February & March 2017
Greenland & Iceland
I have recently returned from Greenland where I was helping Wild Photography Holidays run their first winter trips and it didn't disappoint. On the recce in 2016, the winter was exceptionally warm but this year winter temperatures returned to 'normal' and we were greeted with a couple of days of -32 degrees centigrade and most of our time there averaged around -20 degrees. The sea ice melted out on two occasions allowing us to reach the entrance to ice fiord and get close to some spectacular ice bergs which have made their way down from Greenland's icecap.
Reaching the settlement of Oqaatsut to the north of Ilulissat was not possible by boat so we had to make the short hop by helicopter. On two out of the three days we were there, we had strong aurora displays and started the process of getting to know the local inuit community. The small town of Ilulissat proved once again to be full of photographic opportunities from the colourful buildings and busy harbour to a wonderful meeting with legendary dogsled musher, Villi Seigstad.
Following this trip I returned to Iceland for my fifth winter season and one our favourite trips which combine the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the west and the southern coast. Snaefellsnes remains a favourite location with its wild coastline, fewer people and as challenging as ever to document this raw and dramatic landscape. The northern lights appeared on the first night and we had two days of clear weather taking in the golden sands around Búðir iand over to the north coast around Kirkjufell. Wind and rain blasted in from the west allowing us to do some downloading and review sessions and behind came some stunning late afternoon sun between the squalls to capture the heavy seas and soaring flight of Kittiwakes at Lóndrangar o- not an easy task when you can barely stand up !
The weather was mixed in the south but we did have a couple of evenings of beautiful light at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and its wonderful ice beach which despite the number of visitors, never disappoints. We also returned to the ever popular Crystal ice cave which had improved considerably from last year and displaying some stunnung formations in the cave roof
Working once again for the National Trust magazine on a great story about the new tenant farmer on the Great Orme in North Wales. Last year, a worldwide tender went out to those interested in running and maintaining a remote farm on the top of this wild and windy peninsula for the princely sum of £1.
Applications came in from Australia, New Zealand, Malayasia, Italy, the Americas and .... Wales. In the end, Dan Jones, a local farmer from Anglesey won the Trust over and has 10 years to prove his worth.
Film Production Company, SpunGold is currently working on a new 6 part series about the National Trust and I was commissioned to shoot stills of the film crew at work around three of the locations - Hill Top in Cumbria, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire and Lyme Park in Cheshire. Added to this was the delightful and thoroughly professional presenter and all round TV legend, Alan Titchmarsh. Alot of the images have to be taken in the split seconds just before and just after a take and it was great to work with a crew under the usual tight time pressure who continually gave me the space to get the required images.
September & October 2016
Greenland, Iceland & Whitby
- a trilogy of photo workshops filled much of this autumn activities ......
In early September, I visited Greenland for the first time to help run the second Wild Photography Holidays trip to this emerging destination and we were lucky enough to arrive in time to see a new flotilla of huge icebergs emerge from Greenland's immense icefields. Our base in Ilulissat on the west coast enabled us to visit the main settlement on Disko island 3 hours away and Oqaastut, a tiny settlement just up the coast from Ilulissat. I will be returning there in February to film one of the trips.
In mid October it was back to one of my favourite combinations of landscapes in Iceland - the western peninsula of Snæfellsnes and ice packed coast of the south. The tail end of Hurricane Nicole had us holed up in the west for a day but prior to this we were blessed with a rare sighting of the summit of Snæfellsjökull volcano on one of the most reflective days I can remember. In the south we managed to find a couple of new photo locations and witnessed some surreal light on the ice in Jökulsárlón's Glacial Lagoon.
And finally, just past the witching hour of Halloween, I returned to Whitby on Yorkshire's East coast for my 6th 'Spirit of the Goths' weekend workshop with another 4 intrepid guests willing to run the gauntlet of the dark narrow cobbled streets and confront all that is Gothic, Steampunk and ghoulish. This is the 2nd largest gathering of its kind in Europe and it never fails to deliver such is the willingness of those dressed to scare !
Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership
I am filming again for the second of my three films about Upper Nidderdale and the transition from summer to Autumn always brings some spectular changing light and rich autumn colours
Just returned from leading a photography group through the stark landscapes
and rich culture of Ladakh for Wild Photography Holidays
Laney Birkhead is an artist, print maker and bee keeper. In 2015, she embarked on a long held ambition to combine her art and her passion for bee keeping with the idea of creating a swarm of 50,000 bees printed on stitched calico.
Laney commissioned a film profile of the project and her working methods
Like many, my experience of bees has been listening to that drowsy humming of the workaholic bumble bee on lazy summer days, and working my tastebuds around the never quite full jar of honey which has pride of place on the breakfast table. Suitably protected from a potentially aggressive squadron of guard bees - there were none, I was able to film Laney with her bees, close up and personal. For me it was a revelation - life inside this complex community, one of my favourite products in the making and especially the waves of sound which emanated from the bees depending on their mood and duty.
Most of the footage was filmed with two cameras more traditionally used for stills - a Panasonic GH3 (mirrorless) and Nikon D750 (Dslr). Sound and audio was captured using both on-camera Sennheiser directional microphones and a Zoom H4n sound recorder.
This is my 3rd Artist film profile in a continuing series
Watch the film on my VIMEO page here
Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership
Upper Nidderdale is a remote upland valley on the Eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the heart of Northern England.
In 2014, I was commissioned to make a series of three films documenting this ground breaking four year project which aims to conserve and enhance the area's unique natural and cultural heritage. This is the first film in the series and it aims to introduce both the landscape and ongoing projects.
Watch the film on my Vimeo page here
Nidderdale Plus Photography Banners
The new Nidderdale Plus office, Tourist information and Library in Pateley Bridge have recently adorned their walls with 6 images from my Nidderdale photography archive, thanks to funding from the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership
Photography Workshops in October 2015
It was a busy autumn leading workshops in Ireland, Iceland, and finally in Whitby to once again celebrate allthings Gothic.
CONNEMARA - I took four guests to this beautiful and wild part of the West coast of Ireland on behalf of Wild Photography Holidays.
We stayed in Clifden for the week, venturing out along the rocky coast and inland through ancient hills, peat bogs and villages.
There is a very primal atmosphere in Connemara which hints at the underlying beauty but never gives away its images easily.
One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the traditional Ballinasloe Horse Fair
ICELAND - This was my third season leading trips for Wild Photography Holidays and as always, weather determines how, when and where you approach these incredibly dynamic landscapes.
With my co-leader, Jan Davies, we took a group of ten guests to both the western peninsula of Snaefellnes and the ever popular southern coast. Unlike the previous autumn, the rain was especially persistent, but never enough to dampen the spirits and creativity.
SPIRIT OF THE GOTHS (Oct/Nov 2015)
There are always fascinating stories behind the masks, costumes, pipes and demeanour of the hundreds of Goths & Steampunks who gather twice a year to pay homage to Bram Stoker and the spirit of Dracula.
Once again, I took four guests along the dark cobbled streets, out on the promanade and up 199 steps to St Mary's Church in search of characterful portraits.
I will return again in April 2016, details of which are now on my workshop page
Go Cambio (June 2015)
The online company, 'go cambio' have been using my recently commissioned photography
THE SWARM PROJECT
I have begun a new film profiling Harrogate based artist and print maker, Laney Birkhead.
She is also an avid beekeeper and has embarked on her 'Swarm project' involving the general public helping to print images of bees on fabric.
The aim is to create images of 50,000 bees for an exhibition at the National Park Centre in Danby, North Yorkshire in the summer of 2016
Hester Cox - Profile of a Printmaker
In 2014 I started work on some film making projects as part of a new artist collaboration series.
The first of two artist profiles is about printmaker Hester Cox on my Vimeo page.
In 2014, I filmed stone carver, Joseph Hayton over a period of seven months as he created three sandstone statues on commission for Sustrans as part of their 'Travelling Histories' public art project which places art installations at various points along the Way of the Roses cycle route from Morcombe Bay to Bridlington
These statues were officially opened on 28th October 2014 and my film can now be seen on my Vimeo page here