It was Photocraft’s pleasure to welcome back Andy Small for his second visit to the club. His previous time with us was an excellent evening about flower photography and for this occasion, Andy gave us a tour of the British Isles with his main motivation being to enjoy walking holidays and use these to capture the wonderful scenery of Britain.

Andy explained his artistic background to us and how he has been influenced by some of the most important painters of these isles, such as Constable and Turner.

From his fascination with painting and drawing the sky and cloud formations and his keen interest in geographic studies, it was perhaps inevitable that Andy seeks to capture the mood and feelings he is experiencing from the landscape in his photographs. His website is here:

His post-processing in Lightroom is done to best capture the “being there” feeling and Andy makes good use of High Dynamic Range (HDR) for his final image, being careful not to overkill the effect. To that end, he will take a range of images of the scene in front of him to ensure he has captured the full range of light and it is from these that the final work will arrive.

The majority of Andy’s fine work shown to us was taken with Nikon cameras and what sounds like his most trusted Zeiss 15mm wide angle lens. He also had images taken with his 100mm macro as well as some with the mighty 300mm.

We began our trip in Skye and Lochinver, going back to 2012. It was apparent from Andy’s early images that he was fascinated by the Big Sky. Those Turner and Constable influences shone through and Andy told us that he spent some time experimenting to get the image he wanted, as well as learning not to leave his footprints in the shot!. He also chose to avoid filters on the lens in most cases and use the multi-image technique for the HDR treated final produced photograph.

When out and about, Andy told us he prefers to find a place and stay to explore it to the full. Hence, we saw many images taken from the same viewpoint but with different lenses and in changing light through the day. For Andy, the cliche times of sunrise and sunset are there to be enjoyed and he also strongly advocates the 20 minutes or so before sunrise and after sunset when the colours of the sky are at their best.

There were many panoramic shots to enjoy and those taken with the Zeiss 15mm certainly had a wider view than many of us had seen. There is careful cropping on many occasions so that the photo does not look overdisorted and having taken many shots, Andy will have all the pixels he needs to play with.

We saw some fine examples of infrared photography as well – Andy advising that this is best used to give an atmosphere to the image and it is certainly at its best with the blue sky and green trees.

Andy also had many monochrome examples on show, especially where he wants to put the tones and patterns to the fore in his shot. There were also a few square images in among the panoramas – Andy acknowledging that this format has gained much popularity,

What I found to be extra interesting was when Andy shared some of his tips and ideas for taking multiple exposures. Following on from some examples of these making their way into last weeks ICM event, Andy told us that he will employ some different techniques in the exposures and I, for one, will be trying out multi-exposure photography with different apertures as well as having a filter on for some shots within any given set of images. You may never see any of the outcomes but it sounds well worth trying.

All of the above was delivered in an engaging talk by Andy as we went down the west coast of Britain, through the Lake District, Wales, Cornwall and then onto Dartmoor and the bluebells of Hampshire.

As the evening ticked by, Andy then whisked us off to the East Anglian coast and up through Norfolk. Our final destination was Northumberland.

All in all, this was a great evening of photography with some wonderful images on the screen for us. These can all be found here with all the locations we enjoyed being featured, as well as several styles of an image such as panoramic and triptych. I would recommend you take a look for some fine and inspirational images.

Thanks to all who came along and a big thank you to Andy once again.

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