Blog

  • Gunnison, Colorado

    US Road Trip pt. 3 – Colorado

    It’s exhausting being at 3,000m all the time. I had no idea really. Following my road trip with my girlfriend around California and Oregon I flew to Denver to meet some photographers for a few weeks in the Colorado mountains to hopefully catch the aspen trees at their peak. Colorado is high…seriously high…aside from the legalisation of cannabis, the towns we were staying in were at almost 3000m and some of the mountain passes we were driving and walking around were almost 4,000m. I’d never been that high really before, aside from one night staying at Bryce Canyon which is about 3,000m if I remember correctly. I was hoping the altitude would’t affect me, as it starts becoming a problem for some people at around 2,500m. I managed to avoid the nausea and headaches that some people get, but it’s really exhausting trying to walk around at 3,000 – 4,000m. It was fine on the flat, but as soon as I started to walk up hill I was out of breath in about 30-40 paces and then had to stop for a few seconds. I’m far from the fittest or healthiest person in the world but even so the difference …

  • Micheldever bluebells, Hampshire

    Epson Pano Awards

    My photo of bluebells at Micheldever Woods in Hampshire placed in the top 50 of the Amateur Nature section in this year’s Epson Pano Awards, an international competition that runs every year. Over 1000 photographers entered the competition so even though I actually felt I had better images that I submitted it’s still nice to get selected. I shot it a while back using a Canon 70-200 F4 L (which I have since sold), using F4 to add softness to the surroundings and leave one stand out tree in the centre of the bluebell carpet. See https://thepanoawards.com/2015-winners-gallery/ for more.

  • Waldport, Oregon

    US Road Trip pt. 2 – Oregon

    In my last post I mentioned we would be taking an eight day road trip around Oregon after starting in California. I’ve wanted to visit Oregon for a long time after seeing countless photos of its scenery and hearing a lot of good things about Portland. Oregon is very heavily photographed. There seems to be a whole gang of people in the Pacific Northwest who are out there in the best weather the state can offer (photographically) so I didn’t really want to go there to come back with the same shots as everyone else. As I came to see I would barely come back with anything. Going back to the subject of image editing for a second, Oregon is one of the places that seems to suffer the most from this polarising topic. A lot of the photos I have seen from Oregon are very heavily processed, with crazy midtone detail, and everything pretty apocalyptic in terms of light and conditions. Saturation is turned up to eleventy seven. I really didn’t know what to expect. Would I see similar things or be disappointed by small trickles of water that had been turned in raging waterfalls with the magic of …

  • Del Norte Redwoods II

    US Road Trip pt. 1 – California

    What better way to kill time whilst stuck on a long haul flight than to write some random photography related nonsense as to what I have been up to recently? Probably a lot of things, but that’s not going to stop me, so here comes the first of several blog posts about various places and images. As an introduction, I was lucky enough recently to be able to take 3 months off work. My day job in management consulting is generally pretty good. It’s very interesting and keeps me out of trouble, but it’s also very demanding and leaves me with no time during the week to do much of anything photography related, and sometimes weekends too. What this means is that when I do get the occasional weekend when I can go out and take photos I have to pray for good weather, which almost never works. I’ve been itching for a while to take some more time off to just travel and focus on photography to see if I can put together something a bit more coherent than just shots that I like from disparate places. So then, what to do with this time off? I’ve wanted to …

  • leather_bags_manufacturer_long_handbags

    More bags than Paris Hilton

    I should preface this with the fact I have made a wild assumption that Paris Hilton likes bags. She may not. She may hate them. No Paris Hilton’s were harmed in the writing of this post. I live in a relatively small house. A two-up, two-down, terraced house. The kind where the bathroom is on the ground floor at the back of the house next to the kitchen. It’s small. Property prices in Cambridge are unreal due to the close proximity to London. This means there isn’t much space. Yet bags take up a disproportionate percentage of the cubic metre volume of my house, and I understand I am not alone in this amongst the photographer community. Since taking up photography I have struggled to find the right bag. Every year I would accumulate more cameras and lenses, bigger tripods, macbooks, ipads, filters…all that crap…I mean, all that essential stuff, obviously. No photography bag I have ever owned has ever been up to the task of meeting all the needs that a photographer has. I must have had 6 or 7 different bags that have come and gone, but I think I’ve finally found THE ONE. A match made in …

  • amazon-cloud-drive

    Amazon Cloud Drive for photographers

    Backing up your photos: the most tedious of things (until something goes wrong). Luckily, so far, I have not had any horrific backup issues that I hear stories of. By this I mean people losing their entire photo collection or various year’s worth of work do a dead hard drive. Having written that I assume one will strike imminently and turn me into some sort of gibbering wreck, curled up in a corner muttering about losing my life’s work and sticking jelly babies up my nose. Having said that, it’s something I have become more paranoid about in recent years. Several years back I went for a simple option of buying a large external hard drive. It was reasonably cost effective at the time as I had maybe 300GB of images to backup so bought a 500GB unit. This quickly became too small and I needed a new hard drive, so I bought another 1TB drive. Great foresight by me there as you can tell. Guess what? I filled it up with images. So then I took the next step and bought a NAS with two 3TB hard drives in it with a RAID setup. I know any super tech …

  • Stokksness fog II, Iceland

    No more sunsets…or Mars bars

    Time for a ramble. I don’t really know where this will go. Let’s start and see where I end up. I haven’t written anything on my blog for a while. As usual I can blame work. Since September it has been pretty much non-stop. I had a few days of photography here and there which were actually very productive, but most weekends were either spent working, or catching up with stuff I would normally do when not working. Some things never change. This has also meant almost no time out making images. What makes it worse is that I still regularly browse image sharing sites each day, and seeing people post amazing photos whilst I am on the train to the office gets very frustrating. One upside to all this is that my work means I have enough money to go on holiday to spectacular places. After a particularly gruelling project the end was in sight, which was waiting to be rewarded with a trip to the Lofoten Islands in Norway with two friends, as well as some time in Sweden and Finland. I’d visited Lofoten last year and couldn’t wait to go back. To cut a long story short, …

  • Westbriggs Woods fog, Norfolk

    Where are the hidden wonders of Cambridgeshire?

    Since coming back from Iceland in the Summer I haven’t been out much with my camera. Aside from an unproductive weekend in the Peak District where I had missed the best of Autumn I hadn’t even turned my camera on for two months. This coincided with a very busy time both in and out of work, so there was little time for photography. Around two months ago I moved from London up to Cambridge. After living in London for three years I had enough of the tube, the noise and the lack of outdoor space, but moving house always consumes a hell of a lot of time. Viewings, the actual process of moving, finding furniture and settling in takes up weekend after weekend. Each weekend where I had some time the weather tended to be unsuitable with grey featureless skies. One other reason was that I simply don’t know the place where I now live. Though I was aware there are no huge mountains or deep canyons in Cambridgeshire I wasn’t aware of how little there was around. Searches on flickr and 500px to identify anything vaguely interesting were pretty much a dead end, aside from the usual photos of …

  • Landmannalaugar rhyolite, Iceland

    Laugavegur trip report – Landmannalaugar and Icelandic highlands

    I first visited Iceland back in 2011 on a two week trip with some friends where we circumnavigated the country (i.e. drove around the ring road). It was a great experience and nothing like any place I had ever been. One thing was missing from the trip though, Landmannalaugar. I had seen these photos online of the multicoloured rhyolite hills and impressive scenery in the area and wanted to see it for myself, but as so often happens in Iceland the weather meant it was not possible. The rough highland roads you need to take to get to Landmannalaugar don’t open until the middle to the end of June, and we were there at the end of May. Having been thinking about it ever since, this Summer was the time. I decided I was going to head there to do the famous Laugavegur trek, a 4 day hike (or 2 if you’re actually in very good shape) that starts at Landmannalaugur and travels South, ending at Thorsmork via several mountain huts along the way. I roped a bunch of friends into going along, so by the time it was organised there was a group of eight of us, none of …

  • Colorado supercell

    Storm chasing – brown trousers

    Storm chasing is something I have wanted to do for years now. After seeing photos at the Sony World Photography Awards a few years back by Mitch Dobrowner it looked like an amazing thing to do. Landscape photographers are obsessed by clouds, and in many cases they can make or break a photo, influencing the direction of and strength of the light. With storms seeming to form around early evening in the US the late evening light combines with whatever crazy wind is going on to make something you just don’t see anywhere else really.   On a recent trip to Norway with Tony Spencer he mentioned he was going storm chasing again this year with some friends and asked if I wanted to go along. It didn’t take long for me to say yes! I had no real idea what to expect. All I know is that what I really wanted was to achieve three things: See a supercell See a tornado Get scared by some form of impending doom The third one might seem like a stupid thing to want for many people, but for me it’s part of the adventure. Holidays sat on a beach are not …

  • Skagsanden sunset, Lofoten, Norway

    Lofoten Islands report

    For the last week I have been away in Norway, photographing the scenery of the Lofoten Islands with Tony Spencer. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Lofotens, they consist of a small archipelago that sticks abruptly off the side of Norway, a bit more than half way up. They are on the edge of the Aurora Borealis band, which makes northern lights photography possible. What makes them more interesting than that is the form of the islands. The Lofotens are made up of several small islands joined by bridges, where each of these islands appears to actually be a mountain, rather than an island. There are pretty much wall to wall peaks of 1000m which rise out of the sea, so you go from beach to mountain in the space of about ten metres. As you can imagine, this makes for some pretty awesome landscape. Aside from that there are lots of little rivers, lakes, fjords (all frozen and unfrozen), and some truly spectacular beaches full of indescribable sand patterns and rocks. The water is so turquoise it feels like the Bahamas, aside from the negative reading on the thermometers and the wind chill that makes you wish you’d …

  • St Paul's from the Shard, London

    Rationalising my choice of lenses

    One thing that digital photography has brought into focus is the never ending want to upgrade to the newest and best gear: the sharpest lens, the biggest sensor, the lightest tripod, the bag with the most compartments and so on. The last of these (i.e. the bag) is always a function of what goes before it, so maybe it’s a good idea to take a look at what you actually need before buying a bag with 300 compartments that, when full, will have approximately the same mass as Jupiter and hence will forever be confined to the boot of the car for all but the shortest strolls from the car park to the view point (where all the other photographers have already got to before you and taken the best spots). I’ve recently gone through a process of upgrading a lot of my lenses, trying to find the perfect combination that will allow me to take whatever photo I want whilst also remaining manageable to actually transport around. Upon doing so, I now seem to carry mainly zoom lenses, and not even the sharpest ones money can buy. I used to think that what I really needed was a series …

  • photo 3

    Waterloo, London

    Here’s me looking like an idiot in front of my photo of bluebells in Micheldever woods. The photo was selected by Network Rail to be displayed in Waterloo for a week as part of an exhibition that toured the various major train stations around the country.

  • Telegraph_win

    The Daily Telegraph

    After many attempts I finally won the Daily Telegraph Big Picture travel photography competition. My photo of the aurora borealis over an Icelandic church won me a Nikon camera and was published in the Travel section of the Saturday edition of the paper.

  • Countryfile_sm

    Countryfile Magazine

    My photo of the Manger at White Horse Hill in Uffington, Oxfordshire was published on a double page spread in Countryfile Magazine

  • lonely planet

    Lonely Planet

    My photo of a friendly old Vietnamese woman weaving a straw mat was featured in Lonely Planet magazine

  • telegraph feature 4

    The Daily Telegraph

    My photo of a sun pillar in arctic Finland was featured in the Daily Telegraph travel section in their Big Picture competition

  • Cards

    Greetings cards

    The two photos I had featured in the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition were picked up by Sainsbury’s as part of a series of greetings cards. They are now available in all good Sainsbury’s, WH Smiths and Waterstones. Both are available as large prints from this site. Please get in contact if you’d like one.

  • Light and land

    Light and Land competition

    I was lucky enough to win a competition run by Charlie Waite’s company Light and Land. My photo of icebergs at Jokulsarlon in Iceland won me a holiday to arctic Norway with the Light and Land team and has resulted in me now being obsessed with cold places and the aurora borealis!

  • wave collage sm

    The Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Mirror, Yahoo, AOL etc.

    I got an e-mail one day asking if a few of my photos of the Wave in Arizona could be featured on the website MyModernMet with a few comments as to where and how I took them. I obliged and within a few days the photos had been picked up by Rex Images and appeared in most of the national newspapers and all over some very big websites. This was all a bit of a surprise! My favourite was the double page centre spread in the Guardian.

  • LPOTY 2011

    Landscape Photographer of the Year 2011

    I was very happy to find out two of my photos (Micheldever bluebells and Cranborne Poppies) had made it through to the book and exhibition of the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. They also projected them on the outside of the National Theatre in London about 30ft high which was quite a sight.

  • guardian portfolio review

    The Guardian portfolio review

    A selection of my film photos taken with my trusty Lomo LC-A were reviewed by the good folks at the Guardian who were very nice! “This portfolio displays the photographer’s interests and considerable talent in capturing mood and structure. The architectural theme that runs through the images is strong but not overwhelming, with lines and shadows used to give focus and dynamism to the pictures. The use of passages, corridors or steps takes the viewer both into the space of the photograph and on a journey. In this respect ‘Lonely Wait’ feels a little out of place – the wall dissects the shot and creates a barrier to the viewer. However, in addition to the use of the architecture of the shots, Simon has also unified them by their mood and atmosphere, created by a subtle use of light. There is an ambiguity to the images, and in ‘Water from nowhere’ and ‘HEB alley’ there is a sense of drama or even menace. A sense that something more may be happening in the image, rather than just a description of a time and a place” http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2011/oct/17/photography

  • Digital photo

    Digital Photo Magazine – Your pictures

    A stupid photo of my face accompanied two shots of mine from Corfe Castle in Digital Photo magazine which I was thankful to receive a good deal of positive comments on. See the blog for more info.

  • great british life 2

    Prince’s Countryside Competition

    My photo from Old Harry Rocks in Dorset was highly commended in the Great British Life Prince’s Countryside competition, but didn’t go on to win me the prize of a camera

  • great british life

    Great British Life

    My photo from White Horse Hill in Oxfordshire was a regional winner in the Great British Life National Countryside competition

  • telegraph feature 1

    The Daily Telegraph

    A self-portrait I took in Iceland at the mighty Skogafoss waterfall was featured in the Daily Telegraph travel section in their Big Picture competition

  • telegraph feature 3

    The Daily Telegraph

    My photo of someone else taking a photo was featured in the Travel section of the Daily Telegraph in the photography competition

  • telegraph feature 2

    The Daily Telegraph

    My photo from the Grand Canyon was featured in the Travel section of the Daily Telegraph competition

  • Arashiyama bamboo grove, Kyoto, Japan

    New website under construction

    Please bear with me as I get this new website completely up and running. Photos, blog posts and so on will be added over the coming weeks so please check back soon!

  • Lenticular cloud, Hofn, Iceland

    Iceland – easy for photographers

    Around 3 weeks ago a friend and I made a slightly last minute decision to head off to Iceland for a week. I had been there around 18 months ago at the start of the Icelandic summer but wanted to return to see the landscape in the frozen winter and maybe get another view of the Aurora Borealis. After my trip to Norway in December, the Northern Lights shot to the top of my memories of amazing sights and, given that 2013 is the solar maximum, this seemed like a great opportunity to see them again. I’ve decided to write a two part post about this holiday, with the first focused on logistics and general info for anyone looking to travel to Iceland and the second with more detailed location info. So anyway, flights booked, accommodation sorted in a rush and hire car organised, we headed off expecting freezing winds and piles of snow. More on that later. Many photographers I have spoken to dream of going to Iceland but deem it inaccessible, expensive and tricky to navigate. In reality this is far from the truth. You can now get a flight from gatwick for £230 return from Gatwick, or …

  • Pastel tones, Kilpisjarvi, Finland

    Progress

    Ughhh, what crap weather. I haven’t been out with my camera much recently. I was very hopeful that over Christmas I use my holiday from work to get out and make the most of some potentially chilly and frosty conditions, but no. Rain, rain, rain. I only actually went out shooting on the last day of my holiday when the wind was pretty vicious down at Portland. Luckily there were some great waves smashing about and an awesome sunset, even though my filters got caked in the lovely things that are dissolved in the south coast see, be it salt or sewage, making some of the photos a bit smeary! I wish I could say that this means I have caught up with all my processing of shots from Thailand, Norway and various places in the UK, but I haven’t. Work has just been too busy. What it has resulted in though is more thinking about photography rather than doing. One thing I have been mulling over is the idea of photographic progress. Having been taking photos for around 5 years am I actually getting better at it? My own view is that, yes, my shots are definitely improving, but is there any proof? I guess first …

  • Stillness at Ersfjordbotn, Norway

    So then, Arctic Norway you say?

    I might be hooked. Just over a week ago I returned from Arctic Norway where I was on a photo workshop run by Antony Spencer and Charlie Waite to photograph the Aurora Borealis. What a time! If you’ve read any recent posts you’ll know that I won this trip as part of a competition run by Light and Land, and for those that haven’t read any recent posts, now you know. The trip was 6 days in Norway based in Sommaroy, a village around 45 minutes from the town of Tromso, which Wikipedia tells me is the second most populous town this far north behind some place in Russia no-one has ever heard of that probably produces steel for Roman Abramovich. Let’s start with the most important thing: the trip was brilliant. The location was great and Norway is an incredibly photogenic part of the World. Huge mountains rising out of nowhere by the sea forming awesome fjords with some of the clearest water I have ever seen in my life. The hosts were also great. Charlie has an incredible passion for photography and is just unbelievably enthusiastic about anything and everything to do with it. His appreciation for the …

  • Digital photo

    Multiple random but semi-connected topics

    So, I’m sat in the arrivals area of Tromso airport in Arctic Norway waiting to meet a group of photographers including the mighty Charlie Waite and Antony Spencer for a photo workshop that I can’t wait to get started on. As I got an earlier flight than everyone else I have 2 hours to kill, so thought I’d add an update. A lot has happened in the past few months, so there’s plenty to comment on before I get round to writing a review of this workshop when it has finished next week. So first subject, LPOTY. Despite having three photos in the final round of judging none of them made it into the book/exhibition, let alone had a chance of winning. I found out on my birthday, and was pretty disappointed. I felt the photos I submitted this year were far stronger than those from last year, including the ones that made it into the book. Then again, I’ve seen some of the other photos that have been rejected, some not even making it past the first round. Nigel Morton’s work stands out in particular and I can’t see how these haven’t at least been commended. To me they …

  • Farmhouse, Minterne Magna, Dorset

    LPOTY 2012

    So, the time is nearly here for entries to the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year 2012 competition. I’ve entered photos for both the 2010 and 2011 competition previously, and was very happy when three of my entries from last year were selected for the final round and two ended up being published in the book and being on display in the National Theatre (poppies and bluebells, see portfolio). Each year the competition gets more intense, so who knows if I’ll be so lucky again this year. I have great appreciation for LPOTY as a company and a competition. They provide an incredible base for some of the country’s finest landscape photography to be displayed in the capital, as well as having the publicity pull to have some shots in the Sunday Times. The book they produce each year is very professional and I own one from every year the competition has been run (although last year the printing was too dark by about a stop). In addition, having the photos in a free exhibition at the National Theatre is a great idea, and is pretty well executed. It lacks the polish and grandeur of the corresponding Wildlife …

  • The Red Cuillins, Isle of Skye, Scotland

    Scotland: Mission achieved?

    So, it’s about a month since I got back from my trip to the Scottish Highlands. Firstly, what a place! The contrast between the landscape here and in the rest of the UK is very stark, and I had no idea that it would be so different. In my 10 days there I visited a whole lot of places, with time spent in Glencoe, Skye and Torridon, with each of these locations offering a completely new selection of photographic opportunities. From the moorland and valleys of Glencoe to the dramatic coastline and Quiraing of Skye and the towering Munros of the Torridon giants. I can’t really pick a favourite out of all the places I saw, here are some highlights: – The Fairy Pools of Skye where a photographer could spend a whole day quite easily with waterfall after waterfall and thousands of interesting rocks amongst the turquoise river with the Cuillins as a backdrop – Ben Aligin, a walk that takes in two Munros and some ridgewalking along the horns. The walk starts at sea level and quickly rises to 1000m, where you follow a precarious path along the ridge of the horseshoe range then steeply down 1000m to …

  • Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset

    Location, location, location…

    See what I did there? Amazing eh? Anyway, on to the topic. Location scouting. In a few weeks I’ll be off to Scotland for 10 days to take a whole bunch of photos, hopefully, and maybe squeeze in some quality time too visiting the odd distillery, hiking the odd munro and eating a lot of fried breakfasts. Here comes the problem…I’ve never been to Scotland. Well, I have, but only to Glasgow and Edinburgh, which means I know nothing about photos locations there. Now there’s a lot to be said for just showing up somewhere that you have a hunch might be good and seeing what you can make of the landscape. There’s also an equal amount to add regarding exploring without knowing where you really are, or what awaits round the next corner, and trusting light and luck to show up at the correct time. Unfortunately when you’re paying a lot of money to go on holiday, as well as the fact that you don’t get too many holidays, these approaches don’t really do it for me. When you’re a professional, I imagine you have more opportunities to get out there and take photos. Visit and revisit locations, even …

  • Wall Street in the Narrows, Zion, Utah

    The value of photos

    So, whilst walking around the British Museum in Holborn yesterday I was thinking about photography…as normal. The Great Court, designed by Norman Foster’s architecture company provides a wealth of opportunities for photographers, with great lines and curves all over the place. Anyway, as I walked round I noticed something. Everyone was taking photos. Everywhere. So many pictures were taken in the short time I was in the museum. I saw people taking photos of the building, the items on exhibition, the shop, the floor, everything. Around a third of all the photographers were using DSLRs, which I found strange. Of course, they could all be amazing photographers, taking amazing photos that put anything I could produce to shame, and there is no way of knowing. But all of them? Surely not. Do they need an SLR? Would a point and shoot do them just as much justice? There were hundreds of people taking shots on their phones too. This got me thinking a bit more about what happens to all these photos. Where do they all go? When I got out taking photos, I’ll usually come home with a lot of images, however the actual difference between a lot of …