An early morning visit to Rochester and the River Medway
I'll not lie, to be up at 3.30am to make it in time for the blue hour before dawn was a struggle, but well worth it when I sent the drone up to capture the light of the rising sun. I couldn't have asked for better conditions: soft clouds, pastel colours, and most importantly, no wind.
The River Medway snaking under Rochester Bridge gave me the water element I love to photograph. Its natural boundary perfectly frames the historic town of Rochester, with its imposing Norman tower-keep and gorgeous Cathedral. I aimed to keep these two as the main subjects of most of my images, without losing their place in their surroundings.
The drone (I used a DJI Mini 3 Pro for these shots, for those interested), really came into its own over the River Medway, picking up the subtle colours in the sky, along with the patterns in the clouds.
A quick walk over Rochester Bridge to capture a few shots with my trusty Nikon and tripod from the river bank finished off my early morning trip. By this time the sky had really developed into oranges and yellows, giving me the perfect backdrop for Rochester Bridge with the reflections of the sky in the water. A final few shots across the river giving me the Cathedral and Castle under a sunrise sky completed my early morning trip in a spectacular fashion. Back to the car and the drive down to Folkestone for breakfast.
If you would like to see any of these photos in print, we will be at the Rochester Vintage & Artisan Market on the 8th October.
An Aerial View of Rochester at Dawn Mk.2
The River Medway and Rochester Bridge
Dawn over the Old Town of Rochester
Rochester and the River Medway
Rochester Bridge at Dawn
In my Camera Bag
A rummage through my equipment
I'm regularly asked about the cameras, lenses, filters, etc that I use on a daily basis, so I thought it might be fun (and hopefully useful) to discuss some of these items. To cover every single piece of equipment is a pretty daunting task, so I'll tackle one item per newsletter. This month I'll cover the tripod, our trusty three legged friend.
The importance of a sturdy tripod cannot be understated. It keeps your expensive camera from crashing to the ground in strong winds, helps keep long exposures steady, and also forces you to slow down and survey the scene in a different way. A good tripod is expensive, so it shouldn't be seen as an afterthought to all the other equipment you purchase. You've spent decent money on your camera body, your lenses, maybe a camera bag to protect it all, so why skimp on the one item that can really help you improve your photography?
It slows you down This doesn't sound like an advantage, why would we want to slow down? By slowing down, it forces us to think about our shot and plan in advance. We can frame the shot in the viewfinder, get the composition we want, without the camera moving in our hands. We can step back, and reassess without losing the composition. This way, we are more likely to capture something special. At the same time, we are able to make sure our horizons are level.
Perfect for low light situations As soon as our available light is limited, be it night photography or a neutral density filter, we need to adjust our shutter speeds accordingly. This is where the tripod really comes into its own. It allows us to use slow shutter speeds without risk of movement, giving sharp results every time. Super long exposure shots used in astro-photography would be impossible without a tripod.
It helps get super sharp images As the tripod keeps our camera absolutely still, we don't need to worry about any movement that can cause camera shake. This is especially important if we are using telephoto or macro lenses where any movement would amplified by the lens. It also allows us to optimise our depth of field for greater sharpness or use a slower shutter speed to blur motion.
Controls camera placement We can place the camera precisely where we want it with a tripod, be it inches above the ground, on a steep hill, or in the surf. Best of all, it stays where we place it for as long as we want, allowing us to take a break, and return to the exact place it was before. This is particularly useful if we want to bracket our shots, or do architectural or interior shots, with slightly different settings.
I own and use a number of different tripods, depending on the situation. I have a Sirui which I use for travel. It's light and folds in on itself, making it really compact, but still incredibly sturdy. I have a Benbo which I use pretty much exclusively on the beach, as the legs are waterproof, meaning I'm not getting sand jammed into the workings when they slide closed. It's unwieldy and awkward, but it does the job. Finally, there's my monster Manfrotto, which I use for astro and landscape photography. It's a big tripod, weighs a ton, and is backbreaking to carry, especially as I insist on using a Manfrotto medium format head system on it, which weighs as much as a normal lightweight tripod. It gives me the results I want though, rock steady, extends up to eye level, so no bending down unless I want a different viewpoint. Nine times out of ten I have a tripod with me, and I usually find a use for it.
Through the Viewfinder
Are we coming or going? No idea...
A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to stop and chat with us at the Deal Food & Drink Festival last weekend. Very lucky with the weather (bar the wind on the first day), we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Always love visiting this beautiful town on the East Kent coast. In fact, we love it so much, I created a short video about Deal, which can be viewed here. Looking forward to seeing some of you in Betteshanger at the end of October.
Cannot quite believe it's that time of the year already, but my 2023 Calendars will be available from the end of September. I've had a slight change this year, and expanded outward from Folkestone to include the whole Kent coastline. Available to pre-order now.
Our next location shoots will be in Thanet, including Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate. We will feature these in our October edition of the newsletter. If you have any locations on the Kent coast you would like us to photograph, please do send us an email, and we'll pop it on the ever-expanding list.