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Craig Mccormick
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I rarely, if ever, shoot landscape images in portrait mode. There are a number of reasons why, that I won't go into, but the Fairy Glen Gorge in North Wales is the exception to the rule.

When I eventually found this spot it became very apparent that shooting in the landscape orientation wasn't going to be easy. I do want to go back sometime and experiment and find a "landscape" image.

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I've known about and regularly seen this building for a quite a few years. When driving by it it's kind of hard to miss. Looking like a giant upside down pyramid that has been painted red in the middle of an open space isn't what I'd call subtle. China doesn't really do subtle.

I mention how long I've known about it only because it surprises me how long it took for me to actually go and see it in the flesh instead of through a car window on an overpass. It turns out this building is really quite big. So big in fact that it was a little hard to fit in the camera frame but I managed it, just.

If you ever find yourself wanting to shoot this interesting looking building make sure you go in the afternoon (3:30 / 4pm-ish) and the grounds around the building get quiet and empty which give you the opportunity to shoot it with the sun setting behind it. That's if the weather gods feel generous, but this is China so I wouldn't count on that…

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Lupu bridge is something I'm quite familiar with. I cross it every time I go to the airport and over the years I've seen the surrounding area of the bridge change dramatically several times over.

Currently it's going through a bit of a renaissance (if you could call it that…) since going through a lull period after the World Expo in 2010 where the whole area became semi-abandoned after the Expo. It was sad to see such a huge plot of land being wasted and literally rotting away.

Thankfully it's now a thriving "place-to-be" and I managed to capture not just a good sunset behind the bridge, but also the lights on the bridge too! Which wasn't without its difficulties…

Watch the vlog for this image to find out what I mean by that ;)

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This water breaker is at the end of the promenade of Colwyn Bay in North Wales and was one of the few that was easily accessible as there were stairs from the promenade walkway area straight down to this bit.

The rocks started to get super slippery the closer I got to the water line thanks to all the seaweed and algae. I was having to chase the tide as it was going out which meant moving forward every 15 minutes or so.

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This location was a funny one. First time I went there the tide was out and, I'll be frank, it looked hideous. China’s waters are filled with garbage and this river gets a huge amount of boat traffic so the pollution is mind blowing.

So after doing some research I found a website that would tell me the exact time the water would rise on a specific date. Gotta love how easy it is to predict tidal movements!

I came back here a couple months later after my first attempt, threw on my Lee Big Stopper and got to work.

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There was a period in time when I consciously made an effort to not shoot those stereotypical Shanghai shots. Something about them screamed easy to me and I wanted to do something different.

But recently I started to accept the idea that these stereotypical shots might be popular because they are, wait for it… cool looking images? Who'd have guessed!

So yeah, I'm going to make an effort to stop being so hipster about what I shot and try to throw my own twist on the more popular tourist shots around Shanghai.

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Previously I've posted a photograph of the Bow Fiddle Rock in it's harsh & craggy surroundings. But the main draw for myself and my buddy Andy to visit was to shoot the rock itself, and boy is it a big sucker!

Located in Portknockie, Scotland the Bow Fiddle Rock is nearly 50 feet tall. It's hard to visualise in your head what a 50 foot tall rock would look like, but if I had to use a word to describe it it'd be "mahoosive".

It can actually be a bit of a challenge to get a good angle of the rock as it's actually quite far out to sea. You can get closer by climbing onto the surrounding rocks during low tide like we did but be careful! Once the tide starts to come in it comes in quick and strong. Rocks we had stood on before disappeared under water in less than 15 minutes, so get your shot and get out!

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The Fairy Glen in Rosemarkie, Scotland is a photographer's haven. You could easily create an entire portfolio of work from this one place because it's filled with spectacular scenery everywhere you turn. But the main draw for me initially were the Fairy Falls inside the Fairy Glen.

It was only when I saw the waterfall up close that I got a sense of its scale; which was totally lost when I was looking at research images online. This thing is easily 11 feet tall!

Thanks to the early morning rain and intermittent drizzle throughout the day, when me and my buddy Andy arrived the waterfall was at full force. It was so strong that we were constantly cleaning water droplets off our lenses from the spray of the waterfall.

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The area surround Bow Fiddle Rock is almost as staggering as the rock formation itself. When myself and my friend Andy arrived we were blown away that this harsh looking place was in the quiet little village of Portknockie.

It was such a cool contrast and you certainly get the impression that the locals don't really think twice that this epic looking structure just "exists" in their town. There wasn't even a car park as such near by; just an empty plot of grass with no signposts directing you to where the rock actually was.

When I was shooting this picture, I thought it would work really well as a black and white. The detail in the rocks, the depth in the clouds, and it worked out better than I hoped!

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I also included a sneak peek link in the blog post so you can see the post-processing steps I took to get to the final image ;)

I'm a Photography Vlogger and filmed everyday on my Scotland trip too! You can watch the vlog that this image was shot in on my YouTube channel here: http://bit.ly/UEh9Rw

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Learn more about this shot on my blog: http://bit.ly/J51ogx

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Learn more about this shot on my blog: http://bit.ly/1i1f6Qg

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And yes, I was channeling some RC Concepcion HDR magic on this shot :)

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As I’m heading back to Scotland in a weeks time before photoshop world, I thought it’d be appropriate to finally upload this shot I took late last year of the area surrounding our fort in the north.

I love spending time up there. It’s a photographers paradise when the weather cooperates, but this is Scotland we’re talking about…

This was shot at the very end of a complete bust of a sunrise shoot. I started out over in those mountains in the far distance and the sky was total blah. I spent some time trying to get something but the weather gods decided that some morning showers were in order and I retreated back to the house 4 miles up road.

So I get back home and I’m unpacking the car, the rain had just stopped and I turn around to look at where I’d just been and see this. Cursing under my breath I ran down the road to a spot just outside the house and manage to fire off 10 or so frames before the wind and mother nature started again. Talk about a lucky break :)

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Earlier last week I stumbled across an article talking about various parks and other hidden gems in Shanghai. I immediately saw an opportunity to get some unique shots of places that aren’t often seen in Shanghai. Unfortunately, many of these places are a bit out of the city. I often forget how condensed downtown can be at times…

But thankfully there was one park that was a 20 min walk away from my apartment that I never knew existed. In a hospital of all places!

After stumbling around with my crummy sense of direction I eventually found the park I was looking for; Huashan Hospital Garden just off Huashan Road.

I spent an hour or so walking around with my camera and scoped this location out immediately but soon realised that I should have brought my tripod. Doh. So I went back the next evening with the goal of getting this shot

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Whenever the family goes to Hong Kong, we always try and go back to one specific restaurant that has some of the best food in the world.

This little place called “Mui Wo”, otherwise known as “Silvermine Bay”, on Lantau Island has a food market just outside the ferry terminal that does the most amazing minced beef fried rice you’ll ever taste. It’s to die for, there’s no other way to describe it. I’m 80% sure they lace it with crack it’s so addictive. They also do mouth watering broccoli with garlic, and beef with ginger.

This place is like food heaven. Super local with plastic tables and chairs, cheap(ish) bottles of beer and a water front view of one of the more peaceful places in Hong Kong. We used to go there every other weekend with our dog and spend the afternoon hanging out.

It’s always cool when we go because it’s still the same husband and wife that run it after all these years and they know who we are! They know what food we love and what we’ll order when we visit.

That’s the cool bit I miss about the lifestyle back there. Even in a place as crowded and constantly evolving as Hong Kong, there’s still an element of community in many places.

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I've driven by this little hidden gem countless times and have wanted to shoot a long exposure of it since we first bought our new place up in the highlands over a year ago.

I've been to this waterfall a couple times, but this was really the first time I went right up to the waterfall itself with the intent of shooting a long exposure.

I needed that difficult combination of good cloud coverage to get soft light and very recent rainfall so the waterfall ran but not actually raining so I didn't get myself, and my gear, soaked.

Which is difficult in Scotland as usually where there's clouds, there's rain. I spent a lot of time sitting in my car waiting for a break in the weather.

The waterfall itself is not particularly high and no more than 15 feet in length. A perfect starting point for me as I had never shot a waterfall before.

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Originally I wanted to shoot a sunset in one of the National Parks near where we were staying but by the time we got there the place was about to close for the day. Good thing to, as when we arrived we discovered the the sunset was happening on the other side of the island. Great planning there Craig…

So we scrambled to to get to the other side of the road and I was frantically looking down alleyways and checking out the map on the GPS to see if there was anything that looked like a good location. We were essentially chasing the sunset at this point.

Thankfully, I spotted a little side street on the GPS up ahead, so we pulled in and this was the scene that greeted us at the end of the road.

Actually it wasn’t this exact scene. This shot is shortly after the sun had set but we got there in the middle of the sunset and I shot it all the way through to well after all the good light had gone. I just happen to prefer the way the sky and clouds looked after the sun had disappeared behind the horizon.

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Click here to watch me post process the image!: http://bit.ly/YEH8SV

I was going over some old photos and I came across a shot I did back in mid 2009 on the 2nd Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk. I still remember this photowalk as it was 3 days before I officially moved from the UK to Shanghai. The photowalk started at the St James Cemetery behind Liverpool Cathedral and it was a wet, cloudy day which worked great for a walk through a graveyard :p

I had no idea at the time but this building in the middle of the cemetery is a monument to William Huskisson, who was a British statesman, financier, and Member of Parliament for several constituencies, including Liverpool. But he is best known today as the world’s first widely reported railway casualty as he was run over by George Stephenson’s locomotive engine Rocket. Needless to say, there are better ways to go…

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Before going to the Florida Keys for Christmas last year, I decided to do something a bit different and did some research for photography locations in the Keys area using 500px. Anne’s Beach in Islamorada was one of the locations that popped up early on in my search. Thankfully, my family were staying on Islamorada so I didn’t have to travel far to get to this quaint little beach.

When I first got to the beach the sun due to set in a few hours. Which I was thankful for because when I got there, there was a lot of seaweed and other bit of bedris all along the part of the beach I wanted to photography. This is where having a tough and happy-to-help mum comes in handy . With my lovely mums help we were able to clean up most of the seaweed and random bits of twigs that had wash up on shore and we got the beach cleaned up with some time to spare before the sunset. But the challenges didn’t stop there…

- Technical Photo Stuff -

This was my first real landscape shoot with my Canon 5D Mark III.

After setting up my tripod nice and low along the rocky area, I decided to test out my circular polariser along with my variable ND400 filter to see if I could get some long exposure, smooth water shots before the sun started to set. What I forgot was that those screw on filters I bought a while ago for my Canon 40D were only meant to be used on cropped sensor cameras; as you get weird vignetting with them on Full Frame cameras. Oh the joys of Full Frame photography. I then spent the next 30 minutes figuring out what the hell was wrong before the lightbulb went off in my head. Doh!

With the sun now starting to set, I frantically took off whatever filter I had on and started to mess around with my settings to get that smooth water effect I’d been looking for, along with a decently exposed image. Not the type of pleasant, relaxing experience one would hope to have on a beach whilst the sun is setting. But nevertheless, I managed to BS my way through the whole ordeal and got out the other end with a shot I am quite happy with!

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Thanks to the terrible smoggy / winter weather that has been running though China, I haven't been able to shoot any outdoor photography. So I have ended up playing with my camera in my cosy warm apartment. This shot came out from one of those sessions. My mum got me this Bering Ceramic watch for Christmas in 2011 and I love the clean, unobtrusive design. This was also the first time in a while that I pulled out my 50mm f/1.8. I don't shoot with that lens often but it's a fun, little and very affordable lens. A rare combination!

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I shot this during my recent trip down to the Keys in Florida at Christmas. This dock is actually part of a really good water front restaurant called "Lazy Days" in Islamorada. The idea of the dock is that after you've been out fishing you can drive up and dock your boat and they will prep and cook your catch from that day for you. A frankly genius idea.

I know that probably sounds quite normal for people growing up in places like Florida, but I grew up in Hong Kong surrounded by water with quaint fishing islands everywhere and I had never heard of this idea!

Thankfully there wasn't any boats docked up when we went so I was able to really spend some time messing around with trying to get a decent long exposure to smooth out the water without blowing out the highlights. I didn't have any filters with me as I wasn't really planning on shooting anything in particular when we left for dinner, so that was a fun little challenge.

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Click here to watch me post process the image!: http://bit.ly/SeFZFl

I actually walk by this fountain twice a day on my daily commute to and from work and it only occurred to me quite recently that it might make a cracking photo! The Shanghai Centre is part of the Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel here in Shanghai on the famous Nan Jing Road. This, frankly, massive complex houses obviously a world renowned hotel, numerous amazing restaurants (if you ever pass by, check out “Gourmet Cafe” for the most amazing burgers in the city) and it also has serviced apartments on either side of the hotel. Fun fact, I actually lived in one of their apartments for about a year when I first moved here.

I shot this photo not long after everyone runs out their office around 7pm and I was very surprised that the security guard on duty didn’t try to shoo me away as I was taking up quite a footprint right in the middle of the walkway; tripod and all. Thankfully he just gave me a quick look and ‘distracted’ himself with his phone once he realised I wasn’t causing much trouble. Cheers anonymous security guard!