I am often asked, 'how did you become a landscape photographer? Why pick this as your career?"
My answer is always the same. "I didn't pick it. It sort of just happened."
I had enjoyed a fabulous time working for the Home Office. My job was producing and directing broadcast television both for internal and external markets, as well as teaching photography and video. It was a full on occupation but I took time out in the mountains with our then young family. They shared our love for that and it was a great time. To watch and enjoy the outdoors with your family is something that I will always treasure and I know they did and are passing it on to their own children.
As for the job, it was gresat being involved in lots of world and life changing events. Getting to interview and work with many of the worlds most famous people was never lost on me. It was a privilege to undertake and many times I had to pinch myself and think 'yes you are really here'. However, for all the 'glamour and glitz' that my day to day world brought, it was the landscape and just being out there that was a massive attraction to me and as a photographer the, 'how can I faithfully capture what I see' moments had to be tackled properly.
Snowdonia, The Lakes, the Peaks?
They were my bolt hole.
I loved them all and due to my fathers photographic work with national newspapers, I had grown up with cameras in our house. I think I was always heading towards something in the 'imaging' world.
I would and still do spend a considerable amount of time just looking at views. I soak them in and want to do them justice. Just the other day, I was sat outside on a hillside with my wife Irene just looking down towards the village where we live and that same feeling was there within me and I said, "I know what my next blog will be about."
This is it.
As a kid, I would happily sit upon a hilltop and look down and around for hours watching the light dance across the land creating its own natural show. Wherever we went I would look on in silence, (I know thats hard for me today to keep quiet ha ha) as the landscape appeared before me. I loved it. I still do.
In my teens I would go fishing with a group of lads but that was secondary to me as I loved the feeling of being 'out there' and watching the dawn come up.
It was magical.
After 37 years working for the HO and combining that role with my work as a pro photographer 'outside their world', I had to retire but it meant I could concentrate full time on the landscapes.
As a photographer, I have also been lucky enough to deliver images for a diverse number of clients in different photographic genres and it all goes towards building your skills.
To me, work has never been a job and I know how lucky I am to be able to say that. It is an honour and very humbling when people enjoy your photography and what you can offer them and that has never been lost on me. One of the other opportunities that the HO offered me was a chance to teach people. To be able to nurture someone who only possesses basic photographic or video skills and watch them take ownership of their work was extremely satisfying. That is why I began delivering my own workshops way back in the days of film.
There was a 'fear' about cameras then. Now, in the world of digital and mobile phones that fear has gone.
I think the fact that folk don't have to watch 'film count' anymore helps too.
So now I mainly teach and undertake my role as an ambassador for several of the industries biggest companies and I am so proud of that fact. It didn't happen by design. It just rolled on and developed. An apt photography phrase...
I have enjoyed a great time working. Still do.
Virtually everyday is different because the light and seasons combine to create that. Add to the mix the lovely people who put their trust in me to teach them and how can I not be happy with that?
Being out on the fells and mountains with lovely appreciative people is wonderful.
Long may it continue.
Recently I have been lucky to have folk from across the Uk and as far away as Hong Kong ask me to teach them and watching them take their photography to another level is so rewarding.
It is also great meeting other pro's who share the same occupation and of course you get to meet the person behind the images. Just like any occupation there are characters. It is always interesting to meet those who you see 'a far' on social media and I recently went back to my old stomping ground of Snowdonia and hooked up with Nick Livesey who is part of the SOUL OF SNOWDONIA group of togs whose work can be seen at the SIABOD CAFE in Capel Cerrig.
A character and a great tog. Someone who has also undergone a journey he would never have envisaged. If you are in the area pop in and take a look at their work.
The beauty of the lakes is its own diversity. Whilst I may be known for my work around Wast Water I travel and photograph across all the region. It has so much to offer. I love the way it presents itself to me in so many guises.
Thats one of life pleasures. Seeing something change and regenerate throughout the seasons.
Never two days the same.
What a cracking day with lovely people. It was a huge success and I would like to thank Gareth Thornley at The Brook House for allowing us to start and finish the day there.
It was so successful that we have now arranged another on Sunday July 8th and whilst still in the Esk valley this one concentrates on a walk by the river towards Lingcove Bridge.
In order to give the day a little more meaning we had a competition for the best image and it was a difficult choice with Steve Cottrell's image being a worthy winner.
This week i spent several days in the company of Bob Preston who had been with me before on a one day 1-1 workshop and whilst we originally met over Keswick way, he chose his two day workshop to be at Wasdale.
The weather was fantastic and we visited a multitude of locations in order to hone his skills.
Actually whatever the weather it doesn't matter. Ok so you might get a bit wet if it rains but it wont be long before the sun makes an appearance. Thats the nature of the beast.
The company and the scenery make it all worth while.
Whats not to like.
Go and enjoy the outdoors. You never know where it may lead....you may even start 'a bit of a journey' yourself.