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MerseaMillsy

Interview with Shaun Mills

Interviews

11 December 2015

Posted by Anna Fraser

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

My name is Shaun Mills, living on Mersea Island, located just off the coast of North Essex (yes, it is a real Island!), also known as 'Mersea Millsy' because this is where the vast majority of my photographic inspiration is driven from. I've been a budding amateur photographer for around 10 years (since I purchased my 1st Canon EOS 350d), however, I've started to take things a little more seriously in the past 18 months or so.

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

AThe weirdest situation I've found myself in? I'm sure the vast majority of dog walkers I see at ridiculously early times in the summer months (just so I can catch the sunrise) think I'm weird! However, I'd probably have to say it was while I was walking down a rickety old wooden jetty to try and get the perfect shot, but slipping on some seaweed before falling off the jetty into deep mud. At this point in time, I was drastically trying to keep my camera, tripod and backpack from disappearing into the famous 'Mersea mud', all to the amusement of some slightly confused tourists!

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

A I'm a Canon user and have been since I started. Right now I'm using a EOS 760d, but looking longingly at a 5Ds (hint hint Canon!). My lens upgrades over the past year have all been based on me changing to full-frame in the next 12 months. Given that I tend to take mainly landscapes or seascapes, my go-to lens still tends to be the Canon EFS 10-22mm. That being said, my preferred body / lens combo is the 760d + EF 70-300 F4-5.6 L lens, and I've just purchased a EF 24-70mm F4 L lens so I'm presently playing around with this. The improvement in quality when using the L series lenses is so noticeable. Good glass on an average body is so much better than poor glass on a good body.

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

AMy number one tip for any aspiring photographer is simply keep taking photos. Photography is like any discipline, the more you practice the better you will become. I look back now and see the photos I took 10 years ago, and can't believe I saved them to the computer! There are so many free tutorials out there on the internet that it's now very easy to learn and put into practice.

My favourite pic I've uploaded to Picfair has to be 'Tranquility'. It was taken at sunset, and combined with a very low tide which allowed me to walk out on the shingle to the v... Read more

My favourite pic I've uploaded to Picfair has to be 'Tranquility'. It was taken at sunset, and combined with a very low tide which allowed me to walk out on the shingle to the very edge of the water and capture the post-sunset colours from a slightly different perspective. The little dinghy in the foreground couldn't have been moored any better for me. Read less

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Shaun Mills

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This was taken back in October on Mersea Island (on the day the clocks went back) and I'd left home in the pitch black at 6.00am, walking down the beach to get to my chosen dest... Read more

This was taken back in October on Mersea Island (on the day the clocks went back) and I'd left home in the pitch black at 6.00am, walking down the beach to get to my chosen destination of the old wooden groynes (breakwaters). I set the camera and tripod up, and then just waited for nature's miracle to appear. The light was perfect and I made the decision to use my SRB ND1000 filter to 'flatten' the sea. Read less

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Mersea Island is fortunate for having many restored classic smacks and barges moored here. This shot was taken at sunset at shingle point on West Mersea, with the tide being so ... Read more

Mersea Island is fortunate for having many restored classic smacks and barges moored here. This shot was taken at sunset at shingle point on West Mersea, with the tide being so low I could almost touch the stern of the smack. The run of the tide caused the smack to turn directly into the sunset and that's when I took the shot. Read less

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Shaun Mills

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Smacks racing off the coast of Mersea Island, silhouetted against the backdrop of a bright sky. The colour version was actually quite washed out due to the sun, so I used a spli... Read more

Smacks racing off the coast of Mersea Island, silhouetted against the backdrop of a bright sky. The colour version was actually quite washed out due to the sun, so I used a split tone mono conversion to take advantage of the contrast of sails and sky. Read less

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This shot was taken during the annual 'Round the Island' boat race, which forms part of the Mersea Week festivities culminating in the Mersea Island Regatta. The day was regrett... Read more

This shot was taken during the annual 'Round the Island' boat race, which forms part of the Mersea Week festivities culminating in the Mersea Island Regatta. The day was regrettably incredibly wet and miserable, and most of the spectators were dressed for winter, not mid-summer. I was photographing the sailing boats in the backdrop which had just been carried across the road and were sailing into the distance when this lady walked into my frame. I thought the umbrella summed the day up nicely. Once again, another split tone mono conversion was needed to rid the shot of the colourful distractions. Read less

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Shaun Mills

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This was the last shot of the night, taken as I walked back to my car towards the houseboats on the Mersea Coast. The sun had just set and the post-sunset orange glow really ill... Read more

This was the last shot of the night, taken as I walked back to my car towards the houseboats on the Mersea Coast. The sun had just set and the post-sunset orange glow really illuminated the variety of masts, posts and telegraph poles that populate the Coast Road on the island. Read less

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Shaun Mills

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This was part of a series of shots taken on a fabulous summer night when conditions were perfect. The sun had just set and the clouds were just low enough to generate the warmin... Read more

This was part of a series of shots taken on a fabulous summer night when conditions were perfect. The sun had just set and the clouds were just low enough to generate the warming glow. The sea was mill pond calm apart from a couple of circular ripples enhancing the colours, which emphasised the reflections of the clouds. All of this framed the silhouette of the fishing boat perfectly. Read less

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Shaun Mills

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Quite often you make the effort to get up early on a weeked morning only to be let down by the weather. This was one of those occasions when I'd planned some sunrise shots, howe... Read more

Quite often you make the effort to get up early on a weeked morning only to be let down by the weather. This was one of those occasions when I'd planned some sunrise shots, however, the sun didn't materialise at all! I decided to play around with my 10 stop filter with the plan to convert to mono in post processing. The groyne leads the eye to the triangle marker post sitting directly in the middle of the frame. The 'rule of thirds' doesn't really apply here, but sometimes you just have to break the rules!! Read less

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Shaun Mills

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