The year that was 2013

Sometimes its good to stop and look back, we can be so focused on the ground in front of us and how far we’ve still got to go that we forget to turn around and look how far we’ve come. 2013 was a good year for my photographic work and some notable firsts for me, first front cover of a magazine, first image in Landscape photographer of the year and first book commission.

Made some images that I’m proud of and I’m very grateful for the many people that comment and leave feedback on the Facebook page and on the blog. So here’s a little retrospective of the year and some images that were significant for me.


In january I was ice climbing with Colin , John and the usual suspects in the Ecrins , the image above is probably my favourite from the trip , I like it I think as its got a cathedral quality with the rock arch around the ice that I quite like . I used a single speedlite to light up the wall .



I was then shooting for Glenmore Lodge on the Ben Nevis ice climbing course, the CIC hut is an iconic hut but has many that loathe its existence as many that love it. We were there for 4 nights and this is one taken on the walk in to the hut . One of the heaviest loads I’ve carried for a long time.



This image got me onto the radar of  ‘The North Face’ who are using it for their point of sale imagery in shops in the UK, again one from the Ben.



I was also developing my style in using off camera flash in the outdoors and in the adventure sports genre and this is an image I took of Matty down at the beach one evening when the light was good but the wind was rubbish. On the back of these shots and some others taken with the Elinchrom Quadra system I became a featured artist on the Elinchrom website.



I ended up spending a fair bit of time in the far North of Scotland in Wester Ross, hanging out with Paul Tattersall of Go further Scotland and crew. It’s a close knit bunch of climbers and fell runners that are all as hard as nails and really crank some steep sport and trad routes. I was shooting commissions for Trail Running magazine and Climb magazine  and again using the Quadra  flash system enabled me to get shots I had visualised before the shoot



Colin running on Benn Alligin



Lawrence Hughes hanging around on Glutton Crag, Ullapool.

Plans to get to the Alps and the Dolomites were scrapped due to bad weather and eventually after trips to the Verdon gorge and the Callanques ended up back in the far North of Scotland , this time with Guy and Lee on the Skye ridge. I had one shot in mind that I hoped would convey the essence of what the ridge is and this shot probably came closest to what I had envisaged




Had some plans for a shoot with Dave on a very stormy day, commandeered an innocent bystander to hold the flash while we shot a few passes of Dave jumping with some awesome looking clouds in the background



In between everything else I spent some time with Al and Keir biking on the Ben, this is probably the only route worth doing on the Ben? But it’s a great ride down. I chickened it on some of the steep technical downhill bits but the boys just let rip and flew down with ease



It was a real pleasure meeting up with Mick and hearing about his new project and really pleased to be shooting the London book . London is such an iconic city, around every corner is another famous landmark known the world over and as its on my doorstep it’s an easy shoot for me. This image of Tower bridge was the last shot of the day, in fact I had given up as it was raining and my lens kept getting water on it during the long exposure. But as I walked away the rain stopped just enough for me to turn around, set up the tripod again and get this shot.



And if I was to pick my favourite image of the whole year what would it be, I think maybe this one of Colin running on Benn Alligin. We had almost been blown off the mountain 10 mins before this image but the rain stopped, the light was amazing and some more Quadra action helped get the image. It reminds me a little of one of my favourite artists when I was growing up, JMW Turner and the big dramatic skies he would paint in ‘Into the deluge’ and ‘After the deluge’, titles which are very appropriate when shooting in Scotland



So there’s my 12 of 2013, 2014 is already looking pretty booked up with trips to Iceland, road trip around the Alps as well as all the usual fun and games. Thanks again for reading the blog and commenting, and thanks to all the athletes and helpers that carried gear, put me up for a night (or 6, thanks Jim) and gave constructive critique, all much appreciated and best wishes for 2014.