Get to Know Vanguard Professional Michael Carver
We are proud to announce that Michael Carver has joined the Vanguard Professional team. Michael Carver is a photographer living and working in the Scottish Highlands. He likes all kinds of photography and will try his hand at anything. However, his main interests lie in capturing the beautiful scenery around him. He also loves to photograph people and finds that shooting weddings and portraits in the highlands from time to time allows him to mix his love of both genres.
We were pleased to have the chance to ask him a few questions. Read on to learn more about him.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY?
I have always enjoyed walking, climbing and exploring around the highlands. I had been growing increasingly frustrated by not being able to capture the beautiful scenery in front of me when out on the hills so decided to invest in a decent camera. I soon got hooked and taking my camera along on walks soon evolved into getting to particular locations at the right time of day to try and capture some of the landscapes that surround where I live. As well as photographing landscapes, I also love to photograph people. Shooting weddings in the highlands allows me to mix my love of our beautiful landscape with capturing special moments that I know will be treasured forever.
YOUR WORK SHOWCASES INCREDIBLE LOCATIONS AND THE FACT THAT YOU GO OUT ON A LIMB TO CATCH THE PERFECT SHOT. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING A SUBJECT AND SETTING UP A SHOOT?
I keep a notebook and when I'm out I am always looking for potential locations. I take notes and calculate what time of year a particular spot will provide the best light and note it in a diary. When I have time to go out shooting, I simply refer to my diary and look for a location that I've already checked out and I know will be suitable for the particular time of year. I rarely visit a location without doing any homework first. Sites like suncalc.com are fantastic for checking out sunset angles and times.
WHAT DOES YOUR POST-PROCESSING LOOK LIKE?
I have an established workflow that I like to follow. As I've grown in experience I’ve learnt that less processing can often be more. I like to process with a subtle hand and avoid pulling those sliders all the way to 11 these days!
WHAT ESSENTIAL PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR DO YOU TAKE WITH YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO?
The contents of my bag varies depending on what I'm shooting. I usually carry a 16-35mm wide angle, a 24-70mm mid range zoom and a 70-200mm longer lens for when I want to pick out details. My choice of tripod and bag will vary depending on the task ahead as well as the expected conditions / terrain. I have a VEO 265CB carbon fiber travel tripod that’s easy to pack when I am traveling and a heavy duty one - the ABEO Pro 283CGH tripod with a pistol grip head - that will stand up to the harshest of weather. One thing I always carry though is a microfiber cloth, lens cloth and plastic camera cover (posh description for a poly bag and an elastic band) – the weather in the Highlands can be changeable and it's always best to be prepared.
YOU ARE VERY INVOLVED WITH TEACHING WORKSHOPS AND CAMERA CLUBS. WHY IS TEACHING IMPORTANT TO YOU, AND HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON PHOTOGRAPHY?
I love teaching, passing on my skills and sharing knowledge to those in the early stages of their photography journey. I also find that beginners can have some amazingly original ideas. Sometimes following others work and attending camera clubs and the like can lead to photographers following the well trodden path of what is regarded as “correct” in camera club circles.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO UP AND COMING PHOTOGRAPHERS?
I’ve always enjoyed Flickr for sharing my images and also for using as another means of storage backup. I share a lot of my work to Facebook and enjoy the interactivity from other users.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE PHOTO OF YOUR OWN THAT, AT LEAST AT THIS MOMENT, YOU LIKE BEST – WHICH WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
My favourite photos are often not my “best” photos. It may be a memory of the day, a triumph over adversity if the weather wasn’t going my way, a split second when all of the elements work together to create that perfect moment. I like to keep a list of my favourite ten photos. If these ten are changing all the time and being replaced with new shots, then I know I'm progressing and making continual improvements. Picking one for now is difficult but one that springs to mind is long exposure taken over a Glen Docherty in the highlands, I had been waiting for the right time of year and wanted to catch a car traveling through the glen with its lights on through the winding road but need the right light (and the road to be relatively quiet - all at the same time). Fortunately it came together and I'm really pleased with the outcome.
ANY WORDS OF ADVICE TO ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Don’t get too disheartened when you look at more experienced photographers shots and think you’ll never reach that level. Photography is a journey of constant learning. Follow photographers work you like and try to reverse engineer how they did it. Don’t be afraid to ask a photographer how they achieved a particular shot, most are more than happy to give any tips or advice when asked. I also think it is important to photograph what you love, your enthusiasm and appreciation of your subject will shine through in your photos.