Getting from Point A to Point B

Fractured Highway

As we headed out of Furnace Creek in Death Valley on Route 190 Paul Reiffer (our workshop host and professional photographer) pulled the car over to the side of the road.  I been looking out of the side window thinking about the challenges to come and had not thought of looking behind us.  Paul had and when we jumped out of the car it quickly became evident why.

This is a classic view looking back down the road and it is one that I have seen a hundred times.  The difference this time was that it was my chance to try to go one step further.  So, with each of us watching the traffic whilst we each took our turn at capturing this iconic image, I set about getting my interpretation between cars, trucks and those rolling 18 wheel monsters that were coming over the rise a few hundred yards in the opposite direction to the image.

Well, it looks like I was not the only person to like my interpretation of the view.  Gurushots must have hundreds, if not thousands, of images similar to this on their database, but it is my image (just one of 38) that has been used to provide an example of getting from point a to point b.  There are some wonderful images that have been used in the article and I’m proud to have yet another of my images used in this manner.

You can see the full article here.



More Recognition


As many of you will know, I occasionally put some of my images onto Gurushots, mostly  just to gauge how well they are received. Gurushots is an online resource where photographers can upload their images to different challenges, people then vote on their favourite images and as you get votes you climb the rankings.  I usually wind up somewhere in the top 5% and I have been in the top 1 and 2% on a few occasions.

However, what I really like is when the Guru selects one of my images as worthy of their vote.  The Guru being the person who set the challenge and who naturally has their own idea about what makes a good photograph within the definition of the challenge.

I have had a couple of my images that have been voted for but the current cityscape challenge is one that has some great images.  There are some great city skylines around the world and some amazing photographers capturing them.

This morning was one of those special days.  Overnight I have received notification that one of my Bay Bridge shots from my road trip with Paul Reiffer has made the grade, got noticed and it has been awarded a vote by the Guru.  In the images above, that accolade is noted by the star.

Paul advised and educated me throughout the two week long road trip and this was one of the last locations that we shot together.  I was able to bring everything that I had learned together and his workshop style tuition definitely paid off on this occasion.

Paul is running more workshops all around the world and you can find out more about his amazing work and these special workshops on his website using the two links.

You can see more of my work from the road trip on my website here.

Revisiting An Old Image Library


I had always seen online challenges and competitions like ViewBug and Gurushots simply as an inexpensive way of assessing how good (or bad) an image is.  I use 500px and Flickr in a similar way.  However, it is the challenges that are often useful in pushing photographers to think outside of the box and, in my case, to actually get out there and see what the world has to offer based on a specific subject.  This is something that I want to do more of this year.

However, sometimes these challenges have you rooting through old photograph folders and catalogues and today was no exception.  One of Gurushots’ latest challenge is entitled ‘Abandoned Places’ and this had me heading straight back to my Bodie photographs that were taken during my Californian road trip early in 2015.

I had already published a couple of images from that collection but felt that they were nothing overly special.  Needing a few more images to make up the full complement of four needed for the challenge, I took another look at what was on my hard drive.  1P7A9711aI did not really expect to find too much, but I was really surprised and pleased to find six brand new images to process slightly and then to choose from.

They were published a couple of hours ago and they have already launched me from the lower ranks up to the Premier tier and to position 149th out of 2,238 positions currently occupied.  I hope that I’ll climb much higher overnight and I’ll be watching with interest.

I just goes to show, that revisiting your old photographs is something that we should all do from time to time.  Not only does it remind you of distant memories and to bring you right make into that moment, but you just might find a gem that you over looked the first time.

Click here to see more of my images from my 2015 California road trip.

A nice surprise on Gurushots

Mono Lake Rainstorm  – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

For a while now I have been submitting some of my images to online website that give people and photographers the opportunity to vote and comment on my images.  These sites primarily include 500px which is mostly other photographers, Flickr which is more mainstream with anyone viewing the files and GuruShots which the most photographer centric of the three in my opinion.

These submissions were initially to gain some feedback on whether my landscape images are worthy of anything, or whether I should just stick to event photography.  I am pleased to confirm that the response has been over whelming with great results across the three sites.

With regards to Gurushots.  This site is based on photographers uploading images to certain challenges.  These challenges are set by the Gurus and they cover a multitude of subjects.  Other photographers that are registered on then have the opportunity to vote blind on a selection of images in each challenge.  Your images (or images) begin in the Popular category and then as you get more votes your placement progresses through Skilled, into Premier and then into Elite.  It is Elite where I have been fortunate to find most of my images (or image sets) climbing the ranks and into.

However, I was really excited to learn that one of my image sets that have been entering into “The Vast Outdoors” challenge has made it passed the Elite category and into the All Star category, being the highest level possible.  At the time of writing there are still a number of days of voting to go, but I’m sitting 40th out of around 2500 people and 8674 images.

If that was not good enough, one of my images (Mono Lake Rainstorm) has been picked by the Guru himself, placing a star on the image and qualifying it for a bonus to the vote count.

It is great to finally make the All Star rating, but getting an acknowledgement by the Guru himself really puts the icing on the cake and it really made me smile today.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll keep taking photographs and see what other successes I have over the coming months.

Followed by a good, good day

Mono Lake Rainstorm  – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA - Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Mono Lake Rainstorm – Rain teems down form the heavens over the mountains alongside Mono Lake, Mammouth Lakes, CA, USA – Copyright 2015 Martyn Phillips, M4Photo.

Had a good week at work and I have been out scouting for some photographic landscape sites near to home and I have found a few already.  Now I just need to get permission to park on the reserve overnight.

Then, I checked my results in three online free to enter photography competitions to find that I achieved 77th out of 1305 images, 44th out of 1236 and 46th out of 1836.  No finalist places but I’m happy enough to consistently be in the top 6% and to make the top 2.5% in one of the competitions.  All of these were images from my recent road trip around California.

Paul Reiffer, you are one hell of a tutor my friend :D.

A sad, sad day.

Prate ShipNo, as much as some of you might like to entertain the idea, I have not given up on photography just yet.  However, I am sad to say that the last of my chosen images from my trip to California in May has now been uploaded to Flickr and 500px and I guess this finally puts that amazing time with some great new friends behind me for the moment.

Back in May, I was immensely grateful to find myself packing for Las Vegas and a photography road trip being run by Paul Reiffer.  I’d be on the road with The Vig and Mark Hayden and it very quickly became obvious that the trip would consist of long days at some amazingly beautiful places.  The plan was to capture one or two good images each day and, under Paul’s expert guidance, I was pleased to secure at least one good image from every location that we visited.

Yes I made some mistakes and yes I would like to return to correct those mistakes, but for now I will have to settle for finding locations around my home and in the UK more widely.  Time is my enemy right now, but a two hour walk with the dog last night resulted in a few interesting sites that I hope to try to capture over the coming weeks.  I’ll be putting into practice what Paul taught me and hopefully I will have another series of images to accompany those online at the present time.

The feedback from friends and family was always going to be pretty good, well it always is for all of us.  However, the views and comments that I have received online and from complete strangers have been motivating to say the least.  I have tentatively entered a few of the images for some online competitions and made the top 10% in a few of them – with a little more work I hope to one day place a finalist image.

If you wish to review the complete showcase form my Californian road trip, it can now be seen on Flickr.

Finally a huge thank you to the person that enabled me to take this trip and just as big a thank you to Paul Reiffer for his brilliant pre-trip advice, his expert tuition and his motivation that has taken my landscape photography to new heights.

The Adventure Begins

Sometime ago I found myself booked on a trip of a lifetime, a twelve day road trip with an award winning and truly amazing landscape and Cityscape photographer – Paul Reiffer. The trip was supposed to be a photography workshop for half a dozen or so people, but during the early days of going public the trip took a different direction. The itinerary would stay the same but the party would be reduced to Paul, ‘The Vig’, Mark and myself. Into the mix would be thrown access to a Phase One medium format camera for us to get our hands on and the profile of the trip was raised.

So, over the last few months I have been acquiring a few new bits of photography equipment to try to help me to get the most from the trip. Yesterday saw the bags mostly packed and tonight I’ll be heading off to Gatwick and the M1, M25 run.

This is a very exciting trip and I hope to learn lots, work hard and come back full of new knowledge, skills and ideas. My only regret is leaving Joanna and the girls at home and this will be longest that Joanna and I have been apart since ’86.

I don’t know what internet access I will have over the next couple of weeks, but I hope to blog my way across from Las Vegas to San Francisco. The blog will most likely feature iPhone or Surface photographs from Death Valley, Tahoe Lake, Yosemite National Park, the two cities and more. Once processed, I hope to have some amazing images to post to the M4Photo website and Flickr.

So, enough for now as the road beckons and a 30 hour marathon begins. At least I hope to sleep on the plane and not turn it into a 40+ hour slog from this morning right through to arriving in sunny Las Vegas.

Lastly, please watch my blog and Facebook for updates on what should be an amazing couple of weeks of photography.