March 2023: February was a fairly quiet month again photographically, with the notable exception of a day photographing some of the staff at Chalk restaurant in Findon. This is a shot of Jordan Powell, the new Sous Chef, conveniently chopping mushrooms in the kitchen.Most kitchens have horrendous lighting for photography and this was no exception - nasty florescent strip lights bathed everything in a rather cold, flickery light.
I used fill-in flash to partially mask the effect of the florescent lighting and to pull Jordan out of the shadows. I used a Wistro AD200 flash with a 'magbounce' light modifier, triggered remotely using a Godox ProX, so I could set the flash on a stand, to one side of the camera. This very portable bit of kit does a brilliant impersonation of a small softbox, creating soft, even lighting.Photographed with a Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f1.8 lens on a Sony A7rIV set at f1.8, 1/160 sec, ISO 100.
1st February 2023: Last month was a bit quiet photographically with lots of other things to do, including a week away in the freezing Yorkshire Dales!It was a family holiday rather than a photographic expedition so I took what I call my 'snapper' camera with me (a Sony A6000) with a small, manual focus lens that fitted easily in the pocket (TT Artisans 25mm f2).
The TT Artisans produces some interesting effects which can be a bit reminiscent of an old 1960s manual focus lens - great for walk around shooting.I made the shot above just after a snow flurry. The tiny hamlet of Muker sits high on the Dales many miles from anywhere - the shot just about sums up the rugged winter scenery for me - and being January, there were no tourists (other than us of course!).
January 2023: Two very different favourite photographs from last month this time.The shot above is of my granddaughter who just managed to sit still long enough! Natural lighting only (from a side window).Sony A7riv with Sony 55mm lens set at f1.8, 1/320 sec, 200 ISO
I made the ultra-panoramic shot below during mid December, in what in recent years has become an highly unusual week of frost and snow down here in Sussex. The small gathering of Holm Oak created an unusual atmosphere in the gloom of early evening. Made on the footpath to Great Barn Farm, below Chanctonbury Ring.This is actually two shots stitched together in post. Both Sony A7riv with Tamron 70 - 180mm lens, F16, 2 secs at 100 ISO.
December 2022: My favourite photograph from last month is this one, made at Udimore, in the far east of East Sussex.This is, or was the largest Wild Service Tree in Britain, before it collapsed a few years ago. Somehow it has stayed alive in its prostrate form and still puts on a spectacular display of golden red leaves and berries in autumn.It was a gloomy, grey morning and after a long drive to find the tree, I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to make a decent photograph, when a shaft of sunlight broke through the cloud for just a few moments to light up the scene.
Wild Service are one of the rarest trees in Britain and normally confined to ancient woodland, so to find it growing in an open paddock, close to a farmhouse is unusual. Perhaps it was planted in the long distant past to provide berries for pigs or other farm animals.The fruits of the Wild Service Tree are called chequers. They can be made into an alcoholic drink and this may account for the popular old name of 'Chequers' for the pubs that can be found hidden down winding lanes across the Sussex Weald.Sony A7riv, with the Sony 16-25 GM lens set at F/14, 16mm with 1/15th second exposure, ISO 100.
November 2022: Just had to post up this fun shot as my pick for November. I don't normally do weddings but couldn't refuse this amazing couple and we had a ball! Here they're heading for the wedding car under a tunnel of arms.The lighting was iffy and they were moving fast, so I pushed the Sony A7riv, all the way to 12,800 ISO at f4, 250 sec - using the Sony 16-35 FE (set at 20mm), The couple are a bit blurred, so I could have gone for a faster shutter speed, but somehow the blur adds to the sense of excitement and movement.
October 2022: Another tree photograph this month - this time of a huge, old Oak at Cowdray Park. I'm gradually photographing the largest trees in Sussex as part of an ongoing photobook project.Cowdray Park has some of the very largest and oldest trees in Sussex. It's perhaps not surprising, since the Park can trace its origins to the Norman invasion. Some of the oldest oaks there could have grown up in the original 'wildwood' that would have clothed most of Sussex before its colonisation by Saxon farming communities.
I wouldn't normally try to photograph a landscape by shooting into the midday sun! But on this occasion I was time restricted and I didn't know when I would next be in the neighbourhood, so I decided to try to make the best it.To overcome the ultra-high light contrast, I made three exposures, which I then combined in Affinity Photo. The trick is to avoid the rather false looking 'HDR look' - I think this shot works!Sony A7riv, F/10, 16mm with 1/50th, 1/15th & 1/3 second exposures combined, ISO 100.
September 2022: This month I'm publishing not one, but two of my favourite shots from August. The first is of the largest, and probably the oldest single stemmed Sallow tree in Sussex, which can be found near Buncton Chapel, on the Wiston Estate. It has a massive girth of 5.5m at its base and must be well over 150 years old.
I'm gradually working towards producing a photobook featuring the largest trees in Sussex. There's still quite a way to go though. This shot was made late on a still evening, just as the light was fading.Sony A7riv, 6 second exposure, f/9, 16mm ISO 100.
September 2022 #2: The second of my favourite shots from August is a commercial one; the team at Lomers Removals. I was commissioned to make some shots for them, for their all-new website.Although this might look a simple shot to do, there were actually some interesting lighting challenges to overcome. Getting the guys to all do the right thing at the same time was fun too!
In this shot I just managed to pull things together before strong, morning sunlight crept across the composition from the left. The red strip of a shutter door, on the extreme right, helps to balance the colour composition.Sony A7riv, 200th sec, f/5.6, 74mm ISO 640.
August 2022: My favourite photograph of July came from a family shoot in the hot, dry sunshine of Sussex. Strong, direct sunshine is generally not a good idea for photographing people, particularly towards midday. I could have used an off-camera flash but that's tricky when you're working on your own and people are moving around quickly! I aimed to catch some shots of this family in the shade, where the lighting on their faces was far more pleasing.Sony A7riv, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, 63mm ISO 250
July 2022: Perhaps a little cliched but my favourite shot of last month is this one, made on the South Downs near Washington village, West Sussex. It was quite tricky to do because of the timing involved. About a minute earlier and the sun was too bright and was burning out the sky. About a minute later the sun had set and the colour had drained out of the frame. In the intervening moments I made six shots, focused at different locations around the scene. I then stitched them together in post, using the 'focus stacking' technique to ensure the whole frame was sharp from front to back.
June 2022: This month's Photo of the Month just had to be this one of the gardening team at Wiston House. I was in the middle of shooting some rather conventional shots of the team for their website when John (pictured) came up with the idea of doing something a little different. Here's the result - I had to be quick to grab the shot before they dropped him though!
MAY 2022: Few ponds in the UK are truly natural in origin, but Buncton Pond has formed where fresh water from the pervious South Downs chalk, meets the impervious clay of the Weald and bubbles up to the surface. Here, wetland plants thrive, including Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula), Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus) and Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris). The latter gives a spectacular display of butter yellow flowers in late April / early May.
Ancient Hay Meadow, Sussex High Weald
I am a Sussex, UK based photographer working in a fairly broad range of styles, including portraits, interiors, landscape, gardens and product photography.My background is in ecology and nature conservation, and I still particularly enjoy photographing wild plants. In 2016 I gained 3rd place at the International Garden Photographer of the Year awards (Wildflower Landscapes’ category) and I was also highly commended at the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year. In 2017 I won a first place at the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards ('Bring Home the Harvest’ category).Since 2017 my photographs have regularly appeared in magazines, books and websites worldwide, including recent features in 'Sussex Life', 'Country Life' and 'The Lady'.I suppose the main motivation behind my photography is to offer a different way of seeing the world. Sometimes I feel rather like a tourist looking into this amazing planet and wondering if anyone else has noticed what I see. I particularly like to reveal the extraordinary in the everyday and harmony in seemingly random circumstances.Call Matthew on 07763 206030. or email: email@example.comA small selection of my photographs are available as limited edition prints at Saatchi Art., or contact me for framed or unframed prints of any of my photographs in any size.
'Inside the box we gather together,
People, reasons and thoughts.
The edge of the box is where we stand,
Outsiders looking over the wall.'from ' The Box' by Carl Taylor Walker
Sunrise at West Wittering Beach
A selection of my work including landscapes, architecture, abstracts and portraiture. Chose a category below to see more.
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