Paul Shears


Paul Shears

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About Me

I live in the London/Essex area and work as legal records analyst for a large corporate law firm based in Canary Wharf. I'm a father of 2 young children who keep me very busy, and I’m a bit of a gadget freak.

Photography has always been part of my life. My grandfather was a photographer and it was his photos that first drew my interest in photography, but like most things when you're young, you soon loose interest. However after more than a decade later and the introduction of digital cameras my interest returned in 2007 with a trip to China. Then in late 2010 after previously been given my dads used DSLR, I decided that it was time to step out of auto and learn how to use the camera properly.

I guess if I had to describe the type of photography I do I’d say I'm a Landscape, Architecture & Fine Art Photographer, who also shoots Wedding, Portraits & Events. In other words I love to take photos!

My images have been used in TV advertisements, books and magazines as well as being sold to companies around the world. I’m also a ‘Getty Images Artist’ and license a number of images through them. Most recently I had two images commended in the ‘Your View’ category of the Take A View 2014 Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.

How & Why I Use Triggertrap

For a long time now I’ve been very interested in Long Exposure photography, where you use neutral density (ND) filters to limit the amount of light that passes through the lens and onto the cameras sensor. This results in exposure times upwards of 30 seconds in broad daylight. The results of the long exposures can create some very interesting effects. For example water starts to look much more flat, often smooth and glass like. Clouds can create great streaks in the sky and people can appeared blurred or even removed from the scene completely.

Behind the camera on a long exposure shoot of St Paul's Cathedral

Behind the camera on a long exposure shoot of St Paul's Cathedral

 To do this requires placing the camera into bulb mode and the use of an intervalometer or simple cable release, which you program with the calculated exposure time depending on the strength of your ND filter. However typical intervalometers from Canon & Nikon are stupidly over complicated and take a long time to set up with your desired exposure time. Using a simple wired trigger would mean standing by the camera counting the seconds gone by either on top of the camera or by checking your watch/phone. This would (in my case) either lead to a very drawn out period of anything between 1 & 5 minutes or missed exposure times because I was distracted by something else or just plain caught out day dreaming.

Then one day I was introduced to Triggertrap via a friend and fellow photographer. Once I’d downloaded the free app I instantly knew that it would help to solve all of the issues I had with intervalometers and cable releases. Now I use it to program in the exposure time I want and then I’m free to let the minutes and seconds count down without the fear of over or under exposing the image because of my lack of attention. Since having the Triggertrap mobile app and dongle I’ve also tried a few time-lapses, which I really enjoy and plan on creating a lot more in the future.

Q&A

TT: We know you love your long exposure landscapes, what’s your favourite place to shoot?

PS: Canary Wharf has to be my favourite place to shoot because I'm fascinated with the buildings and architecture. I also like the fact that there's allot of water around too. In the various docks surrounding it, along with the River Thames which is on both sides. But if I had to be more specific, it's an area just outside of Canary Wharf known toward the bottom of West India Docks and a spot known as Meridian Gate. You can look out from there toward Canary Wharf and if the conditions are right get some great reflections out on the water.

TT: As you've probably guessed, we do love ourselves some gadgets! Is there a photography gadget that you simply cannot go without on a shoot?

PS: As it turns out that would be Triggertrap, as I have no other way of triggering my camera for long exposures over 30 seconds. So if I were to go out and I don't have my Triggertrap I wouldn't be able to shoot long exposures. As for something else well I recently bought a gear head (Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head) after getting frustrated with my previous ball head and the fact that it would take me an age to get my camera level. It would greatly increase my set-up times between shots and during sunset & sunrise every second counts! I also have this thing about straight lines in allot of my cityscapes (but not all) and that requires me getting my camera level both horizontally and vertically to ensure there is no distortion from the lens. The Gear Head allows my to adjust my camera movement across 3 axis quickly and accurately at the turn of a knob.

TT: You're a bit of an expert when it comes to long exposure photography! What are your top long exposure tips?

PS: Light leaks can really ruin a long exposure shot, not to mention waist the five minutes you've been standing around waiting for it to finish. So I use gaffer tape to cover every place I think light can enter the camera other than the front of the lens with the filter on it. The ports that become exposed when you plug in your cable release, the small LCD panel at the top of you camera, the glass bit on the lenses focus dial etc. I also cover the eye piece with a little rubber thing but if you don't have one blue tack is just was good. If you are using Square filters (100 x 100mm) then light can still enter the tops of the filter especially if it's a bright day and the sun is overhead. Sometimes it's best (where possible) to find a shaded are to shoot out from rather than stand in the sunlight. Otherwise find a way to cover the top and sides of your filters, once mounted either with gaffer tape or a band of material. But most importantly pay attention to your histogram it will let you know if your exposure is correct, as allot of people tend to under expose there shots, and recovering that detail later is allot harder sometimes impossible to do without allot of noise or grain. So always expose to the right (with out clipping), as you can make an image darker with out any artefacts in post but not the other way round! 

Connect with Paul

Website: http://www.paulshearsphotography.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulShearsPhoto
Instagram: https://instagram.com/paulshearsphoto/
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulshears/

Photos Taken with Triggertrap Kit