FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Hopefully by now you’ve got a good idea about who I am and what services I can offer you.  You might still have some questions through, that’s fine.  Have a check to see if I’ve second guessed you below in my list of FAQs.  If you prefer to do it the old fashioned way though, please do get it touch with me here.

What happens if it's cloudy or rainy on my astrophotography workshop?

If the weather is forecast to be bad for one of the days on your workshop, we will go out photographing on the best day.  We will then have our editing session on the day when the weather is forecast to be bad.  If the weather is cloudy on both days (but not rainy) you will still be taught the process’ and techniques for photographing the sky at night.  Unfortunately you may not end up with star photographs in this situation and I’m sorry that I cannot re-schedule under these circumstances.

However, if rain means that we cannot go out photographing, the workshop will have to be cancelled and re-scheduled for a date that suits the group.  If you are not able to attend the new date then you will be offered alternative dates or a full refund. 

What photography equipment do you use?

I don’t have that much equipment really.  In terms of cameras, most of my older shots are taken on a Nikon D5300.  It’s a great little crop sensor camera that does well for most things and it’s really cheap compared to the full frame professional models.  More recently I’ve invested in a second hand Nikon D800 too (I know it’s an old camera but I love it).  I’m mostly using this for nightscape photography as it has much better low light performance than the D5300.  In terms of lenses I use a Samyang wide angle for most nightscape photography and a Sigma 24-105mm for most of my daytime stuff.  When I’m out widflower hunting I use a Sigma 105mm macro lens.  This allows me to get close enough to fill the shot with some quite small flower heads!

My tripod is a hand-me-down from my grandad.  The head was busted so I bought a second hand head from ebay for £5.00.  It arrived broken but I somehow managed to get it working by taking a screw from the other broken one.  It just about works!  To reduce noise in my starry night photographs I sometimes use a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer to track the stars.  This allows me to use a longer exposures and a lower ISO to achieve less noise in my photographs.

Apart from that I’ve got an old laptop that I use for Adobe Lightroom and a tiny bit of Adobe Photoshop, for like one photo in fifty.  It used to be really slow but now I’ve upgraded it to a solid state hard drive, it just about manages.  

Oh, and recently I bought a Dell Ultrasharp monitor.  I was sick and tired of editing photos on my laptop screen which has terrible colour representation. After editing each photo I would have to upload it to an iPad to see if it was how I wanted it.  If it wasn’t then I had to re-edit it whilst looking at the iPad screen for guidance and try again.  Sometimes it would take more than five attempts to get it right and each attempt could take hours to upload…. so getting a monitor was a no brainer; don’t know why it took so long!    

Do you sell photo frames?

Nope, sorry.  I’d like to be able to sell photo frames to complement my photo prints, but here’s the thing.  There’s so many cool photo frames out there and everyone has different tastes.  Furthermore, a frame that looks great on one wall will look terrible on another.  Because of this I decided to sell unframed prints.  This means that when your prints arrive you can have a look at them and choose a frame that you think will look good with your photo and in your house.  In terms of quality frame suppliers, I like The Frame Company.  They make pretty good frames for a decent price.  My favourite styles by them are their simple looking ones like Webber, Wallace and Connolly.

What's your favourite location to shoot?

Wow, that’s a tough one!  I’ve loved getting to know the new Nikon D800 on the coast of Thanet.  There’s a lot of light pollution but there’s also one or two gems as well.  I went to Dorset a couple of times last year to the Jurassic Coast.  My god it’s beautiful down there.  I’m hoping to get down there a few times this year to capture the Milky Way.  The sky is really dark and there’s some stunning geological features to shoot.  Snowdonia is somewhere that I need to go again.  I got a whole load of great photos from there a few years ago but they’re all at a really low resolution so not worth printing really.  Finally, I can’t wait to go to the Scottish Highlands.  I went there a few times hiking as a kid.  It’s simply incredible and I am so excited to get shooting it. 

What's your favourite wildflower?

The Teesdale Spring Gentian wins this one, pretty easily to be fair.  Gentiana is the first genus of plants that I studied back in 2007 when I began studying horticulture.  The following year I went and saw Gentiana verna (The Teesdale Spring Gentian) in the only place in the UK that it still grows).  It’s seriously endangered and will probably go extinct in the next few years.  This is because it can’t adapt its respiration rate to match the warming worldwide temperatures.  It’s sad story that most people haven’t heard.