Welcome to my online space, a place where I am able to share my experiences in the landscape with a camera.
The urge to develop my interest in photography started when I embarked on a year long road trip across north America in 2006/2007. I did not know anything about making pictures at the time but I wanted some way of recording my experiences as I travelled across Americas vast and dramatic landscape. Between working and travel I visited many bookshops and taught myself some theory along the way, but, my camera remained on its default auto setting and I lacked visual literacy and artistic experience, as a result, the pictures from that time were emotionless documents, of which, you wont find here.
Before that my education was largely science based and I believe this has given me good grounding for my photography. I chose to study Environmental Science at university and I focused on plant and fungal biology in my final year. As a means of recording and learning about the things I saw in the field I borrowed a small, early digital camera from my parents, it boasted 1.2 megapixels!. I bought my first dslr whilst in north America as they were becoming more affordable, faster and powerful, and now, I find myself between raising a family and a full time job, somewhat preoccupied with how best to fill the high resolution rectangle that is my cameras sensor. Having never used film or had any formal training as a photographer I had to learn the fundamentals myself through trial and error. Repetition in this field is very important, as with any endeavor, and, if you practice enough, the technical aspects eventually become second nature, opening it up for more creative ideas.
I accept that true 'wilderness' is something that is difficult to experience in the UK, however, one of my aims as a landscape photographer is to seek out what are often small, fragmented remains of wilderness. Perhaps the intertidal zone, the steep sided cliffs of some of our mountains, or, a quiet corner of an ancient woodland could qualify? Regardless of whether these kinds of places can be classed as true wilderness they are the places that inspire me the most. Whilst I am aware I am lucky to visit such places when I have the time and resources to do so, I am also aware that a great number of people - for many reasons - do not, so, another of my aims is to come away with the raw material that will enable me to create an image that goes some way towards imparting a sense of 'being there'. This is obviously a difficult task when working within the limitations of a two dimensional medium so I use many of the tenets of photography and art as tools to help recreate some of the atmosphere I experienced at the time.
For any landscape photographer a pragmatic and holistic approach is necessary in order to achieve your goals. I find myself being quite generalist when it comes to my interests in life which has helped my photography. For documentary photography the aim is to be objective and to make literal recordings of scenes; basically to prevent any aspect of the photographers personality from being in the image (to the extent possible). For me, this is the exact opposite to what I set out to do. Ansel Adams said "Art implies control of reality, reality itself possesses no sense of the aesthetic. Photography becomes an art when certain controls are applied". The camera is a tool, a means to an end, the camera itself is not capable of representing mine, or, anyone else's personal vision. The output files of a digital camera are flat and emotionless so I have spent considerable time learning how to 'apply' certain controls in order to impart a greater sense of depth and emotion, similar to that of what I experienced at the time when I first saw the potential for an image in the field.
Applying such changes to an image to achieve something that is closer to how I felt at the time of making means that I am not averse to using software like Photoshop to enhance the details, tonality, colours, and therefore - mood, to suit my taste. I also stitch multiple files for wider format pictures and blend images if the dynamic range of the scene is beyond that of my cameras capabilities. I draw the line however at adding different skies and objects from other images that were never there. Often it is a long drawn out process to reach a point where I am happy but I find that when an image feels right, the time I have invested both in the field and at the computer is always worth it.
I do not necessarily have any preferences in the quality of the light and spare time is not something I have much of, so, making the best use of the light I have available at any given time is important to me. Although I enjoy making images when the sun is low on the horizon, I do not preoccupy myself with making images solely at these times. I take a lot of pleasure finding images in often adverse conditions and experimenting with the different moods those lighting conditions can convey.
Thanks for looking,