Thursday, 1 January 2015

2014: Landscapes

2014 has been a busy year for me, so I've decided to split my 2014 summary into two parts - the first of which will be concentrating on landscapes and the second on people. It's always interesting to do these posts, just so that I know that in a year's time I'll have something to look back on, cringe a little, and see how much more I've come on in the past 12 months. That, and it's also fun to look back through my year of pictures - something I don't do often enough - and remember all those amazing, fleeting moments of beauty that I've been lucky enough to enjoy.

Plenty of things changed last year, the biggest probably being my move back to York, and you can see the sudden increase in effort as I took every moment I could to get out into the Peak throughout September and October as the move loomed ever closer. So far, however, it doesn't seem to have quite dented my productivity in the way I feared. I've got up to the Dales much more often, still make almost weekly trips (via 2hrs of train) to the Peak and have actually witnessed some much more dramatic weather due to being unable to change plans or not go out at the last minute. It's also been the year where I've finally made proper progress selling calendars and photography has become a little more than self-funding.

The plan for 2015 is to hopefully continue this upward trend. In the next month or so I should have a new website up and (sort of) running, 2016's calendars already designed and sampled ready to take around the shops and my first proper line of greetings cards. On top of this, I have to start thinking about how to get more into the tuition side of things so that when I finish my PhD in October I've got some semblance of an income to continue on with. As scary as some of this sounds... It promises to be an exciting year!

 So, in (roughly) chronological order, here are my personal favourite photos from 2014. I've made no effort at all to cut down on the large number... so I hope you don't get bored. One thing to keep you interested is that, I think at least, the best are at the end.

(Oh, and remember, all of these are available to buy or licence - just get in touch at

13 Jan - a beautiful morning around the Higger Tor and Over Owler area - I took this well before sunrise as the sky glowed this beautiful pink. 
23 Mar - my birthday present last year was for a helicopter ride over the Peak District, following the route of the Dambusters flight. I have to say, we picked a spectacular day for it with heavy showers and strong shafts of sunlight. 
10 Apr - after the greyest of days, we climbed Chrome Hill just for a walk and were lucky enough to watch this tiny sliver of sky clear on the horizon.
13 May - a wander around my favourite walk on a warm spring day. The cloud clinging onto Kinder Scout meant very dramatic light as the sun burst through the gaps. One of my favourite compositions of the year.
21 Jun - We stayed up all night on the summer solstice, shooting Cressbrookdale in the evening, a midnight walk up Win Hill and ending with a perfect sunrise on Higger Tor. The light could not have been better.
23 Jun - a trip down to a conference in Portsmouth saw me taking every opportunity to get out and explore the beaches. 
19 Jul - Richmond Castle, the highlight of my year and my personal favourite photo - one that I doubt will ever be topped. I've never tried for a photo for so many years and certainly never expected this to be possible at sunset - topping my imagined image off with a pink sky background, the weirdest conditions I've ever seen. 

14 Jul - a hopeless day on Millstone Edge ended with me trying to hold my camera down in the gale force winds to try to capture the movement in the curve of grasses. Eventually I managed it.

19 Aug - I've never spent enough time in the Lakes, but we had a family holiday up there in the summer and I took these long exposures of this famous spot - Ashness Jetty - after the sun had set. Everytime someone stepped onto the jetty, vibrations would travel down and ruin the shot... meaning I had to start from scratch. Bloody tourists.
9 Sep - my last Mam Tor sunrise of the year was a pretty good one. Not as much mist as expected but it was certainly good enough.
21 Sep  - this is one that encapsulates the style I'd love to shoot more of. A natural feel to it, and what I think is a pretty much perfect composition. It's just a shame the general public of the social media world seem to like more colour than is present here. 
27 Sep - After signing the contract for our new house I spent 3 mornings out of 4, and a couple of sunsets desperately getting out into the Peak. A tiring few days but the best possible way to spend my birthday weekend... especially when you find conditions like this up on Millstone Edge,
2 Oct - myself and  Daniel Hensby headed out to Bamford Edge for sunrise, but then headed off across the Peak to Middle Black Clough... famous for its waterfall but beautiful for many other reasons. The light was strong and difficult to shoot - so I like this shot for managing to deal with it in such a pleasing way.
6 Oct - my last walk before my move, I headed up to do my favourite walk around the top of Grindsbrook where, unfortunately but perhaps predictably, the cloud which should have cleared just clung onto the Kinder Plateau. Darkness fell and the fog thickened, so I focused on capturing the real character of the mountain and enjoyed  having the hill to myself. A wonderful place.
8 Oct - it turned out I had one last sunrise in me though, so managed to get out for this on Higger Tor... quite perfect but short lived light as the bank of cloud and rain spread north. 
25 Oct - after a race down to town and an hour of waiting, I finally captured a rainbow that I thought might happen. Anticipation and patience certainly paying off.
6 Nov - my first sunrise after moving to York... plenty of mist and some beautiful colour over the racecourse.
30 Nov - best viewed large - the biggest panorama I've ever done... it needs printing at 7 feet wide at normal resolution . The light and sky over Wensleydale was something else... and the paragliders added the touch of interest needed.
5 Dec - a snowbow. I got soaked plenty on this walk, but it was worth it to see sights such as this. 
19 Dec - a long wait in the rain, hail and strongest winds I've been out in but finally it paid off. A shot I anticipated and got just right - although battling to keep my lens vaguely free from water was a real struggle and tests your compositional skills to the limit - as you have to lift your camera, compose and shoot all in 1s before the rain ruins everything.
28 Dec - what a way to end the year. My favourite location in some truly spectacular light.
28 Dec - this was the shot I'd envisaged. I so rarely pre-plan shoots but I headed here specifically for this panorama - with the symmetry of the shape of Ingleborough and Ribblehead, assuming it would take many years and tens of attempts before the conditions came good. So this was an amazing surprise. There had been clear skies until 20 minutes beforehand but out of nowhere the cloud bubble up over Ingleborough to give me everything I'd imagined and more. Another one to print the size of a wall... one day...
Finally, thank you to all of you for your seemingly never ending support... having you all on various social media sites certainly keeps the pressure on to keep getting out there to supply you with fresh pictures.

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