Martyn Lewis Photography

Yorkshire based photographer - Weddings, Automotive, Landscape, Portrait & Studio Photography

Mr & Mrs Page - Sligachan Spectacular, Isle of Skye

clock September 4, 2013 12:30 by author Martyn

I had the pleasure of being asked to shoot a good friends wedding up on the Isle of Skye a few months ago - as you'll probably be able to tell from my blog, I'm a huge fan of the Western Isles, and jumped at the chance to capture their wedding. It was actually the Bride and Groom, Martin and Becs, who introduced me to the wonders of Skye, a number of years ago. Since then, we've visited without fail every year! Sometimes, we've managed two or three trips up there in a single year! It's a truly special place.

Their wedding took place at the Sligachan Hotel - a place where many a Cuilin adventure have both begun and ended. With the wedding outside(!), the Scottish weather was very forgiving and other than a brisk breeze it was a perfect setting at the foot of the Cuilin Mountains. The bridge on which they got married, dates from the 1820's - possibly even earlier, but thankfully is no longer used for anything other than foot traffic - it provided the perfect setting for a truly fantastic wedding day. Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day:















































Automotive Light Painting: Exige and Elise.

clock March 7, 2013 20:00 by author Martyn

Popped out with the Snap-On LED torch the other night… Sat the Canon on a tripod, hooked up the wireless remote, and commenced shooting the rear of my Exige. The night after, I stole the keys to the Dad-in-Laws Elise and did a 'secret shoot' of a 3/4 view for a bit of a surprise for him.

Back home - I say back home… One of the shots was shot on the driveway, just outside the back door! - a bit of deft photoshop editing later, and I ended up with 2 images I was really happy with. What do you think?


Here are a couple of image composites of the 2 shoots - Each shot is made up from approximately 20 individual photos, selectively masked and balanced to make up one single image.

Each image is shot over 10 seconds, and the 'light trails' you can see around the car, are the paths that the torch took over the curves of the vehicle, to highlight individual contours and features...



Here also, is a bonus video showing the number of layers and individual images used to create the Lotus Elise image:




Another day, another PoTM

clock February 28, 2013 13:00 by author Martyn

I've been fortunate once again, to have one of my automotive shots chosen as the "Picture of the Month", over on TheLotusForums.com.

This will be my third successful PoTM with TLF, with the image being offered for download as the monthly desktop wallpaper for all TLF's members to use, in a variety of resolutions.

Previous winners of mine include September 2011's 'Bug's Eye View' of Andy Swifts wonderful series one Lotus Exige, and also a dynamic shot of a Lotus Elan, at Brands Hatch, making it as August 2012's chosen image.  I'm in good company too it seems - other selected images include offerings from noted photgraphers such as EVO Magazine's, Dean Smith with his mid-flight Exige V6 shot. Andrew Whyte with a shot of a 'light painted' Evora, and Nick Williams with a shot of Pinkie's infamous beautiful matt black 2010 Lotus Exige.

2048 x 1536 (Tablet, iPad size)       2048 X 1536 (Tablet, iPad etc)   Pristine Elan Wallpaper

The Lotus forums is an excellent resource for all things Lotus related, with a wealth of news and information within, along with a bustling forum community with a global reach.

Here's to many more PoTM's! I've a feeling an upcoming shoot with a new Lotus V6 Exige, might just end up being a contender! Cool

Martyn.



From one side of the lens to the other.

clock February 6, 2013 14:12 by author Martyn

 

On the 2nd of February, my wife Kelly, 10 month old son Oscar and I had the pleasure of meeting up with photographer Rosie Hardy, for a mini photoshoot.

Rosie is regarded as one of the brightest young UK photographic talents - her ever growing client list already includes the US band Maroon 5, Samsung (UK), Immersion Creative and Canon Camera Buzz (UK), with magazine features in Elle (SA), Amateur Photographer, The Telegraph, Sun and Metro (UK). Recent output from Rosie includes shooting the "I'm A Celebrity" and ex-Coronation Street star, Helen Flanagan; producing the stunning "Swan Lake". She also photographed X-Factor finalist, Janet Devlin for her website and upcoming album to be released in the very near future!


Janet Devlin, by Rosie Hardy.


Swan Lake, by Rosie Hardy.


Maroon 5: "Hands All Over" album artwork,

by Rosie Hardy.

 

Rosie became infamous during her 365 project back in 2008/9. She inspired many photographers to step in front of the lens, including myself.  Along with Natalie Dybisz aka "Miss Aniela" she provided inspiration for one or two of my own self portraits...


7/365 - I Did it!, by Rosie Hardy.


Supermart, by Martyn Lewis.

 

Her global following and photographic appeal is undeniable. Coupled with the success of her portrait and wedding photography Rosie also has a huge social media following, via flickrtwitter, facebook and her blog

Recently, Kelly visited a popular commercial studio in Manchester that specialises in 'Makeovers' and 'Photoshoots' - the target audience being young ladies who've never been in front of the camera before.  She was recommended by a friend and contacted via the studio with an unbelievably cheap offer of a makeover and shoot.  I couldn't believe how a viable business could charge such low prices (£10!?), and still be turning a profit, so I went along on the day to feed my curiosity regarding their business model.  It all became apparent after the shoot, with the reveal of the photo package prices... That's where the profit comes from.  In the pressured environment of the image preview session, we ended up buying 3 images, for a not inconsequential ammount of money, albeit significantly cheaper than the initial offer. We walked away feeling a little bit deflated at the experience.  Closer inspection of the images on my Mac, showed the quick and dirty image processing, and a lack of attention to detail that you can expect from a 'proper' professional shoot. On the plus side, Kelly got a half decent makeover, and we shot our own high quality shots in the 'home studio' that afternoon. We ended up with some beautiful images of her and Oscar, but we were still lacking some really nice family shots  that included me! I'm always behind the lens!

When I read that Rosie was offering her time for a series of fundraising mini shoots, Kelly and I jumped at the chance!  We had a wonderful morning and ended up with some simply stunning images to savour forever. I can highly recommend Rosie to anybody!  It's not often you get to have your own 'famous photographer' for a shoot!  

Upon recieving the images, we were filled with what can only be described as a "warm fuzzy feeling" - the images are beautiful: I think I fell a little bit more in love with Kelly, right there and then.

 




 



Star Trails, with a twist!

clock January 31, 2013 20:12 by author Martyn

I'm a big fan of star trail images... Shooting multiple 30 second exposures, and stacking them in Photoshop to create some truly amazing looking images.  I've a few scattered throughout my photostream over on flickr, and a couple here in my galleries.

I'm by no means the first to be shooting star trails like this - there are hundreds of photographers out there who are shooting some absolutely amazing images, and have been for many, many years.  One such photographer that came to my attention last year was a guy called Lincoln Harrison - a.k.a. Hakka, or Hakka69.  Lincoln shoots some truly inspirational images in the wilds of Australia.  Take a look at his amazing images over on 500px, or over on his Flickr photostream. One Word: "Wow!"

I'd been tinkering with different processing techniques for star trails at the end of last year - Initially, trying to boost the trail effect to give them more of a 'wow factor'. After many hours of photoshop adjustments, I found that changing the layer opacity on each individual stacked image, gave a faded effect across the duration of the trail length - it gave some great, different to the norm, results.

There was one small problem though - the task of stacking 200+ images in 'epic' trails, and manually adjusting the layer opacity on each and every one, was far too labour intensive.  You could literally spend 4 or 5 hours on a single image. What I needed was a script, similar to my exisitng stacking action, but more versatile.  I set about writing a Photshop action...

It soon became apparent that the need for input parameters, and the inability of a simple set of script steps to achieve a quick solution, was holding me back. Manual calculations of EV increments, counting files to be stacked... it was almost as difficult as doing it all manually. I needed a way to have a more user friendly way of achieving the same - something that would take my input EV's and as Nike would say "Just do it!".  An so, a fledgling Photoshop script was born...

Midway through, I saw Lincoln post an image with a similar style to those that I'd been experimenting with - You can see that image here on his 500px stream. 225 x 30 Second exposures...

*** by Lincoln Harrison (Hakka)) on 500px.com
*** by Lincoln Harrison

I immediately dropped him a quick message, not expecting a reply - He has an affection rating of over 44,000 on 500px, and around 900 followers on flickr... I figured he must get a great deal of correspondance every day, and probably wouldn't have time to reply to every individual who randomly dropped him a message from the miriad of photography sites out there.  To my surprise, and delight, a response came almost immediately - he discussed the technique he'd used on that image, and let me in on a few other secrets he used to achieve such stuning imagery. I'd not share that here - I'd leave that to Lincoln to explain, should he ever wish too... He employed pretty much the same technique as I had, with the exception of using an exposure adjustment to batches of images, rather than a layer opacity adjustment on individual images.  I saw straight away the advantage of doing that - you could actually add some 'gain' to the stars too, and make the ends of trails brighter... Lincoln's reason for adjusting batches of images, was probably down to the time it takes to apply an EV change to each image... even when a custom action is recorded for each 'batch'.


So: What next? Well, I set about updating the script, with the help of a Russian programmer who knows PS inside out - Evgeny Trefilov - If you need any PS scripting or customisations, he's your man - truly outstanding work, in no time at all.


A few tweaks later, and I had a fully working script that takes a Start EV, an End EV, and processes all of the images in a chosen directory, stacking each one with the appropriate EV adjustment... The only pre-requisite being an open, blank document (black backgound...)  with the same dimensions as the images you want to process. Click ok, and a lovely progress bar tells you how long it's going to take!

Here's a comparison of two simple stacked images, snipped from a longer duration shot I took back in 2009. This version contans 20 images of 30 seconds in duration (ISO:100, f5.6 18mm on the old Samsung GX-20!): On the left, you can see a traditional star trail - consistent across it's exposure... On the rightRe-edited with the Tapered trails script, with the 'comet like' effect...

 

Normal trail shot Normal trail shot


Here's a crop from my recent post-wedding shoot up at Newby Bridge, Cumbria:  One processed with a classic stacking script, the other, with my Tapered Trails script...

Traditional Trail Tapered Trail

 

There's a Demonstration version available to download and give a try if you like the effect, and would like to try processing some of your own star trails to give them something a little different, and make them stand out from the crowd!

The demo version is limitted to stacking 10 images. If you like the results you see, you can download the full version, with unlimitted image stacking capability, from the link on that page.

Full instructions on how to install and run the script can be found there too.

 

Have fun! Let me know of any images you create, and I'll feature them in a follow up post here on my blog, along with links to your portfolio / website / 

(Email me: martyn@martynlewisphotgraphy.com)

Cheers!

Martyn.

Newby Bridge Crop



About the author

Martyn Lewis grew up in Weardale, Durham, spoilt by the wonderful surroundings of the North Pennines.  He graduated from Newcastle University, before completing an MSc at Durham University in 2001.

 

 

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