Dark clouds above Beinn Liath Mhor, Torridon

Best of 2015: A year in landscape photography in review

Camillo Berenos Photography Photographic musings Leave a Comment

Last year has been a relatively good year for me, photographically speaking. Quantitatively I have been shooting far less then the year before, especially so in the second half of the year. Qualitatively,  and as one’d hope, I think that overall the crop of last year is better than the year before’s (click here to see a review of 2014). Part of this is definitely luck, as I was at the right place at the right time, but I feel that I am less locked into one compositional approach, facilitated by my rediscovery of my long lens.

Last year has seen several developments on the following fronts:

  • Choice of subjects. Higher level mountain photography has played proportionally a bigger role this year than ever before. It’s not that I no longer love seascapes or other subjects, but less available me-time due to a growing family led to me save up all my personal self-indulgence allowance for a few trips to the hills. Perhaps this is a good thing, as it creates more consistency in my portfolio (though arguably boringly so to others). I don’t think that in the following year not much will change with regards to prioritising locations with closely spaced contour lines , though I feel the need to at least get one misty tree shot out of my system!
  • Publications. Most photographers want their work to be seen in print, and I am no different. This year I finally felt confident enough to submit my work to editors, and I am pleased that my work has been published in several esteemed photography magazines, both online and in print, such as Outdoor Photography, Amateur Photographer Magazine, On Landscape and Landscape Photography Magazine. I hope I’ll be able to continue this trend in the coming year, so fingers crossed I’ll be able to muster the creativity to write a few pitches for more features. I better start working on my writing skills..
  • Photo competitions. Photo competitions have become a lot more numerous over the past few years, and in field where talent is so plentiful as in landscape photography, winning a title could potentially get your name out. I have not entered many contests last year, and look back at the results with mixed feelings. On the bright side I got shortlisted for Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year (OPOTY) and Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year (SLPOTY), and one of my photos will be included in the OPOTY portfolio book containing work of the winners and several shortlisted photographers. Placing in competition is out of our hands and entirely in the hands of the judges, so there’s not much I’ll do differently next year, except for rethinking my approach to choosing what to enter. A more in-depth post-competition analysis for one of my unsuccessful attempts can be found here.
  • Website/Blog. I have moved from Zenfolio to a self-hosted WordPress site at the start of last year. This caused an enormous amount of work initially, as there’s no easy way to transfer the blog posts across (!!) and a lot of work went into choosing a theme/plugins, getting layout and design right, and learning CSS was definitely a steep learning curve. I am glad I moved to WordPress, as the SEO is miles better than that of Zenfolio (meaning that it leads to more traffic from search engines such as Google), and possibilities are virtually endless. The only downside is that setting up a shop is far more complicated than I was used to with Zenfolio, but I don’t think that’s a big issue if you  sell as little as me 🙂 Blog-wise, I have mainly been focusing on writing trip reports rather than more opinionated or philosophical pieces. I will definitely write fewer trip reports the coming year, and I will think hard of topics for blog posts which may be of higher value.

 

I know you’re thinking “Enough with the rambling already!” by now, that is assuming you haven’t skipped over the pompous preceding bit of text, so here are some photographic highlights from last year, in the order they were taken.

 

A frozen lochan lies in front of the snow-covered Buachaille Etive Beag, partly obscured by low hanging cloiuds.

The photograph above was taken after a week of incredibly heavy snow in January. The snowdrifts had completely transformed the Glen Coe landscape, and even though this photograph features the iconic Buachaille Etive Beag, it is only just revealed by the mist. More photos from that trip can be found here.

 

Retreating waves blurred by using a long exposure, Seacliff beach at dawn.

Seascape photography the way I like it best. Big waves and a rocky foreground, Seacliff Beach always delivers.

 

 

Dark clouds above Beinn Eighe, Torridon

Taken on a great walk up Maol-chean Dearg in the Coulin Forest, Torridon, in March. Lots of blizzards, very changeable weather, and didn’t meet a single soul all day. Bliss! This is the Beinn Eighe ridge.

 

A spectacular interplay betwee warm and cool tones in the clouds at dawn, Stac Pollaidh.

Stac Pollaidh is definitely an often photographed location, as it’s diminutive in stature, and the views are excellent, the exact reasons I ascended it for this photograph. I haven’t seen sunrises like this very often, and it was a haunting experience having ascended the hill in the dark, and stood there completely perplexed by the brooding sky (which needed some desaturation to avoid looking cartoonish). Torrential rain on the descend confirmed I made the right decision to only do a small hill that day.

 

Sea stacks at St Abb's Head ast dusk.

Dusk at St Abbs Head nature Reserve taken early summer. Lots of nesting seabirds on the sea stacks made for a pleasant acoustic and visual but questionable olfactory experience.

 

Layered distant mountain massifs in the Fisherfield Forest and beyond.

Distant mountain ranges seen from the Fisherfield Forest, taken on perhaps the most demanding two-day walk I’ve done. The light didn’t cooperate much, but at least I brought home this photo 🙂

 

Sgurr Eilde Mor from Coire an Lochain as clouds shroud its summit in very moody conditions

Sgurr Eilde Mor in the gloom.

 

Spidean a' Choire Leith behind Carn na Feola sidelit by soft afternoon light

Spidean a’ Choire Leith behind Carn na Feola (a peak on the Liathach ridge) sidelit by soft afternoon light. I had a hard time picking a single favourite from this trip as it was a productive and highly enjoyable camping trip.

 

Clouds shroud the summit of Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor) at sunrise

Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor) is probably the most photographed mountain in Scotland. I’m not too keen on repeating well-known compositions, so I was happy that the soft sidelight and right amount of clouds enabled this composition.

 

Birches in autumnal colours with the Bidean nam Bian as a backdrop

Silver Birches against the imposing backdrop of Bidean nam Bian. I liked how the plants and trees were still in autumnal colours, which contrasted nicely with the wintry landscape higher up.

 

The snow-covered meandering ridge of the Mamore range

I really loved the diagonal shadow patterns on the snow-covered Mamores here.

 

A big thanks to all those that have supported me or interacted with me in 2015 one way or another, either here or on social media, and I hope you have enjoyed seeing last year’s crop. Apologies to those who find year-in-review type blog posts a little self-indulgent, but I’m not courageous enough to discuss others’ work.

Thank you very much for reading.

All photographs in this post can be purchased here or by contacting me.

 

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