What defines a favourite place? Somewhere you want to let your emotions flow, where you get to know about yourself and connect with the elements around you? Is a favourite place a road, and could this road be a journey and a memory that is your footprint on life?
We can certainly say that a favourite place is something that has a meaning to different people and photography is a very special way to keep it alive and hold on to it. With our recent road trip with Sony and UK Shooters we wanted to inspire everyone to find their favourite places.
This Summer we committed to celebrate the great spirit of discovery that connects all photographers and videographers. We could not have had better companions to share this adventure with than Sony and UK Shooters.
Our road trip brought us to the beautiful north to explore different types of photography and understand how to make a personal vision a photography reality. It was fun and challenging at the same time and every mile, walked and driven, was well worth it. We met Mike (@m.visuals), Luke(@watchluke), Gigi (@ggphotographyofficial), Keenan (@keenanlam) and Cyrus (@cyrusnezami), the crazy-talented bunch at UK Shooters, who are taking the Instagram world by storm with their fresh content and inspiring approach to photography.
We came together with the concept of exploring the beauty of our country, we aimed to create memorable content that could inspire others, we created this journey to bring to life what happens when creative minds come along and instill new ideas into each other.
Some of you will say that photography is a stage for a solo show, where your thoughts are your guidance and your eyes your master, but still nothing can give your mind more stimulus than having to share your subject with somebody else. You’ll be surprised about how much changes between two shots taken from a slightly different angle and most importantly by a different vision.
Sony really raised the bar with their amazing range of Creators Kits to enhance everyone’s creativity at its best. We had the privilege to use the superlight full-frame Sony A6400 with 16-50MM lens and the strikingly versatile full-frame A7 III with 24-105MM lens along with the sturdy Zhiyun Weebill Lab Gimbal and the reliable RØDE VideoMic Pro-R. The Creators Kit couldn’t have been named more appropriately.
On our road trip we could test and play with a great variety of subjects and styles and every step felt like a different adventure of an epic story. You can say been-there-done-that but we’re not here to describe the naked facts. Here’s how we learnt to take our eyes into a new reality by looking through other photographers’ perspectives. We want to challenge you to do the same. Who knows, you might discover that there’s another way to nail your composition, or perhaps you just need that thumbs up right after your shot from someone that shares your passion for photography.
Peak District: Golden Hour rules
The hilly Midlands welcomed us in the unique landscape of the Peak District, the world’s second most visited National Park spanning through Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Cheshire. Immersed in the dazzling beauty of narrow roads, we drove and shared stories, listening to what we enjoy about taking the right shot and what makes us feel like we had finally got ‘the one’.
This amazing landscape was meant to be honoured to ensure every green vein and every sunbeam was captured forever. Those who love landscape and nature photography know the pressure of getting the perfect light. In our case sunset was a no brainer and everything verged around it. Golden hour rules and everything else seems to fade into the background.
When you have a clear vision of ‘the shot’ you want to capture then planning is critical and will become almost an obsession. Although it was easy to test different composition structures using the all around Sony a7 III with 24-105mm f/4 G lens, relying on the 24 Megapixel full-frame sensor and 693 phase-detection AF points. Natural landscapes risk becoming flat subjects when you don’t have the freedom to focus where your eye goes to, and it took just experimenting with the AF features whilst listening to the UK Shooters easy tips to make it simple to achieve.
We adventured at Mam Tor, the real gem of the Peak District. The multitude of small hills are just the best setup for testing out a real game of shadows and light, whilst the wind plays its part blowing through the grass with its visible rhythm over the earth’s surface. When the golden hour was finally on us, the only way to catch it in all its glory was to climb the steepest hill – who said photography was not an extreme sport?
We embraced the challenge and we were repaid for the hard work-out and the slight fear of falling down. The real surprise stunned us when looking up, where a paragliding pilot was soaring in the wild wind coming from west and let us grab the chance to reap the benefit of the Sony a7 III speed, precision, and AF/AE tracking performance up to 10/fps. (Credit: @zimstergram on Instagram.com)
Newcastle, The Northern Beauty
“There are too many bridges” said no one ever. The true wonder of the North, Newcastle is an explosion of grace combined between different architectural styles and times. From the heritage of Castle, to the iron skeleton High Level bridge and the curved glass brilliance of Sage Gateshead, Newcastle stole our hearts. A warm sun saluted us displaying the city’s essence when scouting for the best spots. This was a great opportunity to experiment architectural photography, where symmetry is key whether you fully embrace or fight against it. You would work on quality and different perspectives to challenge your own idea of what is interesting and far from dull.
Look-up compositions engaged amazingly with the city features and the Sony A6400 180°-tiltable LCD screen was vital, saving us from weeks of yoga classes and back pain. The intuitive touch screen options include Touch Pad, which smoothly moves the focus point and Touch Focus, meant to help sharpen up the architectural photography like a pro.
The high-resolution 921k-dot LCD with 3.0-type screen is also great for vlogging, especially if combined with the Zhiyun Weebill Lab Gimbal, designed to be the lightweight solution to your content creation session. (Credit: @nura.lou on Instagram.com)
Leeds Me Alone In This Urban Maverick
This vibrant city has a flare you can’t shake off. Through the industrial feel of Clarence House and Leeds Dock, passing through the Knights Way Bridge over the river Aire, we inhaled the real soul of what street photography is: nailing THE shot. Sometimes a once in a lifetime opportunity to have your subjects exactly where they blend or stand out with the background. Everything matters and nothing can be traded for anything less than perfection, composition has no rules as long as everything makes sense once it comes to life.
The Sony a7 III’s wide ISO sensitivity range of up to ISO 51200 is a great support in low light conditions along with the Detail Reproduction and Area-specific Noise Reduction join forces to reduce noise and keep a consistent high-resolution result.
The in-body 5-axis image stabilisation with 5.0-stop shutter speed offsets five types of camera shake that may produce blurry images: pitch/yaw shake when shooting at longer focal lengths; X/Y shake in close-up shooting. The in-body system works with any mount lens but works in perfect sync with the 24-105MM, allowing you to shoot quickly and at distance before your perfect moment fades away. (Credit: @raquelfcmachado on Instagram.com)
A Thousand Shades of Birmingham
Our road trip ended shooting in the biggest city in the UK after London, the Midlands metropolis, the rock music Mecca, the superb Birmingham. Brum is such a delight to discover and get inspired by. We found ourselves with plenty of spots to unleash our imagination and experiment with portrait and fashion photography. From Centenary Square, with its tile mosaic-y pattern and the fountain reflection game, passing through the elegance of Victoria Square, we could connect with the city’s real character. We exchanged ideas and techniques on how to capture the amazing models’ expressions and body movements, gaining that editorial feeling that made every shot a unique piece of art.
Portrait is a very eclectic style that can work as a powerful way to communicate emotions that cannot be described otherwise. Aperture is what you would focus on to balance the blurry effect between your subject and the background.
The real-time Eye AF on the Sony A6400 came in handy in detecting and autofocusing on the eyes of the models by just half-pressing the shutter and having the system recognizing the subjects and following them. The high-speed continuous shooting at up to 11fps or 8fps was the outstanding feature that helped make the sessions with every model effortless. (Credit: @raquelfcmachado on Instagram.com)
Last week was more than a road trip, it was a discovery through photography on connecting with people as well as with our own vision and what we all aim to communicate with photography and videography.
We met like-minded people, having a common passion that inspired us. We chased the compelling desire of conquer THE moment, knowing that the first shot is never the only one but the opening door through a path of possibilities to make our own array of pixels, knowledge, and determination authentic.
Embracing each other’s style and vision, sharing and connecting with these amazing people was a true creative process that helped everyone to understand more about themselves and their own inspiration.
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