Formatt-Hitech Ambassadors

Andy Conway

Biography

In my early to late teens, I enjoyed drawing and sketching, inheriting my father’s skill and sharp eye in art & design. I received my first camera at the age of 11 as a birthday present from my parents which was a simple 35mm point-and-shoot. Looking back through old photos, I realized I was clutching a camera in the majority of them; something I would later develop on.

Now living in West Sussex, UK I have developed my photography skills to a professional level taking on small projects, bespoke events and weddings.

Although I enjoy all aspects of photography my real passion lies in long-exposures of landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes. I came across the brand Formatt-Hitech after meeting one of their featured artists on a long-exposure workshop. When I saw the results of how you can control elements of nature with time, I realized I was able to bring out my love for art within the photos I took.

I have a full-time career in IT which has enabled me to understand the processing of images I capture quickly and effectively. I run workshops in my spare time offering advice and techniques to help others understand the fundamentals of photography and to get the most out of their photography gear. I have a keen interest in teaching and sharing knowledge. I want others to understand the photos they’re taking, to ‘feel’ the vista they’re shooting and to visualize the final image before they’ve pressed the shutter button. I do this by teaching the foundations of photography; how light is constantly changing around us and how it can dramatically affect the image.

Genre

Landscapes, Cityscapes and Long-exposure photography

 Most Used Filter

Firecrest 1.8 (6-Stop) ND

I will always have this filter with me as it holds a nice balance between being able to block out enough sunlight on a clear day for a well-balanced shot, to creating some slow and long exposures on an overcast setting.

 What filter you want to use next

Firecrest Nightscape

I have one…I’ve just never had the opportunity to use it at the moment. I’d like to get some good astrophotography shots where I can and where time/restrictions allow.

Favourite Photography Location

Tricky. I like both the city of London and coastal areas. But right now, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire have to be up there with some of my favourites.

 Tip for anyone getting into photography

Research and get in contact with a photographer that knows the local areas. This is especially important if you’re looking to take on landscape photography. It’s a huge world out there and having a guide can really help get you going and what to look for in a scene.

Alejandro Garcia Bernardo

Biography

I was born in Asturias (Spain) in 1979. From a young age, I started mountaineering thanks to the natural environment in which I grew up and enjoyed nature. As I become more and more interested in photography, it was only a matter of time to combine my love for the mountains and nature with photography. The latter is the one that finally fascinates me.

In this way I begin to see the world around me through a lens, always trying to find the perfect photo that is always to come.

At first, I was encouraged that some of my photos were published and won awards in national magazines or as a finalist in nature photography contests on National Geography. But the biggest opportunity was presented to me in 2018 when I participated in the Lumix G photo challenge where I competed with photographers from all over Spain and managed to win the first prize. From there I continued working with the Lumix camera until I became a Panasonic ambassador in my country in 2019. Currently, having become an ambassador for Format Hitech and representing their latest range of filters, Onyx, is a pleasure and pride.

Genre

Nature and landscape photography.

 Most Used Filter

  •  GND 1.2 soft: I use this filter because it attenuates the exposure of light in the sky at sunrises and sunsets, achieving more dynamic range in shooting.
  • 1.8 ND: it is very good to lengthen the exposure times in photography of water trails.

 What filter you want to use next

 I would like to use the 3.0 ND as it could get longer exposure times, very useful for capturing cloud movement.

 Favourite Photographic Location:

 The Picos de Europa National Park in Spain is an exceptional place for landscape photography, as well as the entire Asturian coast that has many charming corners.

 Tip for anyone getting into photography:

 Share your work in photography forums with more experienced people. The constructive criticism and advice they can offer you can be invaluable.

 An unexpected moment ...

Sometimes in coastal photography, you can be so immersed in photography that you can forget that the tide rises fast ... and you have to return to land with the water around your waist and all the equipment above your head … oops.

Spare clothes and towels in the car can be a great idea!

Alan Hewitt

Biography

I am a wildlife photographer based in Northumberland, United Kingdom. My wildlife photography is driven by an appreciation and fascination of the natural world, from my favourite local patch, Northumberland’s incredible Farne Islands, to the birds and mammals of sub-Saharan Africa.

 Most used filter?

0.6 and 0.9 (2 and 3 stop) Firecrest Ultra grads. I am an advocate of photographing wildlife with a more contextual composition which may often include interesting skies. The Firecrest Ultra range of grads retain essential sharpness and clarity when using long telephoto lenses.

 Which filter do you want to use next?

I am increasingly becoming involved in wildlife film making projects so I’ll be looking at the Firecrest Ultra range of ND filters.

 Favourite Photography Location?

Kenya’s Maasai Mara! The diversity of wildlife is absolutely incredible and the amazing savanna is a wonderful habitat and backdrop for wildlife photography. I’ve also got a lot of very good friends amongst the Maasai people so a trip to the Mara is as much a reunion as it is a photography trip.

 Tip for anyone getting into photography?

 Learn to master your photography equipment and make settings adjustments without moving your eye from the viewfinder. Also, consider practical hands-on sessions with professional photographers to get to grips with the settings and techniques you can use to improve your photography.

Kieran Metcalfe

Biography

I loved my little point-and-shoot as a kid, and even did a GCSE in Photography, but with university, getting married and starting work in I.T., I fell out of touch with photography for about 20 years.

 After going freelance as a graphic and web designer, it soon reared its head again as a means to escape from the pressures of the home office; a reason to get out and unwind on a hillside. It's fantastic to sit and watch the sun rise or set, but it's great to have something to give you that extra nudge. I also find it refreshing to have a chance to be creative for myself rather than for a client.

 In recent years I've been thrilled to have won national competitions and to have had work featured in both print and broadcast media. The award which means the most to me was winning the 70th Anniversary "Moments in Time" competition held by the Campaign for National Parks. Getting involved with CNP has led to some great opportunities, including being accepted into the Formatt Hitech Ambassador programme. But importantly, it opened my eyes to the fact that as photographers we can’t just show off the landscapes we shoot – we should do everything we can to protect and support them.

Genre

Primarily landscapes – but a bit of astro, some macro and a little nature thrown in - anything outdoors.

Most used filters?

  • 0.9 (3 Stop Grad) - I have a penchant for shooting into the sun at one end of the day or the other. I love the quality of the light when the sun is near the horizon. However, the huge contrasts that creates in a scene can cause problems for even the best sensors - and I shoot on a crop sensor! So, while I do still need to bracket exposures, this filter vastly reduces the number of frames I need to take. When I go for a side-lit shot, it often means I can get it in one (which is even better!).
  • Multi-stop Variable ND - A favourite for shooting flowing water. The variable ND makes it very easy to set the shutter speed you want without having to compromise on aperture / ISO settings. It also means I don't need to carry a huge range of fixed NDs. Some cheap variable filters get a bad rap for sharpness, colour and uneven filtering, but the Formatt Hitech version is seriously excellent.

 Which filter do you want to use next?

Firecrest Nightscape - I love shooting at night when conditions allow. I've gone out for the Milky Way, Noctilucent Clouds, Comet Neowise and even some attempts at the Northern Lights. Sadly, light pollution is a huge and growing problem in the areas around me, so a filter which combats it is very appealing.

 Favourite Photography Location?

Peak District National Park - maybe too wide an area, but there are so many hidden gems as well as the big honeypot locations that it's hard to pick a single spot. It may not have the soaring mountains of other national parks, but the views are every bit as stunning and iconic. I'm part of the photography ambassador team with Let's Go Peak District, a hub for tourism and local businesses, and it's great to help promote the beauty of the area and raise awareness of issues which affect it. 

 Tip for anyone getting into photography?

More and more often I see people asking what equipment they should buy next, seemingly because they feel that a new lens will make them a better photographer. 

My advice would be to identify how your current kit is stopping you getting the images you want and look to buy gear that will address those specific issues. You'll save money in the long term and not end up with lenses gathering dust. You may also find that that it's just a matter of knowledge or practice that's holding you back.

 Quirky Story:

 The next stop was the Fairy Bridge, located just half a mile or so upstream. Almost immediately I dropped the camera off the bridge onto rocks 30 feet below while changing lenses. It missed the river by a couple of feet and somehow survived the impact - although very dented and scratched. Miraculously it still took sharp images and lasted the rest of the trip. In the end it did need to be replaced though as the interior frame was buckled and the body was no longer weather-sealed.

 A few months later, with a repaired camera, I went on a 4-day trip to the same area. We started at that same location, and I was relieved to come away with my gear unscathed.

I'm currently looking for a new insurer. Any recommendations?

Antonio De Rosa - Italy

Antonio De Rosa born in Naples, at the age of 15 he start to work on set as Camera assistant and Camera Operator until 2009 when he begin to work as DP.

He studied Cinematography from The Master of Light like Roger Deakins and Vittorio Storaro, he become a Member of AIC & IMAGO (Italian Association of Cinematographer) at 24, he is specialized in Digital Technology for Cinema

“I love to speak with lights and shadows and to be better day by day trying to illustrate any story with my images.”

Bernard Geraghty - Ireland

My name is Bernard Geraghty. I'm a professional Landscape Photographer from Ireland.

I started photography relatively recently (October 2015), totally by chance, on advice from a friend.

After buying my first camera the bug just bit me. I'm happy to say after taking to photography like a duck takes to water I now run my own company "Bernard Geraghty Landscape Tours", running tours and workshops all over Ireland, U.K, Iceland, Lofoten, The Dolomites, Faroe Islands with more places on the way for 2018.

Brian Lloyd Duckett

Biography 

My photographic journey started as a press photographer, working mainly on features relating to legal issues, crime and public order. Walking the streets all day long with a camera in my hand, I started to observe the quirks of human behaviour, which led to an obsession with recording street life – or street photography as we know it.

I now work as a documentary and street photographer, working on long-term projects, writing books, lecturing and running workshops. I’m on the board of the BPPA (British Press Photographers’ Association) and an ambassador for Fujifilm. I’m currently running workshops around the UK and in Venice, Lisbon and Prague.

Genre

Street and Documentary

 Most used filter?

 UV and polariser. ND filters when working on travel assignments or workshops.

 What filter you want to use next:

 Variable ND – I’m starting to produce more video content.

Favourite Photography location?

 Lisbon. It’s the most photogenic city with amazing light and a fantastic vibe. You can’t fail to (a) have fun and (b) return home with lots of keepers.

 Tip for anyone getting into street photography:

 Learn to read the streets – slow down, look for the detail, observe human behaviour and make connections.

Quirky Story

My first published photograph – at the age of 15 – was for a paper called the Southport Visiter and was of a dead dog in a litter bin.

Collin Harrington

Biography 

I was a professional wakeboarder for 15 years. After a major knee injury, I had some down time so I bought my first video camera 2006, Panasonic DVX 100. I started filming in wakeboarding at the same time as being an athlete. This eventually turned into shooting many action sports. Having so many connections from being an athlete, many companies welcomed me behind the lens to shoot commercial work for them. I am now a full-time commercial cinematographer based in Southern California. I shoot a lot of photography as well, mostly adventure and landscapes. Some clients I double for photo and video on the same shoots. I just thoroughly enjoy creating images through cameras of all types.

Genre:

Mostly commercials with a few documentaries here and there.

 Most used filter?

1.2 ND for video. My photography I would say .9 and a 10 stop. I love shooting long exposure.

 Which Filter Would You Like to Use Next?

For video, I want to get more familiar with my Black Mist. With the commercial stuff, I don’t get to use them much. For photo, I would like to try the Nightscape. I love astrophotography and have never actually used a night filter. I’m curious how much it will help.

 Favourite Shooting Location:

This is a tough one. I have been fortunate enough to travel the world extensively for 20 years now. I always love the Caribbean. The watercolours are hard to beat. Since I have lived in California I have been camping and exploring all over out here. The Sierra Mountains have seemed to amaze me every time I go. But then there is Utah, Colorado etc. Too many places to pick a favourite. New Zealand is high on my list to go back and explore extensively.

 Tips for anyone getting into cameras:

Just shoot. Experiment lots and keep shooting. Hands on is the best learning. With the internet nowadays you can literally learn any technique you can imagine. Try everything and you will slowly gravitate what really interests you. It becomes an addiction.

Kieran Hayes - Ireland

Hello I am Kieran and I live in stunning West Cork, Ireland.

I am a professional photographer that works in a number of genres from Landscape, Fashion & Commercial product photography through to Portrtaiture all around Ireland.

My heart belongs in seascape photography as I live for the sea at my feet and the salt air in my lungs, those moments I get to steal away from the world and submerse myself in nature.

I also run a lot of photography workshops along the coastline which is a real bonus as its never work when you love doing it.

Photography is not a job its more of a way of life for me.

See you out there.

Paul Hamilton - England

A British photographer self taught from the age of Fourteen, born and raised in South London with a Distinction of the Royal Photographic Society.

Embracing two era's in photography through traditional analogue film and Digital RAW image capture with work published Worldwide for Fine Art Coastal, Landscape, Abstract ICM, Multiple and Long exposure imagery.

For me, there is something magically mysterious about where land meets the sea and I am fortunate to witness this everyday by residing on the Kentish Coast in England, UK and the paradise Island of Palawan in the Philippines, voted the World's best.

Seán Kerr -Scotland

Seán Kerr is a Scottish landscape and nature photographer from Dunblane.

His love of the natural world is fused with a deep passion for representing that world in context and with the utmost respect and integrity. He will always attempt to recreate the wonder of nature faithfully and, in his view, the wow factor should come from nature, not over-processing and digital manipulation.

He firmly believes that the true essence of great photography is the art, so that the final image not only looks pleasing to the eye, but also has real context, evokes emotion and inspires the human imagination.

Dibs McCallum - Norfolk

Dibs McCallum’s work is primarily based on photographing the British Isles. Initially he started to experiment with the way light fell on his images whilst photographing abandoned buildings, historical sites and decaying structures left behind from wars or conflicts. It was during this time he developed a passion for long exposure photography, he particularly likes the ambience it creates within his photography, and he finds it evokes a sense of mystery.

Having been awarded a 1st in his BA photography, Dibs is now studying for his Masters Photography Degree and working on a project documenting the remains of the Cold War in the United Kingdom, he spends a lot of time shooting long exposures of these remains and also of the industrial remains on our shorelines that he discovers.

Duncan Arnold

Biography 

Hi, I'm Duncan, a part-time professional photographer with a day job as a cybersecurity specialist for local government.

Photography for me is my passion and escape from everyday life. My favourite genre without a doubt is Astro, for me, there is nothing better than being outdoors under the stars on a clear dark night. Living in Norfolk I'm fortunate to have low light pollution levels, miles of beautiful coastline, numerous windmills and windpumps and of course the Norfolk broads right on my doorstep. Astro might be my favourite genre, but the majority of my spare time is occupied either being outdoors photographing landscape and seascape for my own portfolio or teaching on one to one or group workshops.

Genre:

Astro, landscape & seascape.

Most used filter?

The 3 stop (0.9) Firecrest Ultra Soft Edge Grad is without doubt my most used filter, regardless of the time of day I almost always use this filter unless it is sunrise or sunset in which case I switch to the 3 stop (0.9) Firecrest Ultra Reverse Grad.

I also regularly use either the 10 stop (3.0) or 13 stop (3.9) stop Firecrest Ultra ND filters for long exposures to either smooth out water or create movement or interest in an otherwise flat sky.

Which filter do you want to use next ?

I have to say I'm looking forward to trying out the Onyx range for the 100mm system.

Favourite Photography Location?

Having lived in Norfolk all my life which is a relatively flat part of the UK, I love to escape to an environment that is really different. Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful parts of Norfolk, particularly along the coast and the Norfolk Broads, but I love to escape and explore areas with hills and mountains.

Tip for anyone getting into photography?

Book yourself onto a photography workshop where you can learn the core fundamentals of photography from an expert. You will be shown how to get the very best out of your camera by taking full control in manual mode, this is a great way to get you up and running quickly and will give you a strong foundation upon which to build.

Fronie Mihnea

Biography 

Hello, I am Fronie Mihnea and I live in Royan, France.

I am a professional landscape photographer and my main goal is to emphasize the beauty of this world through my own vision and style. I think a stunning photo starts with a strong connection between the photographer and nature, the sparking emotions will be later conveyed by the photo itself. I enjoy pushing boundaries when it comes to creative post-processing and taking risks in the field, in order to take the photo that I have in my mind. For me photography is a true passion and my existence revolves around it.

Genre:

 Landscape, Seascape, Astrophotography

 Most Used Filter?

My most used filter has to be the CPL. I shoot a lot of seascapes and waterfalls, so the CPL comes in handy.

 Which Filter Do You Want to Use Next?

I want to use the new Onyx series filters.

Favourite Photography Location

My favourite photography location must be Chamonix, I love mountains and the French Alps are unique, epic and present challenging conditions, this puts them on top of my list.

 Tip for anyone getting into Photography

My number one advice for someone getting into photography is to slow down. Take your time to analyse the light, the composition and make sure you get every photo you need. I'd rather come home with one stunning photograph than hundreds of mediocre ones. 

Helen Trust

Biography 

I am an award-winning amateur photographer based in Buckinghamshire with a huge passion for photography and travel. I started out in the mid 90’s with a faithful film camera and thrived on the excitement and anticipation of the images coming back from being processed and hiding out in the darkroom. I now shoot with a full frame SLR and love all genres of photography and enjoy the challenges of processing.

Exploring the great outdoors really helps me to unwind from day to day pressures and balance the mind. I often become overwhelmed by the scenes in front of me and struggle with appropriate composition but since falling in love with long exposure techniques I can slow things down and sometimes turn a mediocre shot into something special. Squares have become my best friend over the last few years, focusing on the smaller details, patterns, negative space, pastels and basic minimalism.

Genre:

Landscape, nature, architecture, long exposure, minimalism & black and white are my favourites but I will try and make a composition out of almost anything.

 Most Used Filter?

Firecrest 0.9 (3 Stop Grad) & Firecrest Ultra 0.9 Reverse Grad – Majority of the time I shoot at sunrise and sunset so these are my go-to filters to control the light in the foreground.

Firecrest Ultra 1.8 ND Firecrest 3.0 ND – Long exposures I just can’t get enough of them so these are my best friends and I never leave the house without them.

What filter do you want to use next?

I’ve just taken delivery of the new Firecrest Nightscape filter and I can’t wait to try it out, I live in a built-up area so city lights are a problem for quality night shooting, watch this space…

Favourite Photography Location

I love the Arctic and regularly visit Iceland and Norway but am equally at home in the big cities exploring the architecture of many US and European locations as well as my own home towns.

 Tip for anyone getting into Photography

Don’t panic if the light or location isn’t right there is always an image to be had, experiment with long exposure or creative in-camera techniques or just take your time to sit it out and wait for the light and opportunities to arise … And follow your own path.

James W. Fortune

Biography 

I first gained an interest in photography thanks to my first mobile phone that had a built- in camera. What started as something that was simply fun, quickly developed into a keen interest when my Grandfather gave me his old film camera. From then, I studied photography through college and university, completing my BA Hons in 2012. Photography has been a staple in my life for fifteen years at the time of writing this, and I have worked as a full-time photographer and occasional camera assistant in video shoots since 2017. When I am not working commercially, you will find me either by the sea or in the countryside shooting landscapes and seascapes, or working on my new digital-based photography magazine: 64 Magazine.

Genre:

Landscape, Commercial, P.R, Interiors, Architecture, Portrait

 Most Used Filter?

Firecrest Ultra 0.6 Soft Grad - I find the 0.6 incredibly useful in balancing out the exposure of the UK’s Sky, which I find is sometimes not bright enough to warrant a 0.9, although it can be used in many other useful ways too.

Firecrest Pro 0.9 ND - I’m finding that I am grabbing the 0.9 over my usual choice of 1.8 more and more these days, mainly as it allows for a more subtle time change in the photograph, which elongates the flow of water as opposed to turning it into a mist.

What filter do you want to use next?

0.9 Reverse Grad - I’m really looking forward to trying a 0.9 reverse grad. The effect is a little stronger than the 0.6 that I am used to and I think it will be useful in taming and balancing out those unwieldy sunsets.

Favourite Photography Location

The North East coastline - my local coastline constantly exceeds my expectations. It’s a ten-minute drive from my house and is varied enough to constantly keep me finding new things to photograph.

Tips for beginners:

Invest in yourself. Find a good tutor, somebody that understands your needs and that you can work well with and look to learn as much as you can with them. Make mistakes. Sometimes, mistakes can hurt, but they are ultimately the best learning experience you can have and you will learn more from a mistake than you ever will from success.

Don’t blow all of your money on kit straight away! It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole and buy everything you see, but it’s amazing what you can do with a basic camera and kit lens. Start with the basics first, then as your understanding of photography has grown and you know what you want to be shooting, then start investing.

Mark McNeill

Biography 

I am a self-taught photographer based in Lancashire. My passion for photography started well over 15 years ago. I am most happy under a night full of stars, or up to my waist in waves.

My image ‘Me Versus the Galaxy’ was featured in National Geographic Magazine and the Collins Astronomy Photography of the Year 2018.

I have had features in Sigma Lounge and Practical Photography Magazine.

I am a Royal Photographic Member and also a Nikon NPS Member

Genre:

 Astro photography, seascapes, landscapes, commercial and weddings.

 Most Used Filter?

 Weather and clouds permitting the Nightscape filter. Then it would be the 3 stop and 0.6 Firecrest ultra

What filter do you want to use next?

 The 24 stop filter to try capture some epic sunspots.

Favourite Photography Location

Sycamore Gap Northumberland, Glen Etive Scotland. Wastwater the Lake District, Penmon Point Wales

Tips for Anyone Getting Into Photography

 Be patient and just try to enjoy what you love doing. Take no notice of Facebook groups. Get wet and sit under the stars.

Quirky Story

After the Astro Photographer of the Year Awards in 2018, I tried to do a star trail over the Cutty Sark after a few bottles of fizz ... nailed it!

Matt Watkins

Biography 

My love in photography stems from when I was younger and used to act as an assistant to my father on his photoshoots. Back then we were using 35mm and medium format film cameras along with a homemade dark room at the top of our stairs to develop our photos. I still have one of my first cameras and have recently found myself going back to basics and shooting a roll of film.

Being born and raised in the heart of the South Wales valleys, I can regularly be found pacing the footpaths and hills of the nearby Brecon Beacons national park, which is where my passion for landscape photography first developed (excuse the pun!). Exploring and photographing natural landscapes that surrounds me is my way of relieving the day-to-day stress associated with the daily grind

Genre:

 Landscape, Seascape and Commercial

 Most Used Filter?

 Circular Polariser!

This filter should be in every landscape photographer’s arsenal. It’s a filter that is on the front of my lens 99% of the time because it produces an effect that cannot be replicated in image manipulation software

What filter do you want to use next?

Reverse Graduated Filter.

Photographing a sunrise or a sunset can produce some head scratching issues with balancing the exposure of a bright sky on the horizon. A reverse graduated filter overcomes this by placing the gradient in the middle of the filter leaving the lower and upper portions of the image evenly exposed

Favourite Photography Location

Snowdonia National Park.

There is something about the Snowdonia National Park that keeps drawing me to it time and time again. There is just so much to photograph including lakes, mountains and slate quarries.

Tip for anyone getting into photography/cinematography.

Join any one of the many online communities found on social media that is dedicated to photography. These communities feature images from photographers of all levels and are a place where you can ask questions, share your photographs and most importantly, get inspired.

Quirky Story

I was on a long weekend in Iceland a few years back and the trip had been planned so we would hit the ground running as soon as we arrived at Keflavik airport and had collected our hire car. But as is the way with the best-made plans, ours started to go awry before we’d even boarded our flight from London Heathrow. We just so happened to choose a weekend where the UK was experiencing a particularly heavy flurry of snow and everywhere was grinding to a halt as a result. So, our flight was nearly four hours late taking off.

As we arrived at Keflavik and made our way to the rental desk to pick up the Jeep 4x4 we could see the sun starting to make its way below the horizon. Resigned to the fact that any photography for that evening would be out, we decided to fight through rush hour traffic to our hotel. As we swung the Jeep into the hotel car park, I noticed that the sky was turning the most brilliant pinky purple colour. I grabbed my bag and tripod from the back seat and started to run down the road towards the seafront, not knowing how or what I could photography to capture those colours. As I approached the main road that runs along the waterside, I could see Solfar (Nordic ship sculpture) on the other side. I had four lanes of fast-flowing rush hour traffic to contend with to get anywhere near it. So, I foolishly sprinted across the road, much to the annoyance of drivers making their way home. I quickly set up my tripod, mounted my camera and turned it on, set my aperture, grabbed focus and took the shot. Between the time it took me to take the shot and check the back of the screen, the light had gone, and darkness quickly set in.

Nick Watson

Biography 

I’ve always had an interest in photography as far back as I can remember, but I didn’t take it seriously until 2012 when I bought my first DSLR. IT started as a hobby, but I quickly found a love for it and decided I wanted to pursue a career with my camera. I quit my job in a call centre in 2016 to concentrate on workshops and have been steadily building up my range of trips and tours ever since.

Genre:

 Landscape

 Most Used Filter?

 I’d say 0.6 Firecrest Ultra soft grad, most scenes can be controlled with this and if not, I have the flexibility of a stop either way with the 0.9 or 0.3 soft.

 6 Stop Firecrest ND, using a combination of this and a grad I can usually get the results and shutter speeds I want.

What filter do you want to use next?

 Firecrest Nightscape to combat light pollution when shooting night time scenes.

Favourite Photography Location

The Dolomites, I’ve been visiting and leading tours since 2017 and it blows my mind every time I go. The scenery is epic, the people are brilliant too.

Tip for anyone getting into photography?

Book a beginner workshop / tour / 121. You’ll gain so much from it and it’ll give you a great base to work from. Try not to get bogged down with gear complications, work with what you have and when you naturally progress, you’ll find your gear progresses with you.

Paul Millar

Biography 

Perhaps a twist of fate, and an accident that saw the end of my Scottish International sporting career, but a chance question from a friend asking what I used my camera for, would open a doorway that I would never be able to close and find me now chasing the light from the darkness, and fuelling my creative needs like those who can put paint to canvas and pencil to paper.

Genre:

Being on the Land, by the Sea and in the Urban City at night.

 Most Used Filter?

A question often asked and, if you had to choose what filter, easily answered. The Firecrest Ultra ND 0.9 (3stop) along with Firecrest Ultra 0.9 (3stop) Soft Grad. Even working individually these guys are my go-to filters for most of my work, they are by far, in my opinion, seasoned all-rounders that never let me down in all conditions.

What filter do you want to use next?

I would go back to a memory of being a teenager shopping with my Mother in Glasgow, amongst all those crowds. So, I would like to return to Argyle Street, with a Firecrest Ultra ND 6.0 (20 stop), and watch all those people disappear like a ghost in time.

Favourite Photography Location

If I had to pick one photography location to shoot forever, and to be my favourite, it would be June, 3.00 am, sunrise, Scotland, Outer Hebrides, Garry Beach, true beauty and isolation.

Tip for anyone getting into photography?

The kit you choose to use is less important than taking the time to breathe and have fun. Experience and magical shots will come in time, but one piece of kit for me has never changed, note pad and pen, write it down, everything that feels important on your photography journey.

Quirky Story

As an Old Highlander once said to me in Glencoe, never mind the forecast son the Glen has her own Eco System and will do as she may please, the moral, when in Scotland always have a hat.

Reuben Fields

Biography 

I bought my first camera in 2013 and I have been hooked ever since. I enjoy taking photos where I can and when I can. I love all forms of photography, but my passion is landscapes. Photography has led me to many different places but there is something special about my home. Ireland's diversity can be encapsulated in various elements of photography, dynamic light, distinct scenery and changing seasons. They all contribute to the attraction of Ireland, which in turn lead to countless opportunities in capturing its beauty.

Genre:

Landscape Photography

 Most Used Filter?

1.8 (6 Stop Circular ND) I find this is my go to filter for most shots I take to get a longer exposure because of its quick and easy use.

(Firecrest Circular Polariser) The one filter I wouldn’t want to leave home without. An essential part of my setup as I shoot a lot around water.

What filter do you want to use next?

1.2 (4 Stops Reverse Grad) I find shooting beaches at sunrise can present a challenge in terms of balancing the bright horizon with the rest of the scene. This filter looks like the perfect solution.

Favourite Photography Location

The Dolomites, I’ve been here twice and there is nothing like seeing the sun rising and setting over the beautiful mountains in this region.

Tip for anyone getting into photography?

 Do not be afraid to make mistakes. It’s what makes us all better in the long run, learning valuable lessons from our failures.

Quirky Story

I went to Iceland in March 2016 with my brother in law. One of the places we really wanted to see was a canyon called Fjaorargljufur. We left for this location with just enough time to get there before sunset. We were almost there and as we approached, there was a huge amount of snow on the road. I said we should pull the car in and walk the rest of the way. I got out of the car with all my gear as my brother in law parked up. I made my way to shoot the canyon. At this point after taking a few shots my brother in law was nowhere to be seen. As I made my way back, I could tell from a distance he decided to move the car and got stuck on the road that we shouldn’t have driven down. We ended up being rescued by a farmer after waiting in the car freezing for three hours in the dark, all for one shot.

Steven Owen

Biography 

Having graduated with a BA Hons. In film & video at Glamorgan University in 2012, I went on to spend 11 years in Cardiff gaining experience working within the camera department as an assistant across different genres including TV drama, feature films, commercials, corporate, music videos, sport and fashion.

Bringing my skills and passion from working in the industry since 2009, I went on to set up Cardinal Films in Cardiff in 2012 as part of the Wales Quality Awards, winning “Future Entrepreneur of the Year”.

Since then I have collaborated with industry individuals and clients within the UK as well as abroad to utilise my cinematography skills on a diverse range of projects including short films that have had international festival success.

Genre:

 TV drama, feature films, documentaries, commercials, corporate, music videos, sport and fashion.

 Most Used Filter?

Soft Silver 1/4th & 1/8th

With the quality of digital camera sensors getting better and better. Sometimes it’s a good idea to strip back the sharpness and create a more filmic look by using diffusion filters.

What filter do you want to use next?

ND Grad filters

When filming landscapes with particularly bright and bleached out skies but wanting to maintain the exposure of your subject. It’s useful to have some soft edge and hard edge ND Grads in the kit.

Tip for anyone getting into cinematography.

Learn the technicalities of basic photography, be adaptable, ask the right questions at the right time and get lots of experience on a vast range of projects.

Quirky Story

There’s plenty so no idea where to start but certainly better told over a pint

Tom Wood - North Wales

Biography 

Tom is a Landscape Photographer living in North Wales. He began studying photography at Newcastle College in 1996 working with 35mm film. This led to working for newspapers and magazines shooting a wide range of subjects.

During extensive travel to Australia, Europe, Canada and the USA Tom came to the realisation that his true love of photography lay in Landscape. In 2009 Tom moved Llandudno in North Wales on the doorstep of Snowdonia National Park where he has been able to develop his own style in Landscape, Seascape and Long Exposure photography alongside teaching workshops.

Daniel Costa

Biography 

Daniel Costa is a Portuguese landscape and seascape photographer from Sintra, a charming town located inside the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Early contact with the surrounding nature, full of magic and mystery, where land meets the sea and nature and man have combined in such perfect symbiosis, allowed him to develop a keen interest for nature and the beauty of our planet.

He completed his training as a programmer, devoting his career to Logistics and Order Management, but as a self-taught photographer, found in photography the way to merge and express his ruling passions: nature, photography and travel. Through the long exposure to photography, he shaped his work flagships:

  • Bring added value to photography as art.
  • Create fine art photos that reflect a sense of a perfect world.
  • Share the astounding beauty of a planet that bears within itself the mystery of human life

In addition, calling on our collective and individual responsibility of an important mission: to preserve and care for the only home we have. In the last few years, he has focused on constant innovation and learning in conjunction with his passion, commitment and dedication to this art which has inspired him to travel to 23 countries around the world. He is a Formatt-Hitech Brand Ambassador, has published two books and has focused his know-how on writing reviews, running workshops, developing photo tours and selling wall prints.

Genre:

Landscape, Seascape

 Most Used Filter?

0.9 (3 STOP) Firecrest ND Filter - For sure one of the most used filters, especially seascape photography shots. During the golden hour it gives a very particular control over the shutter speed and gets amazing water motion details.

1.8 (6 STOP) Firecrest ND Filter - Very useful for landscape and seascape photography shots. In cloudy skies, before and during the golden hour, it gives a great control over the shutter speed and allows me to get beautiful textures and motion in the sky and smooth water.

1.2 (4 STOP) Firecrest Pro ND Grad Filter - For sure one of the most used filters. Usually, I use it to balance the sky luminosity with the foreground, but also to get a better balance between sky shadows and highlights.

0.6 (2 STOP) Firecrest Ultra ND Reverse Grad Filter - In my personal opinion this is really useful for landscape and seascape photographers. I use this filter during sunrise and sunset, especially when the sun is peaking and the highest luminance is near the horizon line.

What filter do you want to use next?

I might say Onyx Filters, but I have already tested some of them and they were an amazing surprise. I would say the Firecrest Nightscape Filter even knowing that I just photograph stars during summer and not with such frequency. I'm convinced that it can be very useful to shoot urban landscapes at blue hour.

Favourite Photography Location:

For sure, Stokksnes in Iceland. A wide geographical area with millions of compositions and the most fascinating thing... here we can match impressive natural elements: mountains, sea, dunes, rocks, black sand, reflections and even the northern lights.

Tip for anyone getting into Photography/Cinematography.

It is a big question and I'll share my personal opinion on the basis of my journey:

  • I highly recommend a photography workshop to get some know-how and create your personal foundations.
  • Do what makes you happy and fulfilled and do it with patience, dedication and passion.
  • Participate in a photo tour because they are really useful for your growth. We are always learning and the opportunity to photograph daily, share know-how with other participants, to be advised by professionals and at the same time travel and have fun.

Quirky Story

I've many quirky stories behind each photo, but I'll mention one of the most recent and was published in the recent Seascape Kit Booklet. Some of the most wonderful rock formations in the world are threatened by the erosion caused by the rising sea level. On this occasion, I decided to photograph this well-known seascape during the sunset and an hour before the high tide, to emphasize the endless battle between land and sea. A really challenging and respectful situation that got me in a corner and forced me to climb rocks and cliffs to find the way out. On the other hand, it is rewarding to have a shot that transmits so many feelings and sensations.

Jay Legault

Biography 

Jay, a bold creative soul, was born in 1994 in St-Lazare, a small town outside of the Island of Montreal in Canada. He grew up filming short movies with his friends and would always come up with creative ideas or scenarios for movie scripts. As he grew older, he developed a passion for portrait photography, where all started to take form. He then went to college to pursue photography and cinema, where he was told his style wasn't a standard by teachers, failed some classes and then quit college. This crushed his hopes as a young man to live off his passion. One day he met a lovely girl named Isabella, they both grew together as creators, developing their own unique style and love simultaneously. Suddenly one day he decided to make the jump; He didn't look back. He was tired of 9-5 jobs that stopped him from chasing his dreams and to this day he's a growing full-time Cinematographer/Photographer.

His style is a bit different. He likes to think outside the box with tones that are much cooler with a hint of teal; the teal is a colour very important to him as it repels stress and anxiety, it is also a colour that recharges the spirit in times of mental stress. When one focuses on the colour teal you can feel instant calm and gentle invigoration, ready to face the world again.

Genre:

Mainly Cinematography, Portrait, Nature, Commercial

 Most Used Filter?

Firecrest Ultra ND 0.9 and 1.2 - is a go-to since I shoot in Slog3. Dynamic range for the win.

Soft Gold - this right here is the MVP for creative sessions. Even in portraits, I tend to use it for that extra glow.

What filter do you want to use next?

Vintage style filters 100%, I want to explore more of the vintage vibes. Also, if someone knows where to find a Soft Teal filter hit me up this would be incredible.

Favourite Photography Location:

 Adirondacks Mountains, New York. The closest spot that has the wildest landscapes and hikes only 3 hours away from Montreal.

Tip for anyone getting into Photography/Cinematography.

Get out, shoot and have fun. The more you do the better you'll get. Focus on your style and nothing else.

Quirky Story

It all started with the LEGO stop-animation camera kit at the age of 8, thanks to my mom.

Marcela Outside

Biography 

My name is Marcela González. I am a Mexican photographer, and blogger. If I'm not travelling, I'm living in Mexico or Germany. Inspired by humanity and our relationship with the planet, I’ve travelled around some of the world’s most remote places, from the highest mountains of the Andes and the Himalayas to the depths and underground caves of the ocean. I consider my travels not only as adventures in the physical world, but equally a journey through my inner self. Last year (2020) I launched my first photography coffee table book and my online landscape photography workshop.

Genre:

Landscape, Nature & Adventure Photography.

 Most Used Filter?

6 stops (1.8) Firecrest Solid 100x100 filter, either to smooth the currents of water or play with skies, foregrounds and clouds. This filter gives me the flexibility to play around and get that extra boost of creativity and a more artistic look to my photography.

What filter do you want to use next?

I would love to try the Firecrest Nightscape filter and the new ONYX filters as well.

Favourite Photography Location:

Not easy to tell, but being in high altitude mountains in cold weather gives me a sense of deep grounding and connection to the Earth, the Cordillera Blanca in Bolivia has been particularly one of my favourite mountain locations, but I truly also love jungles, forests and oceans. Anywhere in nature, I’m the happiest!

Tip for anyone getting into Photography/Cinematography.

I would totally recommend taking lessons and reading photography books. I think that would save you a lot of time and it’s one of the best ways to learn. Another thing that I consider very valuable is not being afraid to reach out to other photographers online and ask if you can get to know them, invite them for coffee or to go take photos somewhere, I can tell there is always something great coming out of new connections with other creatives.

Quirky Story

Last year, while scouting for one of the episodes of my landscape photography workshop on a beautiful lake location, I fell down into a swamp full of mud with my camera in hand and filters mounted! I thought the swamp was only a few cm. deep and that I could totally walk on it, but suddenly, I was all covered in mud all the way up to my waist! Fortunately, I was able to hold my camera high above me with my hands while I was slowly still sinking even more into the mud. Finally, after some minutes, I managed my way out without harming my photo gear.

Koushik Chatterjee

Biography 

I'm Koushik, India-based travel, wildlife and Landscape photographer.I lead regular photography workshops in India and photography holidays to destinations further afield including Madagascar, Costa Rica, Kenya and Tanzania.

 Why is photography important so much to me? Photography speaks. When I discovered and later understood photographic visual language, I saw that this language could inform, educate and move audiences worldwide without the need for a shared spoken language.

I believe it’s incredibly important for photographers to document everyday life and even sometimes the seemingly mundane, not just for a better understanding of our times, but for individuals in the future to be able to reflect on who they are and how they got there.

A photograph is particularly powerful because it is accessible to most of humanity. There is no language barrier in photography. I pick stories and pursue the projects I do with the goal of documenting not only important issues of our time but ones that will also be relevant or perhaps even more vital for our understanding of humanity in the future.

Genre:

Wildlife and Travel.

 Most Used Filter?

3 Stop (0.9) ND Soft Edge Grad

I purchased the filter to use while photographing sunrises and sunsets. They help even out the exposures by evening out the intensity of illumination between the bright areas of the scene and the shadowed areas.

What filter do you want to use next?

Formatt Hitech 100mm Nightscape Camera Filter – Perfect for Astro Shots

Favourite Photography Location:

Masai Mara - I am in love with the vast savannah & Mustang in Nepal, peace far from noisy cities.

Tip for anyone getting into Photography/Cinematography.

 A good photograph can come from serendipity, but it also very often comes from decisions made before the shoot, during the shoot, and after the shoot.

The difference between “making” an intentional photograph and “taking” a snapshot is the intention. Control all the variables as much as you can. You choose when to shoot in terms of what time of year, what time of day, what specific moment.

If you’re thinking about spending thousands on new cameras and lenses, think twice. People often end up disappointed that their shiny new toys aren’t producing that “wow” factor they were expecting. You can take stunning photos that you’ll be proud of, even with a modest digital camera fitted with its standard zoom lens. But you need to have a solid understanding of the basics. That’s why it is critical to master composition and light, before spending anything on new gear.