Considering what a strange year it’s been, it’s also been a surprisingly productive one from a photography standpoint. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this year, it’s not to overthink it, just go out and enjoy the simple pleasure of taking photographs. During the most stringent first lockdown, it was surprising just how much I missed photography, and I couldn’t wait to get out again with the camera as soon as government restrictions were eased.
Here are some of my personal favourites from the year, month by month.
Ten years on from my original trip to Iceland I returned again, this time with the family. My lovely wife had bought flights to celebrate my 50th Birthday. I was keen to try and see a couple of places I hadn’t seen before, as well as show the family some of the best bits of Iceland from my previous trip.
I usually hate January. I can get quite depressed in January; Christmas has been and gone, there’s nothing to look forward to for the whole month, and thanks to grey, drab overcast skies photo opportunities are few and far between.
Thankfully this year has been a little different. Over the last six weeks or so I’ve been working on a little project, photographing and filming a Jackdaw roost at Stoke Lock, on the River Wey near Guildford. It’s a subject matter that doesn’t really rely on the weather. In fact, the moodier the better. As long as I’m out photographing I know my mood will lift.
I received some good news yesterday to help see in the New Year, an email from Landscape Photography Magazine to say I’d won their Intimate Landscape feature this month! Having won this back in July last year I really didn’t expect to be winning it again, and if I’m honest I’d forgotten I’d ever submitted this image, so it came as quite a surprise!
I actually took the shot back in December 2016 on a cold, frosty morning at Virginia Water, a location I often return to, and one I’d definitely recommend. I’m considering running a workshop here in the Autumn, as it’s particularly beautiful at this time of year. There are so many great spots, including several that are hidden away and people may not be aware of, so if this is something that might appeal to you please contact me here and I can go into more detail.
You can see the image in place here.
To download your copy of Issue 95 (January 2019) please click here.
I’m delighted to announce that I’ve won the Coast & Marine Category in the British Wildlife Photography Awards! It’s been a long time coming, I’ve entered every year for the last eight without making it into the book up until this point, and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk a little about some of my inspirations over the years that have led me to this point.
Storm Gull, Newhaven. Coast & Marine Category Winner, BWPA 2018.
The first printed book collection from the British Wildlife Photography Awards back in 2010 was the catalyst that really set me on the path of wildlife photography. I remember pouring through the pages in awe. Marcin Zagorski‘s shot of a Mountain Hare bracing itself against a snowstorm in the first light of dawn. Craig Jones’ shot of a Barn Owl out hunting early on a frosty morning, the beautiful contrast of the warm rays of the sun in the foreground offset against the cool blue tones in the shadows. Yannick Dixon’s shots of a Starling murmuration in Blackpool. Ben Hall’s wonderfully composed shot of a Mountain Hare sheltering from the elements. Chris Elliott’s intimate shot of a pair of Great Crested Grebes feeding their young at close quarters. All these images set my creative juices flowing and I couldn’t wait to get out and try for myself.
Had a lovely surprise today, I’ve won the Landscape Photography Magazine Intimate Landscape feature this month!
For those who don’t know, Landscape Photography Magazine is run by highly respected photographer Dimitri Vasileiou, and has probably the largest readership of any online landscape photography journal. The website has over 300,000 unique visitors in more than 190 countries, so a truly worldwide readership.
You can see the image in place here. One thing I should point out – those aren’t my words in the description, it seems to have been re-written by an eight year old, but never mind.
To download your copy of Issue 89 (July 2018) please click here.
It’s always been a dream of mine to have a book published. Unfortunately the number of publishers beating a path to my door has been non-existent (I know, I can’t understand it either), and the chance of seeing my work in print seemed remote. Self-publishing offers a lifeline, giving anyone the ability to produce their own books. It may not offer a lucrative return, but there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had from seeing a project through, and seeing the final work in print.
Proud to announce that for the second year in a row I’ve received a Commended in the Outdoor Photographer of the Year Competition, again in the ‘At the Water’s Edge’ category.
For years I’ve been entering the BWPA Competition in the hope that one day I could take my place at the opening night exhibition, rubbing shoulders with my peers. Well this year that dream finally became a reality, but it wasn’t through any fault of my own. No, my invite arrived as a guest of my 12 year old daughter Hannah! Her shot of a Tawny Owl, taken at the British Wildlife Centre, received a Highly Commended in the Under 12 Category, and this was my ticket into the event, hanging on to my daughter’s coat tails! Hell, I’ll take it any way I can get it.
This was in fact her second consecutive year to make it into the book. Last year Hannah got two images into the book, one of a fox taken at the British Wildlife Centre, and another of a beautifully backlit rabbit taken locally at the Basingstoke Canal Centre. The fox image was also later used as a double page spread/poster in the RSPB children’s magazine. So whilst Hannah begins to make it look easy, every year I struggle to make it beyond the shortlisting round!
No matter, it was great just to be there, and to catch up with a couple of photographers in the shape of Phil Selby and Chatainya Deschpande, both of whose work I greatly admire. All the prints looked fantastic up on the wall, some truly stunning work. My particular favourite was Ben Hall’s shot of a Wren during a harsh frost, stunningly beautiful.
With a new publisher the printed book has, in my view, taken a leap forward this year. The design is much improved and it’s printed on a beautiful matt stock. Available here.
You can see a full list of the winners here.
Congratulations to all the winning and commended entries, and maybe, just maybe, next year will be my year!
I had a very exciting message a little while ago…
Now it’s not every day you get a request to appear on television to talk about your photographs, and despite being of a shy disposition, I felt this was just too good an opportunity to miss. The request came from Richard Taylor-Jones, a filmmaker whose work I’d long admired. His films are always beautifully shot and very emotive and thought provoking. He shoots regularly for Springwatch, Countryfile, the One Show and Coast, indeed the only wildlife cameraman to have worked on all four. So it was a real privilege to be given the opportunity to take part in one of his films.
I’m delighted to be included in this beautiful collection to mark 10 years of the Landscape Photographer of the Year. The book is larger than the usual LPOTY year books, and I was glad to see the quality of the print vastly superior. It’s very nice to be in amongst some very esteemed company. It has over 250 photographs, including all overall winners and adult category winners plus a selection from each of the 10 years of the competition so far.
We’re now into the second year of the Woking Peregrine Project, and so far things have gone extremely well. Two new cameras were installed, one looking along the ledge where the nest box is located and the other viewing the birds’ favoured spot on the North End. This has given us some great views that really add an extra dimension to the experience. Last year’s pair have remained on top of Export House and are now into the breeding season. They have produced 5 eggs, which is something of a rarity, and this has stimulated quite a bit of interest.
Very proud to announce I’ve received a Commended in this year’s Outdoor Photographer of the Year Competition, in the ‘At the Water’s Edge’ category.
Peregrines have been regular visitors to Woking since as long ago as 2001. There were breeding attempts in 2005 and 2006, which unfortunately failed due to flooding of the eggs laid on an exposed roof recess. Over the past two years a new pair of peregrines have been visiting Export House, the tallest building in Woking, and so a number of key partners have sponsored the installation of a nest box in January 2016, with an internal web cam to record developments.
I’m proud to say that for the third year in a row I’ve made it into the Surrey Life Calendar. My image of a rather aggressive looking Red Deer Stag taken during the annual stag rut last year has been selected to represent November. The theme this year is ‘Icons of Surrey’ and features such locations as Newlands Corner, Mayfield Lavender, Box Hill, Denbies Vineyard, Winkworth Aboretum and Frensham Little Pond, helping to highlight some of the great locations we have here. Richmond Park, where my shot was taken, is of course not actually in Surrey, but it is part of the ‘old Surrey’, and Surrey Life retain it firmly in their remit, with a large number of their readers from this area.