Story behind the photo – Malojian

By David Cleland

There is an area just outside the city of Lisburn, Northern Ireland that seems to cultivate musical talent. Millbank studios on the ‘Maze’ side of the city is the home studio of the likes of Mojo Fury, Rams’ Pocket Radio and Run Away Go (if you haven’t heard of them then you really need to Google).

It was a cold morning in late December and I was tasked to capture the cover image for one of Gary Lightbody’s favourite folk pop artists, Stephen Scullion aka ‘Malojian’.

There was lots of freedom in the concept design but I knew I wanted to create an image that would give the viewer something not only to look at but also to study.

Millbank studios is like a throw back to the recording studios of the 1960s and 70s, old pianos quietly rot from writing sessions the previous summer it is impossible to visit the studio and not be creative, it was easy to build the concept from the location. I took my X100T on a visit to the studios late in 2014.

For the shoot we decided to try and encapsulate a slightly enchanted, musically retrospective feel and use whatever we could find to enrich the photo. We used the album’s producer Mr Michael Mormecha as the key subject and built the image around the one man band iconography.

From the name of the album subtly hidden in the image to rope ladders and flecks of snow on the ground the aim was to go back to the album covers of the 70s and 80s that were read and studied while the audience listing to the songs.

For the shoot I packed the X100T that I planned to use for capturing the main cover and I also packed the X-T1 and stunning Fujinon 56mm lens to capture some additional portraits to be used to promote the album on release.

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X-T1 with XF56mmF1.2 @ 1/2500th f/2.2 ISO400

I waited for the sun to move over the Millbank garden so I had a workable level of shadow. As the photographer I was also initially (physically) casting a shadow on the scene so the idea was to use the X100T’s wifi option to control the camera remotely via my phone.

Within 5 minutes of experimenting with a number of compositions and the re-arrangement of the various content within the frame I had captured three images that would work as the cover. The images were shot wide enough so they would work as a wrap-around cover (which will be particularly interesting for the full vinyl release).

Lightroom
lightroom
I was able to pre-visualise the final feel for the image and knew the feel I wanted to create in Lightroom. It took around an hour to process the first image from which I created a Lightroom preset from the rest of the shoot. I was then able to sync the images accordingly.

And here is the final image:

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X100T @ 1/200th f/2.8 ISO200

 

Links:

Malojian
FlixelPix 65 Photos captured with the X100 Series

Yellowstone’s Winter Wildlife Seven Day Photo Safari

Start the New Year a new photographer

By Simon Weir – Professional X-Photographer

If you’re like most people, much of the time you live life on autopilot. Everyday tasks, like taking a shower and driving to work are managed by long-established habits. This leaves the mind free to think but rather than exploiting this freedom the mind, left unattended, fills its day with internal chatter about what happened yesterday or last week or what you have to do after lunch or this coming weekend. Sometimes it all gets a bit too much.

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What is “enlightened photography”?

Photography provides an opportunity to give our minds a holiday but unless we also clear the mind of its senseless chatter, photographs only ever reflect our cluttered existence. That is why, on a Magic Is Photo Safari, we teach more than just the technical aspects of photography. We also help you to be mindful to the photo opportunities around you – to recognize each moment for what it is and connect with the land and the wildlife in a way that will not only transform your photography but possibly your everyday life as well.

Take a load off and fire your imagination

Imagine, then, that it’s February and you are deep in Yellowstone National Park. The quiet is absolute. The waist-deep snow is talcum powder-soft and the park’s ancient trees loom against the vast blue sky to create a landscape plucked straight from your wildest imagination.

The clean, crisp air, sulfur springs and pine nut-aromas unite to provide the perfect accompaniment to the natural geothermal features that are an ice age in the making. It’s an ethereal, ever shifting landscape of cryptic light and shadow that plays home to wild wolves, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, bison, foxes and elk – the perfect location to immerse yourself in nature and take a load off your mind.

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The highlights

  • See fantastic wildlife, including top predators and snow-covered bison and elk
  • Our specialised snow coaches give us brilliant winter access to the park
  • Immerse yourself in the solitude of this incredible landscape
  • Dawn ‘til dusk photography
  • Our flexible itinerary allows us to go where the action is
  • No single supplement
  • Learn from Simon Weir’s 10-years experience as a pro’ photographer
  • Hands-on tuition as you need it and optional evening seminars
  • Special extra lectures on Infrared, night and time-lapse photography
  • £300 discount for Fuji photographers

The experience

Let’s start off by saying that everything you’ve ever heard and seen about Yellowstone in winter is true. Every step you take can quickly become the best step you’ve ever taken. And through this land of ice and magic move the animals. Like apparitions, in the semi-corporeal mists they drift through the hinterland. Yellowstone may seem at slumber but in winter it’s awake and alive with wildlife.

Our photographic days begin at around 7:00AM, when we board our specialized snow coaches for a full day in the park. Initially, the road takes us east, following the course of the Madison River. This is an excellent area for sighting trumpeter swans, bald eagles, elk and bobcat. At Madison, there is a warming hut, which provides hot drinks and snacks and a warm fire, and is a favourite mid-morning stopping place with our guests.

The Madison Valley is a prime wildlife area and we can expect to see plentiful bison, coyote, fox and maybe the rare and elusive wolf and bobcat. From Madison we can take one of two routes: north-east following the course of the Gibbon River, towards the Norris Geyser Basin, taking in the famous Gibbon Falls; or south, initially following the course of the Firehole River towards Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s most famous geyser.

Each route offers a changing landscape, interspersed with ghost-like trees and the rising steam from distant geysers, and wildlife sightings of bison and elk and more. We spend the whole day in the park, returning as the sun disappears beyond the horizon, leaving behind its fire-red glow.

At day’s end, we head back to the warmth and comfort of our cozy lodge where, like old friends around the fire, we’ll share our stories from the day’s photography and visualize the next day’s adventure. Life – and photography – really doesn’t get much better than this.

The details

A 7-day photo safari from 8th – 14th February 2015 at just £2,255 per person with £300 “Fuji” discount (normal price £2,555). Price includes airport transfers, accommodation, lunches, Park entry fees and permits, snow coach transport and all tuition. Flights to and from Bozeman International Airport are excluded.

Booking

For further information and to book on this safari, simply click here.

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