As is quite often the case at this time of year, we can find ourselves reflecting on the past 12 months in our lives. And in this respect we often reflect on our own photographic journey. This past week has seen a number of photographers posting their top three images from the year and it's been blooming fantastic to relive some wonderful pictures from the past 12 months as well as pickup ones which I had not got to see first time around.
I started to think what I would choose as my top images and I just don't think I could nail it down to just three as of course sometimes there are stories behind the images and while the image itself may not sing as much as another the story can make it a favourite.
So I thought I'd break the rules a little and post more than just three, but promise not to add the #2016AFewMoreThanMyTop3 ... honest ;)
The Big Move
After almost 20 years living in Cambridge (and for my wife her whole life) we decided at the beginning of the year to relocate over to Northern Ireland. There were a number of reasons behind this, mainly in regards to health (helping to look after my dad who had recently been paralyzed) and also to start to work on our own mental and physical well being - something we had neglected for far too long, leaving us, at times, in a very dark place. Of course this move meant I was leaving behind my life as a sports photographer which I still miss, especially the people who I shared pitch side with. Still I'm finding recently to start to point my camera at those brave souls riding the waves here on the North Coast and hope to work more on that in 2017. Anyway, back to the year that is almost over.
I didn't realise just how much I'd missed the sea and being back right on the doorstep of some of the most dramatic coastal locations in the UK has gone some way to helping us both. There have been times when I've shed more than a few tears simply staring out into the Wild Atlantic Ocean; The Power. The Beauty. Finding my place. Allowing myself time to simply be.
So 3 images which were taken within a few weeks of moving here mean a heck of a lot to me more from the story behind them than the images themselves. A few more images from Our First Month.
In 2016 I started to experiment with more creative shots, both Camera Movement along with Double Exposures. I quite often find, especially when I'm struggling to represent the emotions I'm feeling when viewing a landscape I'll consider the more creative side. As well as being a lot of fun (and let's face it photography has to be fun) it is also allowing me to get a bit closer to those feelings I'm experiencing as I'm out in the landscape. How best, in a 2-day image, to represent Power. Calmness. Colour. Of course I'm only getting started on this journey and quite often will come back with nothing but chaos so I'm looking forward to developing this area of my photography more in 2017. I'm also very pleased that I sold my first ICM print in December as of course these images can be difficult to market compared to the classic landscape view.
So now 3 images I rather like as I explore this area more
Dark Sky At Night
Having lived in a built up city for so I had forgotten just how beautiful the night sky was and of course up here on the North Antrim Coast we can not only get rather nice dark conditions, but also from time to time the Aurora will grace us with her presence.
So 3 images from those dark nights out on the Causeway Coast.
I love being out (with or without the camera) at the edge of major weather systems. And of course some of the most dramatic light can happen at the edge of these weather fronts. Now of course chasing these images doesn't come without its risks and I've still got a Fuji XE2 which refuses to switch off after a particular soaking on the Giants Causeway. Also been through a fair number of umbrellas.
So 3 images which hopefully give a bit of an appreciation of some of the wild weather we have had over these past 12 months. And yes, those are sea drops on the lens. I included this one as moments later I almost got swept away. Scary times.
I simply love working with long exposure photography as I find the moments that the camera is exposing I have time to simply sit and take in the landscape. Mindful photography has been a big piece of my healing process over these past few months. I wrote about this as a bit of a thank-you note to Formatt Hitech, the makers of the filters that allow for long exposure.
So 3 of my favourite long exposure images from the past 12 months
I wake each morning and look out onto the coastline and am so thankful that I now live where I do. Ireland really is so beautiful and the exciting thing is that I've barely scratched the surface in terms of discovery. I also feel that time out in this beautiful landscape has helped us in our healing process and my gratitude for that I can barely put into words. We still have quite a way to go but we are both hopeful the beautiful landscapes, people and stories of Ireland will continue to inspire and heal.