Having owned cameras from a young age but never really taking them at all seriously, my passion for landscape photography was ignited when I moved to Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands.
Guernsey's vast coastline and picturesque countryside had an instant effect on me and I soon fell in love with the surroundings. Living on such a small island may sound, to some, a cramped environment and indeed this may be seen as true when you have to endure the daily commute into the main town of St Peter Port!
But take even the slightest detour from this fact of life and the island reveals vast and open coastal regions that vary from the steep cliffs of the south to the open soft sanded bays of the west.
A short walk inland and you have some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable. Stunning granite farmhouses and cottages are dotted around the flower lined lanes and fields. Small wood and wetland areas hold host to an abundance of wildlife, be it fascinating sea birds like the Puffin (a true favourite of mine) or carpets of wild bluebells. Anyone that has had the pleasure to visit the island will tell of its variety and dedicated effort to remain an untouched treasure.
The weather is always going to be a major factor to life on a small island and fortunately, for a photographer, we get quite a variety! We are treated to some of the most incredible sunsets, vast cloud formations and of course treacherous seas and winds that mother nature can conjure. And I am often found out in even the most horrendous weather, trying to capture a shot that evokes the true power and beauty of our planet.
My favourite time to photograph, and as any landscape photographer will tell you, is both dawn and dusk. The direction and warmth of the light from a rising or setting sun bring a special quality to an image, giving it the depth and mood not possible during the height of the day. The low light also allows me to transform the sea in a way I feel the image is best represented. A shorter exposure and the detail of a breaking wave is visible, so the power of the sea is shown to the viewer. A longer exposure creates a surface to the sea that resembles a dense mist or beautiful mirror clinging to the rocks and sand.
I am also fortunate that the coastline of France (Brittany in particular) is so close by and I am making more and more trips to discover this beautiful region and to capture it from behind the lens for others to appreciate. Expect many more images from here as I continue my exploration.
My equipment and techniques.
I shoot exclusively with a Canon EOS digital SLR which produces exceptionally high quality images and rivals even the quality of film.
I use no colour filters in my work at all. It is a personal preference but I like my photos to look exactly as I have seen them, letting the natural light create the wonderful drama, colours and tones apparent in my images. This way my photos are much more sympathetic to the natural surroundings and on viewing them, brings back the feelings and memories I had when I originally captured the shot. The only filters I do use are a polariser to cut reflections and ND Grads to balance the exposure between land and sky.
All my photos are shot using a sturdy tripod to ensure sharp, high quality images. Even at relatively quick shutter speeds your hand shakes enough to create slight blurring, not a problem for small prints but larger prints will suffer. So without this piece of equipment I would be lost, especially for those enchanting long exposures I love to capture!
Computer manipulation is a much discussed topic amongst digital photographers and I am in the view that if it's not there in the first place don't try to add it! With this in mind I do very little post processing to my photos aside from small adjustments to saturation, contrast, exposure and overall sharpness.
Aside from these points patience is probably the strongest facet to my photography. Waiting for the right moment to take the shot, returning to the same place over and over until the conditions are perfect; the tide, the weather, the season. These factors all sum together to form the perfect image and being there at the right time when they all combine is a magical moment worth every second waited!