Category Archives: Landscapes and Structures

Jantar Mantar

Photos from my brief visit to Jantar Mantar in the Pink city of Jaipur

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Wistmans and Dewerstone woods

I love Wistmans wood. It and Elgol in the Isle of skye are my favorite places to photograph. I had to use up my holiday from work so I looked at the BBC weather forecast for Princetown. Even in Mid summer it looks as if I was going to get fog or mist but I had to head off on Sunday right after the wedding party shoot.
I got there just before sunset on the Sunday so was unable to shoot. I was, however able to shoot in the mist for a half a day on the Monday.

I then popped down to Dewerstone woods but I didn’t get much because of the poor light

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Grange Scar

I was visiting my Aunty in Bishop Auckland. Whilst there we went for a walk in Cumbria.

As is becoming a bit of a theme, ‘the light wasn’t the best’ but i took a few anyway.

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Betws-y-Coed

I had a free weekend so I popped over to North Wales to do a shoot at Betws-y-Coed.

Unfortunately the light was awful and the water level at fairy glen too low, but I did my best.

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Seascapes of Barrika

For quite some time now i’ve been enthralled by the image ‘Chasing the Dragon’ by Scott Wilson.I always liked the idea of having a go myself but was put off by the idea of travelling all the way to spain specifically for a seascape shoot.

Then one day I was sitting at my computer at work thinking about taking a photograpy holiday when a travelzoo email came in with £40 return flights to Bilbao with easyjet. I took it a s sign and decided to go for it.

In the end it took me 12.5 hours to get to Sopelana. A tram to the National Express coach station, a coach to stanstead, a flight to Bilbao Airport, a bus to bilbao, a metro ride to Sopelana and finally half hour walk to Hotel Goizalde.

I had set off at midnight on Friday night and arrived at 12:30 at the Hotel. After sorting out my hotel room and having a beer in the sun i decided to set off for barrika. I walked along the BI-2122 and it took me 30-45 mins to get to Barrika.

I used the first trip as a reconisanse mission. The sky was overcast and the tide was out, so there wasn’t much going on for me photographically. I ended up visiting the location five times in my stay, four times at sunset and once at dawn.

On the dawn trip the sky was nice, but the tide was in, so I didn’t get much I was happy with. For the second and third sunset shoots, the tide was going out as the sun was setting which was ok, but on my final day at Barrika the tide started to go out after sunset which would give me the combination of light and water that I was after.

These are my favourate shots of the trip.

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The rest of the images can be seen on flickr.

The most valuable lesson I learned on the trip was ‘keep checking your filters for sea spray’. I’m pretty disapointed that one of my best images is ruined by water droplets on the filter. A number of others have been saved but only after substantial cloning work in photoshop.

In terms of general advice when shooting Barriak seascapes,

1) Arrive early to get your spot. Its a popular shooting location.
2) Take enough water, it can take quite a few hours to get ‘the shot’
3) Keep checking for seas spray!
4) Rather obvously, try and get the tripod legs on rock rather than in the sand.
5) Take waterproof boots and trousers or prepare to get wet :-)

Hope you like my shots. I wonder if I’ll return there one day. Its a fantastic location.

Wistman’s Wood

I arrived at Two Bridges and found myself driving up the B3212 realizing I didn’t actually know where Wistman’s wood was.
I stopped for directions and was told that the car park was opposite the Two Bridges hotel.
By 4.00pm I had arrived.

I figured I had 4hrs of daylight left to get there and back which seemed perfectly doable.
Apparently Wistman’s wood was 1.5 miles up the track off the carpark.

I grabbed my camera and tripod and set off. It was actually foggy and drizzling, which I thought was great, because i knew it would give my images atmosphere. Passing walkers complained about the lousy May weather, and I smiled. You wouldn’t believe how happy I was that they hadn’t got the weather they were hoping for ;-)

I wanted gloom and fog. I was about to take my best dark and gothic images to date.

The road gave way to a track and then the track split into two. The minor track headed off down the hill towards the stream, the large track continued over the moors. I took the major of the two paths. Turns out that I took the wrong one.

The fog got thicker and the path faded. The stones gave way to grass and then the grass track became more and more faint.
Eventually I realized I wasn’t even sure if I was on any sort of path anymore.

I wandered through the fog, soaking up the atmosphere. I was in my own personal heaven.

Luckily, being vaguely sensible I had programmed the GPS coordinates into my phone.

My fear at this point wasn’t getting lost, it was that the fog would lift and deprive me of my photo opportunity.

Looking at Google maps I realized that I was heading away from the woods, not towards them, so I course corrected.

Wandering onward a black shadow loomed out of the mist. For a moment I wondered whether i had found the illusive wistman’s wood,
but no. As I moved closer to the shape it slowly solidified into a rocky outcrop.

After another course correction, and another false alarm I began to see what might be trees in front of me.
slowly I began to make out skeletal fingers protruding from the mist.

The outline of the ghostly wood slowly materialized in front of me. I experienced what only can be described as pure joy.
In a few more moments I had crossed the boundary and was scrambling down moss covered boulders into the deathly calm of the wood.

The oak tress were gnarled and twisted. Their branches completely covered with moss.
I clambered and slid down the boulder strewn slope completely overwhelmed at what I saw.

I was expecting to be disappointed, but instead I was thrilled. All those enchanted forests I’d read about as a kid? well I was in one. I was in Mirkwood, I was in Fangorn. Talk about a dream come true :-)

I did start taking photos but I wasn’t really taking my time to get perfect composition.
I was so worried the fog was going to lift I wanted to record this moment before it was lost.

However I needn’t have worried. I knocked the first shoot on the head at 7 pm and headed back to the campervan.
I returned again at 7am the next morning and to my joy the fog was still there.

This time I adopted a leisurely pace. I savored the atmosphere. I slowly searched out the the optimum compositions to do this wondrous place justice.

These are my favorites

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More from this shoot can be found on flickr

Clearwell Caves

My second location on my mini tour brought me to another iron ore mine, that of clearwell caves.

Even before I paid my £6.50 entrance fee to the mines themselves, I spotted the rusting mine trains outside.
I got so excited. I have a bit of a thing for rusty decaying stuff :-)

I spent quite and age shooting various bits of rust to sell as stock for grunge poster backgrounds.

Eventually when I’d made sure I covered are the rust I could find, I headed into the mine.

To be honest it was pretty impressive. I just loved all the abandoned bits of mining technology.
I wasn’t expecting to get much usable photography because of the light.

I didn’t bring a tripod because of health and safety. I didn’t check to see if they were allowed,
just figured it was selfish to use something that people could trip over in the dark.
To be honest the light wasn’t that bad. I was using a 24mm f1.4 on a Nikon D750, so I had a bit of an advantage over other camera users down there.

Here are my favorite shots

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The tour was self guided and too about 45 mins to complete. All in all I loved it, but again I found myself
wishing for a bit more piece and quiet. Must be getting old lol.

Puzzlewood

It had seamed like I hadn’t been getting out with the camera much lately. There’s always gigs and clubs to do but I was missing travel and landscape stuff. So I planned a mini tour of Monmouth. The idea was to start at Puzzlewood, then onto Clearwell caves, the visit Caldocot Castle for ‘Fortress wales’ the multi period re-enactment event.

So heres my favoutite shots of my first location, Puzzlewood.

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The woods themselves were great, apparently formed due to the ceiling collapsing on an old iron ore mine. As I wander round I couldn’t help but feel I would have like to have seen it before it was all fenced of and turned into a tourist resort.

Unfortunately I have a very low tolerance for screaming children, and Puzzlewood certainly had enough of those. Its such a shame its only open from 10 til 6. I arrived around midday and the light was extremely harsh. I would have love to have seen it bathed in the golden light of early morning.

After an hour I’d had my fill and decided to try the next location

Visit to Dorset

Towards the start of September I had to use up some holiday from work so I decided to take a photography trip to Dorset. The primary aim of this visit was to capture the iconic image of Corfe castle in the Fog. Unfortunately the atmospheric conditions were not favorable.

I actually spent two mornings at Corfe waiting for the fog, but gave up in the end. To kill time in between reading, meditating, and watching Vikings on the laptop I visited Corfe station which was exceptionally pretty and atmospheric.

Wondering where to go next I drove my camper van to the coast and randomly ended up in West Lulworth. I had had an unsuccessful landscape trip before and so decided to try my luck again.

At least this time I new the drill. Park up outside the church for free parking. Get up at 5:00 and walk 2.5 miles along the coast to get to the isolated Mupe Bay. This time the rain held off and the light played ball. I think I’ve pretty much nailed it this time.

So I wont have to do that early morning walk again, although I’m sure that at some point i will :-)

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Angkor Wat

Once the Loikaw festival had ended we couldn’t wait to leave. The constant attention, lack of decent food and continuous illness made the place extremely draining to visit. I stopped eating for 2 weeks and made myself very ill. We took a small plane out of Loikaw airport and Landed in Yangon where we stayed for a night before hopping back on a plane to Cambodia.

The Air Asia staff said that we weren’t allowed to fly unless we had and onward ticket out of Cambodia and made us promise to purchase one when we stopped over at Bangkok. Of course we didn’t, or couldn’t as we hadn’t decided where to go next yet.

Cambodia was a bit of a hell hole. Every way you looked someone was trying to rip you off.  My personal experience was that a Tuk Tuk driver pulled up at the side of a quite road, took the keys out of the ignition and refused to take me back to my hotel unless i paid him and extra $20 for him to take me to some resort first. He tried to bully me into doing what he wanted but I kept on repeating “No! take me back to my hotel, No! take me back to my hotel” until eventually he did what I asked.

The other unfortunate incident was when a ‘friendly’ policeman or security guard ‘accidentally’ got between me and my friends whilst walking through Pra Khan Temple and forced me to listen to his guide spiel, before asking for a donation. A less perceptive person may not have noticed that he was blocking their way in order to be ‘Helpful’. I refused to give him any money and left.

Talking to the other backpackers there were so many other stories to be herd about Scambodia.

I loved Angkor Wat it was a truly magnificent place, but i hated Siem Reap. Annoying Tuk Tuk drivers that don’t take no for an answer, people in front of food places that chase you up the street sticking a menu in your face, and everyone trying to rip you off. It just didn’t feel safe. We couldn’t wait to leave and I’m never going to go back. What a horrible experience.

Despite that however I did manage to take some quite nice pics :-)

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The set can also be seen on Flickr