A selection of my photos from 2014

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > A selection of my photos from 2014
08/01/2015 - 20:45


A look back at a few of my of landscape photographs that I made in 2014 and why I was fond of these in particular...







“If you listen quietly enough life will whisper its secrets to you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Ambient afterglow light catches the sea thrift upon the cliff tops and rocks in the zawn below, at Hartland Quay in the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The late afterglow warmth - mixed with the blue skylit twilight colours reflecting on the surface of the sea was a fine end indeed to a superb day wandering the coast of North Devon with my friends Mark and John.


The dramatic rocks of Hartland Quay are the remains of a mountain range. Sedimentary rocks, as sequences of shales and mudstones were deposited in a shallow sea during the Carboniferous period – around 320 million years ago. Plate tectonics caused the collision of two super continents with Hartland Quay in the middle. Devon was at the southern margin of a super-continent called Laurasia, which collided with the super-continent Pangaea – to the South. Intense folding can be seen on the main cliffs at Hartland Quay.

The collisions which brought this about are known as the ‘Variscan orogeny’, which took place over about 100 million years. The event created the Variscan mountain belt, which includes the mountains of Portugal and western Spain, southwest Ireland, Cornwall, Devon, Pembrokeshire, the Gower Peninsula and the Vale of Glamorgan. The Variscan mountains running through southwest England were possibly up to 3,000m high.

The orogeny resulted in intrusions and volcanics in Devon and Cornwall – including the granite intrusions that underlie the SW peninsular of the UK (known as the ‘Cornubian batholith’). The batholith is exposed at the surface at several places including Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor.





'The Story'



In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

Rachel Carson


Marram Grass (Ammophila) catching the afternoon sunlight on the dunes at East Head in Sussex. The reserve is owned by the National Trust. I liked the layer cake simplicity of the grasses, the texture of the sands and the sunny sky. It was a pleasant reminder of a very fine walk with my family along this restful nature reserve.






'Eternity in each moment'




“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”

Henry David Thoreau


Resurgent white horses dance about the crest of a standing wave on the River Aune.

Avonwick, South Devon A.O.N.B.


This stretch of river is one that I have visited many times over the last few years and It was most hypnotic on this particular occasion observing the subtle variations of order and chaos of the resurgent crests. The Aune is the river I have most explored the details of, from its moorland origins on Dartmoor to its rivermouth at Bantham. A river always full of charm and charcter, always something new to observe.







'Here, there be dragons...'



"I imagined a dragon inside myself... we all have one, in one form or another. To me, this dragon is both the wild nature of ourselves and our conscience in his embodiment of the Old Code ethical behaviour and morality. At the same time, he's our unconscious, the place from which our dreams arise..."

(Dennis Quaid on his role in 'Dragonheart')

It is said that in the medieval era that the valley of the O Brook, on Dartmoor, was home to an infamous dragon. Tin miners were fearsome of the place and many folk of the moors would detour this place by many miles. Farmers were said to have many animals over the years and it was reputed to have eaten a few weary travellers too.

It is said that at some point that the folk of the moors caught the dragon, bound him from head to claw and drew it to its doom in the River Dart in the main valley below.


I like to think that a bit of my reverence for such places adds into the mix of the process of making a photo. My visualisation of a photo begins as a multisensory immersion, the flow of the stream around my Wellington boots; the smells; the sounds of water descending falls and gurgling through boulder chokes; the visual and tactile exploration of textures and form: the hues and the nature of the light.... If these things work together, then comes subtraction (what elements really need to be in my composition, what detracts?)... what shape will the photo be ( square, 3:2, panoramic, 5:4; vertoramic...)? Sometimes it feels subconscious, other times conscious thought prevails. If I feel that connection to a place and time - that is when the desire to use the camera tell a story becomes compelling.

'Borrowing' sums up my ethos well, pretentious as it may sound I prefer the idea of 'making' an image about something than the phrase 'taking a photo' ... Semantics one may say, but one can't borrow time and space if one talks of taking. Time spent in contemplation before even getting the camera out of the bag, for me at least, makes a opportunity to build a dialogue, metaphysically at least. A different time may be needed to 'tell the story', but in that quiet contemplation I slowly gain that knowledge









"The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time,
rolling, rushing on, swift, silent,
like an all-embracing ocean tide..."

Thomas Carlyle

Yachts and fishing vessels moored in the salt marshes of the Alnmouth SSSI in the Northumberland AONB, on an autumn afternoon with a receding tide.

The marshes are largely made up of :

Sea Purslane, Seepweed, Common Saltmarsh-grass, Sea Aster, Sea Arrowgrass, Marsh Samphire, Sea Plantain and Sea Thrift

*SSSI = Site of Special Scientific Interest

**AONB = designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty



Being alone on this day of my stay in the North East of England, I had spent a few unhurried hours exploring the estuary and beach. I wandered about these boats, into the ebbing waters, around the sand banks and the edge of the marshes - exploring form, patterns, textures & hues. All the time considering compositions, the ever changing light and shadows - framing ideas with my hands before photographing. I feel that such an immersion (no pun intended!) in time and space helped in making some rewarding photographs, an attempt at trying to get to know a place a bit more. I approached it as one may do so with a large format photographer’s consideration, of analysing my emotive reaction on each occasion and subtracting things from my framing that distracted rather than added. The light on this particular scene was joyous and theatrical I thought, a fleeting moment of semi-chiaroscuro in a location where human engineered fences, distant rural buildings and the immediate boats seemed to sit harmoniously in a stage set of natural beauty.






It was a year where I felt very pleased to have had the chance to wander about some wonderful parts of the British countryside. It was one where I felt content to have made a collection of photographs that I thought, for me at least, had longevity of interest - ones that I hope contain an essence of the wonder I had for the landscapes, ambience and light.



Wishing you a healthy, happy and wonderful 2015 - enjoy the chance to take the time to 'see' rather than just 'look' at the landscape. There is much to be admired in both the 'grand vista' and the intimate 'inner landscapes'...







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