Habile Photography: Blog https://www.habilephotography.com/blog en-us (C) Habile Photography (Habile Photography) Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:24:00 GMT Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:24:00 GMT https://www.habilephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u714270456-o256251605-50.jpg Habile Photography: Blog https://www.habilephotography.com/blog 102 120 Back in time https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/2/back-in-time Helen_Toni_IMG_8357_webHelen_Toni_IMG_8357_web


How much fun would it be to be able the experience the golden age of travel?

Thanks to The Bluebell Railway in Sussex, we were able to do just that - if only for a couple of hours! We were given free reign to use the station and carriages to come up with some images that gave a taste of times gone by. For the purists out there we were only wanting to get a flavour rather than a slavish authentic portrayal.

We chose two eras, the first being 1920s/30s period. The Victorian station certainly looked the part and the ladies had great fun dressing up in their long and elegant dresses. Very regal indeed.

As not everyone would have had a camera back then (imagine that!!) we thought it would be fun to create what a vintage selfie may have looked like. It would certainly have been very hit and miss with no forward facing screen to see what is in the image and if any of it is in focus!





For the second set we went with a 50s/60s kind of feel.

The weather was fortunately glorious and the ladies looked fabulous in their summer floral dresses for their day out. The station wouldn't have changed much from it's Victorian days and for this the carriages were also of the correct vintage.

With the great props dotted around it really did give an old time feel with the old cases stacked up waiting for the station porters to deal with, and advertising posters adorning the walls - some of brands we are still familiar with, whilst others are long since consigned to the history books. 

All too soon our time was up and it was back to the present for us.

We had a such a lovely time and I'd like to thank Helen & Toni for being wonderful models to work with and The Bluebell Railway for hosting us.

If you've enjoyed the photos please feel free to view more in the gallery here - Bluebell Railway


(Habile Photography) elegant railway train travel vintage https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/2/back-in-time Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:24:18 GMT
A brief encounter https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-brief-encounter Street_Life_IMG_6063_HabilePhotography (2)Street_Life_IMG_6063_HabilePhotography (2)

One a chilly and dreary spring weekend I ended up in an urban environment, due to my daughter taking part in a dance festival. With some time on my hands I headed out on to the streets with my camera to see what I could find. Being a bit of a country bumpkin this was quite a change of scenery! 

On the Sunday morning I was minding my own business taking pictures of the modern buildings, trams, buses and all things generally towny, when I was aware of this guy approaching me. At first I was a little apprehensive as he looked like he'd spent the night on the streets and probably several before. He was a big guy too. There weren't many other people around so it was definitely me he had clocked and was walking towards. But as he got closer I felt by his whole demeanor he wasn't about to mug me and run off with my camera. I could have been very wrong, of course. I was still a little wary as he came up to me and started talking to me about what I was photographing. but he was very cheerful.

We chatted generally and amiably about nothing in particular for a few minutes when said he'd better get going. But before heading off he asked me if I'd like to take his photo. I was a little caught off guard but said yes, why not?! So he leaned against the crossing lights pole next to where he stood and I took one very quick shot with no regard to the camera settings!! This is the result. One take, no planning - click. There it is.

I knew what was coming next. He said he was a bit down on his luck and heading off to an interview for a job and wondered (here it comes) if I could spare any change so he could go and clean himself up a bit first. He was very polite about it and certainly not threatening or insistent. As it happened I didn't have my wallet but I did have a few quid in change in my pocket which I willingly gave to him and he was most appreciative.

It would also have been very easy to shun him and have no interaction. But as I saw it he was a gentle soul just trying to get through the day, a fellow human being who is just as deserving of my time as anyone else. It's not for me to judge how or why he found himself in his current predicament. I don't know for sure if he had an interview or not, I like to think perhaps he had or something similar. Maybe it would have been nice to have chatted longer and found out a bit more about him. I knew nothing about him, not even his name and I'm pretty sure that face could tell a story or two.

This chance encounter has made me start to keep my eyes open for unusual and unexpected situations to take photos. Partially inspired by this I did did a photoshoot in my home town using some of the modern architecture as a backdrop which I've walked and driven past countless times without giving it much thought. This time it was a bit more planned too! You can see some of the images here... CLICK HERE

It also made think how a little bit of your time can make a difference to someone's day.

Now I know he probably targeted me to try and get a few quid, but so what? I got an interesting photo out of the deal. Win, win, I reckon.

(Habile Photography) city homeless portrait street street life urban https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-brief-encounter Wed, 06 Jan 2021 21:18:07 GMT
What camera do you use..? https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/12/what-camera-do-you-use Canon DSLR camera & phoneCanon_camera_phone_HabilePhotography

It’s a question I get asked a lot. Along with “what camera should I get?”.

I would say what camera you have is probably the least important link in the chain (the lens is far more important, but that's another subject for another day!). The best camera in the world won’t help you to see a good image or to compose an effective shot. With that in mind the best “camera” is (are) your eyes! Any camera on the market will capture a high quality photo. That includes phones! Use what you already have.

So, how do you go about “seeing” a good image? Easy to answer! More tricky to do!! Practice!! And lots and lots of trial and error. It's true regardless of the genre of photography you like to shoot. Be it portraits, landscapes, nature, etc. Through hours of practice and making mistakes you will eventually find what works. That process never stops. I defy any photographer to know everything. I certainly don’t, I’m always learning. That’s the beauty of it. Sometimes you get lucky and catch that amazing shot purely chance. The real skill is to plan a shot and capture it. Not always possible out in nature photographing wildlife. But researching an area and your subject can pay dividends and may well improve your chances of getting “The Shot”.


Also whatever equipment you use, be it a camera or phone, make sure you know how to use it upside-down, inside-out and with your eyes closed! Seriously, I mean it. The last thing you want is that baby elephant coming up to you and you’re too busy fiddling about with settings!

That all comes back to practice. As you become totally familiar with your chosen “weapon” you will also develop an eye for the best capture.

Most importantly have fun and don't get frustrated if you're not happy with the results straightaway. See what you do and don't like about and image and learn from it. Rome wasn't built in a day!

Happy snapping

(Habile Photography) artistic beginners camera creative equipment inspiration photographer photography https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/12/what-camera-do-you-use Thu, 03 Dec 2020 16:40:17 GMT
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/10/imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - so Oscar Wilde once said. But is it really true?

Are those copyists churning out cheap knock offs of designer goods being sincere? Or the plagiarists who pass off other people's work as their own? Unlikely, I would wager. Perhaps the full quote is more apt in these instances,

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness"

So in this day and age of fakes, forgeries and counterfeit goods is there any merit in the most quoted first part of the old saying? Maybe there is. Even if it's a tiny bit. 

A while ago I posted up on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/habilephotography) this photo from a trip to the Vercors region of South East France.

Round hay bales in the valley with mountains in the backgroundsHay bales in the VercorsRound hay bales in the valley with mountains in the backgrounds All very nice alpine and serene. Some time later I received a message. It was from an artist (a proper one who used brushes and everything!) Sage Burks from Missouri. She really liked the photo and messaged me to ask if I would mind if she painted a version of it! Needless to say I said "yes"! I was so chuffed that one of my photos inspired a clearly very talented artist. That to me was true praise indeed!

As you can see her painted version is far from a slavish copy and there is no mistaking which is which. But the inspiration is there and plain to see.

Hay bales paintingHay bales painting When trying to create I think it is perfectly acceptable to take inspiration from other works. Chances are you'll approach it in a different way, within the realms of one's own experience, available equipment and ability (or lack of!!). This way it inevitably has a different look or style about it. It's also a good way to expand one's knowledge by trying to figure out how a certain technique is achieved. You could Google it if course but there's still no guarantee you'll execute it in the same way! Or maybe that's just me!

The artist Sage Burks didn't necessarily need to ask my permission and I'd probably be none the wiser, but I appreciated the fact she did and it made me feel very proud of my work. So perhaps if you've been heavily inspired by something why not drop the creator a message to say so?

You never know you might just make their day. 


(Habile Photography) artist artistic creative imitation inspiration inspired inspired by landscape mountains painting photography view vista https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/10/imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery Tue, 06 Oct 2020 18:53:38 GMT
Rhinos & Elephants https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/rhinos-elephants Rhino by HabilePhotographyRhinoA rhino out for a stroll These huge animals share a few similar roles out in their natural habitat. As such many other species and ecosystems are dependent on their existence. Elephants, being the largest mammals on earth, clear paths through dense undergrowth which allows other smaller animals to access new feeding grounds which would otherwise be inaccessible. Even an elephant’s footprint, once filled with rainwater, provides a micro-ecosystem for tiny organisms like tadpoles!

Left to their own devices both animals are fairly docile. However, neither are pacifists. If they feel threatened they will charge towards a fight. They can be unpredictable too – just as we humans. If you get too close and they don’t like the look of you, you could be in trouble. Especially with rhinos as their eyesight isn’t great so you could be an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Therefore it’s best to keep your distance and not disturb them. Annie the Elephant by HabilePhotographyAnnie the ElephantAnnie the Asian elephant from Longleat

As I’m sure you’re more than aware both of these goliaths of the animal kingdom are in danger with their numbers very low. So low in fact you’re unlikely to see them outside of a protected area.

Why so? Put simply due to human activity both the elephant and the rhino are on the verge of extinction mainly because of poaching. In the case of the elephant it is the ivory that is desired and revered. For the rhino it’s for their horn. Even though trade in rhino horn was banned in 1977, illegal poaching reached a record high in 2015 with an excess of 1300 animals slaughtered. The main market is China as it becomes more affluent.

Despite a ban on the ivory trade in 1990 the situation on the trade in elephant ivory is complicated and still rumbles on with the sale of existing stockpiles and Southern African countries trying various ways of overturning the ban in order to continue supplying the demand from, you guessed it - China. But China aren’t the only consumers. The USA are also partial to elephant ivory. So much so that in 2017 President Trump ended the ban on importing ivory from Zimbabwe.

However, elephants are also killed as they are regarded as pests! They are big animals and need to eat. A lot!! They can eat up to nearly half a tonne of food a day. As such they aren’t too fussy about what they rip up in the process and can make short work of an acre of crops. As a result, through anger, frustration and even vengeance they are killed.

Despite their size they get a pretty rough ride. It just so happens they both share the same appreciation day. September 22nd is the World Rhino Day and Elephant appreciation day. You can find out what is being done to help and even volunteer yourself with organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to keep these animals from being consigned to the history books.


(Habile Photography) animals big conservation elephant endangered horn ivory mammals rhino rhinoceros safari trunk tusk wildlife https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/rhinos-elephants Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:32:14 GMT
Changing times https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/changing-times autumn_canal_webautumn_canal_web Never more true than this year! However, I'm referring more specifically to the seasons.

Many rue the end of summer as the opportunity to make beautiful images fades along with the vibrant colours adorning gardens and meadows. I have to admit, as I get older I do find I appreciate the convenience that the warm days of summer bring. But I have always enjoyed the change of seasons. The delicate petals of summer are well and truly giving way to a heavier blanket of warm golden browns which give wonderful scenes to be embraced.

Over the last year or so I have made time to explore my local area. It’s all too easy to ignore or simply be blind to what is on our own doorsteps. In my instance I’ve found revisiting the same places at different times of the year and different times of the day to be very rewarding.

The same woodland with its carpet of bluebells a few months ago are now festooned with mushrooms and fungi of all shapes and sizes. Perfect subjects to get up close and personal with. Or should I say, down close?! Get your camera down at ground level and fill your frame full of fungus!!

red_mushroom_img_5295_nik_logo_web-e1571406196715.jpgIf you have a macro lens then great, but not essential. Because of the low light in the forests and woodland you will need a sloooowww shutter speed. Ideally you’ll want a small tripod. One that will open up flat is perfect. Failing that a bean bag can often do the trick. Sometimes I’ve resorted to propping the camera up on sticks or moss or anything else that happens to be at hand! A remote shutter release is also useful so you don’t move the camera when you press the shutter. Alternatively use the built in self timer.

When you are up close if you’re using a zoom lens use it on maximum zoom and move the camera back. Why? Because if you zoom out and are close up your subject will be distorted giving a “fish-eyed” lens effect pulling in the image at the corners – which, of course, you may like!

Experiment with the aperture too. At such close quarters a wide aperture (the f number) will render a very small part in focus. To recap – the smaller the f number (e.g. f/2 8) the wider the aperture and the larger the number (e.g. f/16) the narrower the aperture. You can use this to your advantage by focusing on one particular object or aspect of an object to make it stand out with everything around it a soft blur. As a general rule of thumb the more of the scene you want in focus the narrower (bigger f number) the aperture. You will need to balance this with the shutter speed to get the right exposure. A narrow aperture will require a slower shutter speed, so you’ll definitely need that tripod or equivalent!


Whatever you decide to photograph get out and make the most of those glorious autumn colours. They won’t last forever because the times will change again all too soon!

Happy snapping

(Habile Photography) autumn fall forest fungi leaves mushroom mushrooms season seasons trees woodland woods https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/changing-times Sat, 12 Sep 2020 17:08:31 GMT
Smokin' https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/7/smokin Gracie - suspendedGracie - suspendedGracie performing her aerial yoga routine I had the idea for a shoot that I might need a bit of extra atmosphere. What better way than adding a bit of smoke into the mix. And to really make a statement why not have it with a bit of colour?

I'd already discussed with our model Gracie about doing a shoot to showcase her aerial yoga with her silks. We thought by adding smoke it would add more of a performance vibe.

So that was the plan. I decided on purple because, well – I like purple! I opted for the tried and trusted products from Enola Gaye (please note I am in no was affiliated with Enola Gaye).


Rather than the full-on big ones I decided the smaller EG25 Micro Smokes would be a good bet. Still loads of smoke but for a shorter time. This way there is less risk of smoking the everything out and completely obscuring the subject and just creating the atmosphere I was after. If I needed more I had the option of using two or more from the pack of 10. These are mini canons rather than grenades so can be hand held and waved around to get the smoke where you want it.

Three words of warning! 

1 - Read the instructions!!

2 - They can get hot, so be careful

3 - If placing on the floor the colour can stain ground

The lighting was pretty simple - a strip box with grid either side at about 45 degrees and speedlight with a mini softbox pointing straight up at the back to give a bit of backlight for that on-stage feel.

In addition, just for a bit extra we used a little fogger to get more of a haze. As we were working indoors and didn't particularly want to suffocate to dead, we had a big fan ready to disperse the smoke.

So there we had it. All set and ready to go!

We got a great set of shots both with and without the smoke. Gracie worked really hard in pretty trying conditions. We had to have all the doors closed to contain the smoke as much as possible. Bearing in mind on the day it was about 33 degrees Celcius outside it made it pretty stuffy inside!

When we'd had enough of being cooped up we decided to go outdoors as we still had a couple of smoke bombs left and our model Gracie was dying to have a go with them!

Gracie_IMG_4401_web_HabilePhotographyGracie letting off the last of the smoke bombs I'm pretty happy with the effect we got and I'm keen to use them again but for something futuristic - maybe with lasers!

(Habile Photography) aerial atmosphere gymnastics smoke techniques yoga https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/7/smokin Mon, 20 Jul 2020 16:58:41 GMT
Ready to shoot again! https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/6/ready-to-shoot-again After three months of not being able to shoot with other people because of the pandemic I am more than ready and raring to go and I'm pleased to say the diary is already filling up!

But if I wasn't already motivated enough (which I am!) I have a new lens to try out!! Enter the Canon 85mm f/1.8 prime lens.


I love the clarity a prime lens brings to the table, especially for portraits. For a while I have used a 90mm f/2.8 macro. It's a fine lens but mine has one major drawback. My wife uses it pretty much all the time and I don't get a look in! And as it's for macro photography, it's intended purpose, I can hardly object.

But, it gives me the golden opportunity to add another piece of glass to my arsenal (my glassenal?!?!). I've been wanting a wider aperture medium length telephoto for a wee while and this gives me the perfect excuse. Ok, it's "only" f/1.8 instead of f/1.4 or wider. But at £1000 cheaper than the nearest f/1.4 equivalent it was a bit of a no-brainer to give it a go.

It is pretty basic with no image stabilization, but no matter, it makes for a very compact and light-weight bit of kit. And with a wide aperture will let in loads of light so I can keep the shutter speed fast enough to compensate for my shaky old hands! I already love the cheap as chips "nifty fifty" and this is basically the 85mm version, if you like.

With social distancing being the current order of the day this 85mm will let me get in nice and close without actually having to physically get in nice and close.

So nice spanking new lens at the ready along with freshly charged batteries and an empty memory card, I'm ready and I can't wait!

Watch out for posts and uploads in the near future of photos taken with this new Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens and let me know what you think!

(Habile Photography) 85mm canon equipment lens photoshoots portrait prime prime lens review social distancing starting https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/6/ready-to-shoot-again Mon, 22 Jun 2020 19:06:44 GMT
Welcome to my blog https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/3/welcome-to-my-blog old_camera_IMG_3920_cropped_logoold_camera_IMG_3920_cropped_logo Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to have a look around.

In this section I’ll be adding my thoughts and experiences on all things photography related. The site is still pretty new so will evolve a bit (hopefully for the better).

Come back soon. You never know I may something interesting to say!!!

(Habile Photography) https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/3/welcome-to-my-blog Sat, 28 Mar 2020 14:39:49 GMT