Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lake District / Northumberland

I was fortunate enough to combine a visit to two of my favourite places in the UK on a long weekend break. We had only planned a day trip to the Lake District but managed to get a last minute hotel in Coniston so we could head up a day early. Unfortunately, as with most of my visits to this amazing area, the British summer weather lived up to its reputation and it rained non-stop. In a brief respite from the rain I made it out at sunset to a jetty on Coniston to shoot some long exposures with my new Lee filters. As you can see there was very little colour in the sky.

 
The next day the weather had improved and we took the kids to Tarn Hows, a very scenic spot and a nice easy walk for toddlers. In the afternoon we started the next part of our journey and headed over to the in laws house in Bishop Auckland where we were leaving the kids so my wife and I could head up to Northumberland for our wedding anniversary the next day.
 
I absolutely love Northumberland and try and get here at least once a year. We visited the interesting, spooky and slightly eccentric Chillingham Castle on the way and headed over the Cheviot Hills full of beautiful purple heather (below) to Bamburgh.
 
 
We spent sunset on the beach and I was up at 5am and back there again for sunrise. I had the beach to myself and despite the disappointing sunrise (the tide was too far out for the shots I wanted) I just love being by the beach. 
 
On the way home I managed to squeeze in a stop at Embleton beach - a wonderful curving bay that goes from golden sand to big black boulders (which look great on a receding tide). It also helps having the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle perched on a cliff above it. Again the tide was out and the mid morning light was harsh but I stacked all of my filters for a 2 minute exposure (Hoya ND400 8 stop screw on along with a Lee Filter holder containing a Hitech ND1.2 and Lee Hard ND Grad 0.9). The Hitech caused a horrendous purple cast hence the conversion to mono.
 
 


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Photographer of the Year - Travel - 3rd Place

I'm pleased to say that I came third in the Travel round of the annual Photographer of the Year competition run by Photoanswers.co.uk (the online portal for best selling UK camera magazines Practical Photography and Digital Photo - both published by Bauer Media).

The standard of entries is always strong and so to have been shortlisted and then placed is a great achievement.

My image appeared in the September edition of Practical Photography (out in shops from August 8th)


as well as Digital Photo magazine (out in shops from August 15th).

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Malta

I've just returned from a week holiday with the family in Malta. I'd never been to Malta before and love to visit new places but I must admit I wasn't sure what to expect having heard mixed things about the country. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Okay so Bugibba (where we were staying) is an uninspiring place but outside of the resort there are some great places to visit from the excellent capital Valetta and the equally impressive Grand Harbour / Three Cities to the fishing port of Marsaxlokk with its iconic colourful fishing boats (below). More pictures to follow.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Insight Guides Photography App

Today my image was shown on the Insight Guides Photography App as picture of the day. The App is available to download for ipod/iphone/ipad. It can also be seen on their website by clicking on this link: http://www.insightguides.com/inspire-me/destination-of-the-day/05-08-2013?position=9

The image was taken in Lucerne, Switzerland. A larger version can be found on Flickr.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

London

I've been down in London this week for an event at ExCel. This is the first time I've taken my camera there and I was determined to get out one evening shooting. My colleagues and I were all staying in the Greenwich area and so as they headed into a restaurant for an evening of food and drink I forced myself onwards lugging my DSLR and tripod. I grabbed a quick subway for some sustenance knowing I was not going to eat otherwise and walked to the Cutty Sark.

I had in mind several places I wanted to shoot for blue hour but I found myself unable to move from the Cutty Sark, being captivated by the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful sunset taking place. There were lots of people sitting out watching the sun going down over the London skyline and the atmosphere was helped by a extremely talented busker playing some chilled out music on an electric guitar.

However as it was fast approaching 9pm and with sunset due at 9:30pm it was now or never! I could quite happily have spent the next couple of hours just sat there but instead I forced myself away and jumped on the DLR to Tower Gateway.

I made it to the Tower Bridge area for blue hour and the following are some of the shots I took that evening.



 
 


The next evening after the show I was out for a meal in Canary Wharf. I took the DLR back on my own so I could stop off again at the Cutty Sark to photograph Canary Wharf over the river.



As a proud northerner I've never been fond of London but after this visit I have to admit that the photographic options there are amazing. It is a cool city but one I don't think I could live in! I'm now looking forward to my next visit whenever that may be.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Middlewich Photo Comp win

I'm delighted to say that for a second time I have won the 'Your Heritage' photographic competition (first time was in 2010). This is an annual competition which takes place in my home town of Middlewich in Mid Cheshire. It has been running since 2009 and is now attracting more entrants and a better calibre of images each year. All images are submitted as prints which are showcased at the FAB Festival (formerly Folk and Boat). All images have to have been taken in Cheshire (which is difficult for me as most of my best photography is done while travelling). I won 3 out of the 5 categories (General, Landscape and Mobile) as well as best overall shot (below).


I'm now the proud holder of a trophy, some gift vouchers, and a newspaper clipping of me in the local paper (Middlewich Guardian).

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Tenby

I first visted Tenby on the Pembrokeshire coast almost 20 years ago (when I was just 15) on a camping holiday with my friend and his family. Regretably I've not been back since. Until now!

I'm a big fan of European city breaks but I also like to have short breaks in the UK (normally Northumberland or the Lake District). This year we decided on Tenby. Admitedly we were aprehensive at the thought of a 6 hour drive with three year old twins in the back of the car, but it was well worth it. I think I have just found the next place I want to live (sorry Northumberland coast you are just too cold!!).

Nb. All images are taken from my Flickr site where they are available to view much bigger.

North Beach looking towards the harbour at low tide
Tenby harbour long exposure (4 image stitch)
Lobster/crab pots in Tenby harbour

While Tenby is a stunning little town, the surrounding beaches and coves are equally worth a visit,