News and updates - Jan '17

Hi everyone,

There are some things to catch-up on, and updates on what's been happening..

Of course, the early news in January was the 'Print Store' going live here on the website! With a selection of landscape/seascape images available, in both colour and black + white, and in a choice of styles. The Discount offer still applies remember (Use Code: NHP1701 at checkout)!

Also included on the Store was the 'Special Items' section with individual items available.

Other news has been my recent success in the Houzz Awards for 2017, with another award for Niall Hastie Photography, which means a lot and is greatly appreciated. If you haven't checked out the Houzz UK website then go do it now!

There were some client projects shot in January too. With a couple down in the Glasgow area again, and also some in Aberdeen.

For one shoot in Aberdeen, I was back again at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, making images of the completed work that has been underway in sections of the hospital for the last few months. More than just a makeover, the work involved a detailed strip-back of all coverings and surfaces, to allow renewal of electrical cabling, and air ducting, and also to remove any long-standing materials that may become hazardous or that did not meet newer safety regulations. A few images are shown below:

Something not-so-great that happened in January was the injury that I sustained while I was down at St Andrews, and out early one morning shooting at the beach. Slipping awkwardly on some (very) greasy rocks, while waiting for my camera to finish a long-exposure I fell backwards, and over, my right leg, leading to my knee to give way and dislocate the patella.. :-(

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I've had this injury (when I was younger and mountain-biking), but this also meant that I knew what to do, and reacted almost immediately to drag myself up and push my leg/knee back into line as quickly as possible. Still, doing this there is much stretching and tearing of muscle and ligaments, leading to lots of swelling and stiffness, but much less than if leaving the joint in its injured position for a period etc!! So, after managing to get up and get off the beach, I made my way back to the hotel using my crutch (tripod) and then arranged transport to the local hospital, where I got checked over, x-rayed, and released later!

Helpfully, my other half snapped some pictures of me/my leg after a few days had passed.. so as a warning to be careful out there, when you may be outdoors and climbing/hiking around, or down at the coast.. here's a peek..

Thankfully, I am now past the worst of it, and the swelling and bruising has largely gone, but the stiffness and weakness remains, so I am having to be very careful with my movements and also concentrate on exercises to strengthen and flex the joint slowly. I'll be back up to 100% as soon as safe though, and will be even more careful where I put my feet in future!!

Phew, now that's over.... Some new gear to talk about now.

As I've mentioned before, I've been using 'Formatt Hitech' filters and system for a while now, and had excellent results. Recently, I decided to get the Polarising filter which fits onto the square filter holder system I currently use. Because the 100mm square filter holder mounts onto he front of the lens using an attachment ring, you cannot fit a regular circular polariser on the lens as well. The solution is to get a 105mm polariser mount ring who fits to the front of the square holder and allows a 105mm circular polariser to be fitted, and used in conjunction with graduated filters and other ND filters. This is especially useful when taking landscape pictures as polarisers enable you to control glaring reflections on water and make them disappear and haze evaporates from the sky leaving clouds silhouetted against dramatic blue skies. 

Example image showing 100mm square filter holder and polarising rings fitment to typical DSLR.

Example image showing 100mm square filter holder and polarising rings fitment to typical DSLR.

L-Bracket fitted on DSLR body

L-Bracket fitted on DSLR body

Also new; I've changed the mounting I'm using from my camera to tripod, and finally got myself an 'L-bracket' to enable quicker and easier transitions from landscape to portrait orientation with my camera when using my tripod (which is just about all the time!). I managed to get hold of a '3 Legged Thing' L-bracket, (another UK based company),  which seems to be very much in demand. It's a lovely thing, anodised aluminium and solidly made, and adds a splash of colour to the set-up! (To go with this I had to change the mounting plate on the tripod to an 'Arca-Swiss' type clamp as well.)

With the injury to my leg, I've only had a chance to try these out near my house, but the results are excellent and I can't wait to use them in the field properly!

With that in mind, I've been doing some planning and investigation work into possible shoot locations for some new landscape work. Some locations are reasonably local, some are a little further away, and some are considerably further away! It's great fun to do, and has been helping to keep me occupied while I was laid-up with the injury, but it's not the same as actually getting outdoors proper, exploring locations and getting some shutter time!

Thank for reading, and there will be more updates following soon.