I’ve recently spent a week on a family holiday, staying just outside Embleton in Northumberland. The last time I visited the area was around 4 years ago and you can see the images from that trip in a previous blog post here.
That previous visit had a mix of fairly traditional landscape images and more abstract impressions which was a reasonable reflection of my style at the time. I had some specific evenings taking the camera out for photography and was treated to decent weather with some nice evening light.
Since then I think my approach has certainly changed, I’ve gone back to favouring a slightly darker aesthetic and am shooting a lot of mono squares as well as less ICM. I’m also in a bit of a lull at the moment with limited enthusiasm or inspiration for photography. The last proper trip out with my camera was back in November, 6 months ago.
The first image I took on this trip was with my phone, I was down on the beach with the family and the weather started coming in. I loved the look of some of the old chalets on the dunes and this one sat perfectly against the dramatic sky. Not long after this we left the beach, freezing kids in tow, before the heavens opened.
I’ve stopped taking my proper camera on trips out with the family as I just find it too much to juggle with young kids and difficult to concentrate on being creative. So this was very much a case of the best camera being the one that you have with you. It’s very rare that I try to take any ‘serious’ photos with my phone, mostly just record shots, but I enjoyed the process of this, editing it in Lightroom Mobile and then finishing off on the laptop.
In the rest of the week I only had one evening when I went down to the beach by myself and spent some proper time out with the camera. The weather was very flat with pretty dull skies and what light there is in the evenings was in the wrong direction to hit the dunes.
I decided to try and take a series of cohesively styled images, a couple including the landmark of Dunstanburgh castle, but more focusing on the dunes and chalets building off the phone image from a couple of days before. You can see the results below, including a black and white conversion of the phone image above to fit in with the set.
It’s been a quiet spell on the photography front for me, motivation has been pretty low in general for a year or so now. In March I had a week on a workshop up in Ardnamurchan which was fantastic to get the mojo going again, but we came back home pretty much right when the UK was going into lockdown, not the best time to keep the creativity up.
Having spent a lot of time photographing Sherwood Forest, for my yearlong project and beyond, I was delighted to be contacted by the RSPB at the start of this year about their project to restore the old visitor centre area within the forest.
For those who aren’t aware, the RSPB took over management of Sherwood last year, and part of the changeover was working alongside Natural England to relocate the visitor centre, as the old one built in the 1970s was within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with the buildings, car parks and footfall all having an impact on the ancient oaks nearby.
Last weekend was the launch event for Connected Exhibition, something I’m very lucky to have nearby and get involved with every year. One of the highlights for me is always trying to organise a shoot around my local area on one of the mornings, with a few other photographers who travel here for the weekend of talks.
This year we headed out on the Saturday to Sherwood Forest, where else would I take people? We met in the parking space near Budby South Forest, the big area of open heathland where I shot much of my Sherwood book and got lucky with a decent bit of fog. Less than there had been on the drive over, not quite heavy enough to shoot in amongst the dense woodland, but still some serious atmosphere on the heath.
Is there a consistent aesthetic between the music you listen to and the images you make? It’s a question I’ve asked on Twitter before and resulted in some really interesting discussion, but I felt like it would be good to write down some of my thoughts on it.
Music has always been a huge part of my life, in my teens I played guitar in awful punk bands with school friends, I did a degree in music production then spent the first 8 years of my career working as a sound engineer in a local venue before now working for a company who make audio products.
It’s nearing Christmas and time for the traditional end of year review, getting in a bit early this year but I’m also going to try and put a bit more thoughtful introspection into this one, rather than just listing all the good things that have happened.
That said, the year did start off with a few highs, writing articles for both Outdoor Photography and Amateur Photographer magazines, my Sherwood book being published then selling out and there were more bits of good news throughout the year too, with a third place in International Garden Photographer of the Year, commended in Outdoor Photographer of the Year, a series of successful talks, three images being included in an exhibition in Nottingham and a highly commended image at the British Wildlife Photography Awards.
A couple of weekends ago I met up with a pair of Darrens (Darren Rose and Darren Ciolli-Leach) over in the Peak District for a sunrise photography session. We decided to start off at Surprise View and Over Owler Tor, to see if there would be anything exciting going on at dawn, before heading down to Bolehill Quarry as the light came up.
I was at a bit of a loss initially, with a wide landscape view in front of me, it’s not something I’m used to shooting, the horizon was fairly flat and there wasn’t much detail in the sky, so my only real shot from sunrise was looking right down at a puddle of water in the rock at my feet.
Update November 2018: Unfortunately it appears L.Type have closed down, this is a real shame as the quality of the printing and service was outstanding. I’m leaving the review up and if they do open again I would continue to recommend them, but please don’t try ordering or using the voucher code.
Prints of my images are still available to order but will now be fulfilled using Fotospeed Signature edition papers, please contact me via the form on the prints page.
On Friday I was at Kew Gardens for the launch of the IGPOTY exhibition, more on that in a future blog, but I decided to take my little Fuji X-M1 with the fantastic 27mm 2.8 pancake lens along to take a few snaps of the exhibition, plus I’d left myself a couple of hours extra before my train in case there were any photo opportunities.
A lot of photographers would relish the opportunity to have a couple of hours in London with a camera, but I couldn’t be more uncomfortable at the thought of street photography, architecture isn’t my bag either and flat midday light plus a wide angle lens isn’t what I’d usually choose for photographing trees.