Photographic Essays by Cormac Scanlan

This photoblog, Photographic Essays by Cormac Scanlan, features photography experiments by photographer Cormac Scanlan, who is based in Suffolk, in the UK. Through his photography Cormac explores a wide range of styles and subject matters, always trying to reflect his thoughts and feelings in the way he shoots things.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Wide-Angle Exploration in Bradwell-on-Sea

Last weekend I turned 30. Admittedly, it had been on the cards for a while, but not in my thoughts for as long as the desire to add a decent wide-angle to my kit bag. After some debate I decided to invest in the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and so far I have not been disappointed. Distortion is minimal (even at 10mm), vignetting is pretty much non-existent and loaded on my Canon 550D, colour representation is excellent. 

Bradwell-on-Sea is a small town on the Essex coast, most famous for it's power station. It is also home to some great expansive landscapes and made for a fantastic place to try out the new lens...

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Orford Castle

Light and Textures at Orford Castle

Castles are often great places to explore light and texture and Orford Castle in Suffolk fits firmly into this category. Built in the 12th Century by Henry II, the castle is on Suffolk's coast and overlooks Orford Ness. The natural light hitting the walls of Orford Castle's five floors and cellar make for some atmospheric lighting and the castles exterior are ideal for texture studies...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Pin Mill Boatyard

Exploring the Boatyard at Pin Mill

Pin Mill is a quaint riverside village in South East Suffolk, near Ipswich. The flow of yachts coming in and out of it have been painted and photographed many times, but it's boatyard seldom seems to get a look in. Photographically, it's a fascinating site, full of chains, boats, heavy machinery and rust galore.

The muddy banks of the River Orwell glisten in the setting sun out here and that makes Pin Mill the perfect place to set up for some great East Anglian landscape photography, but there is something a little bit old fashioned about everyday life in the village, and that to me has it's own draw. 

With a 50mm, f/1.4 lens in hand, I went exploring...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Eccles-on-Sea... on Film

Playing with Film in Eccles-on-Sea, North Norfolk.

Eccles on Sea is a wonderful village on the North Norfolk coast which I have been visiting regularly since I was a child. A dusty, charmingly bleak place with a population of just a few hundred, consisting of a strange mishmash of quaint holiday homes and makeshift houses. 

I took my old Olympus OM10 out around this time last year and shot some Ilford XP2 Super 400 film; these photographs are the result...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Britain in a Day with Cormac & Vanessa

Britain in a Day updates? Hoping to hear back soon...

For those who don't know, Britain in a Day is a the follow up Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald's Life in Day, which was a worldwide project to create a film from footage taken by members of the public on Saturday July 24th 2010, and uploaded to YouTube for review. My girlfriend Vanessa and I filmed a lot of footage that day and after several months the creators got in contact saying they liked liked it. They asked us to upload our HD footage to their FTP site which was pretty exciting at the time.

Sadly, the footage we submitted didn't get used in the end, but it was encouraging to be considered for it, somewhere close to the final cut. When put together, the finished film turned out to be a very moving experimental movie which managed to touch on the genre bounds of both documentary filmmaking and non-narrative film without comfortably fitting into either category. Like most films of this nature, it was received to very mixed acclaim, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend checking it out on YouTube. If nothing else, it's very seldom you see a feature film distributed on the internet completely free and completely legal.

After the success of Life in a Day, the team responsible have decided to do a follow up in Britain, so on Saturday November 12th 2011 Vanessa and I found ourselves filming our day again. We did a lot of timelapse photography at home and took a walk in Freston Woods, near to where we live in Ipswich before cuttings the clips together into a single short film and putting onto YouTube.

It remains to be seen whether or not the team will like what we've done for Britain in a Day, but I am hopeful. For some reason I had been wondering about the progress of the project this evening (having not heard anything), so I had a look around the internet. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of updates on the project, but they do have an awful lot of footage to get through, so I guess no news isn't necessarily a bad thing at this point.

Our video is below and shared in HD quality if anyone fancies a watch (click on the cog icon to view it in 720p or 1080p)...

Please note: The rules of entry were quite specific about not being allowed to do anything but the bare minimum in terms of video editing, hence the rough nature of the cut.

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Freston Walk Last May

Fields, flowers and bulls in Freston, Ipswich

I'm writing a photography advice piece for a print magazine at the moment so I have been looking through the archives today for photos to include on the magazine spread. During my delving I came across these shots I took whilst walking in Freston Woods near Ipswich on a lovely sunny day last May.

The patterns of the crops made for interesting texture studies and the flowers were in full bloom which gave lots of option for playing with macro and bokeh. The woods are nicely sheltered, but with quite a broken canopy which creates some lovely mottled lighting effects.

The first time I did this walk I stopped and sat on a broken tree trunk overlooking some nice fields, nonchalantly eating sandwiches, completely oblivious to the fact that there was a bull in the field. This time I moved through that field pretty quickly and didn't wait around to see if he was still there.

Looking through these old shots makes me long for the very photogenic light you get spring and summer. I'm looking forward to going out and taking some nice shots out this way again this year. Only another few months...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Bourne Park in the Snow

Enjoying the snow in Bourne Park, Ipswich

The first snow of the year hit Ipswich today. Probably no more than 3 or 4 inches in most places, but easily enough to get me out and about with my camera. I decided to take it to Bourne Park in Ipswich, which is just a short walk from my house. 

Dog walkers, families, sledgers and other photographers were out in force in the park itself, but some of them made for some pretty interesting photos.  There are some awesome meadows out behind the park which looked fantastic in the glistening snow, so I had to check those out too.

Hoping we get a few more downfalls in the next few weeks as snow is a lot of fun to go shooting in...