Uninhabited places

Had a fairly hectic August and what promises to be an equally busy September so just going to sneak this blog entry in whilst I've got a spare half hour.

I spent a fair proportion of last month running photography workshops as well as preparing for future courses which will take place next year. Having relocated to the edge of the Peak District a few months ago I am still getting used to the area. As already mentioned in the previous blog post Rockit my favourite area so far is the walk up to Kinder plateau. The route I take up to the tops is via the small village of Hayfield and provides a great deal of subject matter, so ideal for running photography workshop. I have now used this route several times whilst out on workshops and also when shooting my own personal work.

Quiet evening walks in such designated areas of outstanding natural beauty are something that I try to do as often as possible. The solitude found in such locations allows me to both relax and also contemplate future photographic projects. On one of these recent excursions I found myself asking more and more questions about what I was photographing and why? Most of the time I am trying to escape the influence of mankind and enjoy the unspoilt natural landscape. This is actually quite difficult to do as our imprint on the landscape is evident everywhere you look. Even in the aesthetically pleasing shot above, captured just before sunset, we can see the reflected water surface of Hayfield reservoir which was completed in 1911 for the sole purpose of supplying drinking water to Stockport. There's also a fair few vapour trails in the sky, this particular area is directly below the flight path for many commercial airlines. The patchwork countryside which occupies the mid ground, is an indicator of the enclosure act that was passed in the 18th Century.

I have started to make images that include traces of man's intervention within our rural landscape. At the moment I'm just experimenting with mini themes, so not a hundred percent which direction the project is heading but I'm currently enjoying finding my way with it.

I've also enjoyed taking a number of different people out on landscape photography workshops in the last four weeks. It's great to meet people who share my passion for photography and also the great British (rural) outdoors. All the people I have met have shown a genuine interest in the workshops and a real desire to improve their picture taking skills.

Included below are a few image examples and reviews, from people who have attended some of my recent workshops.

Peak District Photography Workshop

© Mike Moore

Prior to the workshop with Neil all I produced was average images, Neil helped bring all I had read about in photographic books to understandable language and how to apply the techniques in the field to produce great images, would recommend a workshop especially if your a beginner like myself.
Mike Moore, Audenshaw

© Allen Davidson

I had a great day with Neil on the slopes below Kinder Scout, starting in Rosie’s cafĂ© with examples of his own work and explanations of what works and what does not. We went up on the hill with variable lighting conditions to put the theory into practice. I learnt about composition, exposure and why filters are a must for landscape work. I had not used filters before and this was a big learning point that you have to see to understand. Perhaps the most valuable lesson came from seeing how a professional photographer would work a subject – totally different to my previous ‘snap, hope and move on’ method. Thank you Neil.
Allen Davidson, Wilmslow.

Malvern Hills Photography Workshop

© Justin Barrell

I thoroughly enjoyed my day out with Neil, he was quick to asses the gaps in my knowledge and figure out what I wanted (and more importantly what I needed!) from the day. I learnt a great deal with the technical aspects of Photography, so I can get much more from my gear and I also received some great advice on how to compose and capture much more aesthetically pleasing images. Clearly a very knowledgeable, passionate and experienced guy in the world of Photography and also a genuinely nice guy, I think anybody would benefit from one of his workshops.
Justin Barrell, Cheltenham.