Here are my 16 favourite images from 2016.
For over ten years now I have been using a Gitzo carbon fibre G1227 Mk 2 tripod along with another Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre tripod as a backup tripod that gets occasional use. The Gitzo has been a joy to use over the years, it has been quick and easy to set up, nice and stable and relatively light. Recently I got the chance to use one of the new Giottos silk Road YTL8213 tripods. This tripod has a much higher maximum height of 163cm without the centre column raised compared to my Gitzo which has a max height of 138.9. The Giottos also has a higher max weight allowance of 10kg compared to 7.98 for the Gitzo. With the central column raised the YTL8213 tripod achieves a whopping height of 194cms. On paper the specs were impressive, but specs are not everything, the real test for me would be what it was like using in the field.
After trying the tripod out on location I was so impressed with the tripod I continued to use it and have been using the Giottos for around ten weeks now so I thought I would share my experiences of using it so far along with a few images taken along the way.
Upon opening the Tripod first thoughts were that I was really impressed with the build quality and sturdy feel. It really has a quality feel and looks extremely well made. The legs were actually much thicker than my Gitzo so I was a little worried it might not be quite so easy to carry in just one hand. I never bother with Tripod bags and never bother strapping my tripod into my Lowerpro backpack; I just find it quicker and easier to hold in the hand, even on longer hikes. I find longer walks it can double up nicely as a bit of a walking stick to help with balance, especially when crossing streams or walking on the muddy salt marshes of the North Norfolk coast which can be a bit like walking on ice at times.
Fortunately after my first outing with the tripod it soon became apparent this was not going to be a problem and I could actually fit just one hand around this tripod comfortably. This is definitely due to the new central column design by Giottos. A standard tripod has a normal barrel central column where as Giottos has a new Y shaped central column. This design supposedly saves 30% of space as the legs squeeze into the Y groves meaning the tripod is much more compact. I had read about this before I received the tripod and my first thoughts were why! It felt like a gimmick that was trying to solve an issue that wasn’t really a problem in the first place, but after using it I actually think it’s a really neat idea. With this model of tripods the legs are very thick, which gives the tripod a real sturdy base to start from. However, without the Y shaped central column the tripod would have been a bit bulky to carry around. Where as with it the tripod feels absolutely fine.
Despite being much larger than the Gitzo I was used to, the Giottos is actually a similar weight. However, at the same time it actually feels sturdier. One thing I would struggle to live without is a hook from the bottom of the central column. I use my tripod a lot on heather moorland which is very spongy and can be a problem as a solid base, but the extra weight of my heavy camera bag suspended from the hook weighs it down enough and gives a nice stable base to work from. With lighter carbon fibre tripods it also gives you confidence to leave your camera set up in windy conditions without having to hold the legs all the time for fear of the whole thing blowing over.
The tripod hook on the Gitzo was nice and large, the one of the Giottos though is tucked away and not so large. This is not a major problem, but it does mean that the large handle / strap on the very top of my Lowepro Trekker bag is too thick to use on the hook so I have to use one of the other straps on bag. It is also tucked away neatly and has to be pulled down from out of the bottom of the central column. Again this is not a major problem, but with winter coming up it will mean removing any gloves to do this and it will probably be a bit more fiddly with freezing cold hands.
The locking leg clamps on the YTL8213 are easy to use and feel strong and secure. They are clamp locks like you find on the Manfrotto tripods. I do like the twist mechanism you find on the Gitzo’s, but they can be a bit of a killer to twist come winter when your hands are freezing and you get the pattern of the twist mechanism engraved in your hand as you try and tighten the thing.
One of the things I do find really useful on the Giottos is the graduated leg markings which mean it’s really quick and easy to set all three legs up to exactly the same height. After using them for a short while I am already thinking to myself how did I ever live without them. It’s one of the small thinks that just make your life a tiny bit easier and quicker when setting the tripod height up.
Foam padding on the legs makes it comfortable to hold the tripod and I am sure come winter it will be much more comfortable to hold on those cold mornings. By now you can probably see a pattern emerging that I hate getting cold hands in the winter.
This tripod has three leg angled positions that allow you to get the tripod into a wide range of leg positions and low heights. In fact you can get as low as 15cm.
I wasn’t expecting to change my Gitzo at all, I was happy and comfortable using it but after my experiences with the Giottos silkroad YTL8213 over the summer has meant this is now my tripod of choice, the Gitzo is the backup tripod and the Manfrotto is about to be listed on Ebay. The tripod really does everything a landscape photographer could want from a tripod, it is very solid, seems well built with great maximum height and low level capabilities. It will also support a maximum weight of 10kg. Having the Y shaped centre column saving space means it is easier to carry in the hand for a tripod with such thick legs. The foam padded legs and leg markings are also a nice touch. I would love a slightly larger hook on the tripod to suspend my camera bag from, but that is the only slight negative thing I could say on this tripod and the important thing for me is at least it does have a decent tripod hook from the centre column.
This tripod has been worked hard in the last ten weeks, often around salt water and has been used in some extremely windy and wet conditions, but the tripod has not let me down and still feels like new. If you are looking for a new tripod and you consider how much tripod you get for your money compared to some of the other manufactures it really is worth considering.
Apologies for being so quiet on here of late it’s been a hectic Spring & Summer this year. I hope to begin with lots of new posts in the coming months but for now here are some new images from the last few months.
I had an incredible hour of light back in April at Horsey Mill on the Norfolk Broads
Due to the long winter the Daffodils were very late this year. Here are a few captured in a Norfolk Field
Stormy last light illuminating Horsey Windpump
South Creake ford in North Norfolk
The old disused Dilham Canal lock at Ebridge Mill
Stormy last light at Heigham Holmes Drainage Mill near the village of Martham
Horsey Mill with some stormy light about an hour before sunset
Something a bit different for me, I was commissioned to write an article on photographing derelict buildings for a UK photography magazine and here is one of the images I shot of an old derelict mill in the Norfolk Countryside.
Dream light as the last rays of the stormy light illuminate Horsey mill and the sky above.
Derelict Detail shot
This is probably one of the least photograph mills of all the Norfolk Broads mills that have some sails. This is Heigham Holmes and sit’s on an island that is only open to the public one day a year.
Norfolk Mill at night
Reed bed glow
I loved the grey mixed with the red brickwork in this shot at an old flour mill
The very last light on Horsey Mill and my very last shot of the day on this particular evening
A misty morning start at Horsey Mill on the Norfolk Broads
Oil Seed Rape field in the Norfolk Countryside
The picturesque West Somerton Staithe on the Norfolk Broads
Horsey Windpump at first light
Probably one of the laziest images I have ever shot as this one was done practically over the garden fence with a telephoto lens.
West Somerton, Norfolk
Cart Gap, Norfolk Coast with the Lee Big Stopper, ten stop filter
Happisburgh Lighthouse shortly before a storm passes overhead
Cromer Pier following a colourful sunset on the Norfolk Coast
Rainbow captures in the dunes at Wells-Next-The-Sea beach on the Norfolk Coast
Happisburgh Lighthouse & Oil Seed Rape
Last light at Winterton dunes on the Norfolk Coast
Summer field near Repps With Bastwick, Norfolk
Weybourne Shingle Beach & Fishing Boats
For Sale. Beach huts at Wells
Cromer Town reflecting in the wet sand at dusk
Oil Seed Rape on a windy day at Happisburgh
Stormy light looking towards the beach huts at Wells
Weybourne, Norfolk Coast
Sunset at Winterton, Norfolk
You are probably getting board of Happisburgh by now but here is another, all taken on a number of different visits to get the Oil Rape Seed at different stages.
Norfolk Field near Repps With Bastwick
Winterton Dunes at last light
Wells Next The Sea
Stormy golden light over a freshly harvested barley field in Norfolk
Summer poppies near Burnham Market
Long exposure over the old pillbox on Horsey Dunes
Poppy field at Castle Acre in Norfolk
Sunset and golden light near Repps With Bastwick, Norfolk
Castle Acre Poppies
Poppy field just outside Burnham Market, North Norfolk
A rare opportunity to see St Benet’s Mill illuminated at night as part of a summer wedding on the Norfolk Broads
I always seem to be a bit behind with processing my images by a month or two. Here are a few images captured in December 2012.
My favourite stretch of the Norfolk coastline happens to be one that is often ignored by visitors and photographers alike. This 12 mile stretch of coastline and countryside is rich and diverse offering fantastic potential for photographers. Whilst most landscape photographers head for the North Norfolk Coast to shoot popular locations such as Holkham, Wells or the picturesque Staithes at Brancaster & Blakeney. I love heading to this underrated and much quieter stretch of coastline. Here the Broads and the coast run side by side offer a great deal of variety all just a short distance away.
Horsey Beach is best known for the hundreds of Seals that have their pups on the beach every year. From November to the end of January its extremley busy with visitors that come to get a glimpse of the pups. At other times of the year it’s a fantastic peaceful beach with great sand dunes and beach patterns for the landscape photographer.
Brograve is one of the lesser known mills of the Norfolk Broads. Very few boats come down the narrow stretch of water named Waxham New Cut. Beacuse the mill requires a walk of about 45 mins from Horsey Mill or a 20 min walk over the muddy fields a lot of people don’t bother visiting. It’s a wonderful peaceful location and is excellent to see lots of wildlife.
Sea palling is best known for it’s sea defences that consist of high rocks placed out to sea. These can be see in the distance of this image. The location does have some nice sand dunes and is just a short stroll from the car. Here the beach was captured at dawn on a frosty morning with the sand and dunes coated in a white layer of frost.
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The Norfolk Broads really comes alive for Photography at this time of the year, with fantastic autumn colours, misty & frosty mornings and the best thing of all is that all the ugly tourist boats have disappeared and it has a wonderful peaceful feel. Below are a few of my favourites taken at this time of the year.
Turf Fen mill with a dramatic sunset on the perfectly still River Ant
Berney Arms rising above the mist filled Halvergate marshes at dawn
The best sunrise I have ever witnessed was this stormy morning on the River Thurne
A frozen Ormesby Little Broard at dawn
Rainbow at first light on the River Ant
A calm afternoon at Horsey Mill on the Norfolk Broads
Reeds at dawn
Sunset at Turf Fen on the Norfolk Broads
Dawn on the Halvergate marshes captured with a tele-photo lens
St Benet’s Mill at last light on a November afternoon
Grazing at dawn on a misty morning
One of the older mills that still survive is (Brograve) originally built in 1771
A misty dawn start on the River Thurne
Turf Fen Mill at sunset
St Benet’s mill on a frosty morning at first light
It’s been a busy few months shooting mostly boring commercial images so I haven’t been out shooting as many landscapes as I would like but here a few recent ones from over the summer.
Parkhouse & Chrome Hill are two distinctive hills in the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, UK. Despite its name the Peak District does not really consist of many peaks at all, the countryside is made up more of gritstone edges, high flat bogs such as Kinder & Bleaklow and deep-cut limestone valleys. Lying north of the River Dove, Parkhouse & Chrome Hill do have a distinctive peak shape and both offer outstanding opportunities for photography at all times of the day. I have only ever photographed the area in the Spring & Summer and not yet managed to get there during the winter months, I would imagine it could look fantastic when covered by a blanket of snow.
Parkhouse Hill is definitely worth a climb to capture the morning light illuminating Chrome Hill, this view is known locally as looking along the Dragons Back due to its distinctive shape. The walk can pull on your calves a bit as it’s a steep climb, but the views are fantastic. Below are a few from a previous visit or two.
I had a few internet connection problems on Friday, finally back online now. I am only just now getting a chance to add the windmills for Friday, Saturday and today, I have decided to get rid of some of the less photographic mills from a landscape point of view for today and save some of the better ones for the next week.
For Day 16 I have chosen Stanton Mill in Suffolk
Stanton is a postmill originally dating back to 1751, the mill was moved to its current location around 1818. The mill is still in fantastic working condition today and producing flour that is sold locally.
For Day 17 I have chosen Southwold/ Walberswick Mill in Suffolk
This picturesque drainage mill stands besides the River Blyth near Southwold Harbour. I can find very little info on this mill, but it’s well worth a visit for some nice scenic images.
For Day 18 I have chosen Billingford Windmill on the Norfolk Suffolk border
Billingford mill located near diss was built around 1860. The last miller to work the site was Arthur Daines who used windpower until 1956. Today the mill is in the hands of the Norfolk Windmills Trust. The mill is currently undergoing restoration work and only the stocks are currently attached to the mill.