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dmayrshire

Interview with Paul Roberts

Interviews

28 August 2015

Posted by Sally Hart

Hi Paul! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

I've spent a big chunk of my life tied to the computer writing code, so getting out and about as a photographer is the perfect way to balance that out. I love being on top of a mountain with my camera gear at some crazy time of day, knowing there's no-one else up there (besides my wife, my two Beagles, and in Scotland right now, probably a few million midges).

QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

AQuite recently I was heading out to take some shots of a fighter at a hardcore MMA club in a tough old Scottish town. Just before I got of the door, my wife said "Remember, the guy you're shooting is a lot younger than you are and probably has some different ideas about what will look cool for the camera. I mean, don't be surprised if he turns up in pink shorts or something!" She was joking about the shorts of course. When I got there, the club absolutely fit its no-nonsense reputation. The entrance was down an unlit, decrepit alleyway, hard rock was playing through a ghetto blaster in the dimly lit training hall, and the fighters were just pairing up and getting straight down to training without any of the ritual and formality found in traditional martial arts. You could almost smell the testosterone, or maybe it was the sweaty armpits. But anyway, just as I'd got my gear unpacked, my subject for the evening strolled confidently out of the changing room, ready for battle and wearing bright pink shorts..

QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

AMy favourite body is my Canon 5DIII; it's a great all-rounder that can cope with just about anything. Lens-wise, I really love shooting with my old Sigma 50mm EX (pre-"Art") - it's got a lot of character - but for practical reasons I very often end up shooting with zooms. Probably the bulk of my landscapes have been taken with my Canon 17-40. Stop it down to f11 and it's pretty sharp across the frame, while still being surprisingly light and compact. Wish I could say the same about my tripod; I'll have to try carbon fibre one of these days!

QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

AAlways do your homework (as in research, planning etc) before you set out for the shoot, but when you get there don't be wearing blinkers, because you could easily miss something you haven't planned for.

'Right now I'd say my favourite pic I've uploaded would have to be this Castle Stalker pano. I just wasn't expecting to get something so dramatic. When we arrived at the locatio... Read more

'Right now I'd say my favourite pic I've uploaded would have to be this Castle Stalker pano. I just wasn't expecting to get something so dramatic. When we arrived at the location around golden hour it was all heavy, thick cloud and I just thought "no chance". I took a couple of wide long exposures so at least I wouldn't leave empty handed, but just as I was about to pack up a little area of cloud behind the castle started to get a little colour to it. While I stood there watching it, the colour intensified and spread and within a couple of minutes it looked like the sky was on fire! The final image is a stitch of 6 frames, each one of which is a blend of three exposure-bracketed shots. I was so nervous on the way home wondering if everything would stitch together, but thankfully it did.' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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'The old pier at Portencross has to be one of the most photographed structures on the west coast of Scotland. It's a gorgeous location, with a brilliant view out to the Isle of ... Read more

'The old pier at Portencross has to be one of the most photographed structures on the west coast of Scotland. It's a gorgeous location, with a brilliant view out to the Isle of Arran, but typically all you see from there are sunsets, sunsets, sunsets. I thought I'd try a night shot for a change, and on that particular evening / early morning there was a really bright moon which lit up the snow covering Arran's peaks.' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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'I've got really fond memories of that one. It was the first time I'd gone solo up an unknown (to me) mountain in the dark to catch the sunrise. I got up there in plenty of time... Read more

'I've got really fond memories of that one. It was the first time I'd gone solo up an unknown (to me) mountain in the dark to catch the sunrise. I got up there in plenty of time, quickly ditched my sweat-soaked top for a dry thermal (the wind chill was pretty fierce!), and waited for the sun. It got a lot colder when the sun rose (sounds counter-intuitive but that's how it works!) but the view was just incredible. Some people say that landscape photographers may capture the beauty around them but don't get to experience it, but I can tell you I've got vivid memories of how it felt to be up there at 4am, knowing that I was the only human to see that amazing view on that day.' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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It's so easy to ignore the beauty that's on your doorstep. I'd walked the dogs past this field countless times before I finally thought "that looks great, maybe I should photogr... Read more

It's so easy to ignore the beauty that's on your doorstep. I'd walked the dogs past this field countless times before I finally thought "that looks great, maybe I should photograph it".' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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'That was taken on the top of ben A'an. In terms of view quality versus effort expended to get there, Ben A'an has to be one of the best value hills in Scotland. And despite app... Read more

'That was taken on the top of ben A'an. In terms of view quality versus effort expended to get there, Ben A'an has to be one of the best value hills in Scotland. And despite appearances the summit is very safe, but a bit of careful composition and cropping helped added drama to this shot.' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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'When I first started venturing out around West Kilbride I nearly always ended up at Portencross, but the fact is that there are some very special views along the whole coastlin... Read more

'When I first started venturing out around West Kilbride I nearly always ended up at Portencross, but the fact is that there are some very special views along the whole coastline in that region. This was taken around Seamill; it was probably only my third visit to that location and everything came together for that shot: the water level, the heavy cloud and fiery sunset over Arran, and of course the snow still stubbornly clinging to Arran's mountains.' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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'This one really sums up hill walking in Scotland for me. During the climb up to that location I got rained on, nearly lost a boot in a bog, suffered through two intense hailsto... Read more

'This one really sums up hill walking in Scotland for me. During the climb up to that location I got rained on, nearly lost a boot in a bog, suffered through two intense hailstorms, and got a touch of sunburn on my baldy head. All that in the space of three hours! Perhaps more importantly, the shot has the dramatic blend of sun and heavy, moody cloud that is so typical of Scotland.' Read less

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Paul Roberts

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'The Ardnamurchan peninsula is a really unique place. It's part of the mainland, but it's so remote that most people still use a ferry to get there. It has a handful of shops do... Read more

'The Ardnamurchan peninsula is a really unique place. It's part of the mainland, but it's so remote that most people still use a ferry to get there. It has a handful of shops dotted around, but good luck to you if you think you can use a credit card to buy anything. And when the sheep are out for a stroll, everything stops for them, even when they're meandering down the only piece of double-track road for miles around.' Read less

Camera outline

Paul Roberts

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