Steve Walton UK Landscape & Travel Photographer bio picture
  • Steve Walton UK Landscape & Travel Photographer

    Professional photographer, author, traveler, tour leader, mentor.

    Steve is a Fellow of the Master Photographers Association, Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography, Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.

    Owner and tour leader at Wild Light Phototours and Managing Director of Steve Walton Photography Ltd, he has been nominated three times as UK Landscape & Travel Photographer of the Year at the professional showcase MPA/BIPP joint British Professional Photographic Awards.

    In 2016, Steve Walton is President of the Master Photographers Association.

Join us for a weekend of landscape, seascape and travel photography on our Wild Light photography workshop in Cornwall in April 2017.  We are based at the Cadgwith Cove Hotel in the unspoilt and quintessential Cornish fishing village of Cadgwith on the Lizard Peninsula.  Bookings are strictly limited to four people only to ensure maximum individual attention by professional landscape photographer, Steve Walton.  The workshop is intended for all abilities from beginners to advanced photographers and individual tuition will be delivered accordingly.  We will be visiting many diverse locations in the area, from tranquil creeks and hamlets on the beautiful Helford River to dramatic coastal locations at Lizard Point, Mullion Cove, Kynance Cove, Prussia Cove, Lamorna Cove, Penberth Cove, Porthcurno and Porth Nanven.  We will also visit prehistoric and industrial archaeological sites in the Celtic Cornish heartland of West Penwith, such as Lanyon and Botallack.  Obviously, this will mean long days out in the field, but there will be no strenuous walking or climbing as all locations are accessible for most physically able people.

With a maximum of only four attendees on the workshop there will be ample opportunity for individual tuition by Steve Walton.  Our Wild Light Photography Workshops are fun and flexible and the emphasis is on structured learning new skills and improving your existing photography skills.

Apart from your camera, lenses, tripod and remote release, there is no need to buy any specialist equipment for the workshop. Filters by Lee and Formatt-Hitech will be available to use if you don’t have them and you will gain practical hands-on experience of long exposures and controlling the light with neutral density and graduated neutral density filters.  Our groups are convivial and friendly and the evening dinners are always a great social occasion!

The workshop runs from 10.30am on Friday 7th – 5pm on Sunday 9th April 2017 and the cost is £395 per person.

What is included:

  • Two nights’ accommodation at the Cadgwith Cove Hotel, Cadgwith
  • Breakfasts on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th April
  • Evening dinners on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th April
  • refreshments (coffee/tea etc).
  • transport to all photography locations on the workshop itinerary
  • personal photography tuition by Steve Walton throughout the workshop
  • Fun whilst learning and improving your photography

What is not included:

  • your travel to and from the workshop
  • photographic equipment
  • lunches
  • alcoholic beverages

 

A £100 deposit will be required to secure your place on the workshop and the balance of £295 will be due for payment on 27th January 2017.  Contact Steve Walton on 0116 2994901 or email steve@stevewaltonphotography.info to book your place on our Wild Light Cornwall Photography Workshop in April 2017.  Be quick, places are limited to four attendees only!

Penberth Cove, just one of the dramatic locations we will visit on our Wild Light Cornwall Photography Workshop with Steve Walton in April 2017

Penberth Cove Near Cadgwith

Penberth Cove, Cornwall

 

Kynance Cove during Storm Frank, January 2016.  An amazing location in all conditions on our Wild Light Cornwall Photography Workshop in April 2017

Kynance Cove near Cadgwith

Kynance Cove during Storm Frank, January 2016. Love the wave ‘face’!

Porth Nanven, another of the dramatic locations we will visit on our Wild Light Cornwall Photography Workshop with Steve Walton in April 2017

Porth Nanven boulders and The Brisons, Cornwall

Porth Nanven and The Brisons, Cornwall

Porth Nanven is a small cove situated at the end of the sylvan Cot Valley, not far from St. Just.  The long sweep of the Cot Valley is famous amongst bird watchers, particularly in autumn when storm-driven vagrant species frequently turn up after being pushed across the Atlantic Ocean.  Cot Valley is not quite as ravaged by mineworkings as neighbouring Kenidjack Valley, although many remains are present.  The valley is equally famous amongst landscape and seascape photographers for the small cove of Porth Nanven, where the valley opens out at the seaward end.  This small cove and it’s large round, pebble-like boulders is an oft-photographed iconic Cornish location.

West-facing and open to the Atlantic Ocean weather systems, sunset and evenings are usually the best times for landscape photography here.  The light and the cloud formations can be very dramatic after the Autumn Equinox, especially on an incoming tide.  The location almost begs for neutral density filters and long exposures.  The sea is often restless and that is a vital ingredient for  those ethereal, misty effects.  A 10 stop neutral density filter will be one of the most useful filters to have to hand and  2 and 3 stop hard graduated neutral density filters will be needed when there is a good sunset.  On my most recent visit, the sunset, although very promising only minutes earlier, was lost to blanket cloud.  At our latitude, that isn’t so much of a problem if, like myself, you like the cold blue tones such conditions will bring.  End-of-the-day landscape photography in the UK doesn’t need to be only about yellow, magenta, pink and cyan pastel hues.  Blanket cloud can have a certain drama of it’s own with a wide angle lens and a 10 stop nd filter.  West-facing usually means photographing directly into the wind and with a long enough exposure, clouds will usually ‘streak’.

This image shows the beginnings of cloud streaking, as picked-up by the 20 second exposure time.  20 seconds is not really a ‘long exposure’ compared to some of my work, although it was just enough to calm the boisterous sea without making it completely flat.  Porth Nanven is one of those locations which require you to return to again to try different things.  One thing that is guaranteed is the potential for dramatic images.

Porth Nanven, overcast evening.  Nikon D810, Nikon 20mm f1.8G Formatt-Hitech 10 stop irnd filter.

Photography workshops with Steve Walton at Porth Nanven, Cornwall

Porth Nanven, Cornwall

Scalpay is joined to Harris by a bridge, even so it’s perceptibly different to it’s larger neighbour.  The jewel in the crown of Scalpay is the walk out across the peat to Eilean Glas Lighthouse.  It’s a mile or so of easy walking on mostly a gravel peat cutter’s path* and it’s a great place to while away a few hours on a fine evening with some long exposure photography. When I’m setting-up to photograph the lighthouse, I have to confess to being a bit anal about lighthouse placement within the image.  By this I mean I like to align the tower within the ‘notch’ of the Shiants in the distance.  I hope no one ever asks me why, I can’t explain this rationally.  I just do it!  I’ve visited this place several times and it’s  beautiful.  I’ve also been able to share the time I have spent here with a couple of people who have mattered very much to me.  The memories I am left with are priceless and I daresay I’ll visit Eilean Glas again with new friends and other photographers and return with more happy memories.  I’ll hold those first memories for ever, though!

Photographing with film in the evening is a challenge.  A three stop neutral density filter gave me the long enough exposure I needed with some added reciprocity compensation.  The problem of a long exposure with rapidly dropping light levels made itself felt and I found myself in something of a guessing game with the exposure for this image.  OK, I’ll stick my hand up and confess to being around three-quarters of a stop adrift with my combined calculations and guesswork.  So much for all the years of rufty-tufty experience gained from traipsing the length and breadth of the UK honing my skills!   The Fuji Velvia 50 frame was underexposed, but just within the capability of my Imacon scanner to retrieve detail from the gloop.  I’m glad it was salvageable.  The irnd filter combined with Velvia’s ability to plaster itself with a heavy colour cast produced an image of Eilean Glas that I quite like.  There is movement in the clouds and the sea has been calmed, it’s the mood that matters and the gloopy Fuji colours sort of holds things together.  Not forgetting, of course, the all-important requirement of the lighthouse tower bisecting the notch in the Shiants!

Great place, fun memories, want more!

Eilean Glas Lighthouse, Scalpay, October 2015.  Hasselblad 503cw, Zeiss 80mm cfi planar, Fuji Velvia 50.

Eilean Glas Lighthouse, jewel in the crown of Scalpay.

Eilean Glas Lighthouse, Scalpay

*Please park considerately near the gate entrance to the cutter’s track, it’s frequently in use!

Photography forums are an internet phenomena and I’ve had a long association with them, in both ‘professional’ and enthusiast weighting.  If I’m perfectly honest, whilst I would agree that forums can be entertaining and often informative, I generally find them irritating for many reasons.  In fact, the only forum I frequent on a fairly regular basis these days is a camera brand-specific forum and more often that not I dislike it intensely.  It’s a daily soapbox for a relatively small number of camera owners whose ability to voice their opinions on almost any conceivable topic is often more accomplished than their photography, so why do I bother? That’s a tough one to answer and it’s a question I often ask myself after I’ve taken the pragmatic step of immediately deleting a reply to some comment or other that is better left unchallenged in the way I had begun.  The only plausible reasons I can think of as to why I return to this particular photography forum is that there are just enough interesting people who know how to use a camera, especially on one on-going thread to make logging-in worthwhile.  The main reason I suppose is that I find the forum with it’s endless authoritative pretence, backbiting and petulance oddly amusing most of the time.  Invariably, the discussions are split between two distinct groups who maintain their alliances and bonding via the ‘Thanks’ button.  Forums are a microcosm of human interaction.  Sometimes the temptation to post something to inflame one side or the other is almost irresistible, but of course that’s  trolling.  It’s a violation of most forum rules and it’s very naughty, which of course is why I would never do such a thing.  Forums are best treated as potentially toxic but usually harmless as long as perspectives are maintained.  A photography forum is not representative of the real world and certainly not worth losing sleep over.

This brings me to the point of my blog today.  A couple of days ago, I had a brief exchange of opinions with someone on that forum about long exposures and neutral density filters.  He was very dogmatic in his views about which filters are ‘the best‘ and in what constitutes a long exposure.  When I’m working with film, my long exposures with neutral density filters can reach several minutes, once reciprocity failure has been factored-in. Reciprocity failure can be seen as being a little ‘old school’, it’s not generally an issue for many of those who have learnt solely with, or chosen, a wholly digital route for their photography.  At least it isn’t the same issue that we film users have to deal with.  For those of us who continue to use film, reciprocity failure (the inability of film to maintain consistency in it’s reciprocal aperture/shutter speed sensitivity to light and colour beyond a certain exposure time) is either a pain or a help, depending on your intentions for the end result.  What my opposing forum member could not accept was that choice of filtration or length of exposure was of any merit unless the filters were the best.  So much for dogma, I always will maintain it is the sworn enemy of creativity.

Reciprocity with Fuji Velvia 50 begins to breakdown from a little over 1 second and the calculated exposure can run into several minutes to compensate for this, depending on the correct base exposure without nd filtration. Exposure compensation will not rectify the colour casts that Fuji Velvia 50 produces in some conditions, but some colour casts are a direct result of the filter in use.  Either way, my own purely subjective opinion is that colour casts can often work in our favour, particularly those which are inclined between the cyan-magenta range.  They can add mood to an image especially when the absolute, as in ‘correct’, color rendition is not a priority. A controlled color cast can  promote an image from the ranks of record shot to a higher image with artistic interpretation.  The difference in outcome is significant and I can’t think of one good reason why a photographer should be confined to photographing only what they think they can seen in front of them.  Photography should be about experimentation, discovery and enjoyment and rather less to do with forum dogma.  Dogmatic photographers are invariably creatively hamstrung.   A few minutes spent looking through forum galleries will show why I say that!

 Isle of Harris , October 2015

Isle of Harris photography workshops discussed on forums

Incoming tide and soft evening light.  Hasselblad 503CW, Zeiss 150mm cf sonnar, Fuji Velvia 50.

I’ve just taken delivery of a Deadcameras Slim Strap and I will say here from the outset that I am very pleased with it!  I have used an Artisan & Artist black silk cord with my Leica MP for the past 10 years.  It’s a versatile strap that can be comfortably wrapped around my wrist for carrying the camera but the MP is too heavy to carry  all day this way, especially with a substantial lens attached.  As a result of rugby injuries and a couple of car accidents I don’t like hanging cameras around my neck, I find it very uncomfortable.  I also find it annoying, the camera always seems to be in the way.  My preferred method of carrying cameras is by the cross-shoulder method.  I carry my working cameras this way on a variety of  Peak Design and Sun Sniper straps.  The main problem I have always had with the Artisan & Artist silk cord is that it is too short for a cross the shoulder carry, so I have been looking at alternative straps for a while.

With my Nikon and Fuji work cameras, Peak Design straps are probably the best around.  They are quick and easy to attach and remove but they did not work at all well with my Leica MP.  The metal attachments on the ends of the straps clattered against the brass on my MP rather more than I was prepared to put up with.  I’m not overly precious about brassing, scuffs and scratches, but I would prefer that through normal travel and usage rather than from a camera strap.   Artisan & Artist have risen to length issue by producing a longer version of the silk cord strap along with their Easy Slider series, but I really wanted a complete change to a leather strap.  A few minutes’ internet searching brought up Deadcameras’ website and I really liked the look of their products.  Deadcameras prices are fairly reasonable compared to some other cottage industries whose target audience are Leica owners but it was good to see the workmanship and materials are obviously top-drawer.

After a bit of experimenting with my Peak Design Leash , I worked out that 125cm would be about the right length for cross shoulder carrying with a non-adjustable Slim Strap.   At 6′ tall with a 44″ chest , I am not a lightweight and determining the correct length is critical, too short would leave me with a long short strap and too long would mean the strap would be cumbersome.  Deadcameras offer a number of length options in their ordering system and special requests can be accommodated, but a litle thought needs to be applied before ordering.  Long straps can be bulky so I decided to order a 125cm Slim Strap in black with red dots.  The online transaction was very efficient and there is good automated communication by Deadcameras.  As a customer, I was made to feel that my business was appreciated.  My new strap arrived within one week, well packaged with a bag, spare leather protector disk and spare red dot.

The length is good, the camera sits just above my right hip, exactly where I wanted it and can be either pushed round to my back out of the way or brought to the front for security.  There are other choices of leather, colour, thickness of leather, width, shoulder/neck pads etc.  I think the Slim Strap matches my Leica MP very well, it is discreet and not bulky and a perfect solution as a top quality cross shoulder leather strap.

I really dislike the big red dot on the front of some Leica cameras, but the red dot on the Deadcameras Slim Strap is somewhat understated and complements the red lens alignment and wind-on indicator dots on the MP!

Leica MP with 28mm f2 summicron-M asph and Deadcameras slim strap

€59.80 including postage from Portugal, with spares!  Even with the current sorry state of the £ against the €, this is not bad value when compared to leather straps from some other manufacturers.  It’s a thick strap, unlikely to  break in normal use, the thickness of the leather means the new strap is quite stiff, but I think it should become more supple with use.

Leica MP with 28mm f2 summicron-M asph and Deadcameras slim strap

 

Deadcameras offer a selection of different coloured accent dots.  These are purely decorative, I decided on red as a contrast with the black leather.  A spare dot is supplied with a spare leather disc to protect the camera body from abrasion.  Nice touches by Deadcameras, little things show that this company thinks about it’s clients and it’s products.

Leica MP with 28mm f2 summicron-M asph and Deadcameras slim strap

The soft calf leather shoulder pad is a good length to reach from collar bone to shoulder blade.  Being so soft and supple, it acts as padding without adding weight and bulk to the strap.   The design of this strap has been thought about very carefully, the stitching is accurate and the overall construction exudes quality.  The choice of materials and workmanship is exemplary.  The Deadcameras Slim Strap has very clearly been created by someone who is very skilled in their craft.

Leica MP with 28mm f2 summicron-M asph and Deadcameras slim strap

 

The disc of soft leather to protect the camera from the split ring is useful, the leather of the strap is thick enough to give ample clearance between the split ring and the camera body, but being quite hard and stiff leather the strap could wear the black lacquer.

Leica MP with 28mm f2 summicron-M asph and Deadcameras slim strap

Accurate and beautifully finished stitching with thoughtful touches completes a great quality leather camera strap from Deadcameras.

Leica MP with 28mm f2 summicron-M asph and Deadcameras slim strap

It’s always good to find something that matches or exceeds expectations and that’s why I can recommend the Deadcameras Slim Strap.  The good choices of materials , the very high standard of manufacture and the nice touches with the spares and user-friendly website is a good policy on Deadcameras’ part.  This company has identified it’s target clients, thought carefully about it’s products and it’s branding and hit the ground running to build an instant reputation for top quality and service.   Deadcameras have a great range of well thought-out, beautifully crafted products and I will certainly be a repeat customer!

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