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.


Haslingden Halo

This large sculpture is one of four Panopticons structures we can find across East Lancashire. Its part of art project that create 21st century landmarks as symbols of the renaissance of the area. I can’t remember how I discovered this location but from first look I knew it was good spot to shoot. As a huge fan on sci-fi books and movies I wanted to make photo reflecting that vibe. Here are few of my favorite images.


Virtual Exhibition

I always dreamt that one day my photos will be shown at an exhibition for everyone to see. It didn’t happen yet. In last few months I spent significant amount of time learning everything about 360 photography and panorama stitching workflows. That experience made me create this Virtual Exhibition where you can view some of my favourite photos taken around Manchester.

I used Photoshop template and 3dvista software to create it.



Icy Scout Moor wind farm

I’ve been visiting this place many times recently however it never happened under such icy conditions. Scout Moor Wind Farm is second largest on shore green energy provider in England. Supplies electricity to 40 000 homes across Manchester. It’s perfect place to cycle on mountain bike or simply to walk around. I’ve been enjoying coming here as it is closest place to find some snow due to its high altitude.

As always I have few images to share.



City shrouded in fog

When I got up that morning and looked out the window, world looked just like another a boring Monday morning. I was wondering if it makes sense to carry camera? At the last moment, I took it from the shelf and put it in my bag. When I arrived in town I could not be happier for my decision. Everything was shrouded in a thick layer of fog! As a photographer, I love foggy scenery. This gives each street and alley a more mystical and eerie look. It’s also one of those weather phenomena that doesn’t happen very often so when it does it’s better to be ready!

Unfortunately as I was running out of time and having only 10% of the battery, I end up making only about 20 photos that I’m quite pleased with.
In post-production I didn’t have much work to do because everything looked fine in the camera and the only changes I made were a little bit of colour grading and some sharpening.


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 way to photograph in fog

Fog is what hooked me to photography. I remember vividly over two decades ago at my school trip we got struck with fog. Everyone thought it was bad thing to happen as it obstruct views we suppose to be having and made difficult for drivers. I was surprised of how much fear it had conjured upon our teachers who were afraid of pupils to get lost in it. However for me it felt good, having this feeling of mystery and awe.  I know it can be very dangerous to travel by car or bout in foggy day but each time I encounter those unique weather conditions I cannot stay home. I grab my camera and go out to shoot.

So what causes it? Fog is a visible aerosol consisting of tiny water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth’s surface. Fog can be considered a type of low-lying cloud, usually resembling stratus, and is heavily influenced by nearby bodies of water, topography, and wind conditions. In turn, fog has affected many human activities, such as shipping, travel, and warfare.

 

Fog acts like a giant diffuser spreading colors and often creating an eerie glow around bright light sources. Therefore some cameras might be having trouble to focus and manual mode can be good way to get sharp images.

Few tips I to photograph in fog:

  • Always shoot in RAW. It can be detrimental in post processing having possibility to adjust few settings like exposure or white balance
  • Use manual lens focusing. It can be very helpful in situations when camera struggles to do it automatically
  • Having tripod with you it’s always nice especially that fog often appears during the night
  • It’s good idea to increase exposure compensation +1 EV
  • Bringing speed light with radio triggers might be good idea however with color gels for extra creativity. I have not tried it yet myself but its definitely something I will do in future
  • Shoot at least 3 exposures (HDR) for extra options in post production.
  • Avoid polarizing filters. They don’t work well in fog
  • Bring fiber cloth to wipe condensation from your lens to avoid blurry images

 

Here are some of my favorite images taken during foggy days. Mostly Manchester.


Lightopia Manchester

When I found out about lantern festival happening in Manchester in my favourite Heaton Park I knew I want to be part of it. Those who follow my work are probably aware I really like night photography, combining artificial lights into natural especially during blue hour. Therefore I was very exited then Lighopia accepted me as their official photographer for their Manchester launch event.

Unfortunately due to timing I was unable to capture all these amazing lanterns during the dusk when light is most appealing for this type of photography however I’ll already arranged to come back and re-shoot some of installations whilst more convenient time of a day.

See below few of my favourite images from launch event but look out for another post with another set  from my second visit.

Big thanks to organisers:

Lightopia

Manchester City Council 

Transport for Greater Manchester 

Outreachcreative


Best of Manchester (update)

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