Back in the summer this image was shortlisted for the "Living the Landscape" category of the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. Unfortunately it didn't make it into the final reckoning, but I find it amusing, so here it is. The award winners, which are truly stunning, can be found here.
The cold, wet summer of 2015 was not one of the best for exploring Northwest Scotland, but when the rain stopped the long drive north suddenly seemed worthwhile. This picture was taken at Camusdarach, a lovely rambling campsite just south of Mallaig, one of the most beautiful places in the British Isles. This beach at Camusdarach (there are two others) faces west towards the "small isles" of Eigg and Rum, which can be seen in the distance here.
This is Garlieston in Galloway, Scotland, taken just before 1am in mid-August 2015. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, there is little light pollution beyond the village itself, as you can see here. There are a few issues with this image, but I am absolutely amazed that I managed to take the picture at all. Thanks to the incredible stabilization on the Olympus OMD EM-1 this one second exposure was taken handheld. I would have preferred a much longer exposure, using a tripod, at ISO100 and f/16 (which would have turned those streetlights into twinkling stars), but you have to play the hand you're given, so this is at ISO1600 and f/2.8. Fair play to the Olympus, though, for making this possible. Click the image to enlarge.
Lime Street is one of Liverpool's most important streets. It is a four-lane thoroughfare that takes you past St George's Hall and the station to which it gives it's name until it becomes Renshaw Street and heads off towards the Chinese Arch. It is also one of the most run down and neglected streets in the city centre and, despite being home to significant buildings, such as The Vines pub and the Futurist cinema, is in line for redevelopment. The Vines will stay, but a large number of buildings, spanning over a century of Liverpool history, are to be demolished. Current plans are for student residences and the kind of bland shop fronts that you can see in just about every redeveloped city. The width of this busy road makes it difficult to skip across easily and the heavy traffic makes it hostile to pedestrians, so I stuck to one side and photographed the Futurist (now sporting it's original name Picture House) and other buildings from there. Mostly, I was looking the other way, which, as it turns out, is what most people have been doing for the past two decades.
Read more about this series and buy prints here.
The easy circular walk from Grasmere village, past Dove Cottage and down to the River Rothay at White Moss, and then back to the village along the side of the lake, takes an hour and a half if you dawdle. It's perfect before lunch on a cold winter Sunday. Popular images of the Lake District usually involve reflections, mountain scenes and wide open views, perhaps at sunset. This Sunday there was fog, and at times quite dense fog, so none of that was possible. The lake itself was also partially frozen, so its surface was more like an unpolished stone than the facet of a jewel. This wasn't a picturesque Lake District, but a cold, hunkered down one.
While there was no chance of catching the fells reflected here, fog makes a great background for silhouetted trees and mysterious whited-out landscapes. This meteorological myopia shrinks the world and makes what is close by more significant: the edge of the lake, a rock, a stand of trees merging softly with the sky.
As a photographer you can take advantage, focussing close and blurring an already obscured background, embracing the dead space. And since the fog drains everything of colour, black and white seemed appropriate here. Colour was later restored by a pint of Hardknott Cool Fusion poured slightly too cold, but accompanied, appropriately enough, with a chicken pie in Tweedie's Bar, Grasmere.
Images taken with an Olympus OMD-EM1 and 12-40mm f2.8 lens, mostly at 12mm.