Having been interested in art from a young age I've been photographing in black and white for 23 years since receiving a manual SLR for my birthday. I learned technical and artistic elements from my mother - a talented and successful artist - and charity shop books, originally developing/printing my own photos in a home-made darkroom but now mostly work in digital due to a busy (but fun) life! I'm now finally settling on my own style of black and white and monochrome infrared landscape images, with a few animal and people portraits thrown in for good measure. I'm also returning to painting when I can find the opportunity...
Ansel Adams (no surprise for B&W landscapes)
Eric Ravilious (Watercolour painter and printmaker, also a war artist in WWII)
Herbert Ponting (photographer on Scott's Antarctic expedition)
Michael Kenna (modern long exposure B&W specialist)
Lee Frost (all-round modern photographic hero and writer - he's inspirational in each and every article)
Fay Godwin (classic British B&W photographer)
John Martin (Victorian painter of vast apocalyptic scenes - worth seeing 'Plains of Heaven' at the Tate Gallery to see HOW vast!)
Favourite Advice and Quotations
Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter. – Ansel Adams
The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness. - Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Make sure each image has a place for the eyes to rest, somewhere calm and peaceful. - my Ma
Landscape photography can begin at your back door. - Tony Worobiec
Our ambition should be higher than just trying to illustrate the landscape. - David Ward
The purpose of illustration is to say: "Here's what you would have seen had you been there."
The purpose of art is to say: "Here's what you would not have seen had I not shown it to you, even if you were standing next to me." - Guy Tal
Black and white photography is already one step removed from reality; long exposure and infrared imaging are further steps away from what is visible and thus takes the image deeper into art and creation rather than capture. I rather like this detachment from reality – making something unique of my own rather than what I can see with my eyes. I'm also interested in trying to create images that convey drama or calmness - opposite ends of the spectrum rather than somewhere in the middle. This feels like my biggest ongoing and insoluble challenge.
This website is an attempt to try to reduce my excessive shutter-count, as well as be able to thin out my existing stock with a detached approach. I'm also hoping this process of sifting the worthwhile images from the rest will teach me something that I can use in the future.
Preferably outdoors, usually somewhere quiet and unpopulated! Unfortunately this means I don't get much company when I'm doing landscapes. Whilst I love landscape photography in wild places and especially at the water's edge, I'm not averse to including man-made features to draw the eye and create intrigue. These features are a fact of life and trying to ignore them or work round them seems to be a missed opportunity. In many cases they are worth investigating to satisfy a simple historical curiosity.
I usually only manage fleeting visits to places, delaying a family trip, a snatched lunch stop, or a pit stop on my way home from work.
It has slowly dawned on me that using long exposures helps me soak up the atmosphere and views. I've also found I engage with passers-by more readily! Otherwise it is all too easy to snap, run and review - I only really see what I’ve been photographing when I get home and that's usually too late. More often than not, I discover the dirt on my filter or lens once it's too late to retake the image...
I often feel like my photographic life is a series of missed opportunities - if only I had time to wait for better light or tide, I haven't got time to set up tripods and filters, no need to review the image on the screen - but there's no point in having regret so I try and enjoy making the most of the images I capture in my fleeting visits to places - I almost always enjoy the visit anyway! It's all a bit amateurish but the target is to make the images become as close to my memory of the visit - even if my memory usually plays tricks on me.
B+W 10-stop Neutral Density Filter
Vanguard tripod - great design without the sky-high pricetag
Digital and film cameras
Fuji Neopan ISO1600
Trips involving a complete lack of planning, driven by what seemed like a great idea at the time
Wellies and torch
Panoramic tripod head
Favourite photographic moments:
Being swamped by a freak wave on some rocks on Tenerife - a lesson was definitely learnt
Losing a welly in a muddy Welsh bog about three miles from the car
Dropping the car keys into the sea through the planks on a jetty
Being questioned by Gwent Constabulary having being stopped for using a Gorillapod in a suspicious manner near the old Severn Bridge
Each and every horse-snot, sheep-snot, cow-snot and goat-snot incident