Landscape photography in County Antrim, Northern Ireland – Feb 2017

The Dark Hedges, Breagah Road, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Earlier this year I took  a commission across the Irish Sea in Northern Ireland, and being this was a part of the world I’d always wanted to photograph; I spent a few days after the job to shoot some personal … Continue reading

Ko Samui – Part Two

On a day exploring the island we were lucky enough to stumble across this Chinese New Year festival, near Lamai Beach. On the south you can find palm fringed, unspoilt beaches like this one, with a relaxed tropical atmosphere. Back … Continue reading

Ko Samui, Thailand

From Bangkok I made the misguided decision to travel to the Island of Ko Samui with Air Asia, this involved an arduous coach and ferry journey because the flight only takes you south, landing on the mainland in Surat Thani … Continue reading

A few days on the Cornish Coast

Last December I took a friend down to see the rugged beauty of the Cornish coast. As well the chance to show an American this stunning part of the world it was also an opportunity to see how my new … Continue reading

Luang Prabang, Laos – Part One

From Vang Vieng we headed north (to set things right) to Luang Prabang. This beautiful city was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995 and I’ve got to say its one of my favourite cities in Asia, (by English standards having … Continue reading

Day of the sabbath – Lloyds Building,London

Sunday, the day of the sabbath – the choice = Tottenham vs Swansea or a Shoot, I can’t watch the team white so its a downtown train. With some city shoots I aim to time the shoot to coincide with the rush of people and traffic which I’ll include in the frame. However for this shoot which I’ve had on my mind for awhile, sunday was the perfect day – the lack of traffic / commuters / security guards meant I could have peace to sit on the pavement at the foot of the Lloyds building, in central London.

I picked up the Nikon 14-24mm Lens in New York recently as a little treat, I’ve been looking forward to using this along with my new body (Nikon D800E) to reimagine some of my previous shoots in the city. Being able to zoom out to 14mm which is close to a fisheye perspective allows me to be a few metres from the foot of a building and yet still fit the entirety of the structure in frame.

This is the newly finished Heron Tower (near liverpool st), shot handheld on my way to the primary location. I’ll come back and do more of the amazing building soon.

Looks good on the back of the camera, I always like the reflective nature of glass buildings, now over to the main event. I scope out the location with a slow walk around the building – I know where I want to do the main shot but its not time yet –  i want it a little darker, so I’ll set this up to do i the meantime..

Struggling now to do this handheld but its not possible with this tripod set up to angle the camera directly up – I’ve pumped the ISO to 800 and aperture is almost wide at 3.2, usually you’d struggle for sufficient depth of field but at 14mm it almost infinite. I love the industrial look of this building with all the pipes visisible on the outside, reminiscent of The Pompidou Centre in Paris.

This is the one I came for, I’ve got the tripod angled up and I’m crouching on the pavement, lens is zoomed out to 14mm to get as much as possible in, D800E is at F8 (no point stoppng down further and have diffraction softening the image, and I don’t need to slow the shutter speed either) 1 second exposure at ISO200. Only exposed a few frames – its amazing how quickly the light changes at this time of day, after a short while the sky is losing the blue colour and being lit by the light pollution of the city. I move on to one final shot before heading home..

The Musicians I – Julie Helene

The first of a series of posts I’ll be posting about the commissions I’ve shot this year with London musicians.

April 25th 18:00 – The shoot is on location so obviously we’re hoping for decent weather conditions but that isn’t happening – its absolutely pouring down as the makeup artist (Marina Angel) finishes her work off on Julie. We’re over on the east side of town so I haven’t got the option to move the shoot indoors to studio, and besides that wouldn’t suit the look we’re going for, so we have to work with the elements and use the bridge to shelter under. I’ve only got a couple of hours of daylight left so I’m anxious to start getting something shot, there is lighting kit in the bag but I want to some more muted natural light shots.

The brief for the location was to fit Julies music, we wanted something urban, busy, little bit dilapidated and the theme of travel and movement in there too…

1st Shot of the day – on an 85mm Nikon lens, at F2 so very little depth of field – want to knock all out the background clutter out of focus, also because its such a dark overcast day there is little light around anyway.

Now I’m further back looking to shoot whole body, this is a tricky location to work in because its 5 minutes walk from Liverpool st and at 6pm plenty of people passing through. On the Nikon 70-200mm at 2.8 now way back down the road, yelling instructions on pose to Julie!

We’ve changed spot slightly now, giving me a darker background and thats helping Julie stand out more, also changed outfit, and I’m back on the 85mm lens. I prefer to work with primes whenever I can – they are faster and lighter – that means I can get the shallower DOF and work with a faster shutter speed – increasing the odds of a sharp final image. We’re shooting a mix of poses looking to camera and some away – this is the one that goes on to make the album cover – a first for me : )

The natural light is really dying away now – its time to take a break and wait for darkness to fall..

25/04/2012 – 20:57 Twilight – if you follow my work you know I love this time of day, ambient light fades as artificial comes on. We had planned this shot earlier – have the look of Julie waiting for the taxi, sitting on one of the suitcases. By this time the road was quieter, less passer’s-by getting in the shot inadvertently. Technical bit – Nikon D700 with 85mm Nikon lens at F2.2, Manual exposure mode at 1/50th Shutter. Nikon SB600 Speedlight with Umbrella to camera right being triggered by the pop-up on camera. For a shoot like this I’d be getting my exposure set for the ambient (natural – existing) light first, then adding the flash and increasing / decreasing the power to suit.

As you can see we got a completely different look and feel to these shots at twilight with the flash to the ones a couple of hours earlier with natural light, but thats perfect when shooting for a client – gives them options, and the wet streets worked perfectly for these night shots.

Check out Julies amazing voice at http://juliehelene.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/thejuliehelene and Marina the MUA at https://www.facebook.com/marinaangelmakeup?fref=ts

All images © Ben Pipe Photography 2012

Kimmeridge Dusk

5 Secs at F20, iso100, 40mm on a 24-70 Nikon

Sunset at Kimmeridge in the winter months is a popular spot for Dorset’s booming populace of landscape photographers. I shot it many times when I was still based in the county but I’d never got anything of this view looking west up the coast I was satisified with.

Some free time in my hometown earlier this year gave me the opportunity to achieve the shot I’d always wanted, the weather was looking changeable – always worth heading out on these klind of days. Being a weekday and an early sunset meant I wouldn’t be battling for tripod space with hordes of other photographers, just a few surfers returning from the water for company. I set up further back from the shore than I’d usually be because I wanted to work a longer focal length and bring the distant horizon and cliffs into the frame. (Also meant the camera didn’t get its usual salt wash!), filters – easy – we’re going with a Neutral Density Graduated Lee 0.9 to hold back the sky and an 6 Stop ND to give the long exposure blurring the water. Got this frame just before the sun came under the cloud and got too strong to handle.

5 Secs at F20, iso100, 52mm on a 24-70 Nikon

The game pauses for 20 minutes while the sun moves through that gap, when it gets back to those low clouds just above the horizon we can shoot again, the clouds are blocking enough of it. Same sort of exposure and filter setup as before, this time I’m showing more of the cliffs on the right side, liking the strong cloud lineup and the diagonals from the rocks leading out into the water. With this kind of shoot the sun is moving fast and the light changing all the time – you need to know where you’re shooting from and stick with it, there isn’t time to be moving or fiddling with equipment.

The sun drops lower and I opt for a wider view, including more of the foreground rocks and shore, I don’t want to go too wide here as the rocks are so dark that they may have little interest in the final composition. However the geology close to the water is getting splashed and the reflections are picking up hints of the sunset above so they’re gonna work nicely. Same sort of filter and exposure setup, watch the highlights / histogram – just a tiny bit flashing around the sun, thats OK we can pull that back later. Job done..