Monday, 30 January 2017

David Moses - Day in the Life Photography Sessions

With documentary family photography, it's all about taking time and enjoying the day to day routines and little moments. Finding the things that your family does and recording them is what Day in the Life is all about.

Having a professional come and spend time documenting your family is a very different thing to taking photographs yourself. When you invite me to come to your home and work this way, you are in the pictures too. The images become about the relationships in your home, the interactions and the emotions.

Who are Day in the Life sessions for? Families who don't want the usual 'say cheese' images. Parents who want to preserve their children as they are right now. Families who want to do something fun, unique and special. Parents who are creative and appreciate photography.

So how does it work? I arrive for breakfast time and stay with you until the kids go to bed. You will have a day of doing whatever you want - if you want to stay at home then that's great, if you want to go for a bike ride, to the shops, walk the dog, play board games, bounce on a trampoline, read books, walk in the park, whatever your family wants to do.

To book now and for further information click here -

David Moses

Monday, 23 January 2017

Stargazing Scotland - Breaking Free from the Milky Way Cliche

The Milky Way galaxy is all around you. The sun, planets, moon, visible stars and the Earth are all part of a disc like structure of billions of stars spinning around a central point. Considering this, if you take a selfie on a smartphone then you’re a ‘Milky Way Photographer.’

But when I use the term ‘Milky Way Photography’ I’m referring to the use of a DSLR and tripod to capture 26 000 year old light from the brightest part of our galaxy; the spherical central bulge. In recent years photographing this has become so popular that it’s now a bit of a cliche. It’s often impossible to use the term ‘Astrophotography’ without conjuring those typical images of the galactic core.


There’s far more to Astrophotography than the pursuit of the Milky Way’s centre. Planets, the Moon, the Aurora, Meteor Showers and Constellations are just a few subjects appearing in different parts of the sky at different times of the year. Venus for example, is currently in the twilight evening sky.


Recently I have focused on refraining from relying on the Milky Way to create a successful composition, and I have found the process full of rewards. I feel like I have improved on my photographic abilities through experimentation with many elements of night photography, including experimenting with different light levels from the moon.

One of the hardest parts of Astrophotography is getting enough of an exposure to light your foreground. Often I must take several 15-30 minute exposures, edit them, layer them, edit them again and then blend them into my sky exposure to squeeze foreground detail out of an image like the one below.

Winter Mist

The moon can be used to address this issue. The only problem is the fact that it constantly changes in shape, brightness, size and position in the sky. This causes drastic changes in the colour and amount of light it sheds each night as it circles through its monthly cycle, not to mention the angle of light in relation to a planned composition. Another thing to consider is that too much light from the moon will wash away almost all other detail in the night sky; a problem if your focal point for an image is a subject in the cosmos.

Wigtown Reflections

Through experimentation I have found that a three day old moon (appearing as a waxing evening crescent) provides the perfect amount of light to maximise foreground detail, whilst still retaining detail in the sky. Using this method I was able to capture my favourite image from the Winter; ‘Orion.’ Making use of moonlight to enhance a composition instead of relying on the spectacular view of the galactic core can result in a more subtle composition.


The core of the Milky Way is not visible in the Winter in Scotland. Using this as an excuse to experiment with my photography has proved beneficial, and I will be entering the ‘Milky Way Season’ of 2017 with a fresh outlook on night photography.

The Galactic Core is breathtaking and I will continue to view and photograph it for both personal and business reasons, but from now on I will remember to think more creatively. The night sky is after all our window into infinity; it would be ironic to then photograph a single part of it over and over again.

Jesse Beaman
Stargazing Scotland

Monday, 16 January 2017

Laura Hudson Mackay - Shooting Film in the Sahara

On the recent Galloway Photographic Collective tour of Morocco, I shot exclusively using Black and White (6x6cm) film, with a Medium Format Hasselblad camera made 60 years ago in 1957.

Once there, I quickly realised what a challenge it was going to be, given the tour was with other members of the group who all shoot digitally. There were times when I did struggle to keep up. For me, taking quality photographs with any type of camera is about the process, slowing down and seeing more, taking time to capture an emotion or evoke a mood, and film photography does this particularly well.

On the road trip to the Sahara desert, the other members readily leaped from 4x4’s, with their digital cameras in hand, having noticed yet another fabulous vista to capture. I too would leap from the car, shoot one or two images, but then realise there was only one more exposure left of just twelve on the film. By the time I had loaded another, the digital shooters were back in the cars and on their way! They took many images at each location and over the course of the whole trip, collectively, this ran easily into the thousands. By comparison, I shot only 14 rolls of film (168 exposures total) as I had to overcome the challenge of taking longer to get set up at each location, the lack of any automatic functions on the camera and having to use a separate light meter.

Each evening, once settled back at our accommodation in Morocco, there was a buzz to share and edit images taken that day and to even post a few on social media, but not mine as I had to wait until I was back home to process the films before seeing the results. But that waiting, that anticipation, was exciting, if a little nerve wracking.

Other working trips in Morocco are planned, plus I am currently collaborating with two Moroccan artists on a joint art project. For each trip, the same type of film and camera equipment will be packed. I’m oddly even looking forward to waiting at the airports, while members of security hand check each film individually.

Compared to using a digital camera, a film camera requires the flexing of different ‘photographic muscles’ and by working these muscles, it is possible to get more out of photography and explore the craft to a deeper level of learning. Being more focussed, by the limitation of exposures on each roll, pushes the photographer to shoot with a clear goal in mind. 

Disconnecting from the digital life once in a while is rewarding and refreshing. Not every camera needs to have an LCD screen and batteries to produce great photography!More and more photographers seem to be getting into analogue photography. There is a re-emergence of film being used in fashion shoots and fine art photography. The movie industry is also getting on the band wagon with high profile directors such as Martin Scorsese, JJ Abrams and Chris Nolan recently using film in the production of Hollywood blockbusters such as Silence and Star Wars - Rogue One.

Why despite its cost and apparent inconvenience is film photography growing as a medium, particularly amongst many young photographers? Perhaps it is because many have grown up using modern technology and are now favouring using film as it’s harder and more challenging to use. We appear to have reached a point at which digitally produced images we see have become indecipherable from reality and no longer represent trust. Viewers and creators are again looking for authenticity from photography.

LHM Loading Film in Sahara from Scott Mackay on Vimeo.

A collection of Medium Format Film photographs taken on the recent photography tour of Morocco will be on display at The Whitehouse Gallery, Kirkcudbright, in the GPC exhibition ‘The Art of Photography’ from 4 February - 4 March 2017.

Laura Hudson Mackay

Monday, 9 January 2017

Allan Wright - Using Reflection

Fairly recently I have become more aware of the subtle power that the element of “reflection” can contribute to the success of an image. For the longest time I confess I maintained a rather dismissive approach which regarded the use of conventional reflection as a bit of a cliché. Not necessarily creative in itself just a reliable feature of physics and nothing to get overly excited about. Learning to be more open to possibilities is I believe part of the journey to upping one’s game in photography.

Scallop Dredger homeward bound River Dee, Kirkcudbright.

As the boat turned I noticed how the soft curves of its wake picked up and gave a curious little swirl to the reflection of a nice lumpy big white cloud. I find it interesting because it is the secondary element in what is otherwise a simply pleasant description. To me there is a lingering fascination in the serendipity of the shapes, you can look at either aspect as your inclination takes you.

The riverside path from Palnackie at dusk.

It was fine for an evening stroll although heading seawards the light was not looking very productive. A call of nature meant I was looking back towards what seemed to be a rather reluctant sunset, however after a minute or two observing it as it matured, the colour intensified and I saw how the characteristic shape of the estuarine phase of the river was responding to the reflection on the water. These happy combinations are not easy to control or predict, open eyes and an open mind in photography is worth cultivating.

Portling, low tide rockpool.

The Solway Firth offers unlimited scope for shoreline detail in all kinds of light quality. Deconstructing this image we note the eye predominantly drawn to the starburst reflection on the water surface (no filter used). From there we might then scan around enjoying the graphic shapes and textures. Underlying how these elements work however is a less conscious awareness of the sky’s reflection, we cannot see the sky but we accept its presence, thus all is well with the world.

Carlingwark Loch, early dog walk.

The components are all in place, i.e soft warm light and a touch of moisture giving a misty feel. Add to that human/canine interaction and we have a picture. If you cut out the lower half, the image still works still but we lose the holistic symmetry that the tree reflections provide. In fact the reflection has much more content to savour that its source, above, offers.

Southerness Lighthouse.

This iconic structure gets plenty of photographic attention through any given season. On a recent visit I become motivated at the shoreline response to the cool haar-like mist that was lingering in the late afternoon. Although engaging this mist was not in itself sufficient inspiration to get busy. Knowing there some handy rockpools at its base I sought opportunity to use reflection for that extra little dimension. Note how an awareness of the lighthouse reflection arrives only as a subsequent aspect to viewing the image.

Allan Wright