Landscape Spotlight: Wonderful Women Photographers You Should Know

When I wrote Women and Photography: Why you Should Give a Damn, I didn’t expect it to gain so much traction. I’m sure part of that was right time, right place, but I think a large part of the unprecedented response I’ve had to the article is that it seems to articulate the feelings of many other female photographers.

I want to keep this introduction short, so just a couple of thank yous before we get to the feature.

Firstly, to Women You Should Know who took the time to read my blog and then asked to republish it on their website which undoubtedly gave the campaign momentum and as such, introduced me to a lot of amazing female photographers.

Secondly, thank you to popular photographic companies, Wex Photo Video and SRB Photographic, who both got in touch about the article and want to do more to promote women in photography and discourage sexism.

Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to send me a message, email or tweet. It was a pretty crazy week, but I think I managed to reply to you all in the end.

Enjoy the feature and make good use of the social media links to follow and support each other and to just see some cracking landscape photography!

Women Who Shoot Landscapes

Lucy Bentham – West Sussex (UK)

Lucy Bentham Profile Picture
Lucy Bentham

Throughout most of the time I have been making photographs, I have had a keen interest in place-making and personal relationships with place. For my MA in Photography and the book, I expanded this practice to experiment with a deeply personal desire to escape trying to fit into a domestic lifestyle and an ever-increasing inclination to summit mountains; to escape and to reconnect with wilderness, to be on the edge of potential dangers, to experience being crushed by the weight of universal infinities, and to question the role of the female artist juggling realities and desires. I photograph landscapes for a number of reasons, some touched on above, but it is primarily because of how it makes me feel to escape, to wander, to adventure without fear of anything but my imagination. I hope that how I experience the landscape is reflected in my image making and that it will inspire others, especially women, to make the efforts to share in these experiences outside of normality.

Lucy Bentham Landscape
Image used with permission of Lucy Bentham

Follow Lucy:

Website: lucybphotography.co.uk

Twitter: @lucybphoto

Instagram: @lucybentham & @apillofwilderness

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Stacey – New Zealand

Your article was of particular interest to me as I wrote something similar back in 2013 prompted by a comment I had seen written by a guy.  I shoot nature and landscapes but also been dabbling in Still Life, and Fine Art – you can find me online at the below places.

Stacey pic
Image used with permission of Stacey

Follow Stacey:

Facebook: /evokeartisanphotography

Twitter: @BlueRoseNZ

WordPress: /lensaddiction

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Sophie Carr – London (UK)

Sophie-Carr
Sophie Carr

I’ve always loved escaping, and my passion for landscape photography came from a couple of long round-the-world trips, trying to capture the beauty I saw along the way. The main focus of my passion is Iceland. I’m obsessed with the harsh, eerie and stark scenery there. I feel at home out in the windy, remote Icelandic landscape, escaping from my normal life (I work in a bank as an accountant). I love the other-worldliness of the landscapes and hope I can relay the uniqueness of the place in my photographs for other people to see. When I’m out photographing Icelandic landscapes, all alone, nothing else matters.

Sophie-Carr-Iceland
Image used with permission of Sophie Carr

Follow Sophie:

Website: sophiecarrphotography.com

Twitter: @SophieCarrPhoto

Instagram: @sophiecarrphotography

Facebook: /sophiecarrphotography

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Darlene Jacob – Kansas (USA)

Nature fascinates me. The blooming colors of spring and summer, the fall when green turns to autumn shades and the starkness of winter with trees bare of leaves and covered in snow. Statues interest me, I can’t create that type of art, but I can bring the statue to life with my camera. Being in a garden or along a lake to capture the beauty of nature fills me with joy.

Darlene Jacob
Image used with permission of Darlene Jacob

Follow Darlene:

Facebook: /darlene.jacob.1

Flickr: /kayvalkeat

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Shannon Kalahan – Connecticut (USA)

I find immense peace and joy in nature, I have an insatiable travel bug, I’m a visual person – I learn and remember best that way, and pictures are an extension of that – and I’m the type of person who needs an outlet for her creativity.  All of those things combined make landscape photography a natural fit for me. Honestly, though, those are all somewhat superficial reasons.

In reality, landscape photography has a greater meaning for me.  I have always been driven to help leave the world a better place, and landscape photography is both a vehicle for that and a means of communication.  I’m passionate about preserving and protecting both our planet and the diverse species we share it with, and landscape photos are a way to bring some awareness to the challenges we face.  I’ve also used it as a way to bring awareness to things like social inequalities (such as the gender bias in landscape photography!), cultural issues, and humanitarian crises.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to firmly grasp the idea that we all have a responsibility to each other, and to speak up about the big-picture things that are important…and photographs help with that goal.

Furthermore, landscape photography encourages me to travel, which has a few benefits.  First, culturally, there are a lot of stigmas and speed bumps for women, especially regarding things like solo adventure.  Traveling immensely helps with independence and self-confidence.  It also helps, in my opinion, shape my world view.  It’s easy to vilify people and places you have no experience with…but a personal connection breeds compassion, understanding and tolerance.  And landscape photography gives me a handy reason to see more places and experience more cultures!

Finally, landscape photography – and well, running a photography business in general – has helped make me a well-rounded person.  I’ve grown my photography skills, my people skills, become a better writer, and experienced a lot of personal growth.

Basically, it’s probably harder to justify NOT being a landscape photographer! lol

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Image used with permission of Shannon Kalahan

Follow Shannon:

Facebook: /SeeingSpotsPhoto

Twitter: @skalahan

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Adrienne Franklin

Adrienne Franklin
Adrienne Franklin

My father has a passion for photography and gave me the bug when I was a little girl. I love capturing that moment in time and trying to hold on to it forever, I believe photography lets you do that. Whether it be a memory of a special vacation or a family photo. I have even started experimenting with some trick photography (light painting and water droplets reverse photos). I believe that photography is an art that is both easily accessible and unbelievably powerful. Landscape photography allows me to share my travels with those that can’t come with me.

While photography is a hobby of mine, I am a construction manager, another field that is very male dominated. I believe it is very important to keep showing girls and other women that any job is attainable for a female

Adrienne Franklin
Image used with permission of Adrienne Franklin

Follow Adrienne:

Pixels: adrienne-lattuca

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Charlotte Gibb – California (USA)

Charlotte Gibb
Charlotte Gibb

I fell in love with nature at a young age. I’m most at peace when I am photographing a beautiful scene and when I’m in the mountains, I feel closer to my father, who died in a climbing accident when I was young. I love to see with my camera what my eyes cannot see and I love making art from what nature provides.

Charlotte Gibb landscape
Image used with permission of Charlotte Gibb

Follow Charlotte:

Website: charlottegibb.com

Twitter: @CharlotteGibb

Instagram: @charlottegibb

Facebook: /CharlotteGibbPhotography

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Erika Peterman- USA

Erika Peterman new
Erika Peterman

I’m often asked if I do families/babies, etc. but I never hear my male counterparts asked the same thing. I love landscapes as well and feel like women have a lot to contribute to that genre, in addition to every other genre of photography historically dominated by men. We can’t help but see the world differently and it seems quite obvious that the world needs a new perspective. That’s certainly the case in America (where I live) right now.

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Image used with permission of Erika Peterman

Follow Erika:

Facebook: rikapeterman/

Twitter: @rikapeterman

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Ginger Cook – New Mexico (USA)

I’m 61 years old and for the past few years I have been photographing the Llano Estacado where I was born and raised. Specifically, I travel up and down the roads through 32 counties on the High Plains of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. It is flat, full of tumbleweeds and pump jacks and generally considered devoid of anything interesting. As a native daughter, I see the beauty of the land and experience the friendliness of the people. When I put the camera up to my eye I see my memories first and what it actually looks like second.

The Llano Estacado Project - Ginger Cook
Old School Playground on Hwy 1151 – used with permission of Ginger Cook

Follow Ginger:

Website: gingersiscocook.com

WordPress: gingersiscocook

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Kristel Schneider – France

Kristel Schneider Portret 1920
Kristel Schneider

Photography is more than just a passion for me; it’s a way of living and the best way to express myself more creatively. I work with an eye for detail to give birth to intimate compositions so that people can also play a part when they look at it.

Vik Reijnisfjara beach
Vik Reijnisfjara beach – used with permission from Kristel Schneider

Follow Kristel:

Website: kristelschneiderphotography

Facebook: /kristel.schneider.7

Instagram: @kristelschneider

Blog: visionsandnature.com

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Sherri Cavalier –  Toronto (Canada)

I’m sixty-five years old and have had a camera at hand since I was nine years of age. I worked as a graphic designer and art director, sometimes doing freelance commercial photography, and for much of my career was reluctant to call myself a photographer until more recently. My thinking now is that was because of fear to presume I was good enough for, as you point out, the male dominated field.

Nowadays I feel no constraints and enjoy the natural beauty of our world in my photos to include landscapes. The power of nature is also a strong draw for me.

Sherri 2
Image used with permission of Sherri Cavalier

Follow Sherri:

Facebook: CavalierArt/

Instagram: @cavalierart

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About the Author

Marie Gardiner – North East England

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Marie Gardiner

I think for me, taking landscape photographs is a form of preserving a memory, or that’s how it started, anyway. I wanted something tangible that said ‘I was here, at this time, in this place.’ As much as I admire and enjoy other forms of photography, it’s always the pull of landscapes I’ve felt and perhaps part of that is the need to see new places and experience new things.

Eeilan-Donan-Castle-Scotland
Eilean Donan

Website: mariegardiner.co.uk

Facebook: /mariegardinerwriter

Instagram: @mariegardinerphoto

Twitter: @mariegardiner

 

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Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the feature. What astounded me, was that despite the subject matter being landscape photography, there was such a huge variation in the women that got in touch with me, and that was nice to see. There are people listed here, from all over the world, of a variety of ages and each with their own unique perspective on landscape photography.

I’m grateful that writing the original article has put me in touch with so many wonderful photographers.

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Women and Photography: Why you Should Give a Damn

‘Do you photograph weddings and families?’ they ask, eyes shining with the possibility of babies covered in cake, and happy couples.

‘No, mostly landscapes,’ I reply.

‘Oh…’ A smile stays fixed on their face while they try and think of something supportive to say. ‘That must be nice.’

I imagine them picturing me skipping through a field in a floral dress, picnic basket swinging from one hand, camera in the other. They probably don’t think of me half way up a snowy mountain on Skye in January, or ankle deep in mud trudging through the forest.

That’s okay, I don’t always ‘get’ what I do either, or find it easy to explain. I recently went to see comedian Stewart Lee’s ‘Content Provider’ show. Part of his skit was his family being unable to fully believe he makes a living as a comedian; saying in a loud, patronising-yet-supportive voice: OH YES, BECAUSE THAT’S YOUR JOB, ISN’T IT.

Bear with me here, because often this difficulty with people taking you seriously, reaches another level when you’re a woman. Now, now. Before you roll your eyes or click away from the blog, let me try to explain…

Click, Click, Bish

Photography is in general, dominated by men. When you start to get into the particular aspects of photography though, it’s even more divisive. Women, on the whole, tend to filter into very specific areas.

When it comes to things like landscape or journalism, we’re hugely out-numbered. But is it that fewer women are working in these areas, or is it a case of  a) women not being able to get into them because precedence is given to men, or b) the women are there, they’re just not talked about?

To give you an example, I follow an account on Twitter called Woman Photograph. Every week they post a roundup of the images in the press/media and the ratio of those taken by men, to women. Here’s last week’s (26/09/17) [all credit for the stats to Women  Photograph]:

: 45.4%

: 28.6%

: 15%

: 13%

: 10%

: 9.4%

 

So aside from the BBC, who are coming in at (frankly unusual) a damn near 50/50, the discrepancy between the rest is startlingly clear.

Then we move on to *that* Nikon campaign. 32 photographers chosen as ‘Brand Ambassadors’ for the new D850 and not a single woman among them. This caused a bit of an outcry, as you can imagine. I felt angry, my first camera was a Nikon D90 and I shoot now with a D800. It’s not anger at not being an Ambassador (I’m not good enough for starters!) but it’s anger that Nikon demonstrated that they don’t think women are good enough.

It also resulted in a few odd counter-arguments as to why actually this might not be sexism, so let’s address those right off the bat.

Argument 1: Women were invited but didn’t turn up.

This was, believe it or not, Nikon’s actual response to the furore that followed the release of their campaign. Well, we invited some women, but pfft, they decided not to show. I can almost picture them rolling their eyes and shrugging their shoulders in an ‘omg you know what women are like’ kinda way.

I’m not sure any of us are naive enough to believe that Nikon invited a large number of women, who by complete coincidence, all didn’t turn up. In fact, one official Nikon Ambassador posted on Twitter to state that she’d never received an invite.

It’s also puzzling to imagine how many desks this must’ve crossed to get signed off and nobody said, ‘oh wait a minute everyone, just a thought…  and I know it’s silly and probably won’t matter *snort* but has anyone noticed there are no women in this picture?’

Argument 2: You just said Nikon use women as Ambassadors too, quit whining that they weren’t in one picture.

wrote:

Of Nikon Ambassadors, 7 of 29 are women, of Canon Explorers of Light, 8 of 40 are women, of the Sony Artisans, 8 of 49 are women 

It’s an issue across the board, but it becomes even more problematic when these huge brands, with even bigger budgets, influence and reach are signalling to the world that women in photography just don’t matter as much as guys.

Argument 3: Uh, well maybe guys are just better at it and that’s why they’re more prominent.

Not even kidding, I’ve seen this presented as fact. If we assume that the list further up the page is one based on quality/ability then to assume (taking as an example) women would only make up 10%  is both sexist and (if you stubbornly refuse the premise that it’s sexist) at the very least it goes against mathematical probability. Even if we accept that there are fewer women working in photography (and as I mentioned, I don’t even necessarily think that’s the case) then 10%, 13%, 15% even, is too low.

Argument 4: Shoehorning women into these roles just because they’re women is positive discrimination.

At a certain point, when discrimination or sexism is called out, the pushing back against the tide can start to feel to some, like the people benefiting from the privilege in the first place are now being discriminated against.

In reality, there would have to be a focus on women in photography, a supporting of their work, and encouragement of women moving into the profession in order for the playing field to start to be levelled.

Now What?

Big brands like Nikon, Canon, Sony are the people at the top of the tree who should be supporting women in photography. After the Nikon debacle, they’re probably all around their respective boardroom meeting tables, scratching their heads and thinking about how they can capitalise on negative publicity and tick a few boxes while they’re at it.

They’ll probably come out with some campaign that on the surface, looks like it’s supporting women (hopefully they won’t do what BIC did) and that’s okay (I guess), we have to start somewhere. What would be more beneficial though, is if they sought out the best women photographers and mentors in the field and made people aware that they exist! To put funding into workshops, scholarships, programmes…. whatever, to encourage girls and young women to take up photography.

We need more supportive groups, like Women Photograph who are seeking out women in the industry and featuring them, but more importantly, making us aware of each other.

Featuring Women Landscape Photographers

So this got me thinking, it’s all well and good to write a post on a blogging site, but what can I do? For a start, I’ve followed more women photographers on Twitter. It sounds like a small thing, but before I deliberately looked for them, I didn’t come across many.

I also wanted to do some features about women in photography, so, starting with what I know, the first one will be women who photograph landscapes. If you’d like to be featured or know someone you think would, please email me on marie@mariegardiner.co.uk with:

  • Name/Age/Location (you can include a picture of yourself if you want to, too)
  • Short paragraph on why you photograph landscapes in particular
  • A landscape image that you think best demonstrates your skills
  • Any links you’d like including (website, Twitter, Instagram etc)
  • Anything you can think people might like to know that I’ve not thought of!

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to be featured. If there are enough people who are interested, I’ll do another one. If nobody cares, I’ll quietly drop it and you’ll never hear about it again.

If you’ve got this far, then hopefully you are interested, even if not as a photographer… even if not as a woman; get on board, your support is valued and appreciated.

Thanks for reading,

Marie.

 

PS: My header for this article is a stock image and can be found here.

 

 

 

Scotland, You Bonny B*stard

Sorry for the veiled swear… but it really is. I love Scotland. We try and go at least once a year and I completely favour the Highlands and West Coast (sorry East Coast, you’re lovely too but you don’t do it for me like the West does…) so this time we decided to stay in Dunoon (voucher deal ftw) and do the peninsula.

scotland-map

 

I’ve blurred out the bits we didn’t do this time so you can get an idea of the kind of ground we covered (a lot!). We started off in Glasgow, but it was pishing it down (typical Scotland) so (after a Twitter recommendation) we did the Kelvingrove Gallery, which I recommend checking out if you’re in Glasgow – it’s free too.

When we arrived, we decided to drive around a little and headed north and west of Dunoon. By then it was approaching sunset, so when we drove past Tarsan Dam (dams are creepy, right?) I had to get some pictures of it against the fading light.

Tarsan-DamSunset-at-Tarsan-LochSunset-at-Tarsan-Dam

On the way back, we passed a lovely loch just north of Dunoon called Holy Loch (we’d passed it on the way out too, but it looked especially nice during what was now blue hour).

Holy-Loch-SunsetHoly-Loch

So that was day one. Day two was spent driving the entire peninsula and boy was the scenery spectacular. We drove from Dunoon to Inverary, to Tarbert, Campbeltown and to Southend. Southend was particularly gorgeous and had a weird little clump of land (where I think the castle used to be) and a boathouse:

Southend-colourSouthend-boat-houseSouthend-black-and-white

After Southend, it was back on the road again as we were determined to head to the Mull of Kintyre. We drove over crazy, single-track roads through desolate moors until we got to what felt like the end of the Earth. The road ended in a mystery sign and we walked down what had been the old road, to the most spectacular view and on a clear day, includes Northern Ireland.

A-Warning-of-SortsMull-of-Kintyre

We drove back on the opposite side of the peninsula and the stretch of coast there is one of the best I’ve ever seen. We spotted a cemetery by the sea and jumped out for some more pictures, again as the sun was setting.

Putechan-(Cladh-Nam-Paitean)-graveyard-near-Glenbarr,-Kintyre

Most of the drive back to Dunoon was in the dark (like 3+ hours) but the moon was stunning on the loch, so again we stopped for me to try and get pictures. I’d just set up the camera and tripod when the moon went behind a cloud.

Moonlit-Loch

Doh! Never mind, it was still pretty.

The next day, we decided to give Glasgow another go and headed for the Necropolis, which should definitely be on your list of things to do if you’re visiting the city.

Inside-Necropolis

Glasgow-Necropolis

I love exploring cemeteries so the Necropolis was a delight. There are so many interesting graves, sculptures and inscriptions. And the weather stayed dry!

3 days just wasn’t enough, but we packed loads in and I can’t wait until we go back.

Just want to give a little shoutout and thanks to SRB Photographic whose filters once again proved invaluable in shooting long exposures and bright sunshine. Thanks guys. They’re also on WordPress now, so if you’re a photographer, give them a follow at SRB Photographic Blog.

 

My Gritty Poland

I spent last week in Gdansk, Poland. There are some incredibly beautiful parts of Gdansk; it has a gorgeous old-town (rebuilt/restored post-war like so many European cities… not SO old) and a beautiful riverside.

What probably interested me most though, was its history, and gritty, industrial side. Both the WWII museum and Solidarity Centre are really excellent resources, I can’t recommend them enough if you’re in town.

The Solidarity Centre is (as you’d expect if you’re aware of the history) on the site of the former shipyards and there’s still a lot of industrial stuff going on down there, so it was a fascinating place to be.

With that in mind, even though I did get pictures of the ‘prettier’ stuff, I really wanted to focus on the stark, heavy, grittier elements of Gdansk. There are more (which may come in a follow-up later), but for now, here are some of my favourites.

In particular, I love the little flower shop, the lone chair and the abandoned kids’ park. Let me know what you think.

Bridge-and-chimneyFlower-ShopGdansk-ChairIndustrial-GdanskLOT-Polish-AirlinesOil-watermarkedOvergrown-Park

Black & White Delight

I’ve been on a real black and white kick lately when it comes to my photography. I’ve always been a fan of black and white, it brings out drama and atmosphere, but then it can be overused too, and lose its effect. Well, this week I thought, sod that, I’m going black and white crazy.

These are from a series I’m calling ‘Dark Woods’ and were all taken on the same, misty, autumnal day. Hope you enjoy them, do let me know your thoughts.

Lonely-RoadLost (2)The-Path-Ahead-V2Hay-Bales-2Fork-in-the-RoadDark-WoodsCabin-in-the-Woods-NewBridge (2)

 

New Book (Artwork)

If I’ve been quiet (see: rubbish at keeping up my blog) lately, then it’s probably down to the fact that I’ve been writing a book. I signed a contract with The History Press last year, around September time, and agreed to have the book finished by the end of March 2017.

The book, ‘Sunderland Industrial Giant: Recollections of Working Life,’ is a social history of my hometown, Sunderland, and its days as, well… an industrial giant, so says the title. I spent the first few months finding people to interview, conducting those interviews and then editing the audio, before finally transcribing and beginning to put together a narrative of sorts.

Cue images of a frustrated writer, furiously typing in a public place (let’s say Starbucks), with a large (overpriced) cup of coffee, making everyone painfully aware that THEY ARE A WRITER. Actually, though, it was mostly just me on a laptop, in my dining room (for a change of scene), annoying my other half by whining when things didn’t go how I wanted them and occasionally gazing out of the window to watch our rabbit (Biscuit) running around the garden.

I got there in the end, as I knew I always would (the contract said I had to, so, you know…) and the book is now with my editor. I’ll spend the next few weeks/months relentlessly chewing my nails down to the quick until publication in November.

Here’s the front cover:

Sunderland Industrial Giant Cover.jpg

I’m rather excited 🙂

Brimham Rocks – A Photographic Article

Rocks, rocks, everywhere. We decided to have a trip to Brimham Rocks the other day, as I’d visited years ago remembered that they were pretty cool, but couldn’t remember much else.

After the heart-attack inducing car parking fee of £6 for 4 hours (off-peak, week-day in the winter, no less!) we wandered up the path to check out some rocks.

What are Brimham Rocks?

brimham-rocks

I’m glad you asked. They are balancing rock formations on Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire.

Essentially, giant stacks of rocks that seem to defy gravity by stacking up in unsafe-looking piles.

I read on an information board there, that they’re actually pretty darn safe and have had very few shifts/falls over the years. The rocks are like this because they’ve been eroded by various forces of nature over the years.

Supposedly some of the rocks now look like particular things and have been named after those: Sphinx, Camel, Turtle… and so on. I couldn’t really see it if I’m honest, but it was fun trying to work it out.

brimham-rocks-4

puddle-brimham-rocks-for-blogbrimham-rocks-5

I had a quick look on Wikipedia and discovered that the site has been used for kids’ TV shows in the past, including one of my favourite shows of all time,  KnightmareI loved that programme, although it also scared the hell out of me.

 

 

Photographic Kit Review: SRB’s P Size Elite Filter Holder.

So the lovely folks at SRB Photographic sent me their brand new P Size Elite Filter Holder to test out.

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Ta da… the new Elite Filter Holder

What is it?

It’s a square filter holder, designed to take P Size square filters and the Elite filter range. You attach it to your lens using an adaptor ring which are sold separately, but for less than £6 each.

Why is it Different to Their Other Filter Holders?

That, is an excellent question. For starters, it feels much more secure. You see the little screw at the top on the picture above? You pull that out, place the holder over the adaptor ring and then let go, and screw into place.

I won’t lie, it’s a little fiddly the first couple of times, particularly when your fingers are cold. But, (and it’s an important but) once it’s on, it feels secure, I don’t feel like it’s going to pop off the lens the second I accidentally brush the camera against my arm.

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The filter holder on my D800

What Filters Can I Use?

This is the great news, you can still use all the square filters you did before. They pop into the top the same way as the regular filter holders did. You can however, also use their new Elite filters, like the polarising filter you can see slotted in in the image at the top.

The new filters have been designed to screw into the centre thread of the holder, and they fit flush – a must to avoid light-leak.

You can stack 2 filters, too as it has 2 slots. I found my square ND1000 tricky to get into the slot, but a) that’s probably a good thing, you need it to be tight to avoid any light getting through, and b) I’m guessing the Elite ND1000 will eliminate that issue anyway.

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A soft grad filter inside the holder. Yes, I have hobo gloves.

Rotation

The rotation of the old-style holders was useful but too loose, sometimes I’d find my holder had rotated accidentally and that my grad filter was sideways or upside down! The rotation on the new Elite Holder feels much more purposeful, it moves easily, but I have to deliberately turn it.

How Tough is the Holder?

I am known throughout the land for my clumsiness and my first outing with this kit didn’t buck the trend; I dropped it right off the bat. It didn’t scratch, it didn’t chip. It seems very hardy, which is good considering it’ll be in and out of the kit bag, on and off lenses and most likely placed on a number of surfaces. And I’ll probably drop it a lot.

The holder comes in a neat and nicely branded box, but that isn’t particularly useful for your kit bag, unlike the soft bag (and handy lens-cleaning material) of past holders. So unless you want it clunking off your other kit, you’ll need to find a bag to pop it inside of.

What About Your Lens-Cap Obsession?

You still can’t fix a lens cap to your lens while you have the holder attached. I understand the logic and impracticality of this: why would you want the lens cap on if you have a filter protecting it, right? Well yes, but sometimes I like to have no filter in, but the option of popping one in quickly – in the meantime it would be nice if my lens was protected.

I’m guessing it’s also not feasible to have something on the holder to clip a lens cap to whilst also maintaining the functionality of the holder. But in an ideal world…

That Castle Earlier Looks Pretty Cool, did you Actually Take Pictures or do you Just Talk About Taking Them?

Okay, okay.

Bamburgh-Hut.jpg
Taken with a soft grad (0.3) to keep the sky on the right side of exposed.
bamburgh-castle
Taken with the ND1000 – around an 8-second exposure.

The Verdict

Like everything that SRB have thrown at me and dared me to break, their new P Size Elite Filter Holder is great. They’ve upped their game on build quality and functionality and once you’ve mastered the initial fiddliness of the new set-up, I doubt you’ll look back.

It comes with a handy instruction guide with a stunning image on the front (okay, it’s my image, but it’s kinda pretty) and the whole thing is nicely packaged. I do suggest you get yourself a wee bag to put it in to protect it and the rest of your kit while in transit, or wrap it in the cleaning cloth that comes with the holder.

A New Thing Every Month – December: Bloody Mary!

I have a confession… our thing this month came pretty last minute with all the general Christmas fuss. So, we decided we’d put a bet on at the bookies on New Year’s Eve as neither of us have done that.

Only problem was, we got there and it was closed. Oops.

New plan then – whatever we can scrounge from the local Co-Op.

Bloody Marys!

What You Need:

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  • Vodka
  • Tomato juice
  • Tobasco sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Celery (optional)

You may notice we used passata as we couldn’t get juice at such short notice… bung in some water and it’s fine.

Method

Put some lemon juice onto a plate or dish and then paprika and salt onto another.

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This is to stick around the edge of your glass, so rub the top of the glass first around the lemon juice and then around the salt/paprika mix until your glass rim is covered:

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Next, add your vodka and tomato juice in a ratio of 1/4 or as strong as you like. Add a couple of drops of Tabasco to each glass and a drop of Worcestershire Sauce.

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That’s it, you’re all done! Unless you’re one of those terrible, terrible people who likes celery. If you do, then add it now and feel thoroughly ashamed.

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So, as is the point of this one new thing a month, neither of us have had a Bloody Mary before. Turns out they’re not that great. Well, nice to end the year on a high.

Thanks for humouring me.

December Reads

I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.

Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:

  • 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
  • 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
  • 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
  • 4 Good, I enjoyed this
  • 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted

NBI’m also reading some books as research for my own, non-fiction publication which is due out next year. I’m omitting anything read for that, here. 

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December’s Books

Title(s): Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Category: Fiction: Horror, Supernatural

About: Jude purchases someone’s stepfather’s ghost online, to add to his creepy collection of the macabre. As you might have guessed, Jude gets more than he bargained for.

My Rating: 3.5, not bad but could’ve been so much better

I loved the premise of this, and the start of the book genuinely gave me the creeps. Unfortunately, the ever-present ghost means that there’s very little actual jeopardy, because you know nothing book-endingly-major is going to happen while there’s still 3/4 of the book left to read.

Mr Hill also suffers from the same major peeve I have with his father, his endings suck. Still, it’s well-written and the characters are okay for the most part. I rattled through it.

Read this if you like: Horns by Joe Hill, anything by Stephen King

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Title(s):  The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Category: Fiction: Mystery (I guess?!)

About: Four year old Noah wants to go home. Only problem is, he already is home.

My Rating: 4, good

I quite liked the idea that someone might be retaining the memories of a previous incarnation and although I didn’t really ‘like’ the character of Noah, the plot was decent and fast-paced enough to keep my interest. The ending resolved nicely for me too, which is unusual, I admit!

Read this if you like: Anything by Jodi Picoult or Sophie Hannah

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Title(s): Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Category: Fiction: young adult, (mild) horror, fantasy etc

About: A family tragedy sends Jacob to a remote island off the coast of Wales, to the abandoned home where his Grandfather lived and spoke of tales of children with strange talents.

My Rating: 4.5, rather good.

I bought these books solely based on their cover… so that ruins that old cliché. Genuinely, these are beautiful looking books and exquisitely printed. The story is pretty good too, if a little slow. I’ve not seen the film yet, but I can imagine they’ve had to tart it up a little to keep up interest.

I’m actually half-way through the second book now and I’m thoroughly enjoying them. The author has a very nice style and the story flows beautifully. I’m looking forward to finding out how it all ends, while simultaneously not wanting it to end!

I can imagine these becoming a future children’s classic like the Narnia books.

Read this if you like: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

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That’s All, Folks

Well, my year of keeping tabs on my books has come to an end. Thank you if you’ve taken the time to read my ramblings and like the posts. I won’t be doing the monthly round-ups this year, but I will be singling out particular books for a more in-depth review, as and when I find a little gem.

I’m writing my own book at the moment, which is due for completion in March (and publication in November), so I’ll keep you updated on that, too.

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You can catch up on November’s Reads here.