Ryan J Harris Photography: Blog https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Ryan J Harris Photography harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) Thu, 07 Apr 2022 09:48:00 GMT Thu, 07 Apr 2022 09:48:00 GMT https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u1027195552-o622571192-50.jpg Ryan J Harris Photography: Blog https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog 120 85 A trip back up to Northumberland https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/6/a-trip-back-up-to-northumberland The Northumberland coast will always hold a very special place in my heart. I grew up in the West Midlands, my dad worked hard in the lock industry, an industry which Willenhall has a long history with as lock makers, and my mum educated the young as a teacher in a local school.

My brother and I attended that same school and we always looked forward to the summer holidays (as all children have done before and always will no doubt!).

Our summer holidays were spent as one big family, my brother and I boarded the train with grandparents and parents visiting my nan's family in the Northeast. 

Every year we made the trip for a fortnight break, and the majority of it my brother and I spent fishing, rock pooling and swimming in the bitter cold north sea, even in August you'd be lucky to catch the sun. 

It seems some things never change, as I tripped this time with my partner in toe visiting some of the old haunts I used to visit, memories came flooding back to me. I was so happy to share stories of old with my partner. Sadly, my grandfather is no longer with us but he too would join my brother and I, jumping over the rocks at St Mary's island lighthouse in search of crabs and blennys hiding in the rock pools.

This was probably the first time I've ever visited these places and not ended up in the sea either intentionally (or unintentionally, my mum would tell you) the magic is still present, even mores now than ever with many happy memories flooding back. This is such a beautiful coast and I was privileged to share the scenery and memories with someone special. 

Our first stop was Seaham, I opted for a long exposure along the beach, there was a rock formation creating interest midway and in the distance at the end of Seaham pier, I opted to place the lighthouse in the gap between a gap in the rocks. The weather, not that I knew it then, was as good as it would ever get as there was a break in the clouds and the rain stopped. Using a ND 10 stopper mounted with my 24-70mm lens allowed me to expose the image for a 30 second exposure blurring the crashing waves as they came in onto the sea breakers. 

Photo - Seaham beach, sea breakers 


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After crossing Tyne Bridge (a stop for another time) we continued our journey onto the main reason for our visit, a place that holds the most amount of memories for my family, the ever magical St Mary's Island lighthouse. Rain in our faces, high winds blowing, as I approached I has many flashbacks to blazing, sunny days with my nan and mum shouting "don't get too close to the edge or you'll fall in!" as the boys (my brother, dad and grandad and myself) hopped from rock to rock with our crab lines gripped tight. 

Weather aside, as there isn't much can be done about this, preparation with photography is key. I wanted to be at the island for high tide, this place gets completely cut off in high tide and the walkway to the lighthouse is submerged with water as the North Sea claims it back. I, however, ironically made a schoolboy error in mixing the times up and what I thought was high tide was in-fact low tide. This place holds so many memories I had to visit again, and so we did, almost every day of our stay in the Northeast. 

After a number of shots taken with the tide in and with the tide out, a rare glimpse of sunshine I decided on this as my favourite, with an ND filter mounted on a tripod i exposed for 30 seconds. The sea in this shot was too far out to notice but the long exposure helped capture the reflection in a rock pool in the foreground, the dramatic skies show movement over the 30 seconds exposure giving a mystical atmospheric feel to it that just feels right. In the shadows on the walkway I used as a leading line to the lighthouse, you can just make out a person moving on the path, wandering about over the 30 seconds which I feel represents people there and memories. This place will hold memories for many, many families already, and will do in the future. It is such a special place. When I was younger on a rare occasion you might see a seal on the rocks but now when we visited there were quite a few. It seldom happens that we visit places and actually see wildlife thriving in comparison to past days but this seems to be a place where the seals enjoy hanging out on the rocks, and why not it's a beautiful, magical place. 

Photo - St Marys Island, Whitley Bay

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Further on up north we came to the peaceful seahouses harbour where we booked a boat trip out to see the abundance of wildlife on the Farne Islands. The boat trip we had booked had to be cancelled as access to Staple Island was deemed too dangerous to get onto. Fortunately, the skipper took us around that island though so we got a glimpse of what we can see when we go back in the future and we were still able to board the National Trust island of Inner Farne.

Earlier in the year, I visited Skomer island with my daughter and my partner and we were fortunate enough to see magnificent seabirds such as razorbills and puffins, but as it was too early for raising young I wasn't able to capture the shot I wanted which was a puffin with fish to feed the young pufflings. So this trip I was determined to get it, even the heavy rain couldn't put me off from wanting to get this iconic shot. 

Two of my favourite shots from this trip one the iconic shot I was hoping for and a second a puffin mid-flight, the fish in beak stationary shot was a little easier than the in motion one. I think I read that these birds fly around 50 miles an hour and so to get a crisp still shot of the wings I needed a faster shutter than I would normally use and certainly faster than the one required on the relatively static one on the cliff. 


Photo 1- Puffin fish in beak, Inner Farne island National Trust 

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Photo 2 - Puffin in flight, Inner Farne island National Trust

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With no let up from the rain we continued our journey North onto the picturesque Bambrough castle, by this point we were soaked through and cold so we ventured over the sand dunes to take some shots of the castle, they venue has great potential but the weather was doing us no favours, we grabbed a few shots here from the beach again using the ND filter to get a slow shutter speed blurring the motion in the clouds. I  feel like by processing this in black and white adds to the dramatic look of the clouds. I hope to return to this place soon when the weather gives us a break and hope to get a bit further along the coast with a nice sunset one day but for this trip I'm quite happy with this shot. 


Photo - Bambrough Castle, Northumbria 

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On the way back down the coast we stopped off at another location that holds many memories for me as a lad, on this day as was back then this pier is popular with fishermen all along the pier. I remember this place for it's fishing but also for it's famous, huge, weekend long, free airshow attended by millions of people all along the beach. When we were young we used to take a picnic and the whole family would sit and watch the war planes fly over the seafront. Unfortunately, we missed the airshow this year but hopefully we'll get to see it again in the future. 


Photo - Roker Pier 

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Hope you enjoy the blog, it's my personal goal this year to capture some landscapes, the British weather is proving to be challenging but hopefully it'll pick up soon!

Regards Ryan

harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2019/6/a-trip-back-up-to-northumberland Wed, 19 Jun 2019 21:15:56 GMT
Weddings now available AR Wedding Photography https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/weddings-now-available-ar-wedding-photography Having worked on and successfully completed two weddings this is an area of photography that I wanted to expand on and develop further.

I felt a real sense of pride and privilege working on these weddings and I would never have taken these opportunities without drafting in the assistance of my good friend and fellow photographer Andy Nash. 

Being relatively new to the photography world, agreeing to work on weddings at the time this was a big step to take but was an opportunity I’m so glad I didn’t miss. When I received the enquiries I wanted to ensure that I could capture as much of the day as physically possible and it felt right that I should draft in a second photographer. I knew this would enable us to capture angles from different perspectives and offer good coverage of the day. For this, I needed someone reliable and dedicated and I wasn’t let down by my choice, my good friend Andy Nash agreed to work with me on both of these weddings and attended planning meetings, consultation meetings without fail, he was great to work alongside and we made an excellent team. 

I know Andy too has continued his photography journey and is continuously producing amazing work with clients beloved pet portraits, we are planning to meet up soon and shoot together once again which I am very much looking forward to. It’s amazing to see how our journey has progressed since we first met at a photography workshop and I’m honoured to have such a supportive friend who shares my passion for photography.

I’ve made many friends in the photography world and think it’s great to see, despite it being in a competitive market, that strong friendships can still be forged.  

I recently received a business proposal to join with another close friend and fellow photographer Andy Timms with a vision to provide wedding photography services as a team of two photographers. After a number of planning meetings I am pleased to say that this joint business venture is due to be launched this month and we will soon be taking bookings for wedding photography.

As this is a separate business venture to my own you will notice this is kept separate from my current existing web page here, but please do visit, like and share our new wedding photography page if this is something of interest to you. Maybe you have a friend or family member who is planning a wedding, or even if it’s just to support and follow our journey through photography your support, as always, is very much appreciated. Check out the new Facebook page AR Wedding Photography, you may also see us out and about at a wedding fayre near you very soon. 

harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/weddings-now-available-ar-wedding-photography Sun, 16 Sep 2018 21:19:11 GMT
Working with the wonderful Stagecoach Wolverhampton https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/working-with-the-wonderful-stagecoach-wolverhampton My work as a photographer gives me so many fantastic opportunities, when I received a request from Stagecoach principle Hannah, having an interest for the theatre and dancing myself, I jumped at the chance of working with this fantastic organisation. 

I simply cannot speak highly enough of this talented young group of people, it was a joy to witness as they grew with confidence, there is a real sense of team spirit with this group that grasps you, almost instantaneously I felt somehow part of this amazing team from the moment of walked through the door.

It’s clear these individuals are passionate about what they do, and staff really lead by example. For this project I met with principle Hannah Davis who asked me to capture images throughout a number of lessons, this was a great experience as I got to witness the students learning and progressing in the lead up to a final show to be performed in a theatre to family and friends.

The objective was for the images captured to be put together and displayed on a large screen for the parents before the show, showing the hard work and enjoyment the students had put in, culminating in the final performance. 

It was incredible to see both teachers and students at work, and from such a young age too, there are such talented individuals. I spent a good few days with Stagecoach watching lessons from the side-lines, capturing the enjoyment and action as and when it happened, some of which were dressed rehearsals and with Thriller being in the set list the fun ensued. The students are a credit to parents and the organization itself and the team spirit of the place is infectious. 

After capturing the images during lessons they were put into groups in order for them to be displayed on a large screen. As part of the duties I was given I was fortunate enough to witness and capture the shows too, it's times like this that I love my job, these are such young professionals and the shows were of such a high standard they wouldn’t have looked out of place in London's West End.

It was a joy for me too seeing the playback of what I had captured over my time spent with Stagecoach, so many smiling faces working hard and growing with confidence throughout the lessons and as a very proud father myself I wasn’t surprised to see a few tears shed in the audience as the playback of photos was displayed on the big screen.

Having done some work with Stagecoach and some dance groups I have come to find real enjoyment from capturing dance and drama, my daughter is also a keen dancer and she too has since attended summer workshops with Stagecoach and thoroughly enjoyed it, making tons of friends and growing in confidence.

I will be working on some dance photography throughout this year with final images in mind, I would like to capture movement and feel this could be beneficial to the dancer's portfolio and benefit myself as a new technique I’ve tried. With a performance it’s difficult to try this technique in a live show but I am setting a shoot up whereby I will be combining a mixture of continuous light and flash to both capture the movement of the dancer and freeze the image with a final flash burst before the shutter closes.

If you have little ones or are interested in dance and drama please do visit the Stagecoach page and keep an eye out for their workshops, it’s a fantastic organisation and was an absolute privilege working with them, I look forward to working with them again in the future.



harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/working-with-the-wonderful-stagecoach-wolverhampton Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:30:00 GMT
Landscape Photography https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/landscape-photography I'm always searching for new locations to capture landscape photography, it's this type of photography which I tend to frame and display on my walls at home, though I'm running out of wall space these days. 

I was fortunate enough to visit Iceland last year with my good friend Stuart (a fellow photographer) and the journey was incredible, taking in the sights of Pingvellir which sits in a rift valley between two tectonic plates, Kirkjufell the setting for Game of Thrones and the iconic church mountain, Gullfoss the incredibly huge waterfall and Skogafoss another incredibly tall waterfall where we were lucky enough to witness the northern lights. 

Unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal for the majority of the trip with rain, wind, fog and low cloud posing problems for us. However we did manage to capture some images that I'm extremely proud of and sit pride of place in my living room as a reminder of an incredible trip. 

I'm hoping to of return to Iceland again one day and continue the journey, there is so much to see and so many wonderful landscapes to take in, those who know me will be aware of my interest in in marine biology and I'd love to go whale watching when I return one day. This, along with the ice caves, Seljalandfoss, Godafoss and Reykjavik means there is so much more of Iceland to explore and I can imagine returning a couple more times at least.  

Earlier this year I visited London too with my daughter and again took in some landscape shots capturing the beauty of a place very different to Iceland but still a place I hold dear to my heart. My aunt and uncle used to take me to London regularly when I was younger and it was then I fell in love with old smoke, now as a proud father I like to take my daughter there regularly and she loves London too. 

When taking landscape shots personally I like to use a tripod as I often like to use a narrow aperture capturing as much detail as possible, this means I have a longer shutter speed to allow enough light into the sensor. This allows for a different look I like when it comes to water, in that the slow shutter records the movement of the water giving it a blurred look to the image. 

It was Tower Bridge where I tried the bracketing technique, you'll see these produced a HDR look combined with long exposures blurring the water in the Thames as it passes under Tower Bridge. 

The long exposure technique worked well from a different perspective too, as it captured passing traffic recording light trails taken on the bridge, for these shots I wanted to get a different perspective and used the actual bridge structure as a flat surface rather than a tripod. This gave a perspective I refer to as a 'pigeon eye view' as I can imagine this being a perch for them as they fly through the city lights.

I'm always looking for good landscapes to visit, so if you have any suggestions please do let me know, we love a little adventure out and capturing these beautiful locations. 

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harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/landscape-photography Mon, 10 Sep 2018 16:15:00 GMT
Cake smash https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/cake-smash In July I had the absolute pleasure of working with a wonderful family to celebrate a first birthday with a cake smash. This was held in the comfort of the family's home where I set up a portable studio with a few little props and the family had arranged for a lovely big cake for the day to sit centre stage with the birthday boy. 

I used a plain yellow backdrop for this and decorated with some blue fans, bunting and balloons. For lighting I used a single off camera studio strobe with a softbox diffuser, connected by wireless triggers. To start with, I took a few shots playing around with bubbles and toys, before the cake was brought out to get some fun shots playing with the cake and getting messy. I felt privileged to share this special moment celebrating a big moment in the family's life and to have captured the moments of fun as they happened with such a wonderful family. 

Look at him in his little outfit, such a happy little chap. 

If you're interested in the popular cake smash shoot please do contact me for further details 

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harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/cake-smash Sat, 08 Sep 2018 20:13:56 GMT
Tenancy Officer portraits https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/tenancy-officer-portraits I'm very fortunate to know a lot of the tenancy officers working for Wolverhampton homes, and knowing the job itself helps, although this provides it's own challenges when setting up a shoot, particularly of a scale whereby 30+ officers needed individual portraits. 

Much of the tenancy officer post is spent out on estates within the community in which they serve, which is why an outdoor setting was the ideal for this shoot, however the typical British weather ensured it had a hand in complicating matters with wind, rain and, even on the odd occasion, some harsh direct sunlight. 

My ideal situation for an outdoor portrait, as some of you will already know, is that golden hour where the sunlight gives a lovely golden glow to the landscape and subject. The sun offers a much softer light than when it's high in the sky, beaming down from high in the sky. The downside to this is that the golden hour that photographers like myself love so much only happens twice a day, once as the sunrises at the crack of dawn and then again just as the sun sets. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the task there was no time to wait for sunrise or sunset as I needed to capture the tenancy officers out and about in Wolverhampton whilst out on the job. I was lucky to avoid the rain! The days where the sun is high, rain stays away and there are nice big clouds that cover the sun are a blessing, as the cloud acts as a giant soft box in the sky defusing the harsh sunlight.

So taking the British weather into account, along with managing to catch up with these busy tenancy officers could have proved to be a challenging task but was one that I was looking forward to nonetheless. 

The benefit of knowing the individual when capturing the portraits meant that there was an instant rapport between the subject and myself (although we were in different roles to the ones we usually are). Knowing each other can sometimes be a good thing, in that it is easier to engage with the subject and you can take pleasure from working together to achieve the right shot. At the same time, not everyone is a fan of being in front of the camera so it was useful drawing on my experience to put people at ease and aim for the right shot. 

As housing professionals are so often out on the estates and visiting tenants in their own homes, I wanted to include this aspect of the job within the image. I look at photography as telling a story, be that a simple facial expression with a blank background or the setting being part of an additional tale. Where weather and location allowed you'll find the majority of these portraits were taken out on estates often with a front door of house behind them, of course this was not always possible, if there was harsh sunlight we found some shade under trees in order to capture the right shot. 

In order for the subject to stand out from the background I used a setting of f2.8 where conditions allowed, this blurred out the background enough for them to stand out yet still allows the viewer to see the background setting. They were shot on my Nikon d750 with my Nikon 70-200mm lens. I tried to capture the subjects in the shade but in a location which still provided enough light to give a catchlight in the eyes. Of course, there were plenty of times where conditions didn't allow for that and I had to improvise but I am happy with the end result and more importantly so is the client. 

This was one of a number of tasks I've been asked to carry out for Wolverhampton Homes and this is an organisation I know well and feel privileged to have the opportunity to carry out work for. It is with Wolverhampton Homes that I have had the success of having my work published in a number of tenant updates and leasehold news publications which thousands of tenants access.  Ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk p Ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk p

harris020@hotmail.com (Ryan J Harris Photography) https://ryanjharrisphotography.co.uk/blog/2018/9/tenancy-officer-portraits Sat, 08 Sep 2018 19:01:49 GMT