Anna Photography: Blog en-us (C) Anna Photography (Anna Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:53:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:53:00 GMT Anna Photography: Blog 120 120 Snowdrop the Sighthound at Sunrise A while ago I was commissioned to photograph Snowdrop, a lurcher who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I hope you can see from this selection of photographs from the shoot her gentle and playful nature, enjoyment in life and the great oudoors, and relaxation with me.

Now that she has passed away, I am sure these photographs are a great and lasting tribute to her and her memory.

I am very grateful to her owner, Sarah Hayward, for the following testimonial.

"I was very impressed with Anna’s patience and professionalism to obtain the most beautiful set of photographs of our gorgeous lurcher Snowdrop. Nothing was too much trouble and she even managed a very tight deadline to get them back in time for a surprise present. They are a wonderful keepsake and memory of Snowdrop."

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]]> (Anna Photography) canine commission dog lurcher photography shrewsbury white Sat, 22 Aug 2015 11:45:05 GMT
Video showing how I use lightroom to edit a dog portrait Editing in lightroomVideo giving an example of how I use lightroom to edit a back lit photograph of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. ]]> (Anna Photography) back cavalier king charles spaniel dog golden hour lightroom lit photo editing photography portrait sunset video Thu, 21 May 2015 13:05:17 GMT Wonderful Horsemanship

I am honoured to introduce Caroline, and her wonderful homebred 7 year old Appaloosa Indie. Caroline has had a long standing interest in Natural Horsemanship, and I hope that her deep passion for this, her horses, their psychology and their behavior, is reflected in my collection of photographs of the two of them. After the photo-shoot, I rode Indie myself; the experience was exceptionally memorable and unique. I felt like Indie was watching me like a hawk, and responded to my every movement with the reflexes and sensitivity of a small fish on a coral reef. For the duration of the ride, Indie had me in her presence. We progressed through start, stop, walk, trot, shoulder-in, and hindquarter-in. If I asked her correctly, she performed the movement I asked for. If my communication was not presently clearly, the movement was not delivered. Indie was understandably unforgiving of my less than polished riding skills, but I loved every minute and I think she appreciated Caroline all the more afterwards.

Ground Skills



All the photos were taken in Manual Mode using my Nikon d300s and Nikon VR 70-200mm lens. The 35mm equivalent focal length is 50% higher than those stated, due to the sensor of the d300s having a crop factor of 1.5.

]]> (Anna Photography) Sat, 24 May 2014 13:24:54 GMT
World Pilot Gig Championships 2014 Wow, what an event. This blog is going to talk about the preparation involved, the technicalities of equipment and camera settings (for all other photography enthusiasts out there!), post production work flows, and continuing development (all ideas welcome!).


1.  Calling on a lot of people for a lot of favours. My housemates for looking after my cat, Marie for looking after my dog, Lisbet and Ray for having me to stay in their home on the Isles of Scilly, Billy, Tom and Paul from St Mary’s for putting me in contact with Mike and Lou who were kind enough to have me on their RIB, Paul from the Meridian for giving me a great view up top, friends on the mainland for putting me up in their houses and for using their broadband, Alice for her Twitter support, Alex for all his IT support, Tobi for his photo-journalism advice, Toby from Gig Rower and Rick from WPGC for their support.

2.  Thinking about what sort of pictures I wanted. As a rower, what pictures would I like to buy from the event?

  • Portraits of rowers in action, which captured the exertion and emotion involved in gig racing.
  • Entire crew/boat- taken from the stern and from the side.
  • Location shots i.e. boats “in-situ”.
  • St Agnes start line spectacle (I’m still working on making a St Agnes start line panoramic!)
  • After party and Gig Club Community shots, out in the open and in the pubs. Photos which show just how much fun Gig Rowing is!

Camera equipment

Having the necessary kit. As much as I love my Nikon d300s and Nikon F4 24-120mm VR (Vibration Reduction) lens, I knew that they weren’t going to get me all of the really high quality photographs that I aspire to capture. I have recently upgraded to a Nikon d610 and purchased a Nikon F2.8 70-200mm VR lens.

The following section explains some of the reasons why.

Firstly, some background knowledge about the 3 settings which alter the exposure of a photograph; ISO (sensor sensitivity to light), aperture (the size of the hole/pupil, through which light passes), and shutter speed (the period of time that the shutter is open, during which time the image is produced). Get the combination of all 3 balanced, and you have a well-exposed photograph. How you choose to balance them depends on what you would like your image to look like. Would you like a small part of the image, or the entire image, to be in focus? i.e. would you like a low or high depth of field respectively? Would you like moving subjects sharp, or would you like there to be movement blur (1/600sec vs 1/40sec shutter speed)?

The very low F/aperture number (2.8) of the lens means that the aperture, or camera pupil, can be set larger. This has three main potential benefits.

1. More light can be let in, and hence a lower ISO can be used, increasing the quality of the photo, and reducing the noise. Noise is usually undesirable, because it gives images a grainy appearance.

2. Fast shutter speeds can be used, because more light can reach the sensor.

3. Depth of field (the amount of the photograph in focus) is reduced (generally great for portraits, when you want the surroundings blurred out to make the definition of the subject stand out).

The larger, higher quality sensor in the d610 results in less noise at higher ISO settings (d610 ISO range is 100-3200).  This is great when not much light can reach the sensor, or because you’re needing to use fast shutter speeds or smaller (higher F number) apertures, which is the case in low light conditions, fast moving subjects, or when smaller apertures are required to give a bigger depth of field respectively.

The aperture on this lens doesn’t change when you zoom in/out, which is essential for when I shoot moving subjects (animals and people) in Manual mode (which is most of the time).

The large zoom range speaks for itself.

I have loved my HOYA circular polarising filter for years. The “polarised sunglasses effect” (increased colour vibrancy, reduced reflections, haze, and glare) is one of the few things you cannot accurately replicate using photo processing software. The only down sides are that it slightly reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor, and you constantly have to twist it when shooting in different directions.

More megapixels (24 vs 12) mean that my photos can produce excellent quality prints when enlarged.

Camera Settings

         When shooting from a boat, the first thing I needed to know was how fast a shutter speed did I require, so that I wasn’t getting movement blur? I found that having a shutter speed of at least 1/640 sec (slower if zoomed out, faster if zoomed in) meant that most shots were sharp. I was pretty happy to go higher than this a lot of the time to err on the side of caution (you never quite know when that wave is going to hit!), which was possible because for most of the weekend it was sunny and so the ISO didn’t need to be excessively high to compensate. Equally, I could have a slower shutter when in calm seas and on a stationary boat.

         I usually shoot in Manual Mode, which is how the Veterans races were taken, but controlling aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all at the same time, while bouncing around on a RIB with constantly changing opportunities and compositions, and trying to avoid getting spray on the lens, is not easy. Consequently, often more time is required altering the exposure of the shots afterwards, when taking compositions that change a lot. I found this impractical considering the volume of photographs required for an event like this. For example, when photographing in manual mode, while the settings may be great when zoomed in on (a back lit) rower, as soon as you change the composition, zoom out, and incorporate more background, the image becomes horribly over-exposed.

Instead, I took the decision to take shots on the water in “Aperture Priority Mode” (i.e. I decide the ISO and aperture, and the camera works out the shutter speed), which I found more practical, and allowed me more time to think about composition etc. It is crucial to get the aperture setting correct, if you care about how much of the image is/isn’t in focus.

This piece of paper was to be found in my pocket for most of the weekend.

The first column, with 24mm, 70mm, and 200mm underlined in red relates to the zoom position, and written below them the distance I am from the subject/ point of focus. The second column tells me the “dimensional field of view” (the distance that the horizontal frame length is at the subject point) Eg If I’m 50m away and am fully zoomed in (200mm), the width of my photograph at the point of my subject is 9m (just under a boat length), and if I’m fully zoomed out (70mm) then the width of my subject is 25m. It also tells me that I need to be 10m away to get 1m (roughly one rower) framed alone from the side.


The third column tells me about depth of field. I.e. How much of my picture will be in focus. This information was gathered using the SetMyCamera phone app. For example, when I’m at 200mm zoom, F2.8, and my point of focus is 10m away, only 0.4m (40cm) around this point is in focus. To be specific, my focal range is 9.7m to 10.2m away from the camera (there is always slightly more in focus in front, rather than behind, focal points). I knew F2.8 would suit individual rower portraits, side profiles of boats at a distance, and shots of individuals in a crowd, and would be great because I could have the ISO lower. Below are 3 examples of when I chose to have a small depth of field, and hence used a large aperture (small F number).

Isolating Coxswain from a Crowd: 200mm, F3.2, ISO 640, Shutter Speed 1/3200

Men’s Falmouth A over the finish line: 200mm, F2.8, ISO 500, Shutter Speed 1/3200

Gentlemen from Appledore: 200mm, F2.8, ISO 1250, Shutter Speed 1/800

However, when requiring 200mm zoom, F2.8 would be no good to get an entire crew in focus when taking the picture from the stern (depth of field from Cox to bow rower would be approximately 7m). For example, being 30m away from the boat, at 200mm zoom, the image would be nicely composed with a dimensional field of view of 7.7m (ie the distance from one edge of the boat to the end of the oars) but at F2.8 my depth of field would only be 3.8m.  I would need to reduce the size of my aperture to F 5.6 (depth of field 7.7m) or greater to get the entire crew in focus. However, F2.8 has 4 times the ability to gather light, compared to F5.6. I would therefore need to increase my ISO by 4 times (eg 200 to 800), in circumstances when reducing the shutter speed to compensate isn’t an option (i.e. with a moving boat etc!). Sometimes I allowed myself time to change the ISO, so that I could have it low if possible, other times I left it high, even when taking pictures suited to F2.8, (and allowed the camera to alter the shutterspeed to compensate) because there often wasn’t the time available to change it.

Stern Shot: 140mm, ISO| 800, F7.1, Shutter Speed 1/640

If the subject was 10m away, and I was therefore zoomed out at 70mm, I could have stuck to F2.8 and got a depth of field of 10m (rather than 40cm).

Another example would be an image where I would like the boat and background in focus (like many of my finish line shots taken from the Meridian, with Rat Island in the background). For these shots I would need to increase my aperture, and my ISO, when zoomed in.

Both VILT, and the Garrison, are in Focus. 105mm, ISO 1000, F5.6, Shutter Speed 1/800. When the point of focus is 66m away or more at these settings, the depth of field becomes infinity.

The photos taken at night were done so in Manual Mode. Shutter speed 1/60, ISO 3200, and generally F4 or F5 (using my wider angle 24-120mm lens).

24mm, 1/60sec, F5, ISO 3200. With a focal point 3 metres away at these setting, my depth of field is 12m. 4m away and it’s infinity.

Focal points: I found that pre focusing, and pressing the shutter shortly after, at the right part of the stroke, worked best. To pre-empt whether or not the distance from me to the subject was going to change during this time was important.

Post production Workflow

a basic, not conclusive, overview!

  1. Import photos from the memory card into Aperture (Mac RAW file processor)
  2. Back-up onto external hard drive.
  3. Delete photos from memory card.
  4. Go through all photos and colour label the photos to keep
  5. Apply filter, so only labelled photos are shown
  6. Bulk edit, by applying alterations that are applicable to many photos. Eg noise reduction, fine-tuning the white balance, edge sharpen.
  7. Assess the histogram, and alter the exposure of individual photos accordingly, if necessary.
  8. Darken highlights and lighten shadows, if necessary.
  9. Use the “Curves” tool to further enhance each colour curve.
  10. Crop, only if I think completely necessary.
  11. Straighten the horizon.
  12. Add keywords to each photo/sets of photo. Eg Boat/club name.
  13. Upload!


Deleting photos which aren’t colour labelled. Over the weekend I reckon I uploaded 250MB of files, which is 50% of my Hard Drive memory.

Repeat back-up so hard drive space is cleared.

Continuing development

Despite my best efforts to prepare for the event, with hindsight there are some things that I would choose to do differently. As I explained earlier, some photos are taken with quite high ISO numbers, which isn’t a huge problem on my camera, but something that I think I would make more effort to avoid in the future. I also think there is room for improvement when fine-tuning my setting selection, and adjusting the camera settings on my new camera more quickly. Practice makes perfect!

During the event I would choose to spend less time processing the photos, and more time out and about soaking up the atmosphere in and around the beach. I would also make sleep more of a priority. I don’t recommend getting no more than 4 hours sleep a night for a week! Realistically speaking, I think my time would be better spent selecting a few photos for people to view during the event, and awaiting processing and uploading the remainder, after the event when I had more time and faster internet.


]]> (Anna Photography) Wed, 14 May 2014 13:21:08 GMT
Saturday Gig Races Awesome day on the water today, thank you rowers for providing SUCH a spectacle for us spectators! Amazing views, sunshine, great company, a good windproof, my camera, polarisingn filter, what more could I have wanted?! Well, perhaps a bit more time to sleep but that’s another story!

For the St Agnes I went out on the Meridian, massive thanks to Paul for giving me an excellent view up top. I’ve taken a few shots on the start line in the hope of making a panoramic… watch this space! In the afternoon I was back out on Mike and Lou’s RIB (huge thank you to them too!), sooooo much fun! Here are a selection of the photos, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few days to see them all, there just aren’t enough hours in the day at the moment!

To see all the photos from the Friday night Veterans Races please visit the Events Tab, where you can fiind them all uploaded.

Good luck to all rowers in Rounds 3 and the Finals today!


]]> (Anna Photography) Sun, 04 May 2014 00:20:18 GMT
IOS is home for the week! I arrived on St Mary’s yesterday, and as usual I am staying with Lisbet and Ray Jackman. Camera kit checked, and more computer maintenance and preparation done, off Lisbet and I went on the bikes to check and feed her beautiful horses, Minky (16yrs old) and Mo (31 yrs old)! The evening sun was kind, as were their natures. I couldn’t resist a quick photo shoot, which has doubled up nicely as a MASSIVE thank you for their amazing hospitality! Prints from One Vision Imaging on the way!



And of course I couldn’t leave out Buzz….. happy 20th Birthday!

]]> (Anna Photography) Thu, 01 May 2014 04:23:14 GMT
Preparation for Scilly

Over the last few weeks I have had a very long, and ever growing, “to do list”. As they say, and with a bit of luck, “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”. In 5 days time the adrenaline will be pumping, the coxwain’s shouting, the swell pumping, and the oars roaring. The 25th World Pilot Gig Championships will commence! I’m very excited to be going in the capacity of “Official Photographer” rather than rower this year. Photos of the racing will be available to view and purchase on my website. Fellow Gig Rowers please click here for more information. In the meantime, good luck training!

]]> (Anna Photography) Sun, 27 Apr 2014 09:59:23 GMT
Horses being horses

This morning I set the alarm for 5.00am…. and I hope you agree that it was worth it! My first job of the day was to photograph two horses, Indie and Monty, out in their paddock grazing. What better way to try out my new lens (Nikon 70-200 VR AF-S F2.8) than in the “golden hour” before sunrise.

I first met Indie (the very spotty one) as a foal 7 years ago. The other horse, Monty, is her full brother and 2 years her junior. Wow, where did that time go, where did all the spots appear from, and how did she become so grown up?!

I wanted to capture photographs which reflected their incredibly gentle nature, relaxed demeanor, and feeling of companionship with me and each other. It felt a privilege to be there, even when getting the distinct feeling that the morning frost had found a hole in my waterproof trousers. Happy Easter!

]]> (Anna Photography) spring sunshine Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:34:08 GMT
Happy, healthy, cows

I love cows. This week they have been turned out to eat lots of lovely fresh spring grass and I have had a lovely time photographing them in the morning sunshine. It was easy to find a clean bit of frosted grass to lie on, and from there I waited quietly and snapped away, until the curiosity of the cows got the better of them and they came over and I was able to get the shots I was after! Please click through the gallery below to see more moos!

]]> (Anna Photography) cow farm spring sunshine Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:01:52 GMT