Magic hour in Cheshire

At the beginning of the summer I was given an assignment from prominate estate agent to create blue hour, long exposure style images of some most popular villages in Cheshire. Idea was to look for a perfect moments during twilight hour and capture still present natural light and combine it with artificial lights of streets along with passing traffic. This project gave me a great opportunity to explore Cheshire a little bit more and I had a lot of fun doing so.

Alderley Edge – This village is located at the base of sandstone escarpment that separates two relatively level areas with different elevation. It’s also where you can snapp one of the best skyline photos of Manchester or simply come to watch a spectacular sunsets. This village is also part of Cheshire’s “golden triangle” where most expensive houses and designer shops are located. Unfortunately I spent the least amount of time capturing Alderley Edge but despite the project is now complete I’m planning to return on my own volition to get a few more pictures of this village.

Prestbury – Most of the buildings in the center of the village are painted white therefore it contrasted very well with the blue color of the twilight sky. I was also very lucky in terms of the weather. Very little cloud cover enabled me to shoot for much longer and gave me plenty of time to carefully choose my compositions.

Bramhall – Next on the list was Bramhall. Upon visiting this location a had a chance to check out famous timber-framed, 14th century Town Hall building located in parkland area with lakes, woodland and gardens. It mostly serves as a museum these days. Hopefully I’ll be able to explore it from inside once renovation work is complete. After that I head off to the center of the village to capture a few long exposure shots during the dusk.

Wilmslow -Part of previously mentioned “golden triangle” and probably biggest of all visited places during this project. However the town was quite empty perhaps due to ongoing school holidays. I had to wait quite a bit for cars to pass by in order to capture the light trail images I came here to do.

Nantwich – Last place I visited was this lovely village located furthest south of them all. This time I arrived during golden hour and the weather once again didn’t disappoint and treated me to a stunning sunset. I met many friendly people who stopped by my tripod and asked me questions about what I was doing and seemed genuinely interested when I explained what the assignment was about.

For the first time in my life I gotta do what I truly love. Photography and travel is a dream that hopefully will come true one day.

Top 10 locations in Manchester for long exposure photography

So why go outside and get battered by rain or freeze your limbs by horrible wind? To do all this in for few long exposure photos? Process is simple; I show up at previously scouted location, setup my tripod and wait for perfect moment at the only time in a day where artificial light balance perfectly with still present in the sky natural light. That moment in time feels special and it allows me to capture unique images. I’m not here to teach you about technicality of entire process making twilight photos, there are plenty amazing guides already out there. All I want is to show some of my favorite locations perfect for this type of photography. Hopefully this will encourage you to go out and explore our wonderful city or try presented light painting technique to learn something new.

  1. Media city Uk – Salford – This area offers multiple compositions from various angles. Newly build Metrolink line to Trafford Centre provides excellent opportunity to capture lights of passing trams along Trafford Wharf road where Imperial War Museum is located. With its impressive architecture this structure give us perfect subject to photograph from both sides of the road. Another attractive spots is one at Trafford bridge from where you have great view on Salford Quays and Media city with train tracks on the left side. It gives us another chance to capture light from passing trams with Salford’s most famous area in the background.

2. Victoria station – Shooting there might be at bit challenging sometimes as at few occasions I was told I could not use tripod inside station therefore bringing Gorillapod it’s always good idea. You can also get good images outside of the station with lights from Metrolink trams on both sides and station as the background.

3. M60 – There many locations along ring road to choose from but I’m going to show you two spots located near Whitefield. First two photos are taken from pedestrian bridge at Bury new road whilst third is taken from bridge to lesser known entry to Philips park.

4. Piccadilly station – There are few compositions to be captured around Piccadilly station and my favorite is taken from bridge just outside the station. Watch out for camera shake as you shoot at this bridge because it can be very wobbly when people passing by.

5. Castlefiled – This is one of most photogenic locations in entire Manchester. It’s industrial feel with many old bridges and constantly passing trams offers some of the best compositions you can get.

6. Scamendon Bridge – Human eye is drawn into curves and S shapes therefore this spot is working so well with this type of photography. Lights left by passing cars are creating atmospheric image very enjoyable to look at. There is also very enjoyable walk in the area where you can find different composition to shoot.

7. Stockpot Viaduct – Even though I only have one picture to show today from that spot I decided to include into my list anyway. I encourage anyone to explore this location more than I did so far since there are multiple compositions to be discovered out there. I took this photo from bridge at Wellington road.

8. Charles Street car park – Although you can only find one or maybe two compositions at this place it’s still worth visiting as it offers very unique look at the town.

9. Albert Square – Once again Metrolink trams will be leaving plenty of light for you to capture at this location. You can combine these lights with unique architecture of Central Library to create memorable photographs.

10. Green Gate Square – This area is under constant development in recent years and it’s becoming one of my favorite places to go at night. This time you’ll be waiting for buses to give to long exposure effect in combination with beautify lighted fountain located at the square.

I hope my short list will encourage you to try light painting techniques in your photography whether you do it with digital camera or your phone (with manual exposure) I leave that to you. Remember all you need is a bit o patience and a tripod.

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Have a great light!

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.

Best of Manchester Vol3

Simple post update with my recent works focused around Manchester. You can find all those images as usual on my Instagram. However I would want to post them one by one on this blog therefore I decided to make periodic updates containing batch, share worthy images gathered throughout recent trips and assignments.

Best photos of London

Few of my best photos from my two night trip to London. I focused mainly on night images as in my opinion this city look best. It was just kinda painful to carry heavy tripod all day long just to be able to take few photos during sunset and the blue hour.

Top 7 Manchester view points

In this post I will list my favorite locations for creating Manchester cityscapes and night photographs. You can click at each location to see it on google maps.

  1. First street car park. It offers one of the best view points of the city from each side. I recommend coming here with own vehicle since you can only enter this car park by having a ticket.

2. MEN arena car park. Located near Victoria station. Very easy access. No one ever asked me to leave while I was shooting even though I’m usually setting tripod up. If you are into long exposure photography this location is quite nice as you can capture light from passing trains and car trails from Cheetham Hill road. I recommend bringing wide lens such as 18mm. However there are some compositions with telephoto lenses too.

3. Salford quays exchange car park. Recently discovered location perfect for capturing Manchester skyline. Works really well after sunset as you will be able to get some nice long exposure shots capturing light streaks from passing trams in and out of the city. There is only one composition that worked for me at around 50mm however you can always zoom in more for more compressed shot.

4. River Irwell reflections. Perfect place for a walk or cycle from city center to Salford Quays area and Media City. You can capture some amazing reflections of Manchester along the river.

5. New Bailey car park. This location will be very appealing to the eye once road works are done and construction sides are completed. It is very messy around there at the moment. What I like about this spot is curvy road ahead that creates nice composition especially if you are into long exposure photography as much as I am.

6. Shudehill car park. Maybe not the best views but I decide to include into my list anyway. Just across, there is another spot with few interesting photo opportunities displayed as example on second image.

7. Green Quarter top floor apartment building. Photos are taken through the glass window of 15th floor staircase. Good advise when it comes to taking photos through the glass is to cover camera with cloth in order to remove potential reflections caused by light from corridors. Especially when photographing after or during sunset.

Bonus location – Acort Court. This one offers best Manchester skyline I manage to find. Unfortunately it’s not possible to get there as building is well protected. I had privilege to take those photos from balcony of my friend apartment.

If anyone know some good locations around Manchester don’t hesitate to leave comment below or contact me through contact form on the website. I’m always eager for cooperations.

Also most recent photo updates as always you can find on Instagram.

Light Streaks

I've been wondering around city centre of Manchester snapping some long exposure photos with focus on light streaks. It's time to share few of my favorite... First two images were quite risky to make since I had leave camera in between passing trams and shutter release using my phone. Fortunately nothing bad happened to my gear and I end up with satisfying images.