Halloween light trail special

As Halloween will be here shortly we went hunting for the elusive ghost train.

A bit of long exposure light play at the trains station at South Queensferry. It’s a learning curve and we went out experimenting on Friday night.

So we stood at the end of platform 2 facing the Forth rail bridge and as trains went past tried to get the light trails working. After a struggle we eventually got some good shots.

Then it was onto trying to shoot the end of the train as it’s stationary and moving away. The only problem with this is the delay between trains arriving at the platforms. 15-20min wait and then a single photo. I have eventually decided to get my 2nd (my back up camera, I replaced the Canon 1D MKIII with another 7D) Canon 7D involved to increase the possibilities of some good shots. I had to use a camera backpack as a make shift tripod but will invest in another tripod for the future, I might even need another lens as the wide angle is a bit to short at times.

Here’s the results of us facing the Forth railway bridge:

IMG_7262-fb IMG_7263-fb IMG_7272-fb IMG_7274-fb IMG_7278-fbAnd then moving to the back of each train working out how long to start the exposure before the train moves away to get
the illusion of transparency while having enough detail to see that it is a train.

 7901-fb 7902-fb 7903-fb 7904---fb vs3

Thanks you for having a look
Jacques le Roux

Playing with fire

I have joined a photography club after meeting a member by chance while taking photos of the eclipse earlier this year. It’s been a very interesting experience so far and I would recommend it.

The club I have joined does 1 meeting a month as a sit down and the rest you are out taking photos and learning in the process. Best way to do it in my opinion and it’s so nice to be able to talk about photography with people that share the same interest.

So go out there and see what’s available in your area. Here’s one thing we tried at our 2nd meet up. Playing with Fire at the ForthIMG_8191wpIMG_8187wp

Photographs by Jacques …

The Kelpies, Falkirk

I decided to revisit the Kelpies as I struggled to get both sculptures in on the 1st visit with my Canon EF 24-105mm F4 L IS lens on my Canon 1D MK III body. I have changed over to my Canon 7D for long exposure and night photography and I’m happier with the images than with the 1D. I’ll be getting rid of the 1D and getting another 7D as a backup.

Back to the Kelpies. My 1st visit was a recce and it was raining that morning. I couldn’t get the images I wanted and ended up going home slightly frustrated. Once I got the wide angle lens I thought it’s time for a revisit. I ended using different angle from my 1st visit and here’s the results of both visits. I’m very impressed with the Canon EFS 10-22mm after my 2nd use of it. Not a bad lens at all.

I’ll post up the 1st visit photos and then the wide angle lens visit below it.
The lights change colour every now and then. My 1st visit it went between blue, red, no internal and no external lighting. Second visit was more red and then no lighting.

IMG_0376 IMG_0379 IMG_0382 IMG_0384 IMG_0390IMG_0391IMG_0394IMG_0410

Second visit and using the wide angle lens.IMG_0675IMG_0683IMG_0687IMG_0692IMG_0689IMG_0694IMG_0701IMG_0704IMG_0706

Photographs by Jacques …

Aberdour pier at sunrise

Right after finishing off at Grangemouth I crossed the Forth looking for one of two piers I found using Google maps.

Arrived at Aberdour with 30min to go before sunrise. I was very lucky to have low tide as well which allowed extra potential photos.

Lots of long exposures photos followed using my tripod, remote trigger, ND filter, 24-105mm L F4 and Canon 7D. I thought I will give the 7D a try and if it goes well get rid of the 1D mark III (get another 7D as a backup camera). Finally left after midday feeling like I had some good fun and might have some great shots.

Here’s the 1st bunch taken around sunrise.

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IMG_0115 IMG_0166 IMG_0163  IMG_0136 IMG_0141Photographs by Jacques …


As it’s autumn and sunrise is later in the mornings I thought it’s time to get out for some early morning night photos. Did a recce last weekend at Grangemouth refinery, I was driving through the public roads between the refinery buildings. I stopped a few times for a photo or two. After a while I got stopped by security. They called the police and when the police arrived they did a background check on me, bloody terrorists spoiling photographers fun. They really should put up signs that photography isn’t allowed even though you are on public roads.

Did a bit on reading up on tips for night photography and reminded myself to use them and others I know.
– Use the top legs of the tripod before using the bottom legs to extend the tripod to appropriate height.
– Rather use the extension legs before using the middle extension bit.
– I used the watermark sensor in my 7D to keep the camera horizontal, when I checked the photos they were still between 1-3′ out. Fixed that via Photoshop but could have been worse. I think I’ll be doing this more in the future, day or night.
– Use a remote trigger. I ended up at the Supermarket at 5am to get a battery for the remote. Last weekend I had to use the 10 second count down which was a waste of time and the flickering red light is not ideal if you are trying to keep a low profile.
– Do a recce if possible. I used Google maps to find any suitable place and as well as looked at all the roads around the area. I cross checked other photos taken and used that and Google satellite maps to find a suitable place. Last weekend I used a spot a 100 meters away but the angle wasn’t great. I took a spotlight and went walkabout till I found a better spot today. The satellite photos help point me in the right direction. Here’s the results, hope you like them.

IMG_0099 IMG_0088 IMG_0085 IMG_0089 IMG_0094 IMG_0096 IMG_0092Last weekend I ended up close to the Forth but the wind was pumping. I had to use the car and more importantly the car door as a barrier to keep the camera still and the wind off it. I think I’ll get a heavy duty umbrella for the future as that will help keep the wind off the camera body. Today I stood between the camera and the wind as a barrier and realised you can stand quite a distance in front of the lens without being in the shot. The angle is so shallow and you can actually work it out looked down at the lens outer edge and the lens mount.

IMG_0005 IMG_0010

Photographs by Jacques …

Sport photography – Speedway British Semi Finals

I have been trying to get to the Speedway track for over 4 years. My old manager and I have talked about it but never got around to it, this time we were both available and it was a important meet. I was using it as a recce for possible future visits.

This isn’t the first time I have taken photos at a sport event, I normally cover motorcycle racing and motorcycle track days (www.TrackSidePics.com) but Speedway was something different from the norm for me.

I used a Canon 7D with a Canon 300mm F2.8 L and x2 converter. Using AI Servo and shooting at 1/400 of a second. With the converter and the x1.6 the 7D gave me I had 960mm to play with, if I worked it out correctly. I was standing at the other end of the track in the crowd and I was able to get a good reach from the lens. As the converter doubles up the aperture the lowest I could use was F5.6. This wasn’t a problem in the beginning but by the time the sun was down the ISO was pushed to maximum levels and the photos got grainier. The converter was taken off at sun down and aperture went to F2.8 but it made little difference in the end.
I enjoyed the evening and out of the 1000 photos I took I have 140 keepers, I’ll be able to whittle it down further but that not bad for the night in my eyes. You have to be realistic with your hit rate I feel, I took anything from 1-10 photos per corner, out of those I choose 1 maybe 2 keepers. As I won’t be selling these to anyone it works out well, if I was doing my normal racing and track day coverage I would be aiming for 80% keepers go give customers a variety to choose from.

There are a few things to be weary of when you decide to go to a sport event with a telephoto lens. The photographers track side either pays or are contracted to take photos, they don’t like it very much to see a big lens in the crowd taking photos. So find out beforehand if you are allowed to use a telephoto lens. In my case I found it out once a photographer track side spotted the lens I was using and sent a marshal over to tell me to stop taking photos, the marshal said the information was in the program. As I bought a program on the spur of the moment I checked the next day and there in small print on page 3 it states that no video, zoom or close range photography is allowed without prior accreditation. As I have public liability insurance of £5 million and already do track side photography I’ll try my luck to get permission for next time, however I don’t think I’ll hold me breath as track side is a very difficult place to get into.

The mascot of the Edinburgh monarchs.
IMG_0001Some practise starts by some of the riders. The power the bikes has easily lifts the front wheel upwards and the body position of the rider controls the height and direction the bike travels.
IMG_0002 IMG_0012 IMG_0025Some racing moments, sideways of course and with mud flying off the back tyre.
IMG_0004 IMG_0007IMG_0008IMG_0005If you look at the left edge of the photo at the bottom of the yellow board you will spot a black patch, that is a track side photographer, as I edited the photo I thought I’ll keep a little bit of him to show how close they are to the action.IMG_0006Track side furniture gets in the way of good photos but sometimes that just can’t be helped.IMG_0009 IMG_0146A rider removing a tear off, this clears the visor so he has a better view of the action.IMG_0085As half the track was in sunlight and half were in shadow it’s not always the easiest thing to balance, with 55-56 second races times you need to make quick adjustments if you want to cover both sides of the track. IMG_0003 Sun was down by the time the rest of the photos were taken. You can see as the ISO climbs the quality drops.
ISO 1250, F5.6 IMG_0445F2.8, ISO3200IMG_0480
People standing in front of your perfect photo will happen from time to time, if the action is good enough to distract the viewer from the intrusion then I feel you can use the photo.
IMG_0451IMG_0495F2.8, ISO4000IMG_0593 IMG_0561F2.8, ISO5000IMG_0693

Photographs by Jacques…



Forth bridges at night – Night photography II

Night photosession at the Forth road and train bridges.

We haven’t been out for a while for a night photo session. After days of snow, rain and cloudy weather it was time to get out and get some photos done.

I used my Canon 1D Mark III with my new Canon 24-105 mm F4 L IS lens for this session. I think need to invest in a wide angle lens for photos like these in the future. At 24mm I didn’t get the whole of either bridges in the photos. Time to do some homework to see the best wide angle lens to use. I started at F22 to see how hard I can push it last night and settled on F10 with either 30 seconds, 15 seconds or 10 second exposure.

The wind plays such a big role in night photography. The photos looks great on the camera but once you get it on a large computer screen you can see what the wind has done to your ‘near perfect’ focus. Editing the photos afterwards gives you another level to change things if you aren’t 100% happy with the results.

It was great fun and I think I prefer night photography over day time. So much to do at night to force you to try new things to get the best out of the light and subjects. The best part of all is you can take almost anything that would be boring in daytime and transform it at night, having a famous and brilliant subjects like these on my doorstep is a extra bonus.

Forth bridges:

Probably the photo of the evening for me.


A few photos at different angles and spots of the train bridge.



A train decided to add some extra effects to the long exposure. Other than that it’s the same image as the 1st one.IMG_0405

I tried to cut the spotlights out to get a better image of the bridge, didn’t work to the extent I hoped but not that bad either.IMG_0396

One of the best scenes of the evening for me.


The road bridge at low tide.


From below the road bridge.


I hope you like these photos, I really enjoyed taking them.

Photographs by Jacques…

Edinburgh you beauty – night photography

Night photos session:

Went out for the 1st test night photo session. Some good results, learnt a lot and can’t wait for the next session.

You need:
– Sturdy tripod
– If you can bring a beanbag that would be helpful
– A remote trigger
– If you can get hold of a torch that you can change the light strength on and that doesn’t have a central light spot take it with to paint things with light on long exposures

Good bits:
– Fresh air
– Nice moody photos can be achieved
– You will be surprised by the results of a long exposure

Bad bits:
– If you don’t do some reading up about night/long exposure methods it’s trial and error till you start getting results
– A fish eye lens would have been helpful
– Any movement will make stars become a line, use a remote trigger on a sturdy tripod

Very rewarding experience when you start getting results but very frustrating as well. Use ISO 400-800 with exposure times from 5-30 seconds for night shots.
Photographs by Jacques …

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6


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