 or 10 with a Full Frame Sensor and interchangeable lenses.  It also sounds like a great idea and something i wouldn't be able to resist if it still offered the same portability, flexibility and quick fire functionality.

Personally I expect Sony will be able be able to offer an interchangeable lens full frame camera within something close to the small form factor size of the current Nex cameras (See the RX1) however my concern would be how they offer lenses to get the best out of a full frame camera. Certainly the current lenses aren't of sufficient quality and are unlikely to be compatible with a larger sensor.


Will Sony be prepared to develop a whole new line of full frame high cost lenses for the  E Mount?

Will the majority of NEX purchasers want to spend on lenses of above £500 ? as it doesn't target the demographic of those in the middle of compact and DSLR cameras.

For these reasons i suspect my dreams won't be fulfilled in the near future and for full frame it will be a choice between A Mount Cameras such as the A99 or fixed lens options such as the RX1 (or if i win the lottery one for travel one for landscapes).


Keen to hear comments on this from other NEX/Sony Users and I will be more than happy to eat these words.

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) article e-mount full frame mirrorless nex full frame nex-10 nex-9 nex10 nex9 review sony what if https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2013/5/sony-nex10 Sun, 24 Mar 2013 22:45:00 GMT
The Alternative Take on Landscape Photography https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2012/11/the-alternative-take-on-landscape-photography  


I discovered an article today on the Guardian website which really conveyed a message I agree with and try to follow in my photography.  The article is by Eamonn McCabe, a photographer I had not previously been aware of but I really recommend the article as he conveys his argument better than mine below.

The message was simple; Landscape Photography does not require epic surroundings.

I have only more recently come to agree with this principle and it seems to correlate that the more I take in interest in photography the more I take an interest in the detail rather than the grand.

The micro and macrocosms presented in the natural world are starting to capture my attention much more but it is always difficult to resist the temptation in capturing an epic view or vista as it seems these become the more popular commercial images.  Whilst I am not a professional nor is the commercial potential of photography a key aim for me now, it is human nature to seek recognition.  Recognition it seems currently which is much more readily available for a scenic view than an extract of the natural world.

The extracts of nature often provide a much better representation of an area, showing it's natural and human history, effects of weathering, it's potential, colour, texture etc.  Capturing a moment of the world as Ansel Adams may put it.

The alternative to this approach which it seems to appeal to the masses is that of capturing a fairly repetitive formula for a Peak District Postcard Image as I consider it:


Foreground Rock + Valley + Sunrise/Sunset = Peak District Postcard


Such images can still leave me in awe and technically these images are no easier to take, often demanding long waits for great conditions, early mornings, and late evenings.  They are however now replicated many thousands of times with little principle variation and don't for me capture that 'moment'.

They do seem however more formulaic less about a photographers eye or ability to see the world slightly differently and more about satisfying a commercial demand.

I haven't been using online sharing sites such as Flickr for that long but I am already a little tired of seeing these similar views posted several times a day and only the odd image will now grab any attention.

I occasionally still go out with an aim to capture an epic landscape, in some ways to test if i can, and to see a response which is that human nature kicking in for recognition, but I am more consciously focusing on the extracts of the world.

One way to force yourself to avoid the epic views is to focus on your local area.  I found a similar article which again related to my own thoughts from On Landscape.  The article is an interview with Nigel Clark (link above) and inspired me to spend the next 2/3 days roaming a nature reserve a few meters from my house.

There are a number of photographers which epitomise adding art to photography of the natural world these include Tim Parkin, Doug Chinnery and Dav Thomas and I recommend a view of their websites.


I am hoping to produce a project of images which take an alternative view.  The project is called Layered Landscapes and focuses on flattening views into the frame and extracting these layers which aren't easily seen with the eye but appear in the camera's eye.  This approach is in effect an extract albeit possibly still with epic views but differing in the approach to flatten the landscape rather than using a wide angle view to expand the image.  See the project develop here.


The Guardian Article

On Landscape Article

[email protected] (DANSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY) abstract alternative artistic extract landscape landscape essence landscape feel personal postcard unique https://www.danscape.shop/blog/2012/11/the-alternative-take-on-landscape-photography Fri, 16 Nov 2012 23:59:00 GMT