Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Lost Amongst Trees

(Remember, as usual all these photos can be purchased on request at www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk)

This year I've found myself getting fixated on certain locations or ideas at various stages - only moving on when I feel I've done the initial thought justice. I spent the early part of the year chasing a Mam Tor inversion, followed by an early summer really acquainting myself with Kinder Scout, then a long period around Higger Tor and Over Owler Tor chasing the heather, finishing(?) on an autumn spent in Padley Gorge.

The reason for the question mark after 'finishing' is because I'm not really sure I have finished here. Autumn is ending at that location but I'm not sure I can say that I'm fully satisfied that I completed what I set out to do. There's nothing that I know of that is as difficult to photograph as woodland due to it's inherent complexity, so to me it presented a challenge to see how far I've come in the last couple of years. If I could simplify the 3D mess that I see in front of me into a pleasing image to be shared in 2D then I'd be a happy man - and whilst I think in a number of instances I've come tantalisingly close to doing so, I've not taken that stand out photo that makes me step back (mentally, as I'm sat down) and think "bugger me, I've done it.".

I feel I've very much grasped (not that there isn't more to learn) the idea of landscape photography in terms of wide vistas with beautiful light - I look at my photos of these moments and often find very little I'd change about the image. But, inspired by the constant stream of work coming in from both my Twitter and Flickr contacts I felt that I still needed to focus on something more low key and personal, what some call (which I really don't like) 'intimate landscapes'. I will forever be in the camp of the wide views and spectacular scenery (and love nothing more than a well thought out 17mm photograph) as to me, a landscape photo should convey the feeling of being somewhere - and what better way to do that than grab as much of the scenery as possible and shove it into a wide angle photo (whilst still being well thought out and drawing the eye!). But in order to pass judgement on the smaller scale landscape it is definitely necessary to learn to do it myself.

I've learnt many things, and still have a long, long way to go in terms of perfecting this style of photography but one thing that has stood out so far is how it's changed my perception of certain situations - as even in very harsh, glaring light on Gardom's Edge the other day - thanks to the many weeks I've spent amongst trees I managed to rethink my approach and come back with a set of images I'm very pleased with. I now almost have two completely separate sets of rules in my mind when taking photos, compared to the limited set I had before - which ultimately has to be a good thing!

Anyway, here are the photos - I don't claim that any of them are anywhere near perfect, but from 4 visits to Padley Gorge over a few weeks these are a selection of what I found. I'll leave my personal favourites until the end.

Friday, 4 October 2013


(As is usually the case, all of these photos can easily be made available to buy in various sizes - see www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk for examples)

This post is a bit of a departure from my usual landscape photography - some softer colours, some diffuse light and some much less grand vistas. There is still some mist though, or lots of it even, which as you'll all probably know - is one of my favourite things.

I don't often get out into the Peak District on miserable days (at least not for photography) - usually having to keep my spare time for trips when the light is almost guaranteed... but on Thursday morning I made an exception having seen the first signs of autumn in the bracken beneath the birch trees above Padley Gorge at the weekend. For woodland photography there is nothing like a bit of murk to soften the backgrounds, taking out otherwise distracting details and adding a sense of depth as the trees fade into the distance - so with low cloud hanging around the hills of Sheffield, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

My one aim for the day was to think more carefully about some more subtle compositions, rather than my usual fare of beautiful light over whole valleys, and in the end I think I achieved just that. From my entire trip, there are only a few photos that haven't been included in this blog post - so my success rate was right up where I'd want it - and I think I've managed to capture some intriguing shapes and textures in each frame - not to mention the beautiful colours. So... what do you lovely lot think?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


This is just a short post to try and gauge interest in calendars for 2014... some key features are as follows:
  • Roughly A4 photo with A4 calendar below (A3 when opened out)
  • Spiral bound
  • Most likely prices (inc. delivery):
    • £13 for 1
    • £23 for 2
    • £34 for 3
    • £45 for 4
    • etc.
  • Selection of my landscape images from the north of England.
The current design is as follows, but this may change as I take more photos in the coming weeks. If you're interested (you don't have to confirm just yet) then let me know using the form at the bottom of the page and I'll get back to you if/when they're ready.

The most current edition of the calendar - may be updated further.

Example of the actual calendar design.

So here's the form... if, for some reason, it doesn't work then you can also contact me right HERE.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Mam Tor Inversion

Well, you've all already seen MOST of the pictures from this trip... but not all. Rather than my usual way of showing you them, I thought I'd try out a little slideshow/video instead... I highly, highly (so really highly) recommend clicking the little full screen button - as the small version doesn't really do the scenery justice! 

Anyway, this was the trip I went camping just above Winnats Pass (having walked up via Cave Dale) and awoke to find my first Mam Tor inversion. I'd guessed it was coming just before I went to sleep as I could see the clouds getting lower and lower over towards Kinder Scout - and there was a sudden chill in the air as the cold air sank into the valley. I was, amazingly, the only person out that morning so had this popular spot all to myself... which made the whole experience even better. 

Oh, and not to forget that before the sun rose, I was stood simply admiring the view when the largest meteor I've ever seen flashed across the sky - you just couldn't make it up...

As usual, all the pictures are available on request, even if they're not already on my website at www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Born in Catterick Village, my family is entirely based in Richmond - where I moved at the age of 4. Not many of us get to claim such a town as their own... and these photos hopefully demonstrate why, no matter where I move for my career (Richmond isn't big on Cosmology) - Richmond will always be home (eurgh - even I hate saying that...).

For those new to this blog, any photo seen here is available in print at www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk - if it isn't already uploaded just use the contact form and I'll happily sort it out for you.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Yorkshire Three Peaks

(For those who want to know, right at the bottom is a map of the route)

I've been wanting to do the 3 peaks walk for years and years and years - after the Coast to Coast (I'll do it one day!) it must be my longest lasting aim... but for various reasons I'd never got round to actually getting out and doing it. But, finally, that day came! I've done Ingleborough and Whernside before but there was a little bit of mystery still left in that Pen-y-ghent had so far remained untrodden by myself. I was doing the 26 mile walk with my brother, Dan, who whilst enjoying the outdoors almost as much as me - certainly doesn't get out anywhere near as much. It was my longest walk ever, by a few miles, but it was at least double Dan's previous longest - and, being the kind of person he is, he'd not done the slightest bit of preparation for it - so (giving the end away here...) it was quite an achievement for him to make it round!

Anyway, we got up and set off by 5.30 and got to enjoy the most amazing sunrise you'll ever see (Dan's a real man's man - not one for pretty sunrises - but even he agreed). No chance to jump out and photograph it, so you'll just have to believe me... but a very, very nice start to the day! We headed up Wensleydale and as soon as we reached the watershed to come down towards Ribblesdale we were greeted by a much less inviting sight...

Photographically, I love mist, but not so fun to walk in!

Thursday, 29 August 2013


Well, this post has been a long time coming! A few weeks ago after having yet another cancellation (eurgh, models... or at least models who do it for free...) I organised a quite last minute shoot with one of my lovely strangers, Anete. We decided to head to the Winter Gardens, which was lucky as when the day came I'm pretty sure it was the wettest day of the year - absolutely torrential - so it was good to be inside. Unfortunately, we put our belongings in a locker in the museum next door... not knowing that it closed at 5pm... so poor Anete then lost her phone until the next day and was quite possibly unable to get into her flat... exciting stuff! On top of that, it meant that both of us lost our coats for the walk home... we must have looked quite a sight! Since this is not a wordy post, I should note here, before I forget, that Anete was a quite perfect model - holds poses perfectly, looks like that, and is very friendly to boot!

Edit: You can find her blog here... so go and have a look!.. 

Anyway... here are the photos... they were something of an experiment for me, so I hope you like the results...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Approaches To Kinder II: Crowden Clough

My second in this series of posts is easily the most difficult route up I've yet to find. I've not had the chance to explore the northern edges yet but of the major approaches from the south, you won't find harder. 

Starting in Edale you take the path out of the top of the village towards Barber Booth - it involves a slight climb but is basically along the bottom of the valley. Upon reaching Barber Booth, or the farm you come to that makes up part of the village you just continue on to the road, walk along it a short way and just on the far side of the stream - beneath the trees - is a path off up to the right. In summer this can get somewhat overgrown - whilst in winter it could be tricky too due to certain sections slipping into the stream below - but in general it's a very decent path. 

A little further up you soon come across this little gem - it's a bit of a slide/scramble down to it - but well worth it...

Monday, 22 July 2013

Approaches To Kinder I: Jaggers Clough

After being commissioned to shoot some photos from the top of Jaggers Clough, I finally decided to do the walk up it from Edale to get a feel for the place.

The walk along from Edale is pretty straight forward - after walking up through the village you turn right at the church to head down a pretty obvious path just below the graveyard. This takes you through numerous valley-bottom fields and farms until you reach the main Hope-Edale road. After a few minutes walking along this, through Nether Booth, you turn left into an overgrown path which soon leads onto a much more well worn farm track. This takes you straight up to the bottom(ish) of Jaggers Clough - at which point you no longer need directions. I'd say this walk, at it's hardest gets to about a [2], maybe a [3] at a push - but most people should be fine. If you've not seen already, these numbers can be made more meaningful by having a quick look at THIS post. 

Approaches To Kinder, The Key.

After my many, many walks up onto Kinder Scout I am finally starting to feel like an expert. This weekend I went for my final 'major' approach to Kinder from the southern flanks, starting at Edale - Crowden Clough. Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of information regarding the difficulty of each of these 'clough' climbs on the internet (or at least, I couldn't seem to find it) - so I have taken it upon myself to create a series of posts describing each. This is mainly because this most recent approach ended in failure - I knew it was a challenging one but upon reaching a steep scramble/climb at the top had to turn back because not everyone in the party was willing to climb it.

So, for this series of posts I'm toying with the idea of using the following ranking system - as it is what I know...

1) If you're like my Mum - you should probably turn back wherever I insert anything greater than a [1] in the text. This would be if you have absolutely no head for heights. A slanting path about 4 yards up would make you very nervous, anymore and it's too much.

2) If you're like 'old me' - more than happy, if not keen, to be high up, but so long as you have a 'falling gap' - a body length - between yourself and any edge. I'll shove a [2] in wherever this applies. Less than a 'falling gap' and you wouldn't want to be near any physically dangerous edges, or slopes greater than 30 degrees.

3) Current me - the more I walk, the more I desensitise myself. The top of Winnats Pass used to terrify me, all of 6 months ago, but now it is nothing. You no longer need such a large 'falling gap' between yourself and edges, and can generally manage slopes greater than 30 degrees - even if you don't fancy turning round too much on them. Probably somewhere around average. As you may have guessed by now - this would be a [3].

4) The Dan - slightly more adventurous than my current self, but still somewhat sensible (bordering on crazy, especially if paired with no.5 - the two together love to show off). Anyway, a [4] means a Dan can do it.

5) The Dad/Bob- fearless/stupid, whatever you want to call it. You don't care about sheer drops, edges or cliffs in the slightest. A breeze could knock you off? So what, you love to show off and stand on the edge. If I put a [5] you have to be a relative mentalist to give it a go.

Now, this list does not take into account you really outdoorsy types. I love to get out, spent my childhood in the Dales and get out into the Peak whenever I can now - but have little experience on the real mountains, with rock climbing and difficult scrambles. For you people, I'm sure you'll be fine - but this is very much aimed at the regular folk.

So - enjoy the posts and hopefully I'll have finally contributed something worthwhile to the internet.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Win Hill Sunset

This set of photos is from April, one of my first post-snow outings of the year and whilst it is always enjoyable to make the short walk up to Win Hill from Hope (oddly, I think this was the first time I'd done it when it'd been light?!?) - it was made all the more interesting by the seemingly millions of lambs. Some behaving better than others... 

Spring Sunset Around Higger Tor/Stanage Edge

Towards the end of April I took a late evening stroll up from Grindleford, through Padley Gorge and the Longshaw Estate, over Carl Wark and Higger Tor to Stanage Edge. Whilst there was lots of nice light it was the first time I'd been out in a while, so was first and foremost just a very enjoyable walk - although, of course, that didn't stop me taking a few pictures... the sun somewhat fizzled out just as it was reaching it's most colourful - as it sunk into a thick bank of mist on the horizon which made it get surprisingly dark even before sunset had technically happened. The train back wasn't for another 90 minutes so I had some time to wander around amongst the late climbers and have a quite snack in the darkness at Carr Head rocks, overlooking Hathersage.

I've taken lots of shots of Carl Wark in all sorts of conditions, but this is probably one of my personal favourites - even with the endless brown heather!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wild Camp No.1

Seems an age ago now... but right at the start of May, sick of not seeing a sunrise for a whole month, I decided to go camping. Those of you that have been following my photo-ing for a while will know that I don't have a car (I can in principle drive, but this is the life of a student who spends all his PhD money on photo gear) so I rely on the Hope Valley train line to get me places. The earliest train is 6.20am, arriving about half an hour later - which for the winter months is absolutely fine (if quite an effort to rush up hills in time) - but this was my first summer of serious photography so it didn't take long for me to get itchy feet.

As usual, all the photos in this post are available, or can be made available, on my website.

I've never woken up to a better view.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Edale Skyline

Ow do everyone!

It is quite unbelievable just how behind I am these days - so much for what started as my 'I'll post every week' rule, which then became 'every two weeks' and is now somewhere around the yearly mark. I thought I'd best put this one up though as for me, it was quite an achievement - my longest walk ever at 22.5 miles (until the 3 Peaks in two months time). A good few miles longer than my previous best, 17 miles in deep snow - which can be seen here.

This is a very well known charity-type walk, and some crazies even run a variation of it in the Edale Skyline Fell Race - so it was something I'd been meaning to do for quite a while. Starting in Hope, you walk (as the name suggests) around the skyline of the upper Hope Valley, overlooking Edale. This takes in Crookstone Out Moor, Kinder Scout, Brown Knoll, Lord's Seat, Mam Tor, Back Tor and Lose Hill, so plenty of ups and downs - but I thought I'd also include a couple of detours. The larger detour being to include Win Hill by walking up around the back near Ladybower before continuing along the usual route - and also a shorter, boggier detour to what *was* the highest point on Kinder Scout.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Great Shunner Fell

A couple of weeks back we went for a lovely warm walk up the 3rd tallest hill in the Yorkshire Dales, Great Shunner Fell - which overlooks both Swaledale and Wensleydale. In general there seems to be no good round walk from Thwaite as there is only a single path up, the Pennine Way, which continues south to Hawes. So whilst there will be no spectacular photos in this post I thought it might be useful to someone, somewhere, to see how we did it - especially navigating the dreaded peat bogs on our chosen route down.

Steep sided Buttertubs Pass - some lovely light too.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Help!... or any ideas?

This is not really a post, just a note and question regarding a problem with my photo-processing.

I've been using Canon's DPP software for ages but increasingly I come up against this message: "Insufficient memory. Cannot open file.". I understand, under normal circumstances, why this would pop up and as such close any unnecessary programs to free up some space etc... but, as an example, right now I have 5gb of  memory available (from a total of 8gb) and the folder I'm trying to open in DPP only has 6 jpegs in it. 

I'd understand this problem if I had hundreds of programs running, or was trying to open a folder of 500 RAW files or something ridiculous... but it's getting to the point now where I simply can't even open anything in order to look at my photos...

So, what am I missing? Any ideas? Everything on the internet just says to subdivide my folders - but, like I say, that starts to take the piss a little bit when I'm already down to 6 jpegs...

Thank you for anyone's help in advance!

Updates so far:
- Tried clearing cache - no effect

- Tried deleting temp files - still nothing.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Just Another Mam Tor Walk

This one seems such a long time ago now. Way back in February in what I thought might be the last snow of the winter (how wrong I was!) I headed out for my last sunrise shoot of the year. Relying on trains means that the earliest I can arrive at Edale is 6.55am so as sunrise gets earlier, it gets increasingly difficult before becoming impossible. On this occasion the sun was due to rise at 7.16 - so I had 21 minutes exactly to reach the ridge... and I have to admit, even I never thought I'd be able to make it up in that time, not least carrying all my usual kit. However, I did. Jogging as much of it as possible, and instead of heading directly up to Mam Tor but towards Hollins Cross - my feet stepped onto the footpath along the top at the exact moment the sun popped over the horizon, I couldn't quite believe it. I'm pretty sure the one other photographer up there that morning couldn't believe what he saw either, me turning up in just a t-shirt in subzero temperatures on top of a somewhat exposed hill... but he didn't witness the effort I had to put in to get there!

Remember, you can buy this or any other photo on this blog from www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk - if you can't see it on there just send me a message!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Prints For Sale


After Sheffield Adventure Film Festival ended, I have a number of unsold prints which I would love to be able to sell to free up some space in my flat! That, and they're obviously beautiful pictures which you'd love to see in your home. Below are a series of photographs, and the caption for each one will have details of what sizes are available and how much I shall be charging. Photos are from the Peak District, The Dales, Richmond, Essex and Sheffield.

If any of these interest you then please just follow this link, which will redirect you to the contact form on my site, let me know which photo you'd like and in what size and we can arrange payment (probably via Paypal). The prices here don't include p&p - but this can discussed depending on the way you would like it delivered. A rough guide to delivery prices based on the middle sized prints can be found at the bottom of the page. Ordering multiple prints will save on p&p.

Unless otherwise stated, these photos are mounted onto good quality 2mm card, with a white border. This is so that they either fit common frame sizes or can be trimmed to do so. Please note that most do not have a front (window) mount - as they are usually supplied with the frames. All sizes are in inches.

I'll try to update this as much as possible but sorry if something has already gone and I've not got around to removing it yet!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kinder in the Snow

This is my post on my walk up Kinder in the snow a couple of weeks back. This was one of my favourite walks due to being relatively new to winter walking and setting myself a very tough challenge in terms of time. I only set off on this walk at 3pm and the aim was to climb up the eastern edge of Grindsbrook Clough, around the top to Grindslow Knoll for sunset at 5pm before rushing down for the 5.30pm train back to Sheffield where, misleadingly, there was little snow. I'd never taken this route up before but it soon became obvious that it was going to be a race against time to make it up this steep track through deep snow and all the way around in time for my all important sunset. On the way up I had an extra little bit of excitement getting to watch the path repairs being made - helicopter and all - quite amazing the manoeuvres it could do as it swung around up and down the side of the valley.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Here are some of the shots from my first go at using my new lights... exciting stuff! For a first attempt I'm very happy with the outcome, I learned the things I wanted to learn and had a go at a few different styles with different setups... I'm sure at least half of my audience will like these too...

After our initial date being snowed off, Harley-Dee was amazing in being flexible enough to shoot the next day (maybe 2 days later, can't remember) even whilst being quite seriously ill - so whilst we did have to cut the shoot short I still think there's plenty here - so thank you to her for that!

To the photos...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Waist Deep On Higger

A couple of weeks back, on the morning of the thaw after over a fortnight of snow (and after another night of heavy snow) myself and Keri headed out on the early train to Hathersage to climb up to Higger Tor for sunrise. The overnight snow had closed many roads in the area so we knew that for once there would not be many, if any, people up there in comparison to a usual Saturday morning.

As usual, any photos you see here are available as prints on http://www.matrobinsonphoto.co.uk/ either directly or via the 'contact me' form.

Friday, 8 February 2013

When Land Meets Sky

A couple of weeks back I  headed off out into the Peak at my usual time of 6.20am with the aim of a full day's photography - taking in the forecast good weather both at sunrise and sunset. However, much like my last post, and much to the annoyance of someone like me who defends meteorologists (and their complex task) endlessly, they got it wrong... badly wrong. The forecast blue skies not only didn't happen at sunrise, but then throughout the day not one glimmer of real light around me. I could see on the horizon to the west that it was brighter over Manchester-way and had faint hopes that the sun may pop through at sunset but it never happened so I was left to just enjoy my walk for walking's sake... which certainly ain't all that bad! As a result of this, most photos in this blog certainly won't have the stunning golden light that traditionally makes a good photo - but I think the results are interesting in their bleakness... showing a calmer, more lonely view of the Peak.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

First Snow Walk Of 2013

It seems like ages ago now, but in the first week of snow we had who could have guessed it would last for so long? It took me until towards the end of the week to finally get out and enjoy it - on what was forecast to be a perfect, crisp, sunny day. As you will see, the meteorologists failed miserably on this one... but still, as usual I had a lovely walk.

Before I go on, remember prints of some/many of these photos are available right here

Due to both the lack of nice light, and the many dirty footprints that had been placed in the snow by that time in the week, I don't class many of these photos as among my best (I'll start depressing so you can only be impressed!) but I hope you'll appreciate them anyway and perhaps be inspired to take this walk... as parts of it are certainly less traveled than many.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

On A Cold And Frosty Morning

This has been a long, long time coming... I took these photos way back in November/December in some of the first cold weather we had this winter. I have no idea what this area of Sheffield is called, some wilderness/parkland to the north of the city centre, but it's one of my favourite places in the city. There are stunning views to the west over Hillsborough and the impressive skyline of the city centre to the south - and in the summer an amazing array of colours in a hidden section filled with wildflowers - more than I've ever seen in the countryside. So, perhaps not my favourite, or best blog post ever - but hopefully I can just share a wee bit of one of my favourite spots...

This first picture is actually one of my favourites - nice in it's obvious imperfection:

Available to buy right here.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Peak District, From Dawn 'Til Dusk

On Wednesday I took a day off to make my first Peak trip since the cold spell at the start of December. After such miserable weather over Christmas I'd been desperate to get out and test my new 17-40 lens, which had only had one half decent outing before (which resulted in this shot, HERE) and this was the first forecast clear sunrise we'd had. So up at 5.30, quick bowl of cereal, 6.20 train to Edale - the usual. I'd decided that I was going to wait until I arrived to make my mind up on where to go. One option was, if there were obvious signs of an inversion, to go up Mam Tor again - but what with the distinct lack of mist around Edale I headed up Grindslow knoll instead as my last attempt up there had ended with a murky, cloud covered sunrise. On the way up I stopped a few times to capture some of this lovely soft predawn light above the frosty valley...