Reflecting on 2018

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Here we are, the end of yet another year! I’m no longer one for feeling the need to celebrate on new year’s eve, in fact I used to feel a bit negative about this strange time of limbo when the festivities come to an end and the anticipation of a new year played on my mind. However, photography and being a dog owner has allowed me to form a new perspective on time and achievements.

I’m naturally introspective, which seems to inevitably lead to a substantial dose of self-reflection as each year draws to a close. It’s always been too easy to quietly burden myself with thoughts of family, money, business and the less important material things. This year is very different though, this year I became a full-time landscape photographer – my livelihood now depends upon the one thing that was previously my therapy.

Springtime Calm
Late spring in a local woodland. BUY PRINT

Photography and woodland seem to have heightened my yearning to understand my fundamental nature and purpose, but also how my creative goals fit into my desire to build a greater relationship with the landscape and the local woodland that has shaped me and my work. The great outdoors has given me so much and so it would feel selfish and disrespectful to base my ambitions around financial reward, subscriber counts and competition success. Don’t get me wrong, I need money, I value my followers and competition success is a terrific feeling, but I feel strongly that (if possible) these achievements shouldn’t be at the cost of integrity and what we genuinely believe in as photographers and lovers of the landscape.

Magical Scots Pine during a flurry of snow in Scotland. BUY PRINT

I’m not going to write about my plans and aspirations for 2019 as I think they’ll become apparent soon enough. What I would like to do, is to try and release myself from the shackles of always wanting perfection or at least what feels close enough. I know that my idealistic and romanticised view will always hamper my growth on YouTube as it restricts the types of videos that I’m happy to publish, but perhaps 2019 should be the year that I share more. Many things can happen between videos or the great moments of photography – it’s these interim periods that I value the most as that’s when a lot of growth, development and connection takes place. The key is balance in making the right choice as to when to share and when to take that moment for yourself, enjoy it, be inspired from it, creative within it and know that ultimately it will have a positive impact upon future work.

Treebeard, LOTR
Another self-discovered local woodland where time is always well spent. PRINTS COMING SOON

Photographically, my highlights for 2018 were winning a category in Outdoor Photographer of the Year with a photograph of a local woodland discovery – a place I love to amble through from time to time. I’ll also never forget the magical wintry afternoon I spent amongst the Scots pines in Torridon – here’s the video. Finally, a very special day was my exhibition here in North Yorkshire – it was a day that I wanted to be in the spirit of everything I hold dear to photography and I felt overwhelmed with the turnout and support.

OPOTY Winner. Valley Stories III
OPOTY Winner. A location I’m particularly fond of. We have a 40″ print of this on our lounge wall. BUY PRINT

I wouldn’t be sat here reflecting on my life as a photographer if it wasn’t for the day that my partner, Adele, suggested that we got a dog to help get me out of a rut. That selfless choice was the catalyst for a series of events then lead from unhappiness, to the joys of Meg, back to photography, to woodland, to happiness and to something much more profound that stops me in my tracks and fills me with emotion whenever my mind takes me there. I don’t and never will profess to be an amazing photographer, I simply take great joy in trying my very best to capture experiences and do justice to the places that have transformed how I live and see the world each and every day. Many thanks and love to Adele for supporting this journey and to Meg for being Meg! Bring on 2019!

Happy New Year and Thank You!

Adele, Meg and I. Boxing Day 2018
Boxing Day, 2018
Woodland and Meg
Walking Meg in the woods. Nowhere I’d rather be!