I cannot believe that it's that time of year again, it really doesn't seem that long ago that I was compiling my choices for 2020. Never the less 2021 draws to a conclusion and the curtain comes down on another enjoyable year with my camera. I'm really happy with my photography this year in terms of quality, however I found myself caught in the age old argument of commerciality over art. It is a subject that weighed heavily on my mind and one that I don't think I've fully found the answer to as yet. Having said that I've tried to take images which have caught my eye and have made me want to reach for the camera and press that shutter button no matter of the location. I've found it quite difficult to choose this year and many good ones have been left on the cutting room floor, but I view that as a good thing. In the end this is my choice and not for commercial gain or peer approval. These images have been selected for a reason, whether it for the final image or the memory and experience of taking it, they all mean something to me and I'm very proud of all of them. I hope you like my choices.
High Stile - Crummock Water View:
Well, what can I say about this image. As I trudged up in the torrential rain, the summit shrouded in cloud, I would never have imagined a few hours later I would be standing on the summit in the golden sunshine taking in one of the most spectacular views I've seen in the Lakes. A shot I'd dreamed about getting for a good few years and to get a shot like this on my first visit was just amazing. It wasn't just the shot that makes this image so special, but the memories of an awesome day of photography and hiking...a real adventure and one which will stay with me for the rest of my life. Experience aside, I'm really pleased with the composition of the image and it one of my best mountain photographs to date. Without doubt my favourite image I've taken this year.
The Old Mill Borrowdale:
Another image which was my first time I'd visited. A wonderful location, which may not be as accessible in the future. It currently sits on private land and the owners are keen to prevent people gaining access and rumours that it will become a holiday home. So I'm pleased I visited before this has happened. I was quite keen to find a slightly different take to the many excellent interpretations I've already seen and I had a really enjoyable few hours just playing around with different compositions. I'm really pleased with how this shot turned out and I do believe its a really strong composition and a slightly different take on an absolute cracker.
Park Fell - Langdale View:
This little fell has become a firm favourite of mine and one that isn't so frequently visited by the crowds. I must have visited around 10 times this year and had a great deal of success. This shot was taken during heather season and a shot I'd had in mind for a while. All the elements came together perfectly on this particular day. The view, the colours, the light and the composition all fell into place and produced an image I'm really proud of and also an image I've not seen before, making it even more satisfying.
White moss common Autumn Mists:
I've visited White Moss Common multiple times over the years and its a fantastic place especially during Autumn. This was taken on a wonderfully misty morning and definitely the best conditions I had over what was a very disappointing Autumn. Again I love this image as the conditions, colours and composition work really well together and an image I've not seen before. It's also a reminder that you really just need that one moment to make an image and makes all the failure that goes before well worth it.
Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags B&W:
Another mountain image and one from a wonderful evening wander after work. It was a hazy, clear blue sky day and I really wasn't hopeful of getting any images. Well I was completely wrong, with a little bit of cloud rolling in and the late evening sun filter through the cloud and haze helped to create some magical light across Crinkle crags, Great Knott, Bow fell and Pike O'Blisco. This is why I love summer photography, the ability to finish work and scoot up a fell and enjoy these wonderful views. This view is one of my favourites in the area with the jagged ridge line of the Crinkles all the way along to Bow Fell. I've really enjoyed my mountain photography this year and has been a real high point of my developing style.
Hardknott Roman fort and the Scafell's:
This image was taken in spring on my favourite fell in the Lake District, the wonderful Harter Fell (Eskdale). Its a fell I try and visit at least once a year, but due to covid, I hadn't visited for a good year or so. Funnily enough even though it was a favourite I've never really got a shot from there. On this particular evening the conditions where absolutely beautiful with some unbelievable light on show. The head of Upper Eskdale is an amazing textured landscape and when the light hits it it truly comes to life. This was one of those occasions when the light hit the right places at the right time. When the light hit the fort I was a very happy man. Light, textures and mountains....what more could you want.
The Rydal Lone Tree:
This is a funny one really as its a location I have always dismissed as its never really interested me. However on this morning it was looking particularly visually appealing with the mist and it really did catch my eye...and as I always say 'If it catches your eye its worth investigating further'. I love the minimalist look and feel of the image, its a very clean image and very natural and simple looking. I'm so pleased I decided to just take the time to swing by and take the time to get the image and dismiss my photography snobbery of usually avoiding this location.
Brathay Winter Tree:
A very recent image but one I'm really pleased with and one I cant stop looking at. It's got so many elements I love and taken at a location I always enjoy visiting no matter how many times I go....the beautiful River Brathay. This was an opportunist shot on my way back to the car, it was just the right place at the right time as the sun broke the mist and highlighted the tree and the frosty ground. It looked wonderful and I'm so pleased I managed to capture it on camera and bring it to life as an image.
Little Langdale light:
This type of photography has become a real feature for me over the last couple of years and probably when I feel at my creative best and free from the shackles. I've loved using longer focal lengths and ditching the tripod and shooting handheld and trying to react to changing light and conditions. This image is a perfect example and brings together some of my favourite conditions with my favourite style of shooting. I was wandering up Park Fell to meet up with my good friend James Bell. Well I got a little side tracked and was late meeting him as I was taking images of the most amazing light developing over Bow Fell and Little Langdale. I must of taken hundreds of shoots as the light changed. This being the pick of the bunch.
The Lone Tree - High Rigg:
Another one which was a handheld right place at the right time shot. Pure reactionary photography. I was just wandering across the fell and I came across this wonderful lone tree which was growing out of the fell side and it looked like it had to have endured a lot of harsh weather conditions over the years, yet it was still standing. Well not long after arriving the light broke through the clouds and added some gorgeous winter light onto the scene and really lifted it and added the gloss to an already gorgeous dramatic wee scene. Another image where I haven't seen before, which is hard to do in the Lake District. I love finding new places and images and this is why this is one of my favourites of the year.
So thats my personal favourite 10 images from this year. I could have easily chosen another 10 even more images but you have to draw a line somewhere, you'd all have been bored stupid if I had. I like all my images and get huge enjoyment from the whole process of taking and presenting these images and it seems harsh to pick certain ones over others, as they all have their merits and stories to tell, but it would be a pretty long blog otherwise. Would be really interesting to know your thoughts on my choices and what are your favourite images I've taken? I really hope you have enjoyed my images this year as much as I've enjoyed taking them. Its been a blast....roll on 2022.