2017 has been a great year for my photography career, I’ve visited lots of new places and met some great new people.
My major highlights for the year have included a front cover for the UK’s best selling photography magazine and winning awards in 3 major competitions!
As my own harshest critic I never think my work is good enough, so it’s a real confidence booster to do so well in these prestigious competitions.
In early February I won an award in International Garden Photographer of the Year, achieving 3rd place with my image of Millstone Edge. In November I won the Wild Woods category of the British Wildlife Photography Awards and finally went on to achieve ‘Runner Up’ in Landscape Photographer of the Year!
Looking back at images from the last year I can once again see how my tastes are constantly changing, and how much the quality of my images has progressed.
As is tradition I’ve included a selection of some of my favourite images from the last year, here’s my top 17 for 2017!
Starting the year off with a very wintry image taken in mid January during the first snow of 2017. I reached the summit of Hitter Hill just in time to capture a blizzard that engulfed Chrome and Parkhouse hills, causing a complete whiteout. Although this image appears black and white, it’s actually full colour. This image was awarded ‘Runner up’ in Landscape Photographer of the Year.
This image was taken on an eerily beautiful afternoon in some ancient Peak District woodland. As much as I love vibrant sun rises and sets, dank murky days offer some great opportunities to expand my portfolio.
This was an image I’d had in mind for a long time, but had been waiting for the perfect conditions. It was absolutely freezing sat in -5 waiting for the cars to come by, every blade of grass was covered in thick frost and I could barely see anything in the thickest patches of drifting fog. Everything came together in the end though, and after capturing a few light trails I headed back home to the warmth.
Thick mist drifts through the silver birches at Bolehill Quarry in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park. This image won the ‘Wild Woods’ Category in the 2017 British Wildlife photography Awards.
When the days start to lengthen and become warmer I typically focus more and more on wildlife photography. 2017 was no different and I thoroughly enjoyed photographing the moorland Adders as they emerged from hibernation.
Mountain Hares are another of my favourite species to work with. This hare was so comfortable with my presence it was happy for me to get lose enough to fill the frame. An unforgettable experience!
After months of searching over winter and early spring and many unproductive attempts, I eventually managed to locate an active sett on suitable land. After a few long nights sat staring at a bush pondering my sanity, the badgers finally emerged in daylight. This image is a reminder to me that perseverance really does pay! I can’t wait to photograph these badgers again this year.
I had been watching this barn owl as it hunted the meadow, flying tirelessly back and forth with mice and voles for his demanding young. Just as he was about to enter the nest with his latest prize, he pulled a graceful U turn and landed on this post to eat the mouse just a few metres away from me! With the subject in shade and background illuminated by bright evening sunshine, I got the best of both worlds, combining fantastic detail with vivid colour and contrast, a beautiful effect!
After discovering this family of little owls, I visited most evenings, using the car as a mobile hide to get close without causing disturbance. Although initially they were slightly cautious of the car, they quickly became accustomed to my presence offering some great photographic opportunities.
Whilst out photographing little owls one evening, I passed under some telegraph lines literally covered in starlings. The racket they were making was incredible! I’m never one to miss an opportunity, so I stopped to capture this very simple silhouette.
The forecast had predicted changeable weather, my absolute favourite conditions for landscape photography. For once the weather was spot on and I had rainbows, sunshine, rain and even a bit of hail at one point! This image was taken just after a heavy shower when the sun managed to peek through a tiny gap in the dark stormy clouds.
Roach End Barn. After photographing the dramatic golden hour light at Ramshaw Rocks, the sun eventually disappeared behind the Roaches and into a bank of thick cloud. With plenty of cloud still overhead, I bombed it over to the nearby Roach End Barn with the hopes of catching some afterglow. When I got there I could see a tiny gap under the cloud, so I sprinted up the hill and set up to wait. After what felt like an age, the sun finally dipped below the horizon and the sky lit up with a stunning array of colour.
Fairbrook Waterfall. This waterfall is part of a series of stunning cascades on the lower slopes of Kinder Scout. It’s a real scramble to get down the valley sides to the waterfall, but well worth the effort. I’d been waiting for a dramatic sky to visit and the weather didn’t let me down. Using my trusty CPL filter I was also able to bring out some of the colour in the peaty water.
This proud stag looked in tip top shape, stood amongst the Autumn colours. I really like the simplicity and incredible detail of this image.
Whilst down in London for the BWPA, I spent some time photographing the local wildlife. Although London may seem a strange choice for wildlife photography, it can actually provide some of the best opportunities as the wildlife is so habituated. This colourful Autumn portrait of a grey heron is one of my favourites from the trip. By ensuring the subject was in shade and the background illuminated, I was able get the best of both worlds; fantastic detail in the subject and a contrasting colourful background, a beautiful effect!
The road to Skye literally passes through Glencoe, so it would have been foolish not to stop and take in the stunning scenery. This is the iconic view towards Buachaille Etive Mòr, an imposing 1022m high mountain. Here I went for the classic composition using the falls as foreground for the snow capped peak. This was my first ever visit to this incredible place, somewhere I will definitely photograph again!
This was one of the last images taken in 2017, taken just before Christmas. This friendly little robin didn’t want to leave my side whilst I was sat waiting for sunrise, even coming to sit on my wellies at one point. I couldn’t resist taking a few images, especially with the fresh snowflakes on the end of his beak!
I hope you enjoyed looking back at some of my favourite images from 2017. It’s been an incredible year for me and I want to thank you all for the amazing support you’ve shown me over the past year and look forward to seeing what 2018 brings.
Looking to the year ahead I will be focusing primarily on expanding my wildlife photography portfolio. I will be photographing all the usual favourites and lots of target species that I haven’t yet managed to photograph. Watch this space!