Cliffhanger have teamed up with Canon and UKClimbing.com and are running a photo competition with a great prize, a Canon PowerShot D10, worth £379...and several runner up prizes including tickets to Cliffhanger. At Cliffhanger you will be able to meet up with professional photographers: Doug Blane, Fran Halsall, Alex Messenger and Adam Long, and in this article Doug, Alex and Adam give you some top tips on how to improve your photography.
But first details of the Cliffhanger Cannon photo competition.... closing date is 6th July.
Waterproof and shockproof, the durable PowerShot D10 brings quality 12.1 MP imaging to active outdoor activities. Keep your hands free and your camera close with a range of great accessories.
Find out more at www.canon.co.uk
The theme of this photographic competition is cliffs. Yes, we are after photographs of cliffs, or crag shots. Close ups, showing detail, taken from not too far away. We are not really after landscape shots that just happen to have a crag in them - the cliff or crag must be central to the photograph. Aesthetic, beautiful, good light - taken at the magic hour perhaps - showing features, routes, climbers - straight on, or you can be more creative, it is up to you. The cliff could be your local crag, or from a distant place anywhere in the world. Entries that don't quite fit the bill will just be moved to the appropriate gallery after they have been approved.
Here are some examples we did earlier:
For best quality results, we suggest an image file size of between 150kb and 250kb, and 1000 pixels wide or 800 pixels high.
You can post up to three images.
Please post entries here at this link: UKC competition page (the closing date is 6th July.)
The Winners: The overall winner will be the photograph with the most reader votes. The runner ups will be selected by a combination of votes and the judgement of Matt Heason of Heason Events.
Cliffhanger is one of the UK's largest outdoor outdoor-pursuits festivals, based in one of Sheffield's biggest green spaces. This year, Alex Messenger, Fran Halsall, Doug Blane and Adam Long will be in the 'Photo Tent', giving free photo workshops, photo walks and offering tips to improve your climbing photography. Below, they offer some hints for winning 'Cliffhanger' photo comp entries.
The Photo Tent will be split into two sections, separated by some giant heath and heather based banners donated by Living Art in Hathersage. One section will feature photography exhibitions, the other will feature lectures (including Doug Scott, Gaz, Parry and Graham Milton) and films (Best Of Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, The Grade Debate, New material from Alastair Lee of Posing Productions and more).
For climbers, unmissable Cliffhanger events are the BMC's British Bouldering Championships, the PlantFear Dyno Competition and a new event for kids, Alpkids on the Blocs.
1. Learn to see
Although modern cameras largely automate focus and exposure, these are not the key to great photographs. Composition and use of light are - learn all you can about them.
2. Engage with the subject
Think about what you are trying to convey (drama, fear, beauty?) and then build your composition to emphasise it.
3. Know your camera
All my cameras, no matter how simple, can be frustrating at times. Learn them inside out so you aren't struggling at crucial times.
Don't just react to what's in front of you. Think on how to improve it, then make it happen. That could involve moving a few steps or returning to try again in autumn.
5. Be there
Never underestimate the role of luck. The more time you spend out there with a camera, the more chance you have of capturing something unique.
1. It's not about the camera
Good news - you don't need that top-of-the-range DSLR that costs more than your car. The higher end cameras are usually packed full of features that the normal user will never need. Put your wallet away and get the cheaper model - then spend the difference on a trip somewhere exciting.
2. It's not about the lens either
Back in the days of film, pros would wax lyrical about certain lenses – some had great colour properties, others were super-sharp. Some swore by fixed focal lengths (called primes), others raved about zooms. Relax. These days almost every modern lens will do the job, and if doesn't then just sharpen and tweak the image afterwards in Photoshop. So if you're starting out then forget the more expensive glass, buy a zoom with a wide range and then, yep, spend the difference on a trip.
3. Climbing and photography don't always mix
Climbing and photography are a great pairing, but after a certain level they don't mix that well – you'll end up mediocre at both (yeah, yeah, I know...). Let's face it, you wouldn't faff around with your camera instead of psyching for a hard onsight would you? Allow yourself some dedicated photo days and you'll see real improvements.
4. Always set up the abseil
You can kid yourself that you'll get great shots from the ground, that you don't need to walk around the top and set up that scary abseil. But you're wrong – and that's why your shots will lack interest.
5. It's all about the light
Master light and you've mastered photography. Take time to watch how light changes and how it plays with your subjects. Many people get bogged down with f-stops and apertures – these are boring, essential technical details – it's the light that you need to be concentrating on.
Doug Blane's photo walks will be co-ordinated with Mountain Bike Trials at Cliffhanger.
Learn techniques to capture fast extreme sports, freeze the action by using fast stutter speeds and narrow depth of field, create artistic images using slow shutter speeds and panning with the action. All will be based on the thirds rule of composition so that the action flows into the pictures.
Try and compose your pictures using the "rule of thirds".
2. Depth of field
Use a narrow depth of field to accentuate the subject in the foreground and also throw out the background.
3. Shutter speed
If you want a crisp image of a moving subject, then use a shutter speed to the equivalent number of the lens focal length (or faster), e.g. if you are shooting using a 200mm lens then use a shutter speed of at least 200th of a sec (or faster).
If you would like the feeling of movement in your shot, then choose a shutter speed of around 1/30th of a sec and follow the moving subject (panning) with your camera trying to move at the same speed as the subject.
5. Have fun
Enjoy your photography, be creative, play with your camera gear and see how you can get the best from your photography.
My photography is an exploration of the way light interacts with landscape; how its variable quality and intensity define the atmosphere of an image, altering our perception of the world as it changes. I prefer to work around the hours of sunrise and sunset, where light's colour temperature transforms all that it touches. Or I search for the elusive and dynamic illumination associated with storms; I am never happier than when poised, tense with anticipation, waiting for clouds to part and for sunshine to once again flood across the landscape. My work brings both frustration and exhilaration. Alternating between meditative awareness and frenzied periods of hyperactivity as the light resolves itself into fleeting perfection; then dissolving back into long spells of waiting, observation, making notes and keeping my fingers crossed...
Cliffhanger, the UK's biggest open air outdoor pursuits festival, will take place in Sheffield's Millhouses Park on July 11th and 12th. Last year, 15,000 people enjoyed the sunshine and atmosphere, tried sports from snowboarding to kayaking for free, watched sports pros compete, browsed the stalls and bargain-hunted in the outdoor gear area. The main climbing events are the British Bouldering Championships and the open Dyno Competition.
You can find out more about Cliffhanger at www.cliff-hanger.co.uk. Most events are free once you've paid the £5 to get in (kids under 16 get in free).
You can find out more about Sarah at www.sarahstirling.com
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