2015 landscape photography review

Here is my 2015 landscape photography review for my own record and reflection and for anyone else who wishes to read. Not necessarily my most popular and best pictures but ones that hold an element of contemplation, experience or progression.

2014 ended in a high with an enjoyable outing in the New Forest, Hampshire with a heavy hoar frost. The experience was breathtaking and the beauty was truly beyond my imagination, there are no words to match those type of experiences. 

So now we enter 2015, and still in the New Forest and again a frost but with a lighter touch. I remember standing here settling down to take this very landscape picture, when only moments later a group of ponies entered the corner of my eye. As the first pony approached I likely switched to continuous shooting mode and upped the ISO to capture the moment in my frame. What I particularly like about this picture in the New Forest is the little trace of human activity in the landscape and the free soul striding where one pleases. Perhaps a rare engagement now in our modern society. 

First favorite image of the year, New Forest wilderness


Spring.....who cannot like the invigorating charm of Spring from the dark depths of winter when nature wakes up with a bang. I like venturing into my neighbourhood South Downs, when the grass is fresh and vibrant. I was brought here in my childhood, now I come here with a camera as an adult with a discipline in art and even explore the same places from childhood with fond memories and pleasure.  I would like to expand on this category to get the feel of the place, as well as specific pictures to be had .......watch this space.

Places like the Lake District get huge attention, but in photography forgotton, dismissive scenes hold there own great suprises

Places like the Lake District get huge attention, but in photography forgotton, dismissive scenes hold there own great suprises


This picture was taken in the heart of summer, by chance I passed a massive purple field of borage whilst out on a drive in the country and just had to return the same sunny day in the evening with my camera. The field of purple was so expansive, I explored a footpath round the perimeter to seek colour contrasts in the landscape and was greeted with this view. I stayed grounded, slowing down to natures pace into the evening for the light to warm and the shadows to grow deeper. I think this picture is not quite there and room for improvements on this occasion but I enjoyed the discovery and immersion of the bucolic English countryside on a summers evening, just like I enjoy viewing one of Charlie Waite's classical English landscapes and this experience ran parallel, well for me anyway. 

Summer can be as good as any season to photograph, embrace it all 

Summer can be as good as any season to photograph, embrace it all 


Another mid-summer picture. Longer daylight hours provide more time to be outdoors for me. It seems spring, autumn and winter are the most celebrated seasons for the typical landscape photographer, but I still enjoy spending the evenings watching the sun go down amongst the wild flowers and birds singing in the heart of summer, certainly a contrast from the dark and stuffy winter evenings indoors.  

Running your hands through summer wild flowers, is that what bliss means

Running your hands through summer wild flowers, is that what bliss means


The other half of the year saw me shift my focus on more detail shots of a woodland theme. This was not a preconception, as most of my work is being reactive to my surroundings, just an evolution and new branch in my style that fell into place. My second home is the New Forest, and now I enjoy treating small pockets of the area intimately. I sincerely believe you can find decent and interesting places to photograph just by exploring, rather than going to popular landmarks. I have found having at least two places called home to photograph intimately exercises the creative mind and broadens the portfolio.  

I enjoyed September for the suggestive speckles of autumn colour just as much as the typical brute colours at the height of autumn that everybody seems to shout out about.

The speckles of colour can be suggestive and evenly distributed

The speckles of colour can be suggestive and evenly distributed

Most of my pictures are native 3:2 ratio, but not strictly necessary 

Most of my pictures are native 3:2 ratio, but not strictly necessary 


One day I was exploring a new area of local woods and by accident lost part of my tripod. So a couple of days later I looked out of the window and thought...what a miserable day out there, grey and drizzle, better return to the woodland to try and find my missing part. The mission felt like a chore but brought my camera anyway without much confidence. As I got deeper in the wood thinking there is no chance of finding my lost property in this drizzle, a thick layer of mist cloaked the trees round the corner. Eyes raised, my fortunes turned, no time to find my missing part, my attention now was pure misty woodland indulgence. I managed to prop up my tripod with a stick and started shooting this natural beauty for a few hours until dusk. I took some of my favourite pictures of the year from that fate and a good reminder not to doubt the weather and the outdoors but embrace it. And I managed to collect my tripod piece eventually.


Now in autumn and with atmospheric conditions forecasted, I treated myself to a last minute trip up to the Peak District. The reward was magical, surrounded by an infinite tapestry of natural beauty and was very pleased with the performance.  I like going to new horizons to invigorate my creativity as well as broaden my portfolio. The north of England has some of the finest topology in the country but to be fair anywhere can be good as any with some vision and intimacy.  


So autumn has ended and now we landscape photographers are treated to a new canvas of sparkling frost and pure white snow of winter. Well like most places in the country the winter was wet, grey and windy for the length of it. Admittedly my camera didn't see many dawn trips with yet another grey mild morning rising but as I am a creative type and with the duty to walk the family border collie everyday during the festive holidays I was still armoured with wellies and my humble compact camera at least. No filters, tripod or all the other expensive accessories modern mainstream photography demands, just an ordinary compact and being receptive to engagement. Taking quick instinctive pictures purely on a sensory basis glimpsing art in nature from the mostly forgotten yet plentiful footpaths of Hampshire in the rain, is kind of 'photo sketching'. I chanced my unsealed compact to malfunction from the driving rain, but it's still going strong. There are no Icelandic shorelines, Highland mountain ranges nor viewpoints from car parks here, yet this winter experience has turned out a very enjoyable free-flowing creative exercise with the liberation of taking instinctive pictures on the move with no meticulous study or hardware baggage. Perhaps landscape photography is not tied to being in famous, popular locations, but simply about 'seeing' art in nature, and nature is all around us.



That's the end of the documented review, but my picture review is still alive from that year, there will be pictures I have taken yet to be surfaced. The first half of the year saw me taking mid-range pictures of the landscape, then the second period was mostly about autumnal detailed shots before free-flowing photo sketching in the wet winter.

Not sure what pictures will appear in 2016, I only have two in mind that I would like to take in certain conditions, the rest will find their own way just be reacting to my surroundings and enjoying the environment. My styles will hopefully mature for the better, I feel my standard has risen a little further throughout 2015. Pictures have been taken and new seeds have been sown. As well as taking pictures, there are background influences of course, notably the talents and masters of landscape photography bygone and present will continue to effect my understanding of what art is. 

Since taking up landscape photography my creative being is buzzing. My fundamental joys of nature, art and outdoor exertion are all integrated in what is known as landscape photography, here's to 2016. Enjoy the outdoors and creating art.