Equipment & Approach

Although I shoot with a digital SLR, I put a considerable amount of time and effort into the making of every photograph and I like to think that my approach has something in common with that of large-format photography. All the images on this website are the result of a single exposure. I always aim to get the image right ‘in camera’ as far as possible, managing the exposure via the careful use of graduated neutral density filters.

I generally restrict post-production to minor adjustments to contrast (using the Curves tool in Lightroom) and try always to retain realistic colour saturation.

I often compose with a subsequent 4x5 or 5x4 crop in mind as I find this aspect ratio to be the most satisfying. I will however crop an image square, or leave it in the original 2x3 or 3x2 aspect ratio where I feel that the subject demands this. The hi-resolution originals of the photos on this website are all 3744 pixels wide on their shortest side.

Camera
Since early 2010 I have used a Canon EOS5D Mark II DSLR. This can no longer be regarded as 'state-of-the-art' but it remains perfectly adequate for my needs; its 21MP (5616 x 3744) full-frame sensor allows images to be printed to A3 size and beyond.
Images are composed in ‘Live View’ mode, with an on-screen grid (enabled via one of the menu functions) to indicate the borders of the intended crop (e.g. 4 x 5, square). Live view incorporates the mirror-lock-up feature; together with an electronic shutter release this avoids any loss of image sharpness through residual camera movement during exposure.

Lenses
I have three Canon L-series lenses (17-40mm f/4, 24-105mm f/4 IS, 70-200mm f/4).

Filters
I use the Lee Filters system. I have a range of graduated neutral density filters, from 1 to 3 stops in strength. I also have a Lee circular polarizer, which may serve as a 2-stop neutral density filter when ‘backed off’, for those situations where it is desirable to lengthen exposure time.
I use the polarizer function relatively rarely, primarily to reduce reflection from water or other surfaces.

Tripod
I now use a Gitzo Series 3 carbon-fibre tripod together with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and an L-plate camera attachment which permits the camera to remain directly above the ball head when mounted vertically.