Northumberland Greenlane

Its been along summer without any posts!!!

I’ve a fair few mag articles that have been published so will try and get some of them up soon and work through them.

These few images are from early on in spring time up in Northumberland. Starting at Berwick then on through to Corbridge (I think!) … we took two days in travelling down the many Greenlanes. They eventually made up two Greenlane entries in two consecutive Land Rover Owner International mags.

The day was warm for spring, the breeze was cool off the North Sea, I miss the sea living equal distance from both the west and east cost in Yorkshire. These Greenland shoots are great to get out, get fresh air, bit of exercise and plenty of good conversation in the Landrovers as we avoid as much civilisation as possible πŸ™‚

I’ve just selected a few images and I’ll comment on each on… if I can think of anything interesting to say about that particular field, hedge or situation….. The gate above was actually one of the last of the final days but gave about 4 inches of space to get through.

There must have been about 8-10 fords over the few days and some that were decent due to the rain that was had in the county previously.

My favourite time…. bait time! Talking about local dialect …. we went to a pub on the evening for some food and on the menu it had “sarnies’ which for me made me smile a little as you don’t hear that where I live now….

This ford above has been visited by the editor on numerous occasions but was always too deep to pass but on this occasion it was okay to do so.

The image above was taken just after the one below. Neil the editor was capturing a few bits of video for other editorial features for the magazine.

As the only passenger in this convoy as well as the photographer you are the official ‘Gate Openorer’ . I took a quick image above to show that Neil was getting better at judging how far you can drive uptown the gate so you could still swing the gate open in front of the defender. This was the closest we got out of all the gates……. and let me tell you theres a few !

The lane above was only short and I remember we already had plenty of other similar lanes in the bag so to say but Neil asked for a couple of images for the image bank….

The causeway to Holy Island in Northumberland is one of the main iconic places in the region….. I used to go there as a kid so was just another reason why I loved being in Northumberland for a few days.

If you’ve not been then I can highly recommend getting up there as the county is large and offers sunny scenery, coastline, Forrests and the people are friendly with great accents πŸ˜‰

I’ll try and add more shoots sooner rather than later πŸ™‚

All in the detail…

When you work for yourself you work when the work comes in… sounds daft but is true, with me shooting a lot of automotive work I tend to find in the depths of winter my work quietens off due to the weather. So when a job comes in for late December it makes a good change.

Shot this defender on New Years Eve only about 10 miles from home…

To say it was chilly would be an understatement, up on the tops of the moors the wind is relentless and unobstructed. We had some sun which was fortunate and only the lightest of drizzle.

First off to get some statics in the bag and get an opening DPS as an option. The sun was in and out of the clouds and with it being low it was harsh, so we covered each image with and without the lights on to cover options. Had the Def in two positions, straight on as above and then just a 3/4 angle. The reason for the nearside of the Def was because the sun was that side and being a black vehicle it needed a light more light to lift it. Also if I had one side in shadow that would to be far too black to pull back with just shooting available light.

While lying on the floor its easier just to shoot a few more frames to give a few options especially with this Def 90 being bold then the images could have a little more bold as well…

Moving onto the details which this 90 had more than enough! …

Always taking advantage of various angles and especially with this having a soft top.

When the sun came out it was low and harsh… best thing was that it really helped light the black body but made shooting the tracking shots a little bit of shadow dodging time.

Using the surrounding topography to help get a view into the cabin while the roof is off… sending it to and from this location to get a variety of images both vertical and landscape.

This one above must have been one of the first images here before we took the roof off to show off the interior.

The opening DPS and the original full frame.

Last order of the day for the driving images was an interior driving image…with the roof still off.

Standing in the back and a large roll cage to steady myself on was in order as this thing had a decent amount of pull off the mark.

This shot above I wanted to get more of the road in to or at least to see the horizon. The issue was the roll cage you can see, as if I came behind and below that then I wouldn’t see that much of the cabin due to the bucket front seats and I wanted to see more of the cabin in this shot.

At the end of the shoot the sun was blazing in the sky and so I went around and shot a few more details with the red front sun-visor being the main one I wanted to get the light through it to emphasis the vivid colour.

The final article above…

This was a good change to the normal quiet winter and pleased I wore thermals and water-proof trousers as there was plenty of lying down in heather and moorland!

Until next time.

Jona : )

In the Dales Green-laning

Its always nice to get into the Dales and mix business with pleasure. The 2nd green lane shoot for Landrover Owner International. Decided to get up there the night before so we could get going with out issue first thing in the morning.

I’m really liking these jobs in the sense as its just using the bare minimum of kit. I take over the top really as you never know but really its just a wide, telephoto and the old 50mm and away you go.

3 defenders for the day and three dogs πŸ™‚

The reason why I like these types of jobs is that although there’s a brief you don’t really know you’ve got the best image until really near the end of the day. You need to show the variety of tracks and surfaces, the landscapes, terrain, obstacles etc etc Also individual shots of the vehicles used both front and rear but really the main shot is the opening DPS. The big vista shot that hopefully is inspiring.

The shot above was taken in mind for the ford element but also a possible double page spread.

To get the final shot is wasn’t until 4 hours into the trip that we came to the above location. As the title for the article, ‘Four Seasons in one day’ depicts, it was a real mixed bag with every thing from heavy rain and snow. We had real dense fog, low sunshine with which the landscape kept changing rapidly. The above shot was a few shot before the final opener below. We’d all stopped just for a brief moment as the low cloud just lifted to reveal Pen-y-ghent which had been engulfed all day until then…

I then took off on foot, as ever when your jumping in and out of the Defender to run ahead or stay behind to get the shots needed. Going past the wall you can just see to the left of the picture I got into position for the chosen image and then waved the three defenders onwards.

Think I took about three frames of this set up with the defenders at various points along the track but keeping them left of shot so they wouldn’t be lost in the gutter of the page. About 100 yds in front of the three defenders you can see a slight left then right bend in the track.

This was taken at that point…. this was used but as a vertical crop again the reason I shoot with the D810 as the rather large file sizes allow a lot of crop without loosing definition. (see below for final spreads)

This one above was one of the last images shot for the day and just tried to get another DPS or page filler…

As well as the opening big shot they like to use a small tight images of all the vehicles for the front cover as a taster… This one above taken fairly early on in the day to get some in the bag.

This one made the cover and again a tight crop which turned out a decent little image.

Just to show the extreme fog we had on the tops, framing in my mind for text to drop over the sky.

Also remembering to capture verticals and individual images of the vehicles. Seeing this little ford its a case of just stopping everyone and jumping out, getting into position and shooting a few frames. I took some landscape and vertical as above, ones where the water is frozen and then with a little more motion as above.

Once you get some shots in the bag and settle into the day you tend to only get out if the shot your about to take is going to give you something different that you’ve already got. The above shot was simple enough to get onto the footbridge and get each defender coming through the water. The gground coming down the slight incline there was slippy and so its not a rushed or frenzied approach.

Trying to get a little bit of story telling as well, locations and things to see along the way.

Another opportunity to get all three close to each other with another angle.

You can be forever running up hills and trying to find another interesting angle to keep things interesting for the reader but also for me πŸ™‚

Took this image as we ended up turning the engines off as the guy on his horse had a lot to say…. didn’t mind as this was nearing the end of the day and the low sun just came out of the clouds and had a great tone to it… beats working πŸ˜‰

The image above … well its only happened 3 times for me over 20 years while on a job and a rainbow comes out. I’m really loathed in shooting them as its just so twee’ … especially for a photographer but how they used one of the shots was good. Plus were talking in the Defender on how the day is panning and how the article could be written. The title was already set dew to the weather we had so on that basis I took the images as it was weather related πŸ˜‰

Final impromptu stop above for a final leg stretch before we all went our separate ways. A great day and was really pleased with some of the images.

Only 6 pages but liked the images chosen for this one πŸ™‚


RAF Series 1 Resto

I’ve just written another quick blog on the x5 928s and mentioned that I’m seeing a lot of Porsche recently…. Well Land Rover is the other make I seem to have had a lot of to capture lately.

Shot earlier this year with a few days of the Cuthbertson Shoot. Again this was shot for Land Rover International Magazine.

An ex RAF landrover restored from the ground up. As ever the first task was to find a decent road to get some tracking shots taken…


The weather was majority of the time fairly flat so had to make something of the sky and punch the whole image a little. Kept low for this as the axle as you can see was an eye catching red so that helped a little to give the shot something else.

The final DPS was the shot (below) and you can see the final layout and crop as well.


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I must say this sounded really nice, especially when I was about 2 meters from it and the lane we were on was narrow and when going through the walled section just amplified the sweet sound even more.

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Again giving various orientations for the tracking shots (above right) as I wasn’t sure how many pages and how many images were needed.

Page 2

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Plenty of detail shots as there was many things to write about without knowing at the time what would be mentioned. Not really that hard as the little details were around every nook and cranny.

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By the time it came to shoot a few of the incidentals the sun had gone in and the grey clouds and rain came rolling in so a simple speedlight came into its own on the shot above to fill the faces…

Until next time…



If Bowler made a Series 1….

This shoot was for LRO and it seems I’ve shot quite a number of Land Rovers recently. All of them being of some uniqueness and this one was no different. A series 1 that went a lot deeper than skin deep… Bowler Motorsport are the creators of this unique Series 1.

The same people that created the Wildcat that turned Richard Hammond into a ‘Driving god’…(video here) have created a gem.


Before I write just a few things about the car specifically…. the location was pretty good as well. A test track of about 1mile around a lake that was private : ) …..Β  open the gate, close the gate and then go and play…. This made tracking a whole lot easier and ‘cleaner’.


This for all intent and purposes looks like a Series 1… but its what lies underneath the skin that makes this interesting… Basically you’ll have to get the current issues of LRO and have a read of it as I’m not that mechanically minded.


But what I do know it has a Jag 3 Ltr V6 and just sounded well good. Not a savage in your face like say the wildcat but a reassuring burble.


While I was shooting the driving shots (above) I was in the back on the benches and whenever we set off or accelerated I had to grab onto the cage before I slid to the back door… this thing had some torque.


The interior was really sympathetic to series 1’s, clean and well finished.


These vents above were the air con for the cabin.


Vented disk brakes, suspension upgrade and chassis. Like I said I’m no mechanic but alot of mechanical thinking and engineering went into this to make it look like a Series 1 but that you could easily drive daily.

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The final image for the opener.



The whole shoot was made all the more easier due to the location and the ability to grab the shots needed with relative ease.


A good day out, great location, the sun kept coming in and out which proved a little annoying at times but that’s life! … still beats working for a living.



Which would you pick???

This shoot was for Land Rover Owner International Magazine. This shoot will ever been ingrained in my head, not for the side wind and rain atop the Yorkshire Dales which proved interesting but for the fact that I was just getting over two days of a sick bug and was still a little green…

The joys of working for yourself ; )

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We started off with some statics and getting a few detailed images to go with this specific article… Not a green-lane article or an individual piece but this was asking the question which of these two would you choose for a weekend ‘toy’ if you will…


Not knowing if this was a potential cover shoot I looked for opportunities to get a few cover angles in the day. This above was a track we stopped on because of a nice puddle of water just out of shot at the bottom but also lent itself to a decent long scenic view. Of course coupled with rolling fog!

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These two images were obviously at the same location but were taken about 1 min apart. The one on the left was the first run and again looking for a potential cover or a full page image. The clouds were moving fast and I asked for another run and sure enough just as the ‘defenders’ (easier to call them both defenders even if technically they aren’t!!) were gone over the crest of the hill for the second run the clouds suddenly cleared for the second pass…. on the right.

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The final DPS above and the original image. Having the D810 as I mentioned in a previous blog, is really helpful as you have soo much detail and file size that if you crop a good third of the image out you can still very easily use that for a full double page spread.


We carried on a few green-lanes and kept hoping out at certain points to set up a few drive-byes. On a foggy day you can get some pleasing muted colours which just suit the ‘defenders’ and a scene that for me epitomises the make and model.


Stood in a heavy rain coat and over trousers I was fairly comfortable (apart from being sick!) but the rain I couldn’t do anything about. I was soon running out of clean lens cloths to try and dry the front element as a fare few of the images had rain circles on them…


Sometimes its easy to forget about a rear shot so when an opportunity stares you in the face you grab it and say thank you : ) … again the flat sky had a little definition in the clouds so without over doing it making it a little dramatic helps along the way.

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The image above was at the highest point of the day and the wind was fairly sideways! …. The portrait shot on the right I was definitely thinking of a cover shot.


This was never used in the article but was taken shortly after we set off… For me the Series 1 was fun but the 90 would be my choice, a little more creature comforts and a far more comfy!



Want one! ……the ultimate 101

Shot this for Land Rover Owner International last October I think back in the North East… I’m still lost for words when writing this to express what I felt when I first saw this 101. Didn’t know much about the 101 until this shoot, but remember seeing them in their native MOD format when growing up. This started out and was deployed in various conflicts for the Army as an ambulance.


I think just the size of it, quality of engineering, attention to detail etc etc… so much to look at, so much thought went into it… you could just walk around it for ages picking out details.

Anyway back to the shoot… a field nearby was available for us to get all the shots we needed. The weather was varied from bright sunshine one minute to dark rain clouds the next then back again to harsh sunlight. This all coupled with winds that took three of us to anchor down the awning.


Due to the wind not playing ball we didn’t have long to shoot these images of the awning and the stove in place. I had a couple of Bowens heads to try and lift out the heavy shadow under the tarp. Knowing full well I’d have to help it along the way post production. On this wide shot above I’ve got the lights as close into the frame as possible and then tried not to have the light over power the sunlight to much… bit of juggling and a bit of post then we got there.


Always nice to get some blue sky but I had about 10 mins before we were over shadowed by some dark clouds.

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The owner was an engineer by profession and 101’s being just a passion… (this particular one was his third I think) The images above show a ‘home-made’ rig that was remote controlled which lowered the spare wheel in such a way that once down and unbolted the wheel could be rolled to wherever needed.



The inside was comfortable and well kitted out… and fairly well sound proof.


I think the cabin was fairly standard but with power steering added for ease and comfort πŸ™‚

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Plenty of details and decals around to make this a total one off.


The field was big enough for some tracking and also panning shots. The tracking shots were fun because this think not only look fantastic the V8 3.5 Rover engine just sounded …. well I’ve added a short video clip for your enjoyment of the sound. (straight from the camera unedited)


Disco SelfieThis was an unusual vehicle to shoot and one that I won’t forget in a very long while. The tracking opening shot would be one of my favorites from 2015.

Loved this one so much I even took a selfie while still in the boot of LRO’s Discovery which I found to be a great tracking vehicle…. especially in the rough.

This might be the first image I put as my background on me mac… now that’s saying something.

As ever you can see the final layout and article here.