My Top 10 favourite photography blogs by Neil Alexander

This week I thought I’d share a few of the other blogs that I follow that provide me with food for thought, both visual and written. After the demise of Google Reader, I now use the Reeder app (available for Mac & iOS), and whilst it costs a few quid, it’s a very slick piece of software which regularly receives tweaks and updates.

1 - Eric Kim -

At the tender age of 27, Eric is a prolific California based street photographer and blogger. In fact, he puts out so much great content, that I doubt the lad ever sleeps! His site contains oodles of tutorials, ebooks, tips, reviews and links all revolving around the art of street photography. He’s also quite a philosophical chap for his age and his blog reflects this in a big way.

2 - Chase Jarvis -
With numerous awards and high end advertising campaigns under his belt, Chase is arguably one of the most influential photographers of the last decade. I first came across the self-taught Seattle based photographer, director, artist and entrepreneur in 2008 when he launched the world’s first HDdSLR for Nikon. I then watched him go on to do a series of YouTube videos called Chase Jarvis Live in which he interviewed inspirational photographers and business minds, mixed with live music from up and coming bands such as We Are Augustines and Band of Horses. His blog portrays a glamorous life, shooting from helicopters, and working with huge production teams, that he has worked extremely hard to achieve.   It’s a very glam blog and well worth following.

3 - Brian Matiash -
Brian is landscape and travel photographer based in Portland, Oregon. I came across his work when he used to work for Nik software and subsequently with Google when they bought out Nik. Aside from some damn good photographs, his blog also provides tips, tutorials, presets, textures and eBooks.

 harniman north sea shoot helicopter onboard ship

4 - Nigel Harniman -
I simply follow Nigel’s blog because I love his photography, his car stuff in particular. The Worcester based advertising photographer has a very bright and punchy style which I really love and some of his back stories are rather entertaining. From his site: "wheeled objects with or without engines are part of life! Here cars and photography collide.”

5 - FStoppers -
- Fstoppers is an online community aimed at educating and inspiring photographers, videographers, and creative professionals.  Started in 2010 by founders Patrick Hall and Lee Morris, Fstoppers has grown into one of the top resources for photography lighting, gear reviews, business tips, behind the scenes, and industry news.
Whilst the content is generally very mainstream, I find it extremely informative and much better curated than the other sites in this field such as PetaPixel. Packed full of reviews, tips, behind the scenes, great photography and general photography news, it’s well worth adding to your RSS reader.

6 - Steve McCurry -
A Magnum photographer since 1986, Steve McCurry is a living legend. He began his career as an editorial photographer sneaking into Afghanistan before the Russian army arrived and then being smuggled back out again with rolls and rolls of film sewn into his clothing. For a man with that hunger and the photographic skills that he posses, stunning imagery is the inevitable result.
One of his most widely recognised images is that of the Afghan girl with the incredible eyes, and he’s won more awards than I’ve space for.  “Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.”

7 - Feature Shoot -
Feature Shoot showcases the work of international emerging and established photographers who are transforming the medium through compelling, cutting-edge projects. Started in 2008 Feature Shoot has now amassed an archive of over 3,000 posts of exceptional photography from around the globe and provides a regular stream of fantastic inspiration. With contributing writers from all over the world and a wide range of interests, they feature contemporary work in all genres of photography: fine art, documentary, portrait, still life, landscape and more.

8 - Lenscratch -
LENSCRATCH is a daily journal that explores contemporary photography and offers opportunities for exposure and community. Created in 2007, Aline Smithson set a goal of writing about a different photographer each day, presenting work in a way that allows for a deeper understanding of a photographer’s intent and vision. Since its inception, LENSCRATCH has featured the work of thousands of photographers and has provided a platform to launch numerous portfolios.

9 - 70° West
Centred less on photography, but with stunning imagery nonetheless, 70° West is an environmental photo-documentary project illustrating the impact our modern world has on the imaginary line that traverses the glove from pole to pole.
"Realising the vulnerability of habitats and cultures along a line of longitude demonstrates a fraction of a larger truth: the natural world and cultural ways of life are endangered on a global level. We live on a planet of unparalleled beauty that has given rise to a place of magic and wonder. Though human beings posses a wealth of wisdom for extraordinary and exceptional creativity and transformation, we are simultaneously drawing from the force that gives us life, our natural world.”
The intent of the blog is to raise global awareness of cultures and environments by capturing the extreme landscape as it changes from ice sheets to Amazonian forests while giving a voice to the battles each region faces both environmentally and socially. Through photography and written narratives, this project will broadcast essential information in order to preserve the habitats, cultures, diversity and richness of life on Earth.


10 - National Geographic Great Energy Challenge -
Energy is an issue that touches every person on the planet. That's why National Geographic has launched the Great Energy Challenge. "It convenes and engages influential citizens and key energy stakeholders in solutions-based thinking and dialogue about our shared energy future.” Whatever that means!
It's a call to action to become actively involved, to learn more and do more—to change how we think about and consume energy so that we can all help tackle the big energy questions.
National Geographic has assembled some of the world's foremost researchers and scientists to help address the challenge. Led by Thomas Lovejoy, a National Geographic conservation fellow and renowned biologist, the team of advisors will work together to identify and provide support for projects focused on innovative energy solutions.

So there you go. That's my top 10 photography related blogs. Have I missed any key players? Which ones do you follow?

Until next week.

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District by Neil Alexander

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District

Before I made this trip in December, I had watched a short interview with Jonathan Chritchley ( Boy, that guy's work is good. And between his work and his workshops he manages to provide, and provide well, for his family all through pursuing his love and his craft of fine art photography. The guy really is an inspiration.

However, not all is quite what it seems. I can guarantee you that behind those lovely 6x6 black and whites is a team of marketing and sales people peddling his wares. What I would give to be able to transport my entire family to a part of the world that perpetually provides such awesome inspiration. 

So to Ladybower, I knew from previous trips that there images to be had here. Yet I also knew that the azimuth at which the sun was due to rise was to be far from ideal. 

I shot several different compositions before ending up here just as the sun was rising over my shoulder to the right. I used an ND grad to bring the sky into play and then my B&W 10 Stop ND filter to give me a 60 second exposure giving me that lovely calm silky feel to the water. Not a competition winner by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty nonetheless.

Tech specs: D300, ISO 200, F8, 61secs, Tripod (obviously), cable release. Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8 at 17mm.

This is an image straight from camera, shot at 1/30 sec with no filters - you can see the difference the neutral densitys make.