17 December 2014 : A location you might want to avoid!!
A little word of warning should you want to try shooting some of the spectacular red rock scenery around the lighthouse at Rubha Reidh on the Gairloch peninsula. I went there with a small group of photographers on one of my autumn Torridon workshops having been there before on a number of previous occasions.
Circumstances have changed.
This gorgeous little cleft in the red rocks is close to Rubha Reidh lighthouse a former favourite location of mine. Unfortunately the current owners of the attached B&B premises to the lighthouse are probably the most aggressive and hostile folk I have ever come across, and most definitely not local, so I cannot exactly recommend you visit there yourself. They appear to be under the illusion that they own all the ground around the lighthouse even though it is, I am informed, legally and clearly outwith the curtilage of their premises, which I understand is bounded by the whitewashed wall around their house. It seems the owners have roped off an area that apparently suits their needs, with what appears to be an electric fence, an area of land that I am reliably informed does not belong to them, but which they never-the-less guard zealously. The fence is placed very deliberately to ensure that access is no longer possible to the section of coast around the back of the lighthouse. I chose to step over the rope and set up my camera on the coastal rocks to photograph the little cleft you see depicted above. Within two minutes the female owner of the B&B premises was out and insisting I leave. I asserted my right to stay and indicated that I would happily speak to the Police and abide by what they said.
The owner it seems elected not to call them, though they insisted on having my name and address and then proceeded to photograph me at close quarters, (she probably should have removed the lens cap but I thought it unwise to advise her). I suggest if you do want to visit the lighthouse that you seek boundary clarification from the Gairloch Police Office and you should expect confrontation from the owners.
The female was particularly aggressive to the point of laying hands on, extremely abusive and she even attempted to tip my camera and tripod into the sea). When I prevented her from doing so she immediately claimed she had been assaulted. Should circumstances deterioate to that level I suggest that you contact the Police at Gairloch and ask them to attend. They seem to be well aware of the issues there. As a former Police officer I would suggest that if you do go there make sure you have someone with you to corroborate what occurs, I am very relieved that I did. Better still give it a wide berth.
12 December 2014 : New Workshops Coming Soon
New Transient Light workshops/master classes will be appearing on the website very soon. It's been an incredibly busy year with generally far better weather and photographic opportunities than the previous year. Once I return from my current workshop at Glencoe I will begin populating the website with new courses. They should in the main be in place by the New Year.
Christmas is approaching fast, calendars are still available for sale but they may struggle to get to their destination before Christmas and any prints not already ordered, will in all likelihood not arrive either.
Have a great Christmas break and a happy new year.
30 September 2014 : Higland Tour Update
It was a long trip to three distinctly different areas of Scotland including my own personal favourite Inverpolly, then Harris and Lewis and finally Skye.
We had as expected a mixed bag of weather ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. High gusting winds, power cuts and driving rain but also days when there wasn't a breath of wind and a low mist floated ethereally over the lochans. The program was very full with pre-dawn starts on all but one day and everyone resolutely made it at the allotted time. Often the weather would close in but on at least three occasions once in Inverpolly, once in Skye and once in Harris we were treated to Michelin star skies with wonderful mood. These were duly supplemented by some gorgeous and eclectic light at sunset at some of the "A" list sites such as Elgol. Six folk brought together on a long duration course from different countries as wide ranging as Russia, Belgium, Italy, America and the UK could I suppose prove problematical, but everyone seemed to embrace the delights of Scotland's beautiful scenery and each other at the end and I hope to see all of them on a future occasion.
I was able to get a good few shots of my own largely due to the competence of everyone present, which is always a nice bonus. The only down side for me, I did miss my family very much after four or five days.
14 September 2014 : SNPF at Battleby, Perthshire
I've just returned from a really enjoyable weekend of nature photography lectures held at Battleby in Perthshire...
There were some great photographers there, including Andy Rouse who is a natural and exuberant speaker with some effortlessly beautiful images from exotic locations. Some stunning images from Norwegian photographer Roy Mangersnes with glorious arctic light and wildlife. These were underscored by some gently beautiful macro work from Jodie Randall, thought provoking images from environmental photographer, Terry Whittaker, and stylish white backdrop images from Niall Benvie. Alas I didn't see the first day speakers Fergus Gill, Matt Doggett and Charlie Phillips but I have little doubt the quality was excellent.
It was lovely to be asked back again to show some of my landscape images after a gap of four years, but for some reason I was inexplicably nervous, usually I am quite laid back and unphased by public speaking, perhaps it was the higher density of speakers during the day than they normally have, which in turn reduced our time slots to 30 minutes. I have always been uncomfortable speaking about myself but rarely struggle when talking about the pictures themselves. Anyway it all seemed to go fine in the end, even if I was a little less fluid than usual. I wish the event ever more success in future years and I hope I shall get a return invitation on a subsequent occasion.
02 August 2014 : Short Notice - Autumn Torridon Course
I have to make a little bit of time available for my own landscape photography and as such I put aside a few days in Torridon in mid October to shoot some Autumn colour. With just a little bit of luck I will get some good weather a bit of frost and / or mist and the birch trees should be resplendent in gold mixed with the green of the Scots Pine.
Whilst I am very happy to offer advice and help as I usually do during the course, I also want to get a few pictures too and if folk don't mind me wandering off with or without others on occasions then I will be happy to open it up to others to attend. I can offer a substantially reduced price to reflect both the short notice and because I intend to spend some time shooting myself. If this seems like it might suit you then please visit HERE
26th July 2014 : Mini Exhibition - Ullapool
Commencing Monday 04 August 2014 running through until early September I will be displaying a small exhibition of my framed photographic prints, books, cards and calendars at the Gallery Cafe on West Argyll Street, Ullapool.
Opening hours are normally from 9am until 4pm from Monday to Saturday, I think they also open on Sundays during the summer, but do check for yourself before making a trip down there specially. Have a hot chocolate and hopefully be inspired to visit the nearby Inverpolly reserve and the mountains and lochs of Assynt.
06 June 2014 : Lofoten Courses Imminent
The master classes I have organised to visit the Lofoten Islands have proved very, very popular with photographers; so much so that a great many folk have been trying to book them up months before they are even advertised on my website.
In the spirit of fairness I have declined to accept any pre-bookings, I would like everybody to have the same chance or opportunity, so I am operating it under the same principle as last year, first come first served.
Opportunities to book a course will appear on my website at midday (12.00 hours GMT) on Friday 13 June 2014. At that time the options to pay a deposit will appear on my website. There are just four places on each course and the places usually go quickly. I apologise in advance if you have managed to pay your deposit after the four places have gone, yet before I have been able to close the bookings option down, please be assured that if you were un-successful, or indeed successful, you will be informed. Those that were un-successful will have their deposit refunded in full. Above all please read the accompanying notes about the courses before making your decision.
There will be two courses, each of 8 nights duration on the Lofoten Islands one of these will be run in mid April, (9-17) the other from mid to late September, (17-25) - see the details of each course HERE.
It is possible that you will be able to photograph Northern Lights on the Autumn course, but the true intent of both trips is to photograph the raw beauty of these fabulous islands themselves, whether it is during the day, pre-dawn or post sunset. Please leave two days available either side of the stipulated dates to account for travel variability, flight time tables are not out yet.
Good luck for those interested in joining me there. The Lofoten Islands are just fantastic. you won't regret it!
22 May 2014 : Transient Light Exhibition
Commencing this Saturday 24 May 2014 at the Elgin Library Gallery at Cooper Park, Elgin is an exhibition of my photographic prints.
There are 37 prints on display and they range from modern contemporary large scale acrylic classic landscape images and superior grade canvas images, typically displayed in banks and corporate enterprises, to smaller size themed abstract prints displayed as a collection in the home. I hope you are able to get along and see them. I will be dropping in from time to time so if I am there please say hello. My Transient Light book, fine art cards and hopefully calendars will also be available for sale.
Date: Saturday 24 May to Friday 6 June 2014
Time: 10.00 hours to 20.00 hours weekdays: 10.00 hours to 16.00 hours on Saturday
Venue: Elgin Library Gallery, Cooper Park, Elgin.
(Best to ring ahead to check that gallery is open occasionally they hold other events on in the same display space at the same time).
07 April 2014 : Epson R3000 Printer and Fuji X100 for Sale
About a year ago I was fortunate to win a state of the art all singing and dancing Epson R3000 A3+ printer as a prize in the LPOTY. As far as I know it is still very much at the top of the range, but in truth I just don't need it, as I already have a very fine Epson printer that I use on a daily basis in my work.
The image above was a jpeg shot directly from the Fuji X100 camera simply re-sized for the website. Click image to view.
(SORRY PRINTER NOW SOLD)
Secondly: I own a Fuji X100 camera which has that gorgeous optical/EVF viewfinder arrangement. The camera is a little jewel, one of those cameras that makes you want to use it. (I never thought I would be saying that about a digital camera), it is fabulously sharp, stunningly good at high ISOs, with a colour rendition so natural that I rarely found it necessary to shoot anything other than jpegs with it.
(SORRY FUJI X100 NOW SOLD)
20 March 2014 : Shows, Exhibitions, Lectures
I have a number of shows, lectures and exhibitions due in the next few months so if anyone is keen to go along and hear me prattle on about landscape photography and see some illustrated talks then you will need to contact the hosts / organisers to find more details to clarify and/or get tickets.
Subject: Illustrated Talk
Highland Challenge Cup - The top photographic clubs in the Highlands and Islands get together to compete for the Challenge Cup.
Date: Saturday 22 March 2014
Time: 10.00 hours to 16.30 hours
Venue: Nairn Town Hall adjacent to Nairn Police Office, Nairn.
(My role- a short illustrated 45 minute talk on Preparation and Planning in respect of Landscape Photography commencing 10.30am).
An Exhibition of my photographic works, large format framed prints.
Date: Saturday 24 May to 6 June 2014
Time: 10.00 hours to 20.00 hours weekdays 10.00 hours to 16.00 hours on Saturday
Venue: Elgin Library Gallery, Cooper Park, Elgin.
(Best to ring ahead to check that gallery is open occasionally they hold other events on in the same display space at the same time).
The Scottish Nature Photography Festival 2014, A two day festival of nature photography featuring some of the top wildlife, nature and landscape photographer's.
Date: Saturday / Sunday 14 September 2014
Time: 09.00 hours to 17.00 hours
Venue: Battleby Conference Centre, Battleby, Redgorton, Perth, PH1 3EW
Visit Website: www.wildmedia.org/SNPF_speakers.asp
(ticketed event £53 (UKP) with lunch, £45 (UKP) without). I am speaking on Sunday morning for around 45 minutes.
18 December 2013 : Short Notice Winter Glencoe Masterclass
A spare slot in my busy calendar has become available from 19 - 22nd February 2014. I had originally planned a winter visit to Glencoe myself to get some new shots for my files. However if anyone would like to join me for a full instructional masterclass then you should apply HERE.
It is open to a maximum of 5 persons, but because I intend to go to Glencoe no matter what, there will be no minimum. The course will remain open until 10th Feb 2014 whereupon I shall close the option to join.
If you would like to attend you should be prepared for any sort of weather from rain to deep snow. We will be out in all weathers. My vehicle is equipped with winter tyres and will get to most places assuming the roads are kept reasonably clear. Tea and coffee will be available at all times.
12 December 2013 : The Christmas Shift
I will be unavailable to complete any print orders between the 13th December and 17th December 2013 as I am away running a photography course. This will probably mean that anything ordered after today will not arrive before Christmas.
I will however continue to post out all calendars, cards, books and prints after the 17th December, as I will continue working up to Christmas Eve.
Happy Xmas everyone.
21 October 2013 : LPOTY 2013
Despite the somewhat disappointing and deflating experience of last year's Landscape Photographer of The Year, I still optimistically look forward to the annual unveiling of the results. This year the winner of the grand prize is by Tony Bennett, so congratulations to him. It is a really fine image, refreshingly light handed with the processing, featuring great light on a very fine Lake District morning. Does it stand head and shoulders above everyone elses pictures, probably not, is it an obscure, quirky, eyecatching composition that pushes the limits of lens and/or camera technology, forsaking the aesthetic in pursuit of the slavish and artificial need to be "original", thankfully not.
It is just a very beautiful shot that I would be very pleased to include in my own files and at least as worthy a winner as those I have seen in previous books.
I was lucky enough to have five shortlisted entries this year. (one of the shortlisted images is shown above), of which two got through as Commended images. I understand these will be on display at the National Theatre and printed in the new Landscape Photographer of The Year Book. The standard seems very high so I am hopeful of seeing some beautiful images in there. I noticed too that Adam Burton is still going strong having won a Highly Commended with his misty view in the lakes. We live to battle another year to see who will be the last one standing, the last person to have an image printed in every book since Portfolio 1. I am also wondering if anyone else that successfully made it through to the book used film apart from me.
Here are the links to the two successful images.
27 September 2013 : New Summer Courses - On Line
The autumn courses are now well under way and I have prepared some exciting new photographic courses to two of my favourite Scottish Summer locations the Moray coast and in the extreme north, Sutherland.
Moray is renowned for its multi-coloured stone beaches, sandy bays and gorgeous iconic cliff scenery, the low tide sea caves are a treasure trove to explore and the likelihood of a dazzling summer sunrise or sunset into the North facing bays is likely, if not assured.
Sutherland is vast expansive and largely devoid of human presence, the beaches are some of the finest in Scotland and the scale of the scenery is breathtaking, wide angle lenses are de-rigeur. Mountain scenery lacks the scale of Torridon but more than makes up for it in terms of beauty.
18 August 2013 : 1 Place in Lofoten Available
One place has just become available on the Lofoten course at the end of April 2014.
I doubt it will be available for long and as ever it is on a first come first served basis.
Please check out the workshops and masterclasses page on my website.
30 July 2013 : Exhibition At Ullapool
In a couple of days time I will be down in Ullapool setting up for a month long exhibition of some of my photographs. A good proportion of the images are taken in or close to the Inverpolly reserve, including Assynt, Sutherland and Torridon.
The venue for the exhibition is the Gallery Cafe above the Mountain Equipment shop close to the Ceilidh Place Hotel.
The cafe opens 6 days a week between 10am and 4pm and is a very pleasant place to browse, read a book or magazine and consume, coffee, breakfast or lunch. During the month of August I will be displaying approximately a dozen large format framed prints, my Transient Light books, Calendars and a range of Fine Art cards.
Whether you purchase anything or not, I do hope you get the opportunity to have a look as my printed work is rarely on show.
27 June 2013 : 2014 Calendars Imminent
I am pleased to announce the imminent arrival of the 2014 Transient Light Scottish Calendars. They arrived in port yesterday and are expected to be in my possession in the first week of July and thus ready for immediate despatch. I am very pleased with the quality of production and I am convinced you will be too.
Please visit the Transient Shop HERE to make your purchases.
4 May 2013 : 8 nights on Lofoten
I have just returned from nine fantastic days of sleep deprived photography on Lofoten, shooting pre-dawn through to post sunset on the majority of these days and snatching sleep for a few hours after breakfast. Frankly the weather was stunning and we had two or three sunrises and sunsets that defied belief in some of the most magnificent mountain island scenery in the world.
Pictures will of course follow, but suffice to say myself and the group of four photographers that accompanied me to Lofoten were mesmerised by the staggering scenes that unfolded in front of our eyes. All agreed that this was an extraordinarliy successful trip and one that will leave a lasting impression on all those that attended.
I will be organising and planning a NEW 9 day duration Lofoten Island photography course to run in late April to early May 2014. I have to accept participants on a first come first served basis and deposits will be needed to secure a place. Confirmation from me will indicate that your place is reserved, all other deposits would be returned. Anyone that has already pre-emptively registered an interest in joining the new course will need to apply for a place on an equal basis.
Please note Northern Lights will NOT be seen at this time of year.
The course will be opened at 1200 hours on Friday 10 May 2013 information relating to the course and a means of paying any funds for the Lofoten course will be found HERE.
04 April 2013 : Transient Light Exhibition
Transient Light seems to be getting busier than ever, as a consequence it is rare that I have time available to put together an exhibition of my work. Never-the-less I think it is important to do so. With the best will in the world my photographic images are not going to be shown at their best on a computer screen at 800 pixels wide, no matter how carefully I produce them.
The large format framed prints I produce for sale are a world apart from the screen based images you see on my website and to have the opportunity to show off these pictures at an event as prestigious as the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh is frankly not something I can ignore.
The Royal Highland Show is at Ingleston near Edinburgh airport. It is a massive four day event generating a throughput of 180,000 visitors. The show displays high quality arts,craft, and demonstrations loosely based around farming and agriculture but now including so much more. It's a great family day out. I will be exhibiting my work on a large stand within the 3d/2d tented marquee. I will be selling my Transient Light books which of course I will be happy to dedicate and sign on the day, my range of fine art cards which have happily for me proved very popular, a selection of smaller matted prints and hopefully the new 2014 Transient Light Calendars which may or may not be ready for sale by the time of the show. A demo sample will be available anyway. The main bulk of my exhibition will be given over to displaying the large format framed Transient Light prints, acrylic, canvas and conventionally framed in solid ash.
You also have the opportunity to put your name down for the very popular Transient Light photographic courses which are constantly updated on my website. I very much enjoy meeting fellow landscape photographers, whether you buy anything or not so please don't be shy, say hello and have a great day out.
The Royal Highland Show at Edinburgh lasts four days opening on Thursday 20th June and closing at the end of day on Sunday 23 June 2013, entrance fees to the show apply.
31 March 2013 : What a Day!!
I am often asked why I don't run a blog or a Facebook page in addition to my website. In truth, despite assured benefits of doing so, I simply don't have the time nor if I am honest the inclination to do so. Too many times I have seen Facebook pages that describe what so and so bought at Tesco's last Thursday. Frankly if I have nothing of interest or of benefit to say, I'd rather not say it.
This though is different, at least for me it is, and certainly an unusual entry for my News Page. For once it isn't something that will directly benefit others, it isn't advice or assistance, it is a self indulgent personal feel good entry about the second best day of photography I can remember and believe me I have a lot of comparisons to make.
The day before yesterday I decided to take a spontaneous trip to one of my favourite areas in Scotland, namely the Inverpolly reserve. It is a stunning area and scenically superb offering a wonderful variety of places to see and to photograph, but this time instead of mooching around the lochs and glens at sea level, I decided I was going to climb a hill that I had always wanted to go up - The Fiddler - not a Munro (mountains over 3000 feet), but a mere 704 metres in height, (2300 feet ish), viewing it from across the loch close to Inverpolly's other celebrated hill Stac Pollaidh, it is as sharp as a dagger. I have climbed Stac Pollaidh several times, occasionally whilst running a course and more often by myself at or before sunrise in the twilight hours. It offers a view out of all proportion to its diminuitive stature and I hoped that The Fiddler would do likewise. References to detailed Ordnance survey maps, the Photographers Ephemeris (check this out, [Google], if you aren't aware of it, it is quite simply the most useful photographer's tool to date), seemed to confirm that it would be every bit as spectacular.
I contacted a good friend of mine who has infinite patience with me and a love of simply being up these hills and for the record zero interest in taking pictures. After a weather check with my favourite weather App. (HD Weather Pro Plus), which duly confirmed bright, sunny spells, high cloud, little to no wind and temperatures between -3 and +5 degrees Celcius, we headed for the Fiddler and the tiny car park past Achiltibuie, close to the hamlet of Culnacraig. We arrived at noon. Now I appreciate that folk might wonder why we didn't make an earlier attempt, as half the day would already have gone, well confirmation with the Photographer's Ephemeris confirmed that the evening light would be best and I didn't fancy hanging around all day potentially freezing my extremities off on a windblown snow covered summit.
For the record I am not the healthy fit athletic person that you see in my website pictures anymore, I am 51 years old, time and children have taken their toll, but neither am I a complete physical wreck, just being out and about with a camera ensures basic fitness. A Pentax 67II and a couple of lenses and filters, not to mention a heavy tripod is a substantial load so I won't be winning any races to the summit of these hills, but I still managed to get to the top of The Fiddler in 1 hour and 45 minutes, my only slight concern was the snow that was still very obviously present in the last 200 feet to the summit. I had no crampons or ice axe and had resolved to turn back if it suddenly became icy. I needn't have worried, the snow was Spring softened by the sun and normal walking boots proved fine. As it turned out there was not a breath of wind and despite the sub zero temperatures the sun was warm and it was perfectly possible to sit there surrounded by pristine unblemished snow munching an orange and a sandwich in nowt but a T shirt.
I spent around 4 hours at the top leaving shortly after 5pm when the light had warmed considerably and the scenery became sidelit rather than frontally lit as it was earlier in the day with the compositional problems created by my own shadow intruding upon the scene. The view from the top is nothing short of astounding, getting on for the finest I have seen, it makes the one from Stac Pollaidh look almost mundane by comparison. Not another sole did I see all day and it was as if the weather and the scenery were laid on entirely for my benefit - landscape photography heaven.
Just as I thought life couldn't get any better - it did. A raven flew overhead cronking loudly, the only bird we had seen all day. It seemed to have been disturbed by something and plunged down behind the summit rocks. A few moments later the reason for it's anxiety became apparent. A huge golden eagle with its golden head, yellow beak and uptilted, fingered wings soared majestically past us inclining its head quizzically in our direction no more than 30 metres from our position on the cliff tops. The eagle was neither above or below us, it passed by parallel to our position a dozen or so yards out from the cliff with a 1500 foot drop directly beneath it, such is the nature of the precipitous drop that is the leading edge of The Fiddler. We stood there in awe as this huge bird wheeled round four times to have a good look at us, each time passing by parallel to our position neither below or above us. Not once did this mighty bird of prey flap its wings, complete and total mastery of the air.
As I shoot almost exclusively with film I have to wait a while before I get it developed and then scanned, so no results are available for perusal yet. As soon as they are, I will provide the necessary links. If you have ever thought about climbing one of the Scottish peaks even one of the smaller ones and you are averagely fit - just do it. Choose your day, do the research, check the weather, let someone know where you will be and don't let yourself be talked out of it, you will be glad you did.
27 December 2012 : New Acrylic Transient Light Prints
I have recently had the opportunity to review some of the latest print media and found that the Aluminium backed acrylic glass prints have particularly caught my eye.
They undoubtedly work best as larger format prints in excess of 30 inches, but what astonished me was the luminescent quality that this media seems to radiate from the printed surface. They seem to quite literally glow, yet the smooth clinically clean laser cut lines, frameless and apparently unsupported, really work incredibly well on a wall, attracting the eye without dominating your living space. I think they are a worthy and thoroughly contemporary companion to the more traditional canvas and will suit any picture that is not too complex in structure with rich bold colours.
For a little more information please visit ACRYLIC PRINTS on my website. Presently two sizes are displayed but the acrylic prints are also available as larger prints in both square and panoramic formats to suit the proportions of the images displayed on this website. Please contact me HERE for additional information re. size and pricing.
15 November 2012 : Exceeding A Vision. LPOTY 2012
I made a great deal more effort this year than my normal haphazard, last minute and unplanned response to the deadlines for entering the 2012 Landscape Photographer of The Year. A photography competition that seems to be almost continually embroiled in damnation and acclaim in roughly equal measure.
This year has probably been the most testing with the announced winner not only having his winning image (a good picture I might add), disqualified for contravening the rules but additionally having all his other images similarly disqualified. In my view his winning image some upturned boat houses near a familiar Northumbrian view was no worse in terms of the work done to it than images seen in previous editions of the LPOTY books. I also prefer the original winning image by a considerable margin to the one that replaces it, even with the full knowledge that more than a little digital post processing has been applied to achieve the finished result. The new book had already been printed and the competition is left in considerable turmoil which is a great shame for all those taking part.
Despite my additional and much improved efforts I had less chosen this year than in any other previous year. Maybe the competition is simply getting tougher, or maybe I just simply chose the wrong images, either way I got two through the first cut and only one in the book. As it happens the one that did get through won one of the prize categories, Epson's Exceed Your Vision and it is the one you see here and in the article's title picture. I am very grateful to Epson for their Epson R3000 photographic quality inkjet printer which I will probably set up in the next few days. I fervently hope the Landscape Photographer of The Year competition gets back on track as despite the increasingly hostile reaction garnered, deservedly or as a result of jealousy, I believe it still represents the most important of the UK landscape photography competitions. I shall certainly be entering again next year and my resolve will simply be to try harder and maintain my current philosophy as to what constitutes a fine landscape photograph.
Two interesting facts have emerged from this year's competition. The first is simply repeating what I have heard elsewhere so may or may not be true. My winning image was the only film sourced image printed in this years Landscape Photographer Of The Year book and second I understand from one of the organisers that there are now just two photographers that have had images printed in every book since the competition's inception. I think it is just myself and Adam Burton left in the race. I shall try my very best to be the last survivor and I am quite sure that Adam will try similarly hard.
12 October 2012 : Exhibition Moray Art Centre
Out of the blue came an offer to exhibit some of my photographs in the Moray Art Centre situated within the Findhorn Foundation. Usually I like to prepare a little better but it is a prestigious venue so I was pleased to be able to supply a dozen large images as a mixture of canvases and large ash framed prints.
The prints are of course on sale there along with my fine art cards, calendars and signed books, the prints are certainly pretty well lit as you'd expect of a gallery and the resulting show is very colourful, particularly considering the very grey days we have experienced from the beginning of this week.
The Moray Arts Centre opens Monday to Saturday from around 10am to 5pm, with occasional openings on Sundays too, though you are best to phone ahead and confirm opening times. The gallery will be displaying my photographic prints for a further 6 weeks so if you get the opportunity do go and see them and needless to say I will be delighted if you buy them too.
04 September 2012 : 2013 Workshops Coming Soon.
Apologies for the delay in putting up new workshops and masterclasses on the Transient Light website. Due to the recent computer crash and the preparation necessary for the current 2012 workshops I have found it necessary to delay their appearance. I hope that this will be rectified towards the end of September when I will introduce some time honored favourite locations and maybe one or two new places to visit, including some budget conscious courses.
28 August 2012 : The Ultimate in Transient Light
I am as you have probably gathered an ardent lover of Transient Light and its effect on the landscape, but there are limits. Whilst sitting at my desk completing some work for a client, Moray experienced one of its exceedingly rare thunderstorms. Lightning crashed down twice and thunder rolled.
The first strike merely made me look around and quizzically stare out of the window and silently ask myself if that was a thunder clap I'd heard. The second strike left me in no doubt what-so-ever, a blinding flash and an instant crash followed by all lights and power going out. Eventually everything came back to life the telly woke up, the radio tuned itself into some channel or other and the table lamp came on. Unfortunately the one thing that didn't was my computer. It's dead...I hoped it was just the power supply, but no, sadly the mother board has gone to meet its maker and other components seem none to healthy either. Thunder storms in our part of Scotland are as rare as a well done steak in a classy French restaurant, so I am more than a little bit peeved. I will be fitting surge suppressors to my next computer, that should guarantee that I never see another thunderstorn in Moray in my lifetime. Meantime I am up and running just about but unable to put any new images on site until after Wednesday when my next computer is hopefully going to be installed. For the record the image that heads this article is called "End Of Days", it seems appropriate.
19 June 2012 : Using the Search System
This isn't really News as such, but more along the lines of providing information.
My search system works!!
Okay it may not be the best in the world and doesn't account for typing errors or mis-spelled words in the way that some do, but the framework of it certainly does.
There are getting on for a one thousand five hundred images on my website, of course they are all wonderful, (tongue is firmly in cheek!!), and doubtless browsing through all of them is a worthwhile experience but I am increasingly finding that many folk ask me directly if I have any images of Hopeman or the Quiraing or whatever rather than wade through my galleries, well now you have another option, if you head to the front page and enter SEARCH then type in a general description of what you are looking for separated by commas such as.. blue, boat.. Where there is more than one search criteria, you should find a collection of thumbnails appear which will limit your requirement to browse through everything. You should also be able to run a slideshow of the images that you have selected in your search criteria.
The more images I put up of course the more the search engine becomes essential. I am very very pleased I decided to do my keywording properly from the sites initial entry onto the web, so that searching for a specific image is a completely viable option.
13 June 2012 : Transient Light Scottish Calendars 2013
The new Transient Light calendars have arrived and are now available to purchase through this website. Please visit the Transient Light Shop to purchase yours and I will despatch it promptly. Don't forget to add the postage appropriate to your part of the world via the pull down list when you use the "Buy" button. I will also be supplying a number of local Scottish retailers with both calendars and fine art cards.
20 May 2012 : Magical Lofoten
I have been waiting three or four days for the first of a batch of 40 odd rolls of Fuji Velvia film to be developed before putting up some images of what must be one of the finest landscape destinations on the planet. Lofoten rises like some forbidding and mystical Valhalla citadel from the sea it's impossibly spiky mountains not much higher than the Scottish ones that I am familiar with but their grandeur is somehow unmatched.
Occupying a position just 100 miles inside the Arctic circle the Lofoten Islands is subject to both eternal night and day during the relevant seasons. I opted to travel there before the high season but during weather that I hoped would prove more bearable to work with and for me at least this policy proved a resounding success. I was blessed with both storm fronts, blizzards, hail storms, but also periods of exquisite sunshine and balmy snow thawing sunlight. Of course at this time of year it never really ever got dark and one major caveat to consider with travelling to these beautiful islands at this time of year is the impossibility of viewing one of Lofoten's most treasured phenomenon the northern lights. It simply isn't dark enough to see them at night let alone photograph them. It is not something that particularly concerned me, I came to visit the island scenery and in any case my velvia film and relatively slow lenses are far from ideal for photographing the northern lights. In truth for me at least the true majesty of the lights is the breathtaking speed with which they flicker across the night sky and somehow a still photograph fails to resonate in the same way.
I have a lot of very pleasing images and doubtless a great many more will inevitably find their way to my website. For the moment I have added those freshly scanned images to a new Norwegian gallery which can be found under the European gallery umbrella HERE.
I have been so overwhelmed by its beauty that I have recently updated my Workshop / Masterclass destinations to include a Lofoten Islands masterclass lasting 9 days to be held next Spring and based at the outstandingly stunning fishing village of Reine in the heart of Lofotens most majestic scenery. Details can be found HERE. Do yourself a favour if you like wild and wonderful scenery, just book you won't be disappointed.
27 April 2012 : New Spring Workshop - Arran
I recently spent a week exploring the Isle of Arran. It has been a good many years since my previous visit. Arran didn't disappoint and I came away with oodles of good quality images and found myself thoroughly inspired by the variety of landscapes that I re-discovered.
Despite the relatively long distance between my home town of Forres and the Isle of Arran I think it would make an excellent short course and will probably appeal to those that find Glasgow to be a much more manageable travel destination.
Arran is barely an hour on the ferry and only another hour from its mainland port of Ardrossan to the heart of Glasgow itself. I hope you enjoy my new images I have a lot more to go up on my website yet and for those interested in a new Transient Light masterclass you can find it on my website HERE.
16 April 2012 : Lofoten Island Trip
I have had my eye on the possibility of a visit to the Lofoten Islands for a couple of years. Unfortunately due to circumstances of timing my Chinese expedition has fallen through, so instead I have put some time aside to fulfil this earlier passion. Unlike most landscape photographers I don't actually have a huge desire to photograph the green sirens of the sky, namely the Northern Lights.
In truth I would have a great deal of trouble doing so with my usual Pentax 67II combination as my lenses are relatively slow and I am confined to quite low ISO. Instead I will content myself merely with the opportunity to observe any display and doubtless wonder at their magnificence. I have seen the Lights a few times before in Scotland, less vivid of course, but their flickering dance was beguiling and I cant help but feel that its magic would be diminished and possibly lost to me in a still image.
No - it is the islands themselves that have kindled this desire to visit them. These lofty thrones tower upwards out of the sea and it is my intention to capture something of their magnificence in the finest light possible. I am also very much aware that having pre-conceived ideas of what I hope to capture on film is in itself a restrictive barrier to creativity so I shall content myself with - we shall see what we shall see.
My travels to the Lofoten Islands will last the best part of 12 days and will commence at the beginning of May so during that period I will be unable to complete any framed images or deal with picture requests. I can however still pick-up emails so feel free to contact me anyway.
01 February 2012 : Photo Break and Courses
I have a short amount of time away on non photo related business so for two weeks I will be shutting down the business side of my site. As a result, although you will still be able to order goods through the Transient Light shop and you can also pay a deposit on a Transient Light photographic course I will not be in a position to act on any orders made until 16 February 2012.
One word of warning courses are booked on a first come first served basis. It is entirely possible that one or more courses will become over subscribed. If this happens I will refund any monies paid on a date / order of payment basis to the time when the course registers as being FULL. Those that are oversubscribed can if they wish be added to a reserve list even though their deposit is refunded.
New courses will be added to the website for the later half of 2012 and early 2013 on my return.
24 December 2011 : Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Xmas
Hi Folks. Another very enjoyable year for me and a very successful one. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting some very nice people and some talented folk on my workshops and masterclasses which have been virtually full all year long. Next year will be another busy one, with some winter workshops in January followed by a ski trip to Canada with my family.
My main project albeit a sporadic one will be to progress a second photography book. This book is intended to target a very different audience, rather than produce another paperback that re-invents the same material in a high volume, "how to" publication. My intention is to produce a significantly larger format limited edition book with a high quality hardback binding and just one large image on a page. It will be produced on top quality heavyweight paper stock. More information about the book will become available later next year. I have two planned foreign photography trips next year these are for my personal photographic gratification one is in May where I will be visiting China another is to Iceland at the end of July. Two places I have always wanted to visit - never mind photograph. I have been very fortunate to gain some excellent guides to these regions. After that well who knows but I like surprises.
Meantime everyone a very Happy Christmas and a wonderfully fulfilling New Year.
13 December 2011 : Christmas Print Deadline
Christmas is a very busy time of year for everyone and the same is true of Transient Light. A week or so before Christmas the number of prints both framed and unframed quintuples and I become inundated with orders. An additional problem arises in that I am running a Glencoe masterclass from the Thursday 15th December lasting 5 days where I will not be available to complete any orders.
Thus far I am okay and any orders made for UK destinations should reach you well before Christmas, but realistically that deadline is noon tomorrow, Wednesday 14 December. After that I will try my best but I very much doubt the postal service will stay ahead of the game and orders are more than likely not going to arrive before Christmas.
01 November 2011 : LPOTY 2011 And Other News
I seem to have been away from home for simply ages and I have to confess more than anything else I have been missing my wife and two children. The welcome back from them was very touching and I am at last able to do a little updating of my website. Harris was wild and beautiful with mixed weather that delighted me.
Shortly after that I went to Skye and conditions proved very difficult as the wind has been inexplicably high for almost a month. Next I found myself at Glencoe, Skye and Torridon with the Russians and experienced some of the most apalling weather I have ever encountered in Scotland. The river at Sligachan was so high that the triple horse pack bridge was all but washed away, precious little of the arches were left for the water to flow through so high and robust was the river. Here is its normal state. Frankly it was impossible to shoot it in the conditions we witnessed that Saturday. Still we did manage some quite gorgeous light whilst perched on a very windblown ledge high above the Old man of Storr and one morning at Glencoe proved delightful. Next it was a return to Glencoe and five days of rain with approximately 11 minutes of sunshine. The shots obtained by our wee group frankly defy belief. One or two were truly excellent.
During my time away I found out that two of the five images that were shortlisted by the judges of the LPOTY team made it through with one being commended and ending up as the personal top choice of judge David Watchus. The other was selected in the British Rail images category. Which I confess didn't surprise me too much. So a reasonable year, I look forward to seeing the book.
For the record the images selected were these two.
The first was the commended image the other the British Rail selection.
13 September 2011 : The Sum of its Parts
I'm lucky enough to have had quite a lot of success selling my images to various sources, whether in calendars, books, CD sleeves and all manner of other uses. I'm always delighted to see my work displayed in shops or on products because they have been licensed to use that image by me for the purpose stated and in most cases thay have paid good money to do so.
But of course success does mean your images are more likely to become the target of theft. In truth, I don't have a great deal of problem with folk taking an image off my website, displaying it on their own, waxing lyrical about it and then providing a link to my website from theirs. The more people that see my work the better as far as I am concerned. However when my images are mis-represented or they are for the material gain of another and the person responsible for taking the image hasn't even approached me for permission to use it, then I feel aggrieved, and I ask them to pay me for the privilege or remove it at once. That is the basis of copyright. My approach is fairly laid back, others pursue every illicit use of their work with huge diligence, that of course is just as much their prerogative.
Recently I was approached by the brother of one of the folk that attended one of my courses, and he asked me if I realised how easy it was to use my images at an adequate resolution to be used for post cards or on the side of mugs, table mats and the like. He is currently doing a Blog article where he has permission to use a typical un-watermarked, website protected image of mine to demonstrate how it might be used and sold without my knowledge. It is a difficult balancing act. I am fully aware that an image at 720 pixels, typical of this website, simply does not have the "wow factor" or impact of the same image at 1200 pixels. In short it becomes the proverbial race to keep up with the Jones's. A larger jpeg causes more sales to be made, but the image becomes increasingly open to theft. Watermarking is an option, but the intrusiveness of placing it on your image is detrimental and offsets the very "wow factor" that you tried to establish by producing it larger in the first place. I mentioned to Chris that I am in the fortunate position that a great many folk know my work and as a consequence they Police it for me informing me of any suspicious use that they come across.
At last I reach the point of this article and I am still slightly in two minds as to what to do about it. Please take a look at THIS. (click on puzzle to play) As far as I can tell there is no material gain and there is a reference to the fact that it is an image of mine. It doesn't as far as I can see link back to my own website in anyway which would at least be a courtesy. No permission was asked or granted and arguably it doesn't represent my image in the best light. By drawing attention to it I am undoubtedly pointing traffic his/her way when really the traffic should be coming to me.
However the crux of the issue is this, I actually rather enjoyed doing it and my kids have done it too and to put it bluntly it is trivial fun. I'm interested to know what others think, perhaps I should simply request that he/she puts a link back to my website to drive traffic back here again.
03 August 2011 : Fine Art Cards Selling Well.
Distribution of my recently introduced Transient Light Fine Art cards are proving to be a big hit with local retailers with all the shops regularly re-stocking and increasing their orders. My problem as ever has proven to be one of distribution.
Time is becoming more precious and keeping up with the growing number of sales means I am no longer able to do it all myself and run the rest of my business. Shortly I will be looking to find an agent to help me out so if anyone knows any good ones who can tackle distribution in Scotland.. please let me know.
Secondly sales have proven strong enough to enable me to sell individual Transient Light cards through my website rather than just complete the complete sets of 5 cards. Whilst the complete set is still available at a healthy discount, it does mean that individual cards can be mixed and matched from any of the four sets, Magical Moray, Highland moods, Mountain Splendour and The Seasons to best suit individual needs.
The Transient Light Shop is currently undergoing some modification to reflect the ability to buy both the complete sets and individual cards. Transient Light Calendars and Books are still available to purchase as before. Modifications should be completed by Friday 05 August 2011.
26 July 2011 : Transient Light Gallery Slide Shows
Some additional functionality has recently been added to my website. Before you had to open up each image within the gallery to view it at its optimum size. This is still an option but additionally the individual galleries can be viewed as a rolling slide show.
I quite often prefer to work this way to get through the displayed image with minimal intervention.
It is also possible to view the whole of my galleries in one go rather than view them 12 at a time. I understand that this makes comparing images a little easier and remember if you prefer a more targeted approach to my images each has been keyworded so although it may not be perfect at least you get a good selection of subject related images to view.
23 July 2011 : Print Exhibition at the Findhorn Foundation
Another opportunity to see some of my large format prints and canvases has recently arisen.
The Blue Angel an organic, Fair Trade and primarily vegetarian cafe situated within the Findhorn Foundation near Findhorn village on the outskirts of Kinloss, has offered to display a selection of my images for a calendar month commencing on the 15th August 2011.
The cafe opens from around 10am Monday to Saturday closing at 5pm.
If you haven't visited the Findhorn foundation before it really is quite a pleasant place to spend an hour or so wandering around the eco friendly houses a great place for kids too.
20 July 2011 : New!! 2012 Calendar In Stock
The new 2012 Transient Light Calendar has arrived and is now in stock.
Copies will be sent out to many Scottish retail outlets in the next week but of course you can order them through my website HERE for immediate despatch or visit the Transient Light Shop.
03 July 2011 : Ullapool Exhibition
Between the 31st July and the 31st August 2011 there will be a small exhibition of some of my large framed prints and canvases displayed in the Gallery Cafe above the outdoor clothing shop in Ullapool.
This place has become a bit of a highland Mecca for walkers, climbers and those passing through on their way to the Isles of Lewis and Harris. It does a decent cup of coffee and a breakfast and features an upstairs gallery where a great many local and not so local artists display photographic works of the surrounding area. The photography on display appears to be almost as much as a draw as the cafe itself and unusually this place dedicates itself exclusively to the display of photography rather than painted or ceramic works of art. There are virtually no other galleries in Scotland that do this, (apparently photography is NOT art and consequently it doesn't sell), all I can say is that I do extremely well selling pictures that are NOT art despite having precious few opportunities to display my work and perhaps if a few more places thought along similar lines as the Gallery Cafe in Ullapool then British landscape photography would get the wider audience I think it deserves. Certainly the US has a markedly different philosophy. Photography is considered to be art and the prices commanded are commensurate with other media works.
The Gallery Cafe opens 7 days a week between 9am and 4pm and I hope to be available to sign books, calendars and cards and maybe offer some constructive critique on your own photography on one or two dates during the exhibition (to be advised)
08 June 2011 : Transient Light Scottish Wall Calendar 2012
After last years problems with the 2011 Transient Light Wall Calendar I lost a lot of the will power needed to produce another, but time is a good healer and in truth despite the problems, I received a lot of very favourable comments and encouragement to continue. The surprising fact is that sales were largely unaffected, certainly much less than my morale.
The 2012 Transient Light Scottish Wall Calendar is currently being shipped and should arrive in Scotland mid July 2011, whereupon I will distribute it once again to small independant Scottish retailers and of course through my own website. After last years debacle and failed secondary proof reading I am hardly in a position to be confident in respect of its 100% accuracy, but I can certainly promise you I've tried and so have the folk I have given the calendar to for checking. I really hope you enjoy it, I am certainly happy with its appearance and print quality and I trust you will be too.
As soon as the 2012 wall calendar becomes available to buy I will provide a link through to the Transient Shop.
25 April 2011 : An Aide Memoire to A.M.M.
The vast majority of the pictures that I take utilise hard edged neutral density graduated filters to assist with in field management of dynamic range. Whether you are a digital or film shooter this technique is equally valid and frankly more or less essential to the latter. In order to manage the dynamic range in my pictures and give an accurate representation of the scene in front of me I need a reliable means of determining the right strength of filtration to apply with the aim of achieving a natural look.
Whilst digital users can very successfully apply the "if you don't get it right first time, try try again" approach or better still Live View, that luxury is not afforded the film user. That said I believe both benefit from getting it right first time if only to ensure the successful and realistic capture of transient light.
To use A.M.M. or A ssign, M eter, M ake correctly it is helpful to have a separate spot meter and preferably one that reads EV directly. The Pentax digital spotmeter is ideal for the job and is in my opinion a much better choice than the all digital Sekonic or Gossen manufacturers, assuming of course that you can find one. This information is really aimed at those photographers that have been on a Transient Light photography masterclass already and consequently you should have some inkling of A.M.M. in practice. It is undoubtedly true that a field based course is by far the best way of getting to grips with it, even so I am aware it takes a wee while to get your head around it so I have decided to provide a sort of Aide Memoire memory jogger to assist.
There is no correct exposure only the one that you tell it to be. The one you Assign it.
A.M.M. is only as accurate as your ability to assess tone. Practice makes perfect.
A.M.M. is ONLY used to determine the correct strength of filtration to apply NOT the exposure value.
A.M.M. gives you the total combined filter strength NOT the ratio in which they are applied, ie complex filtering.
A.M.M. is only truly relevant to hard edged graduated filters, assessment of soft edge ones may be made but the area in which the brighter or darker tones are assessed must be well clear of the grad line.
Let us use the header picture above as an example and an obvious one where a filter needs to be applied to hold what is likely to be a massive dynamic range. It features a vivid orange sunset above a lavender field in Provence but it could be anything.
The real dynamic range of film and the unprocessed dynamic range of digital is approximately 5 stops. Jet black no tone is -2.5 stops, pure white no tone is +2.5 stops. (for those technical geeks I realise this is an approximation but it serves purpose) Somewhere between those two values are all the tonal values whether as shades of grey or as hue.
A ssign: Find the two points in your selected viewfinder that represent your lightest and darkest required tones, NOT the sun and NOT any specular highlights, both these are acceptable areas to lose tone and hence burn out. Assess their tones, first the brightest tone as represented by the five stop scale, in this case I estimate the orange sky adjacent to the sun is around +1.5 stops above a mid tone "0" on the five stop scale. My dark tone will be represented by the dark blue lavender I have assessed that tone to be around -1.5 stops below a mid tone. Therefore my desired or Assigned dynamic range for my image is 3 stops.
M eter: Next set the ISO dial on your Pentax digital spot meter to the film speed you are using or the digital ISO of your camera. Measure the EV value of the brightest and darkest Assigned tones let us for arguments sake say the tone readings measure 14 EV brightest and 6 EV darkest (this was pretty close to being exactly the case for this particular shot). The M etered dynamic range for the scene is therefore 8 EV or 8 stops.
M ake: The final stage is to choose the strength of the hard edged neutral density graduated filter I will need to hold my desired or Assigned dynamic range and one can Make this by taking the Assigned dynamic range from the Metered dynamic range. The filter is therefore 5 stops.
For the record all my filtration choices are made using this method but of course as you get more and more experienced you are able to make a good guess of the correct choice of filter in common lighting conditions. I would however have got it completely wrong in the instance above so A.M.M proved worth its weight in gold.
Unfortunately I am unable to answer any questions on this technique as it takes a great deal of time to explain and is much easier to demonstrate in field applications as per those that have attended the Transient Light Masterclasses but for those that have attended I am happy to provide assistance.
19 April 2011 : New Audio Slideshow - Nirvana
It's my daughters tenth birthday tomorrow - how they grow up.. So by way of almost entirely unrelated nostalgia I put together a long overdue audio visual which you can view HERE.
It's simply a little slice of my personal idea of Heaven and I have called it "Nirvana" a state that I often strive to reach. I hope you enjoy it. If you find it doesn't load first time try again.
I am afraid that these slide shows are incompatible with MAC's unless they operate using Windows processing.
22 December 2010 : Calendar Errors 2011
The worst thing that can possibly happen to someone producing a calendar has happened to me.
At some stage between the first and second set of proofs the overlay of named dates such as Good Friday and Saints days and Bank holidays appears to have had another years named days substituted in its place.
The calendar itself appears to be date and day correct and consequently functions as a calendar properly as these were produced on a different layer to the named days indicated above.
Unfortunately there is no way I can rectify the problem now and the cost of doing so would be entirely prohibitive. Clearly I paid too much attention to getting the colour match of the pictures correct and assumed to much in expecting the other relevant details to be correct. Sadly it proves one other thing, the worst person to check your own work is yourself.
I humbly apologise for all the inconvenience this will cause to folks and customers. If you wish to send your calendar back to me by second class mail, I will entirely understand and I will refund the cost of the calendar and the current second class mail cost. It has been quite a shock to me to find out what has happened and will undoubtedly leave me at a financial deficit, but I will do my best to do right by my customers. If I do decide to produce another Transient Light calendar for 2012 I will get a professional to check this aspect of it to prevent it re-occurring.
12 November 2010 : Outer Hebrides Course in Spring
Just recently I returned from my second trip to the Hebrides and the Isles of Harris and Lewis and I found myself brim full of enthusiasm and a very strong desire to return to catch some more of that extraordinary Atlantic light as soon as possible. Having spent the best part of ten days exploring the beaches at various times of the day, I am now planning a return foray for five days in early May.
For those of you that think this would appeal please take a look at the Spring masterclass I will provide all transport too and from Inverness including ferry crossing fees in the cost of the trip. Only five places are on offer.
25 October 2010 : Fine Art Cards Now In Stock
Isn't it marvellous. In order to keep printing costs at a reasonable level I had to go outside of the UK to get the new Transient Light Fine Art Cards printed. True I get slammed for duty and import tax but the saving on UK prices is still significant, despite the pre-supposed complexity of dealing with a foreign printer.
The long and the short of it is the cards are beautifully printed, perfectly folded and presented, and literally ready for sale. I am delighted with the product and the sample cards that were sent in advance have already sold out.
The foreign print company I used, kept me informed of progress right through from start to finish, assumed nothing and did exactly what I asked of them, accurately matching my proofs. The product travelled by ship and arrived in Portsmouth precisely when they said it would.
Once checked in at the ports - three days - I simply needed it shipped from Portsmouth to my business address in Scotland. The printer's even organised this for me so that it was a door to door service, ironically stating that after arrival in the UK responsibility for delivery is down to UK authorities. I wondered why they informed me of this...
That was five weeks ago!! After hair pulling, nail chomping, raised voices, unanswered phone calls, lack of interest and just plain ineptness, an eight foot high palette of unstable boxes arrived at my door which I duly unloaded.
I just despair of Britain and its appalling service record. How can it travel half way across the world arrive in perfect dry condition on three legally stacked suitably packaged wooden palettes at Portsmouth docks and thereafter arrive here on one illegally stacked 8 foot tall palette with the bottom level of boxes wet and in some cases damaged. Net result seventy cards trashed.
I worked out the average speed that my fine art cards travelled between Portsmouth and my address was approximately 0.77mph about the same as a tortoise being encouraged by a nice fresh lettuce leaf. Vive la Brittannia!
Anyway moans over. They are here printed. they look great and I am ready to despatch them.
28 September 2010 : Colour Shifts with Web Browsers.
I am an Internet luddite. I use the software supplied with the computers I buy and only upgrade and change with extreme reluctance. A philosophy of "if it works don't fix it". But what if it really doesn't work that well?
I have been using Internet Explorer for years and currently use IE8. Most of the time everything is fine, but colour accuracy is essential to my website. It is essential in the viewing of my images and the last thing I want is to find that the colour and contrast that I carefully balance to my original transparencies and tag with the appropriate profile, then shift as soon as I introduce them to the Internet. Alas with Internet Explorer when I upload an image tagged with sRGB yellows shift toward red and blues become cyan. The image simply doesn't sing, at least to my practised eyes.
On a suggestion I tried downloading Mozilla's Firefox which is currently version 3.6.1 and free to download, get it from the official website. Viewing my images using Firefox with the attached sRGB profile is a revelation compared with the aforementioned IE8, no more colour shaping at my end to adapt the offset.
So if you have a sneaky suspicion that some of the images that you are viewing from photographers that understand the need to profile their images look a little bit off use Firefox and hopefully you will see them in a new and properly colour managed environment.
14 September 2010 : New Transient Light Products
Over the past few months I have been finalising the selection of 20 of my images to make into square format Fine Art Cards. The process reached completion about a month ago with all proofs tweaked for colour accuracy prior to being made into the final product. The first batch of completed samples have arrived and I am absolutely delighted with them.
Although the main shipment of cards will arrive in a month's time, the initial batch is now on sale in the Transient Light Shop section of my website. Please do take a look...
The cards are approximately 150mm square, printed in full colour on high quality matt white card, they are complete with a matching white envelope and sealed inside a clear cellophane package. The images are themed into four sets of cards, The Seasons, Mountain Splendour, Magical Moray and Highland Moods. Each and everyone of the feathered edged selected pictures is intended to give the impression of looking at the scene through a cottage window at the beginning of a new day... one that makes you feel grateful to be alive!!
I hope they leave that impression with you..
At present I can only supply them in individual sets containing five cards of which there are four. Future plans are to place them in a number of Scottish retail outlets.
19 August 2010 : 2011 Transient Light Wall Calendars.
At last they've arrived!!
I hope and think you will find that these are the best printed of my calendars to date.
To see more information about them and to make a purchase, please take a look at the Transient Light Shop on the front page of my website.
18 August 2010 : Duff Scans no driver.
Well here's a peculiar thing. I have had a Nikon 9000ED scanner that has performed faultlessly for 6 years or so with my Windows XP machine. Recently I decided it was about time to upgrade my aging computer to an all singing all dancing quad core la di da Windows 7 (64 bit behemoth). It's bigger, faster and got a blue LED ON button that I can turn on with my big toe.
Naturally enough I connected my scanner up to the machine expecting it to purr away like a contented pussy cat with the minimum of fuss. It didn't. Oh I need a new driver update, well silly me of course I do, I'll just download it from Nikon's site.... Imagine my horror when I discover that probably the biggest and most significant photographic business on the planet has no plans what-so-ever to update or upgrade their drivers to enable the Nikon 9000ED scanner, a machine currently produced and sold as a brand new item, to work with recent technology, Somewhat incredulous I telephoned Nikon and eventually got through to a rather sheepish technician who confirmed those very facts. At least he was apologetic, but never-the-less it was a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders and a clear message that Nikon is telling its customers to get stuffed!!
Fortunately some photographers with infinitely more knowledge than myself on matters IT have managed to devise an answer to the problem, and for those folk who still scan their images I hope this provides a solution. It worked for me, and by all accounts it similarly worked for a good many others with related issues and a variety of different Nikon film scanners both old and new. If you follow the instructions to the letter on this website I suspect you will have equal success getting your Nikon scanner model to work with any Windows Vista 64 bit machine or Windows 7 64 bit machine. Any other problems that might materialise can probably be resolved by referring to the link to a thread on Photonet within the text of this solution.
Hopefully your Nikon scanner compatibility problems will be resolved by the above link, which brings me on to the second issue. Of late I have been feeling a mild sense of dissatisfaction with the quality of my scans. The colours are good but it is as though a milky veil has been pulled across the clean and crisp more contrasty transparencies in my collection and this was most evident in a recent scan you see represented in the picture above. The sky really is very dark even in the tranny and I have no particular problem with that it was deliberately exposed this way. The problem is in the areas of extreme contrast where light has bled into the dark clouds causing an ugly bloom which simply isn't visible in the original tranny. At first I assumed I was simply asking too much of the scanner, high key images or those with relatively even tonation were completely unaffected. However I compared the results to older scans of high contrast slides and discovered this bloom was not apparent. The conclusion dust. I did some research and it appeared others had suffered similarly and the solution would appear to be a damn good clean, in particularly the primary mirror and lens assembly.
My machine is six years old. Used on a professional basis the value of that machine has reduced formulaicly and for tax purposes to a virtually zero. A spring clean by Nikon would prove costly, but worse still could mean my scanner would be unavailable for three weeks or more, professionally a worryingly long amount of time. I opted to clean the machine myself. I should hasten to add this is something you do at entirely your own risk and I am hardly qualified to give advice. In short it worked for me when I checked the primary mirror I was astonished. I had thought I was looking at the back of the mirror assembly but when I set about cleaning it I discovered that it was actually the front mirrored surface and it was covered in at least two millimetres of heavy grey dust. How on earth the scanner had done its job at all is quite beyond my comprehension. Should anyone else be in a similar situation and feel they have the ability or inclination to take their Nikon 9000ED scanner apart these are the guidelines I followed.
I can tell you now the difference is a comple revelation. I will be re-doing most of my recent high contrast scans so please bear with me while I play catch up.
11 August 2010 : 2011 Transient Light Calendar
At last the Transient Light Wall calendars have arrived in the UK and are currently being unloaded at the docks in Portsmouth. Judging by the air freighted advance samples, I reckon they are the best printed Transient Light calendars yet.
I hope you enjoy them, it's always immensely satisfying choosing a yearly foilo of seasonal images.
Arrival in Scotland should be by the end of this week and I will be able to make deliveries to Scottish retail outlets and of course directly through my website shortly after. Keep an eye out on the CALENDARS page for availability and prices.
29 July 2010 : Transient Light At The SNPF.
I was surprised and delighted to learn that I had been invited to lecture at the
SNPF Scottish National photography Fair at the superb Scottish Natural Heritage run Battleby Centre at Redgorton near Perth.
This event runs annually and attracts landscape and nature photographers from all over Scotland and further afield, providing a feast of photographic entertainment.
I will be headlining with four other guest speakers
The event takes place on both Saturday and Sunday the 4th and 5th September 2010 commencing at 10am. Lecture slots are approximately 45 minutes each. Afterwards I will be available to answer any questions and of course I will be delighted to sell you a Transient Light Calendar or two and to sign copies of my Transient Light Book.
Also included are various trade stands, a free prize draw and even a daily Photographic competition judged by the lecturers at the end of each day.
Prices start at £25 up to £33.25 dependant on whether you want lunch and breakfast included. (Concessions available)
Full details and tickets can be obtained by telephoning or emailing Norlyne Rosewarne at
Tel: 01738 458609 or email at SNPF@snh.gov.uk
20 July 2010 : Provence Workshop
Hi Folks I seem to have been away for ages..
From the beginning of July I spent a week in beautiful Provence running a photographic course. It makes quite a change organising a course where sunshine is almost guaranteed and certainly expected. Temperatures climbed to over 30 degrees with habitual regularity but were surprisingly dashed by thunderstorms that welled up near the mountains.
The lavendar fields, as ever, were the chief reason for travelling to Provence and I was delighted to see dozens of fields on the high French plateaus. There was one surprise, the crops usually mature with metronomic precision for the first week of July and are usually cut a week or so later, but this time many fields had not quite achieved the maturity expected and the sunflowers that usually accompany them were virtually non existent. Never-the-less the trip was very productive and I am sure that those that accompanied me also got some splendid shots. They at least had the benefit of seeing their results on the displays on the back of their camera.
Above is one of many shots that delighted me taken near Valensole.
4 July 2010 : Holiday Time
I will be spending some time with my family over the next couple of weeks so the site will not be updated and it may take longer to respond to any queries - please be patient. My camera hasn't been confiscated so I may manage the occasional picture!
01 May 2010 : New Slideshow - Treasured Moments
It's been a good while since I put my last slideshow - Drifting - up for display on my website so I thought it was long overdue for another.
Treasured Moments is just that - little snippets of time spent in beautiful locations when the light was nothing short of magical, they uplift my very soul and make me feel good to be alive and melt away worries like icecream in bright summer sunshine.
I have been fortunate enough to locate a copyright free version of my favourite ever classical piece - Danse Macabre by St Saens it is a highly evocative and dramatic piece of music that varies in tempo and pace successfully conjuring the atmosphere I seek in my landscapes. It is far from the best version I've heard, but beggars can't be choosers - I trust you enjoy it.
Please don't be put off by the associated notices that come up with the various attempts to run the software. Providing you aren't a Mac user it works very well, (presently Pro-Show is not compatible with Mac's).
Here's the LINK to the relevant show.
27 April 2010 : Ullapool Exhibition
Beginning 01 May 2010 and lasting until mid June, there will be a small exhibition of my photographs hosted by Angus Bruce in the Gallery Cafe situated above the Northwest Outdoor clothing shop in Ullapool. Mounted canvases and ash framed prints will be available to purchase along with a few signed copies of my recently published Transient Light book.
The gallery cafe is a great place to wile away a couple of hours particularly if the weather takes a turn for the worse, nice cakes, tea and a decent breakfast should you want one and a oodles of great pictures to admire.
Ullapool is a fairly lengthy journey for me, but I will be trying to get along on a few days over the period of the exhibition and would be delighted to speak with anyone similarly interested in landscape photography.
Please contact the gallery cafe at Ullapool for details of opening times.
13 January 2010 : Transient Light Photo Group
After a recent winter landscape photography course in Glencoe one member of the group, David Brean, suggested I have a web page specifically set aside for folk that have attended a Transient Light Photographic workshop or masterclass.
His idea is that those attending a course could place images they had taken on that course, on the page, so that anyone else could refer to it and perhaps get a feel for where they would like to visit themselves, preferably with me as their guide.
I thought it was a great idea and David very kindly set it up for me on Flickr. In order to participate you would need to join Flickr first and then request an invitation to join the group from existing members. It is very early days yet but if you have been on a Transient Light course and you would like to contribute your own images I would certainly encourage you to do so. Although I won't have time to comment on every image you present I will certainly provide a meaningful short critique or appraisal of some of the images presented.
Here is the page LINK
22 December 2009 : Transient Light In Nottingham.
I am very pleased and proud to announce that I will be visiting the fair city of Nottingham to present a Transient Light lecture.
Nottingham & Notts Photographic Society the largest Photographic club in the East midlands are hosting the event which will be open to the public.
The admission charge is £7.00 and the event will begin at 7.30pm on 12th January 2010 at the
Richard Herrod Centre,
Contact Adrian Manhire for admission tickets and further information HERE
The event will include a short audio visual of my work followed by the projection of some of my medium format landscape transparencies of scenic Scotland. I will also have a selection of calendars, Photographic Workshop/masterclass brochures and my recently published Transient Light book available for sale on the evening of the show. I hope that some of you will be able to make it along to the night.
01 January 2010 : New Year, New Slideshow
I haven't put a new slideshow up in quite a while mainly because time has been at a premium. However with the New Year just starting I thought it would be a pleasing addition to my site so I hope you enjoy it. This time the music includes a vocal arrangement and has a distinctly Celtic feel to it.
The lady that sings "She Moves Through The Fair", has a beautiful clear voice, (I have no idea who it is), I find it to be wonderfully evocative and meloncholic and hopefully my recently uploaded images act as a pleasing backdrop to her soleful voice.
Please don't be put off by the associated notices that come up with the various attempts to run the software. Providing you aren't a Mac user it works very well, (presently Pro-Show is not compatible with Mac's).
Here's the LINK to the relevant show.
14 December 2009 : Winter in Glencoe
I have just returned from leading a winter photography masterclass in Glencoe with five other photographers including two from Slovakia. During the four days we were there we were treated to some of the best winter photographic conditions I think I have ever had the good fortune to witness. Dazzling colours at dawn, pink sunrises over frozen grasses, reeds and lochs with snow capped mountains, followed by all day reflections, sunshine and shadows.
It was a wonderful sight and we shot from 45 minutes before sunrise to half an hour or more after the sun had set on every day save the last.
I have been promised a few sample images of their best work so look out for a future link in the testimonials section of the Photography Courses page.
I believe everybody returned with staggeringly good images and even I managed to shoot 20 rolls of film whilst there. I await the developed results with considerable interest.
I trust I shall have the pleasure of meeting up with everyone once more, roll on the winter and a dash of snow.
18 November 2009 : St Andrews Day Launch
After last year's successful launch of eight limited edition Transient Light prints timed to coincide with St Andrews Day, Lidls has once again elected to follow it up with another edition. This year eight new and carefully selected images have been turned into 80 x 60cm canvas prints and will be released for sale at an incredible price of £9.99.
With prices as sharp as these it is perhaps not surprising that something has to give and ultimately it is clear that they lack the clarity and colour fidelity of my hand printed work, however they still represent an inexpensive opportunity to own a Transient Light print, so I trust you'll enjoy finding them in your local store.
My understanding is that these prints will be on sale in every Scottish Lidl's store from 23 November 2009 (don't quote me on that!!), and that a further launch will take place in Ireland.
I am delighted to be working with Lidls on this venture once again and hope they prove every bit as successful as they did in the first year of launch where some stores sold all copies of the prints within 5 minutes of opening and reported significant queues forming outside the store prior to opening the doors. I should probably advise everyone that I do not have any copies available for sale save for one courtesy set of prints.
This single set of canvas prints will be personally signed by me in the bottom right hand corner of the print and they will be available for sale from my website on a first come first served basis for £29.99 + Postage.
19 October 2009 : Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2009
The results have been announced I did pretty well, I had one Highly Commended and two Commended images.
Family Tree Mono ----------- Highly Commended
Crimson Chill ----------------- Commended
Post Sunset Depression -- Commended
Emmanuel Coupe, a good friend of mine won the biggy and is Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2009 with a beautiful panoramic stitched image of the Old man Of Storr on fabulous Skye. I reckon he goes there even more often than I do.
14 October 2009 : Skye Workshop
Well the workshops and masterclasses have started up with a vengeance, the pace accelerating with the intensification of autumn colours. I spent a wonderful few days with some Russian friends on Glencoe and Skye and have just yesterday returned from a lovely stay at Dun Flodigarry hostel near my beloved Quiraing on Skye. The weather as ever was a mix of sunny and showers but we managed to skip around the worst of it and found ourselves in prime locations at the best of times for the majority of the time.
One morning was particularly memorable after climbing through dense pine forest and then slogging onwards for an hour to my favourite viewpoints well before sunrise Olga, Emma and Annette, my three companions, were treated to a simply stunning display of pre-sunrise colour which even stretched its fingers onto the clouds above the Old Man of Storr and its brethren pinnacles.
I hope to be able to show you some of their results on my website as I was too busy making sure everyone got the results they so richly deserved for the effort they put in to get there at the right time and neglected opportunities that were begging..
23 September 2009 : New Pro Show Added
A new PRO-SHOW has been added to the existing collection of work, which I hope you will find enjoyable.
Copyright free music has been used to accompany the images but I'm afraid as yet Pro-Shows won't run with Mac based machines.
26 August 2009 : Launch Date Imminent
Well of course if you're reading this launch date isn't just imminent
... it's arrived ...
First of all I hope you like it and agree with me that it is a much more sophisticated looking site. The previous one served me well for years, but it was starting to get very long in the tooth. It lacked a number of very useful features that other websites had; particularly e-commerce, which I think in todays world is vital. The pictures are larger in size, easier to view and navigate, and finished off to a considerably higher standard than my old website ever permitted. You will still need a calibrated monitor to view the images at their best, but with calibration done the viewing experience should be greatly enhanced.
The new Transient Light website was put together and designed by Jack Brauer and Jesse Speer who did a fantastic job integrating my thoughts and ideas into a practical and highly functional package which will undoubtedly evolve further, time and necessity permitting. The first thing you will probably notice is the choice of colour scheme, now I realise the pale blue background won't be to everybody's taste and that a nice grey, white or black is considered standard, but the last thing I want is for my all singing all dancing website to look exactly like everyone elses, there's enough homogenity in this supermarket world already without me adding to it.
Unlike the previous site, the search system works pretty well, have a wee play, some of the images it selects will probably leave you scratching your head and it isn't an intelligent search system that guesses what you meant to type, but in most cases it does a fair job of tracking down the image you were actually trying to find. Currently there are around 500 images on site, that's less than previously and is partly because I have to keyword and type descriptive text for each image uploaded, which incidentally I hate doing. However, you will find that I am completely dedicated to the task and as a consequence the number of images will grow daily. All NEW images will appear down the side bar of the "NEWS / EVENTS" page of my website, with each image linking to a larger version of that image.
Now that the site has full e-commerce facilities you will find it possible to buy Prints, Calendars and Books and eventually fine art cards at the click of a button. From there you will be taken to a typical shopping cart page where your products are accumulated prior to check-out and appropriate post and packing amounts added. The secure transaction is carried out by Paypal invoice. Having said all that you can still send me a cheque if you prefer.
The Transient Light Photographic Workshop/Masterclass page has been given a facelift too, information about each course has been extended and more options added along with fuller information relating to my 1-2-1 tuition days. The option of paying the deposit for a workshop or masterclass by Paypal is now a practicality.
New to my website are the PRO-SHOW slide shows which you will find on the home page menu. I've had one or two teething problems with these as the resolution is of the same quality as the raw web images. A show could take as long as five minutes to download but I think you'll really enjoy them. Music is necessarily copyright free or license applied for. If a show doesn't work at the first attempt try once more.
Pro-Shows do NOT work with Apple Mac computers only PC's
I think that's enough from me... You are most welcome to explore the website, it was built for you, yet satisfies my artistic needs and I'm equally sure there will be teething problems to overcome. Your feedback and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.
24 June 2009 : Transient Light Exhibition.
Two new exhibitions of my prints will be rolled out during the summer months.
The first is quite small of the order of ten to twelve of some of my finest large format Scottish landscape prints.
These will be on show in the first floor cafeteria section of the North West Outdoors shop in Ullapool as part of a series of photographic exhibitions. At the very least you can get a decent brekkie and some great gooey chocolate cake, so do pay it a visit if you are in the area or on your way to Lewis and Harris.
Opening: 20th July 2009 Closing: 30th August 2009
The second exhibition is considerably larger and follows on from a very successful show at the Elgin Gallery three years ago. I will be displaying approximately 35 of my finest Scottish landscape prints and during the first and second week I will be available to discuss photography in addition to signing copies of my 2010 Transient Light Calendars and my new Transient Light landscape photography book. I also anticipate being able to show short digital audio visuals of my work.
Address: Elgin Library, Cooper Park, Elgin.
Opening: 5th Sept 2009 Closing: 26th Sept 2009
Mon-Fri 10am - 8pm & Sat 10am - 4pm
I would advise phoning ahead as gallery opening times are prone to alteration without warning. Tel: 01343 562600
02 November 2008 : A Lidl Bit Better.
Over two millon leaflets have been sent out all over Scotland and there are two double page spreads devoted to a St Andrews day promotion of eight of my Transient Light pictures.
The large scale canvasses (60 x 80cm) which will be available on sale at every Scottish Lidl store on 29th November 2008 for the remarkable price of just £9.99.
Update: A recent report back from Lidls promotions manager indicates that the Transient Light canvas picture launch was highly successful. 8000 images were initially available a 1000 of each edition. Local scenes were sold out of all associated stores within an hour of opening, with several stores reporting a queue at the premises prior to opening. Lidls were delighted at the success and have already requested a repeat order from Transient Light.
I can apparently look forward to a similar venture with a new selection of shots for 2009.
20 July 2008 : Landscape Photographer of The Year.
Commended LPOTY 2008.
Following on from last years inaugural landscape photography competition is the announcement of this year's Landscape Photograph Of The Year 2008.
I feel sure the quantity and quality of work submitted will have surpassed last years efforts, so although I was disappointed not to be in the very top selection I was never-the-less pleased to find that five of my images were deemed good enough to be selected for show in the exhibition and subsequent publication in this years LPOTY book, which was more than anyone else managed to do. I trust the competition will continue to grow in popularity. One thing is certain it will get tougher every year.
Above is one of my commended images. "Island In The Mist"
7 November 2007 : A Picture of Health.
Earlier this year I was contacted by a representative from the Doctor's surgery at Lossiemouth requesting a large number of photographic prints extolling the virtues of Moray's delightful coastline between Burghead and East beach Lossiemouth, extending inland as far as Elgin.
Lossiemouth are to gain a brand new Health Centre adjoining the RAF base to cater for patients health needs within the area depicted.
I am delighted to have been awarded the contract to furnish the new building with forty selected ash framed photographs.
The new Health Centre is due for completion in January 2008 and will be opened by Royalty.
The new Moray Health Centre is now open there are currently 53 20 x 16 inch framed prints on permanent display there.
07 June 2007 : Landscape Photographer of The Year 2007.
After much debate consultation and whittling down between a select panel of judges including such notables as Bill Bryson, Charlie Waite and Ben Fogle, the results of the Landscape Photographer Of The Year competition were announced in the Sunday Times.
I didn't win the big one, the £10,000 first prize went to Jon Gibbs with a picture bordering on surreal, a thunderstorm brewing behind a sea based windfarm.
Never-the-less I was delighted to learn that three of my pictures were placed highly commended and selected for inclusion in Charlie Waites new book, while one of them did it's very best for me and was selected as a runner-up netting £500.
Some of the winners and commended entries are printed in the
Sunday Times supplements 17th September 2007.
An exhibition of the winning photographs, runners up and highly commended entries are exhibited in the foyer of the
Lyttleton National Theatre in London from 15th Sept - 3rd November 2007.
10 October 2006 : Transient Light At Apple's Core!!
is at the very core of the new Apple iphone.
After initial contact from Apple US, I was delighted to hear that Steve Jobs the corporate head of the company selected one of my images to be used as an embedded file in their brand new Apple iphone.
Apparently one of my pictures (above) will be used as a wallpaper image along with Leonardo Da Vinci and other notables.
Naturally I am very pleased to be associated with such a prestigious company and I'm sure the iphone will be a resounding success.
The image chosen is a sectional enlargement of one of my fine art images.