Up High, Down Low – Landscape Photography with and without a drone – Steven Fairbrother

Up High, Down Low – Landscape Photography with and without a drone – Steven Fairbrother

Steven’s day job is a freelance graphic designer, so he is well steeped in the workings of visual art and a lot of his photographs, if not all, reveal an eye for visual design.

He started his talk with the technical and legal aspects of drone photography. His drone, a DJI Mavic Pro has a 12 megapixel camera capable of 4k video. He controls it with an iPad mini, but it is also capable of being controlled by a smart phone. To fly a drone, you must follow the Drone Code which stipulates that the drone has to be registered. There are strict restrictions of where you can fly a drone but Steven did say that everyone breaks the rules.

Steven also takes photographs with his feet firmly on ‘terra firma’, and he showed excellent landscapes of approaching and passing storms of Northumberland. He had stunning black and white panorama shots of Bamburgh Castle under a glorious cloudy sky from various views, including one, wellington clad, from the shallow end of the beach.

Next he was off to the Lake District with atmospheric landscape shots. His images layered the sky, mountain, mist and the town in the valley, with the church steeple above the ground hugging mist. Two of his images were commended in the 2017 Take a view, Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.

Steven said that he liked photographing the light and it seem that what he called ‘lovely low light’ seemed to constantly follow him wherever he took his camera.

His shots with his drone enabled him to get slightly different perspectives on popular location and many of his drone shots did not appear to be taken from on high but just from a great vantage point. The shots from on high, which were obviously taken from drone, showed his graphic design skills. These photos were in many ways abstract images of bales of straw in fields, expertly composed to capture the shapes and textures in the fields. He also had shots above a beach with the waves coming in and a lone figure with that trademark ‘lovely low light’ throwing the shadow of a person on the beach.

He also showed images that were not taken during his usual golden hour, these where shots from Iceland, where the golden hour lasts for most of the day. The geology of the island intrigued him, and he had excellent shots of the landscape, and drone shots of the glaciers which focused on the lines and shapes of the ice.

He did not restrict his talk to single images but showed several videos of his photography.

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Oxford Photographic Society