My Top 5 Peak District Locations

October 17th, 2021

If you have seen any of my photography videos before, you might know that I love the UK’s Peak District. Not only is it close to my home, but it’s an amazing area for landscape and wildlife photography. Here are my top five locations.

5. Curbar Edge

The Peak District has quite a few spectacular gritstone edges. This one offers fantastic views out over the Derwent Valley and is also quite near to Big Moor, where there’s a chance of spotting red deer.

Curbar Edge by Robert Bishop

4. Surprise View

This spot above Hathersage provides amazing views, particularly at sunset. There’s a national trust car park at the bottom, and it’s only a short walk up to the top of Mother Cap where you can capture spectacular landscape photos.

Surprise View by Robert Bishop

3. Stanage Edge

Another of ‘The Edges’, Stanage is easy to access, offers great views out over the Hope Valley and is also a fantastic spot for finding old mill stones (they make great foreground subjects for your landscape shots).

Stanage Edge by Robert Bishop

2. Padley Gorge

Stepping into this incredible location feels like being transported into a Lord of the Rings movie. Moss covered rocks, twisting, gnarly oak trees and tumbling, rocky waterfalls are just some of the features that make this location so magical for photography. Check out my video on Improving Your Photography when I revisit Padley Gorge for some long exposure waterfall shots.

Padley Gorge by Robert Bishop

1. Mam Tor

The ‘Mother Hill’ is a 517m high hill near Castleton that gifts visitors with superb vistas out over the High Peak area of the Peak District. It’s easily accessible from the nearby National Trust car park and on the right day, offers some of the best sunrise shots a landscape photographer can hope for!

Mam Tor by Robert Bishop

These are the places near to me, and that I visit often. There are loads more locations throughout the Peak District not listed here – so go check them out! Perhaps I’ll make a follow up post, listing some more at a later date.

The Photography Show 2021

September 26th, 2021

As covered in my most recent video, I attended this year’s Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC. It showcases all the latest gear from all the major brands throughout the world of photography, as well as hosting a number of talks, masterclasses and demos.

Robert Bishop at The Photography Show 2021

It was great to get hands on with all the latest equipment. I was particularly interested in trying out Nikon’s new Z MC 105mm macro lens. I was able to try it out on a Z7 body and the quality was superb. It’s surprisingly light too. I was also pleased to get my hands on the new Z FC camera – its retro stylings look fantastic! As well as that, I played around with all the big telephoto primes and was equally amazed by the sharpness of the Nikon 500mm f4 as I was with the speed and accuracy of focussing on the D850 body it was attached to.

After that, I had a wander around the Sony stand. It was interesting to pick up of their range of mirrorless bodies which feel very good in the hands, but I was most interested to see the new ZV-E10. I currently use the ZV-1 to record my YouTube videos and this camera is an adapated version of that camera, including an interchangable lens system.

Some of the many exhibition areas at The Photography Show 2021

Later I perused Canon’s very large area and got to see the new EOS R3 camera and try out the EOS R5 and R6 too. I’ve always found the older Canon cameras to feel a bit too round and plasticy, creating a toy-like feel. There was not of that witht he R5 and R6 though – it’s like the system has grown up and now feels, slick, sturdy and refined. The performance of these cameras is remarkable too – I was incredibly impressed with their focussing systems as I took a few test shots up and down the hall.

At FujiFilm’s stand, I was able to get a look at the XT-4 as well as some of the brand’s medium format cameras. The XT cameras have always been on my radar, and I know quite a few people who own XT-2s and XT-3s and swear by them. The new model in this line of great APS-C cameras, adds in-body stabilisation for up to 6-stops of compensation. I also checked out the GFX 100S and GFX 50S, both medium format cameras, the former boasting a 102mp sensor and the latter, just 51.5mp!

There were many, many other exhibitors there, of course. It was great to see the gear on offer by Olympus, the lenses at Sigma and Tamron’s stands, printers and paper at brands like Epson and Fotospeed and the huge range of other accessories too. From the tripods and bags on offer at Vanguard to the audio equipment on show by Rode, it was enough to keep a gear geek like me, happy all day!

Gear aside there’s plenty more to see at the show. Throughout the day, there were many talks by prominent figures in photography as well as masterclass sessions for those wanting to expand their skills. I attended Nigel Danson’s talk, which was great and also got to speak to him afterwards. I can reveal that his favourite location in the UK is the Lake District and he thinks the best time to visit Yosemite is winter. You heard it here first!

Robert Bishop and Nigel Danson at the Photography Show 2021

The Importance of Scouting Out Your Photography Location

September 5th, 2021

In my latest video I’m discussing the importance of planning a landscape photography shoot and the benefits of scouting out your location so that you can be ready when you get the right light to capture your image.

Lily Agnes (Boats at Morecambe Bay) by Robert Bishop

In the video I’m at Morecambe, where I spend most of the day trying to find a good spot to take my shot at sunrise later that evening. Even though I had a full day to search and found some good locations, I was still left feeling that I hadn’t quite found the perfect location. I think that only emphasises the importance of planning, and the more you can do, the better your image will turn out.

Here are my tips for planning your shoot:

  1. You can plan your shoot before you even get to your location. Look online to see what other people are photographing in the area and use apps like Google Maps and Google Earth to view the landscape from the comfort of your own home. Apps like PhotoPills and The Photographer’s Ephemeris will help you to work out how the sun will be lighting up your scene at any given time.
  2. Give yourself as much time as possible. Go earlier in the day, or the day before to scout out potential locations for your photo. Better yet, why not spend a few days at your location and really get to know the area?
  3. If you don’t have your camera with you, use your phone to take some shots of your potential scene. This can help you to form your composition, so that you can quickly set up when you get there for the actual shoot.
  4. Pay attention to the weather so that you can plan the optimal time to take your shot. The best light is often during golden hour – either the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. You can use an app like Clear Outside to help predict heavy cloud cover, or other weather that might not be good for your shoot.
  5. Once you’ve decided on your location – stick to it! Don’t make the same mistake that I did in my recent video and keep changing your mind. It’s easy to lose track of time, and Golden Hour can seem to pass very quickly when concentrating on your shot. If you change your mind, by the time you’ve moved to a different location, you may have missed the best light.

At the very end of the day, once I’d packed my camera away, I took one more shot with my smartphone. Ironically, I thought this composition was one of the best from the day. That’s when I realised that my scouting wasn’t really finished and there’s always a new scene to be found.

Sunset at Morecambe by Robert Bishop

So I’ll have to go back again at some point and capture this scene with my Z7. That’s half the fun though!

6 Tips for Photographing Castles

August 15th, 2021

In my latest video I’m sharing six tips to help you improve your castle photography.

Burg Eltz on a Misty Morning in Germany by Robert Bishop

For ease of reference, here are the tips:

  1. Do your Research
    If you’re not able to scout out your location before you visit, be sure to do your research so that you don’t waste any time when you arrive. View other people’s photos of the castle and use Google Maps and Google Earth to plan where you are going to set up and take your shot. Apps like PhotoPills and The Photographer’s Ephemeris will help you determine the direction that the sun will light the castle, and you can check weather websites or use apps like Clear Outside to find out what kind of weather you can expect on the day of your shoot.
  2. Lens Consideration
    Experiment with different lenses and focal lengths. A telephoto lens will allow you to get in close and capture details, whereas a wide-angle lens is better for capturing the castle in its natural surroundings. This gives context to the image and can help to tell a story about your subject.
  3. Leading Lines
    Castles provide no end of great features that can be used as leading lines, directing the viewers attention to key parts of your photo. Look out for bridges, paths, walls and more, to guide eyes to your all important subject, the castle.
  4. Create Atmosphere
    Photograph your subject at golden hour, or during dramatic weather conditions. Castles can look great under dark moody skies and fog or mist can help to create an element of fantasy in your image.
  5. Verticals
    Finding an unusual angle to create your castle photo can really bring your image to life, but pay attention to how straight the vertical lines are in your scene. Shooting upwards or downwards at extreme angles can produce the effect of walls leaning inwards or outwards due to perspective. Counteract this by shooting from a more natural angle, using a tilt-shift lens, or adjusting your image in post-production.
  6. Visit Germany!
    My latest video was made at Burg Eltz in Germany and the country is a fantastic place to find castles of all shapes and sizes. From medieval fortresses to 19th Century palaces, there’s an amazing array of opportunities for castle photographers.

A great Peak District Photography location

July 24th, 2021

I was recently out in the Peak District making my latest video which will go live this weekend (25th July).

I love to get out to far-flung, exotic locations, but sometimes everything you need is right on your doorstep! After a full day at work, I needed somewhere I could get to within an hour, that had fantastic photo opportunities and would be easy to access without too much of a hike. Stanage Edge turned out to be the perfect spot.