Merton Avenue Playing fields

I spend most of last year looking for perfect place to capture cityscape of Manchester. I have found few interesting locations what led me to to create my top 7 best hilltop spots described in my previous guide. At that time however I was not aware about one spot that instantly became one of my favourite. Merton avenue playing fields. Here are few photos captured from this amazing spot.


Time blending

I discovered this spot not too long ago and I imminently thought it would perfect to try time blending technique that I had so much fun using recently. It’s a special exposure blending technique, which is usually used to combine several photos of the same scene that have been taken over an extended period of time. Typical examples are the combination of a blue hour photo with a another taken at night – usually used by landscape photographer with the stars or the Milky Way in the frame. However I like to blend city lights instead to make unique looking, high quality image that I would not be afraid to print even at very large size.

 

I’m not going to explain step by step how I’ve done it as there is plenty of videos online explaining entire process. Just look up “time blending technique” and follow one of many available tutorials to create stunning images!


Top 7 Manchester skyline hilltop views

Short list of Manchester skyline view points from easily accessible nearby hilltops. By creating this little guide I hope to bring some help for those who want to start in cityscape photography but don’t know where to go. You don’t need to be a pilot of a drone to create amazing images!

All seven spots are not just great cityscape photography locations – they offer so much more than that! From woodland areas with hidden waterfalls or bare hilltops spiked with wind turbines. These are beautiful natural landmarks reach of history and to easy access. This make them perfect to enjoy walk in nature with family or friends. On technical side; you don’t need expensive camera or super long zoom lens to create stunning images. Most of photos you going to see are taken at fairly small focal length ~80-100mm on full frame body.

Without further ado here is my top 7 Manchester hilltop views:

1.Werneth Low -Hyde – Don’t be mistaken by the name of this place. Word “low” does not refer to any lack of altitude (279 meters above the sea) but rather from northern English word “hill”. This location offers panoramic views of Manchester and it’s great at sunsets. Best time to visit it’s probably September or April as sun set directly behind city center. It’s easy to park near visitors center than climb for 10 min at steady pace.

2. Peel Tower – Bury – Name of the place come from monument build 1852 from hillside stones. Composition offers quite a bit of foreground interest especially at the dusk where you can capture car trails creating leading lines into the city. Be aware that google maps will lead you thorough narrow private roads therefore I’d recommend leaving your car at the bottom on the hill than climbing for 15 min to reach the hilltop.

3.Hartshead Pike – Ashton-under-Lyne – This hill over-viewing Ashton-under-Lyne and it can offer nice view on Manchester skyline. On very clear day you can see all the way to Liverpool. Google maps will lead you rightly to spot where you can park your car.

4. White Nancy – Bollington – It’s farthest south location I had found so far and it’s also hardest to shoot because of longest distance to the city. You going to need clear day to capture Manchester from this angle. In terms of foreground there is plenty of interest with Bollington village natural shape creating leading lines, drawing eye into the city.

5. Crompton Moor – Oldham – This location over-view city of Oldham with good foreground interest. It’s worth to visit waterfall hidden close to the carpark to the left. It also worth to remember they close entry to area at the dusk so make sure you leave before that.

6. Clarks Hill – Whitefield. As we were all grounded in our localities and could not travel during lockdown days I’ve discovered this area in one of my daily runs. There is not much to think about composition as there is only one place along the road where you can stand without trespassing onto private lands.

7.Philips Park – Prestwich – Probably the weakest location among all since there are power lines obstructing the view quite a bit. I recomend removing it in post production which is quite easy to do even with the basic software.

I highly recommend researching each of these locations before visiting. They offer much more than just pretty picture of our city.

If you want to folow my work you can always find me at instagram.


Best of Manchester (update)

Hello,  Just a quick update with recently captured photos of ever growing city landscapes.




Media City UK last minute trip

It was very spontaneous last minute trip. Unfortunately weather turn out to be quite disappointing since I was counting on more colour on the sky. However I manage to get 1 main image + 2 extra along the way.


Corporation street Victoria view

This week I had visit another great location in Manchester city center for night and long exposure photography. This time was M.A.N arena car park what offers nice view on Victoria station and corporation street. Idea was to capture light streaks from ring road along with trains coming in and out from the station. I’ve show up early blue hour to get my base image keeping camera on tripod and shooting all the way until late blue hour to get rest of components.

Area on left side of the frame is currently under heavy development with several buildings been added to ever growing Manchester skyline. Once work is complete spot will offer excellent composition with all new N.O.M.A scrapers and bridge in the foreground.

This time I also brought second camera that I placed on other side to capture north bound of the station. It’s not a great image but I decide to share it anyway.

Also before and after of main photo can be seen below:


First street view

Most of 2018 I’ve been photographically inactivity. One of my new years resolutions however was to get back to it so I took a challenge: one, good picture a week. This weekend I decide to revisit one of my favourite location…

Car park on First street in Manchester have a great view on Deansgate train station so the idea was to capture city lights at dusk with light streaks from passing trains. This time I used technique called time blending. I’ve watched few tutorials from one of my favourite photographer, Elia Locardi who teamed up with crew from Fstoppers to create great series called “Photographing the World”.

Idea is to blend multiple images taken within few hours of shooting into one seamless picture by choosing most interesting parts of each and blending it in photoshop. I didn’t get weather conditions I really want as I was hoping for some dramatic clouds but instead sky went absolutely clear.

Some may call it cheating reality but I feel it’s a creative choice since I’m not adding any pixels that aren’t already there.  This way I’m be able get best dynamic range possible.

Here is before and after. I used base image taken at early blue hour and added lights using “lighten blending mode” in photoshop.


Searching for vistas

I started new challenge for 2019; take as best as possible photo at least once per week. I realize it’s already 3rd week of January as I’m sharing this very first post but because of some unforeseen circumstances and horrible weather I was unable to succeed in capturing anything worth sharing in first 2 weeks. This year so far turns out to be quite unlucky as during this trip I drop my 70-200mm f4 lens breaking focus ring 🙁

I went to Philips park witch is comfortably located in the area I live in to capture Manchester and Salford skyline. Result can be seen below.