Author Archives: richdysonphoto

Short-listed for Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2017

I’ve been very fortunate to be short-listed in the 2017 Outdoor Photographer of the Year in the At the Water’s Edge section.

Bass Rock

I have a love of the coast and banks of the Forth River and so it is really pleasing that my minimalist photograph of the Bass Rock has been chosen in an impressive field of photographs to be short-listed by the judges.

The photograph is available to buy as a signed limited-edition print in four sizes so it could be a good idea to buy now, just in case it is successful in the final judging. You can also visit the actual scene on my Landscape and Seascape Workshops which are available to book here.

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Posted in Competitions, Edinburgh

Something Old Something New

My Switch to Manual Workshop is rated the #1 learning experience in Edinburgh by Trip Advisor. The four-hour workshop starts in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket and finishes in Holyrood, taking in the street that inspired JK Rowling to create Diagon Alley as well as the Royal Mile. These locations are all part of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.

I’m happy to announce that once a month I am going to be running the same great learning experience, but this time in the New Town area of Edinburgh. Starting in the wonderful surroundings of the Arienas Collective we make our way through the Georgian streets and the Royal Botanic Gardens before returning for a review of the photographs in the comfort of the Arienas Collective with a complimentary glass of beer or wine.

You can book this and many more experiences at https://www.thearienascollective.com/shop-1

Circus LaneStreet Lamp ShadowStockbridge Street SignPhotography in the Botanics

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Posted in Uncategorized

Success at Scottish Press Photography Awards

I’m very happy to announce that I have won the Scottish Press Photography Awards, Arts and Entertainment section for a photograph taken on Calton Hill of the circus show, Hogwallops. I was also placed 3rd in the Daily Life section with a photograph taken at the Diwali Festival in Edinburgh last November.

The full selection of photographs from all the award winners will be on display at the Scottish Parliament from mid-October.

 

 

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Posted in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Transport Policy – Bad for Business?

Edinburgh's Victoria Street with queueing trafficBack in 1993 Edinburgh Tourist Board and the camera company Fuji collaborated to develop the Phototrail which gave visitors to the city a visual indication of 22 locations that gave iconic vistas of Edinburgh. You can see the original locations on a handy Google Map overlay although it does take a bit of hunting to find some of the plates and some have actually been removed following road-works and never replaced.

The introduction of the Phototrail possibly contributed toward the New Town and Old Town of Edinburgh being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995 and contributed toward the historic city becoming a massive tourist draw that brings millions of tourists each year to spend their various currencies in our shops.

I am a small business owner in Edinburgh and I profit from the amazing heritage that the city offers through running photography workshops. Over the four years the workshops have been operating though there has been a worrying trend which is making our city less photogenic through the addition of street furniture; roadworks moving traffic in the direction of roads that can’t cope, and parking changes that impact the aesthetic of the city. I now believe that we are approaching a point where visitors will start to question if they are coming to a city steeped in history or an elaborate car park.

I do recognise that as visitors come into the city that they need to move around and the various shops on the Royal Mile, Victoria Street etc. need to be re-stocked but with some simple traffic management this could be done outside of the hours when people will be walking the streets – how about a loading window from 6am to 8am and then the streets are cleared for tourists to enjoy?

However, there is a more radical action that Edinburgh could take that would increase tourism and give us some photographic pride in our city that would help advertise us at very little cost to the world. Edinburgh is renowned for its Festival month in August when the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place. Fewer people know that there is also the Science Festival in April, Film Festival in June, Jazz Festival in July as well as the Christmas and Hogmanay periods through November to January so we are a festival city. There are gaps though, March or October, for example, has probably the best light quality of the year and is one of the fallow festival months.

This is where photography could fill a gap and increase visitors as well as restore the benefits of the Phototrail from 1993. Edinburgh should have a weekend (or even better a week) where we restore the Phototrail sites to a state where they can become photographic or artistic wonders and attract people who enjoy taking, drawing, sketching, painting to enjoy the city free of traffic and distracting street furniture.

I would love to get support from the photography and artist communities to petition Edinburgh Council and seek to reinvigorate and update a photo-trail of the city. To support this there should also be the introduction of an official period where we can capture Edinburgh’s updated photo-trail at its best, traffic free, free of annoying yellow signs advising that parking won’t be allowed over the period and free to take beautiful photographs of our city that can be shared and enjoyed.

Who would support me?

 

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Posted in Edinburgh

Fair’s Fair

Fair Trade Toolkit Launch

Launch of Youth Scotland Fair Trade Toolkit

I’ve recently provided photography for the Scottish Fair Trade Forum at the launch of their new youth pack, Fair’s Fair, produced in collaboration with Youth Scotland

It’s always interesting working with organisations like SFTF. Who would have known that there is a Fair Trade football available to buy and that you can buy an ethically sourced mobile phone!

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Edinburgh Riding of the Marches 2016

Edinburgh Riding of the Marches commemorates the return in 1513 of Randolph Murray clasping the Ancient Blue Blanket Banner with the tragic news of the defeat of the Scottish Army at the Battle of Flodden. 280 Horses traverse the boundaries of Edinburgh before culminating in a procession along the Royal Mile culminating in a ceremony celebrating the return of the flag at the historic Mercat Cross.

Photographs are available to buy for £20 for personal use on websites and social media. E-mail contact@richdysonphotography.com to purchase.

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Campaign – Photo-documentary launched today

My first book, Campaign, has been launched today and is available to buy as either a soft-cover book on Amazon (http://bit.ly/campaign_RD) or as an e-book (http://bit.ly/Campaign_EBook).

Campaign is a photo-documentary following a candidate for the final seven days of the Scottish Election Campaign. Iain McGill is not expected to win his constituency seat, yet the story that is captured in over 70 photographs unveils the Conservative party strategy that led to them gaining the highest number of seats since the Parliament was re-established in 1999.

A Foreword to the book has been provided by Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

 

 

 

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Posted in Book, Edinburgh, Uncategorized

Edinburgh Tourists Guide to blocking streets

RDP_20160702_switch to manual__MG_7296My daily Switch to Manual Workshop (http://bit.ly/EPWS2M) has a short-break during August as it is pretty much impossible to walk the route with the Edinburgh Festivals bringing thousands of tourists to the city. A few years ago I wrote a light-hearted article on a concerted attempt by tourists travelling around Edinburgh to prevent the locals of Edinburgh from getting around by deploying several tactics to block the streets. In my research, I identified the top 11 (top 10’s are so passeé) tactics that I have seen working well.

1. The Walk Apart

This is the simplest of the tactics and involves the tourists walking side by side. There are two key elements to the walk though, the first is velocity which will be at dawdling pace and the second is spacing – it is key that the distance apart is just insufficient to allow the local to cut between the two tourists and also sufficient to ensure that the gap between roads and buildings doesn’t allow a sidewards overtaking manoeuvre.

Fig 1. The Walk Apart

2. The Chicane

This is a variation of The Walk Apart and is again a dawdling paced tactic. Here the tourists not only create a gap that is impossible to cut between, they also create an added dimension of one walking slightly ahead of the other, making the overtake much more difficult.

Fig 2. The Chicane

3. The Diamond

We are now getting into much more complicated patterns and using larger groups of tourists. I have noted that this one is particularly popular with the latin tourists (possibly due to the size of families) and is a combination of The Walk Apart and The Chicane. The tourists create a diamond shape which contains all the blocking difficulties of the first two tactics and brings them together into one of the hardest formations to beat.

Fig. 3 The Diamond

4. The ‘Look, Edinburgh has a Castle’

This tends to be a Princes Street tactic, and is most successfully deployed by the asian tourist. They lure the unwitting local into thinking that the tourist is ‘one of us’ by walking at a good pace – this is the case until they spring the surprise manoeuvre of stopping instantly to stand and stare at the Castle that suddenly appears from nowhere. The effect is almost impossible for the local to avoid.

Fig. 4 The ‘Look, Edinburgh has a Castle’

5. The Crab

A variant of The Walk Apart which requires the tourists to walk in the same slow pace, however, as the local approaches for the attempted overtake, the tourists start to veer toward the road forcing the local to either slow down or move into the road and face the wrath of the Lothian Transport driver.

Fig 5 The Crab

6. The 90 Degree

This isn’t too dissimilar to The ‘Look, it’s Edinburgh Castle’ but can take place on any street that contains the tourist tat shops. As the tourist is drawn to the shiny things (or more likely tartan and ginger things) in the shop window they create a much larger obstacle as they stop and turn. The key element here is that one of the tourists will stand in the middle of the pavement whilst the other one stares.

Fig 6 The 90 Degree

7. The Umbrella

Really only used during the Fringe period when the annual monsoon season arrives. Here the cunning tourist uses the umbrella as a weapon to prevent any local brave enough to attempt to overtake The Walk Apart. There are, of course, many variants of this tactic as it can be used with any of the other manoeuvres.

Fig 7 The Umbrella

8. The Child

Here the weapon of choice is a small child. The tourists look to have created The Walk Apart poorly and have left a gap large enough for the local make the cut-through overtake. However, at the last minute this is blighted by the appearance of the small child who will invariably undertake their own Look, Edinburgh has a castle and stop sufficiently quickly to allow the tourist to plough into the child who is able to deploy the head to the groin.

Fig 8. The Child

9. The Suitcase

This tactic tends to be deployed close to Waverley Station and requires the tourists to find the busiest time of the day and drag an over-sized suitcase through the streets. It is always good for the tourist to deploy this in conjunction with The Crab. This is another manoeuvre which can result in physical injury to the local and is therefore highly popular with the tourists.

Fig 9 The Suitcase

10. The Street Performer

The next two tactics are generally deployed on High Street (or Royal Mile as the tourists prefer to incorrectly call it) and are aided and abetted by performers. The first is the large crowd that will gather around yet another person creating a tight-rope by two of said tourists and then walking across it whilst juggling sharpened knives or fire. The tourists gather in droves to ensure that there is no way for the local who has to walk along High Street to perhaps collect a parking permit from the council offices (no local would choose to walk along High Street in August).

Fig 10 The Street Performer

11. The Drama Student

Again a High Street tactic, this time involving a second year drama student who believes that the most innovative way to hand out flyers is to lie in the middle of the street or stand on a bollard, after all, nobody has ever thought of that before.. The tourist will interact with this display and cause an impossible blockage for the council office attending local to pass.

Fig 11 The Drama Student

I am sure that now the tactics of the tourists have been revealed that there will be some new ones that will appear. I urge any resident of Edinburgh who identifies either a way to combat the above tactics or identifies new ones to be deployed so that I can provide a public service to the locals of Edinburgh.

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Posted in Edinburgh, Humour, Lesson Tagged , , |

Can you keep a secret?

One of the hidden attractions just outside Edinburgh is the labour of love run by Liberty and Hamish Martin called The Secret Herb Garden. This idyllic venture lies 6 miles south of the city centre and allows the owners to share their enjoyment of herbs along with home produced food and drink, vintage furniture and candles made from the wax produced by the on-site apiary.

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Entry to the garden is free of charge, however, it is difficult not to spend money with a huge array of herbs for sale – I never realised how many types of mint existed until they were lined up, each with their own particular fragrance or taste. You’ll also find it hard to resist spending some time in the cafe with a selection of cakes and scones as well as a very enjoyable lunch dish of Sweet Corn Quiche and Hand Picked Flower Salad.

When you have finished lunch head beyond the glass-house and take a look at the apiary where you can see inside a working bee-hive; the medicinal garden and some innovative plant pots, including a Volkswagen Beetle that has herbs growing from its boot and bonnet.

If you are looking for something a little different in easy travelling distance from Scotland’s capital city then The Secret Herb Garden is a great choice.

 

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Why use filters?

I have been asked by a few people recently why I use filters and what the advantages of them are so I thought I’d write a short article with a few examples to show the benefit of using graduated filters to improve the images you shoot in camera. Before we talk about the filters though we need to understand how fantastic our brains are.

When we look at a scene our vision captures an extraordinary amount of detail from the very darkest shadows to the lightest highlights. In fact we can see around 24 stops of light (a stop is either the halfing or doubling of the amount of light coming onto the sensor). In contrast our expensive cameras have a limitation of somewhere between 11 and 13 stops which means that we will see a scene better than a camera can depict it, especially when there are large differences between light and shade within the scene that is being photographed.

Lee Soft Graduated Filters

Lee Soft Graduated Filters Image source: http://www.leefilters.com

I use the Lee Filter system, primarily because the quality of the glass they use is so good that the image isn’t impacted by the extra piece of glass that has been put in front of the lens but the principles I am going to discuss here are the same for any manufacturer. There are a number of different types of filters that you can buy, however, today I am going to concentrate on soft graduated filters. As you can see from the image, a soft graduated filter has a dark area at the top of the glass and then it gradually fades to clear at the mid-point of the filter. You’ll see shortly how we can use this to help take a well exposed image in camera.

I have used a fairly typical landscape scene to demonstrate the use of the filters. When I was looking over Edinburgh I could see lots of detail in the clouds which is the brightest part of the image and I could also see the grass being lit up by the setting sun in the foreground and the detail of the Dugald Stewart Monument that sits on Calton Hill. However, if I took the photograph in the camera without any filters on I would either set the exposure for the sky in which case the foreground became very dark or I could instead expose for the foreground and the sky would be blown out and lose all that interesting detail.

Calton Hill - 1

Image exposed for sky f13, 0.4sec, ISO 100

By looking at the histogram of this first image we can see that the highlights (in this case the sky) are right on the edge, however, the shadows on the left hand side are losing some of the detail.

Histogram exposed for the sky

Histogram exposed for the sky

Alternatively, I took a second shot which was exposing for the shadow detail (in this case the foreground) and you can see that this one brings out the grass and the monument, however, the sky has now become blown out and all that gorgeous detail in the clouds has been lost.

Calton Hill - 2

Image exposed for foreground f13, 2.0 sec, ISO 100

The histogram really shows how much detail we have lost on the right hand side by trying to get all the detail we want in the foreground

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 08.07.02

Histogram exposed for the foreground

In order to get the picture that we are seeing with our eyes we need to balance the exposure we had for the sky in the first image with the exposure we had in the foreground for the second image and this is where filters help. You will see that the difference in the length of the exposure is equivalent to 2 and 1/3rd stops of light. As a rule of thumb I always add a filter with an extra stop that the difference between the two exposures, so in this case I have added a 3 stop graduated filter to create the final image which I am sure you will agree is a much better balanced image giving us the best of both worlds, detail in the sky and the foreground.

Calton Hill - 3

Image exposed with filter – f13, 0.4sec, ISO 100 (Lee Soft Grad 0.9ND)

The histogram for this final image shows us that we have a well exposed image with the highlights and shadows both contained within the boundaries.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 08.07.20

Histogram when adding filter

There are other ways of achieving a similar result where you can bracket images in the camera and then using software to merge the images after. However, I enjoy my photography when I am in the field, experiencing the location and would rather not spend time in my office editing to get the image that I can see before my eyes. I would much rather use a few seconds at the location to add a filter and save time in editing later.

Hopefully you can see the benefit of using graduated filters from this short demonstration. I like to spend time on my workshops exploring how we can use different filters to get dramatic effects and this is a taster of the kind of things we go over.
 

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Posted in Edinburgh, Filters, Lesson