My name is Alan Campbell and I'm a 70’s kid, born and bred in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland. I started my journey in photography in 2006 and was inspired by the images I captured at the Portrush Air Show using a bridge camera. My passion for photography grew from that point with the purchase of my first interchangeable lens camera a few years later and photography quickly became a way of reducing stress in my life. I'm a self-taught photographer and I firmly believe that strong composition, and an artistic hand, will help avoid the "very samey" images seen on social media which I personally like to avoid.
“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.”
— Matt Hardy
— Matt Hardy
Feel free to follow my photography on the various social media platforms and here on my website.
I believe that the beauty around us can be truly illuminated through strong composition and can be further enhanced by the artistic hand of post processing.
For this reason I do not just use the images straight out of the camera and will use editing techniques to enhance the photographs further. This means that most of my images are documentary in nature reflecting what I have seen by the visible eye. I do not do digital art where images captured at different times are combined to produce a final work of art which, although very attractive to the eye, is not a true representation of a specific date and time.
It can be very frustrating for photographers as so many You Tubers will tell you that you need to pin down your photography style to be successful. I have to say that this is true for many people particularly early adopters of Instagram, and possibly wedding photographers too where they are trying to achieve a consistent look and feel. Personally, I have found this much harder and instead of image style I have chosen to focus on I how a feel a photograph should look based on the moment I captured it. This means that when you look at my galleries you will see pictures that do not have the same colour grading, many are black & white but there are also vibrant colour images too, plus there are pictures of wildlife as well as landscapes and people.
The typical techniques that I use for capturing photos include focus stacking, exposure bracketing and panorama stitching. I will use ND filters for long exposures but I tend not to use graduated filters as I prefer to do exposure bracketing and produce the final image in post-processing. My post-processing is normally done quite quickly and includes:
- Adjustment of levels (exposure, shadows, highlights, contrast, vibrance etc.)
- Using luminosity masks to blend different exposures
- Stacking multiple images of the same capture, but with the focus on a different part of the image, to achieve the required depth of field e.g. sharp front to back
- removing distractions from an image such as rubbish- dodging and burning
I started to take a much bigger interest in photography from 2006 but it was not until 5 years later when I decided I wanted to take the plunge with an interchangeable lens camera. I started off with a Panasonic micro-four thirds camera but within a year I had moved to the Olympus E-M5. At the time the size advantage was great but it was low-light photography that really let me down. This has changed now with top-end mirror-less cameras but back in 2012 it was APSC and Full-Frame that had the best dynamic range. My next step up was the Nikon D7100 and eventually I bought a Nikon D600. The weight of my gear had gone up substantially but that was not the only reason why I moved to Fujifilm. The problem with my kit was that the Nikon 24-120mm lens was not weather sealed and anyone who says weather-sealed lenses are not necessary has not spent time hiking in Ireland where we have alot of moisture. To make things worse the sensor on my Nikon D600 started to suffer from oil marks on the sensor. Not great and it was at this stage when I decided to switch to Fujifilm. Alot of photographers were moving to Fujifilm at this time and the chance to get near full-frame quality from a lighter kit with weather-sealed lenses was just too tempting. I have not looked back since (well, maybe once when the Nikon Z7 was announced).
My kit today consists of the following:
Fujifilm X-H1 - This camera got alot of bad press when it first came out but many people who complained had never used it. It is in fact a fantastic camera which is made in Japan unlike other Fujifilm cameras that are available to buy in Europe. The camera has IBIS and a fantastic shutter mechanism that is a joy to use; the grip is wonderful and makes holding large lenses so much easier. The only thing I'm not keen on is the battery booster grip as it adds alot of bulk and weight but I bought the grip anyhow as it's useful for video.
Fujifilm 10-24mm f4
Fujifilm XF 16mm f1.4
Fujifilm 23mm f2
Fujifilm 35mm 1.4
Lightroom / Photoshop / Capture One