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landscape | wildlife | nature | adventure


CL COMPANION THE FREEDOM TO EXPERIENCE MORE Just pick them up – and you’re right in the moment. With its impressive optical performance, the new CL Companion promises unique moments that you will never forget. Compact and intuitive, these elegant binoculars are your constant companion on all your explorations. Choose from three accessory packages to express your personal style.


Clinging on to reality It is an unprecedented time for photography, where the continuing development of powerful software allows us pretty much free rein in terms of creating images after the event of pressing the shutter release button on location. There has, of course, been a debate about truth in photography ever since the medium was invented, so it’s not as if we are dealing with something completely new. It’s just the extent to which we can now adjust our images in post-processing (and the ease of doing so) is far beyond anything that has gone before. In itself, it’s a positive thing, as anything that enables greater creativity has to be applauded, but there are some serious implications for photographers working in a genre such as outdoor where veracity and believability play vital roles in allowing the viewer to interpret and enjoy an image. It pushed the borders when people started to pump up the saturation levels in a photograph to levels that are never witnessed on the ground, but now there are far more worrying things than crazy colours


and overhyped sunrises and sunsets. The latest round of software updates allows us to make roads, trees, and mountains, for example, disappear with the press of a key, and to turn a summer scene into a winter scene by simply telling the software to match the ‘style’ of another image shot in snowy conditions. It is mind-boggling to contemplate where this will lead us over the coming years. I recall in an old Editor’s Letter saying how I’d stopped worrying about the absolute truthfulness of a photograph and instead focused on whether an image connected with me on an emotional level, and this is still the case. But now when there is a possibility that the scene presented in an image doesn’t exist at all then my approach to assessing images needs to change again. I can’t possibly have personal knowledge of all the locations our photographers visit, so I am going to have to add an old virtue, of just trusting people to reveal the truth behind their images.

Steve Watkins

at a glance

Darren Ciolli-Leach talks to us about his rebellious side – page 16

James Grant explores the use of colour in landscape images – page 28

Morgan Heim on what it takes to be a conservation photographer – page 58

GET IN TOUCH Email Contact the Editor, Steve Watkins, at or Deputy Editor, Chris Gatcum, at Write to us Outdoor Photography, 86 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1XN Keep right up to date with news by ‘liking’ OP at

ON THE COVER Follow us on Twitter at Find us on Instagram at

Pete Bridgwood took this stunning image at dusk at Watergate Bay, Cornwall (we flipped it for the cover).

Fergus Kennedy tests the exciting new Fujifilm X-H1 – page 86

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 1


16 FEATURES & OPINION 16 In conversation with… Darren Ciolli-Leach

43 Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year

The Nottingham-based photographer talks to Nick Smith about how he retains individuality in his work

Our favourite images from the 2017 competition

25 One month, one picture There is a fine line between correcting an image and manipulating it, says Pete Bridgwood

39 Lie of the land David Higgs on the power of forming a strong connection to your subject

61 Inside track Nick Smith on the importance of photographers not resting on their laurels

63 Insight: Where the wild things are Luke Massey shares his pictures of the Pantanal region, the world’s largest wetland, while Katie Stacey tells his story



28 The art of colour

50 Constantine Bay, Cornwall

Enhance your landscape photographs by maximising what colours you include and how with James Grant’s in-depth guide

36 Quick guide to… shooting behind-thescenes videos Simon Baxter wowed us with his Outdoor Photographer of the Year category winner video so much that we asked him to share his top tips on creating compelling short films

58 Opinion Morgan Heim on what makes a conservation photographer


40 In the spotlight Wildlife photographer John Birch answers our quick-fire questions

2 Outdoor Photography June 2018

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Matt Whorlow takes advantage of the variety of beautiful subject matter to photograph at these protected dunes

53 Beinn Tulaichean, Stirling Perseverance pays off for Paul Holloway, who decides to wait out the foggy weather on top of one of Scotland’s most distinctive peaks

54 Viewpoints Eight top UK locations to shoot this month, including photogenic spots in Cornwall, North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Somerset






86 Camera test: Fujifilm X-H1

8 Newsroom

14 Social hub

76 Life in the wild

The new flagship for Fujifilm’s mirrorless range has some impressive capabilities, such as touchscreen and in-body image stabilisation. Fergus Kennedy investigates

Keeping you up to date with the latest photography, outdoor and conservation stories

Your feedback, thoughts and musings on all things photography related

10 Out there

60 Next month

Our pick of the latest titles plus eight bits of inspiring media created by leading outdoor photographers

A sneak peek at the July issue of Outdoor Photography

Hides can be a little too effective in blending into the natural landscape, as Laurie Campbell discovers

78 Photography guide Laurie’s nature highlights for this month, plus world wildlife spectacles and five top spots to see dragon and damselflies

81 A moment with nature

88 Gearing up Our round up of the latest outdoor and photography kit to hit the shelves

12 The big view The latest photography exhibitions and nature events taking place across the UK

George Turner reflects on a humbling encounter with chimpanzees in Tanzania

Discover how to get your work published in OP

71 Reader gallery Our pick of this month’s best readers’ images

102 If you only do one thing this month…

82 On the wing Steve Young tests out which lens – either a macro or telephoto – is best suited to photographing dragonflies and damselflies

68 Your chance

NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 31 MAY 2018 In conversation with…Thomas Heaton Richard Garvey-Williams on creating masterful landscape compositions Winners of our ‘One thing this month…exotic wildlife’ photography competition

The winners of our black & white landscapes photography competition, plus details of our next challenge

112 Where in the world? Correctly identify the location and you could win a Lifeventure Meya 25-litre RFiD daysack, worth £59.99!

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Pete Bridgwood is a fine art landscape photographer and writer. He is fascinated by the creative foundations of landscape photography and passionate about exploring the emotional elements of the art.

Darren Ciolli-Leach is a photographer and graphic designer from Nottinghamshire. He can often be found wandering with his camera or falling off his mountain bike in the Peak District . As long as he’s outdoors he’s happy, even when somewhat bruised.

Nick Smith is a writer and photographer specialising in travel and environmental issues. He is a contributing editor on the Explorers Journal and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

28 James Grant is a Peak District-based landscape photographer. Having only bought his first camera in late 2008, he is proud to have picked up numerous awards. He writes articles for a variety of magazines and websites.

Editor Steve Watkins Deputy editor Chris Gatcum Assistant editor Anna Bonita Evans Designers Toby Haigh, Olly Prentice

ADVERTISING Advertising executive Guy Stockton, 01273 402825

MARKETING Marketing executive Anne Guillot, 01273 402871



Production manager Jim Bulley Production controller Scott Teagle Origination and Ad design GMC Repro., 01273 402807 Publisher Jonathan Grogan Printer Precision Colour Printing, Telford, 01952 585585 Distribution Seymour Distribution Ltd


50 David Higgs David Higgs is a fine art landscape photographer living in rural Sussex, England. Hand printing almost exclusively in platinum and palladium, he makes images of the trees, ghylls, hills and heath he calls home. In the process he aims to capture dreams and emotions and to share his love of the outdoors.

Matt Whorlow is based on the Cornwall/Devon border and specialises in photographing this beautiful corner of England. With more than 100 miles of coastline within easy reach, including sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and a score of quaint harbour towns, not to mention Dartmoor, there is plenty to keep him busy!

© Nathan Dappen

Simon Baxter Driven by the therapeutic benefits of the great outdoors, Simon Baxter’s passion lies in local woodland and the endless opportunities and challenges it provides. He seeks out atmosphere, experiences and unique moments in solitude, which serve as a constant reminder that there is far more to photography than a photograph.

53 Paul Holloway lives in the village of Callander at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, and works parttime as a teacher. He sp ends as much time as he can out photographing, and being a keen hillwalker he enjoys combining both pursuits.

Outdoor Photography (ISSN 1470-5400) is published 13 times a year by GMC Publications Ltd. 86 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1XN. Tel 01273 477374 © Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd. 2018

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58 Morgan Heim raises her camera to capture moments in an animal’s life that will make us consider what that life means. A senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, she contributes to such outlets as Smithsonian, Newsweek and World Wildlife Fund.

63 Luke Massey is a wildlife photographer and cameraman who has been obsessed with wildlife for as long as he can remember. After a year at university, he decided to take the risk of dropping out to follow his dream of going professional with his photography. His passion is for raising awareness of conservation issues.

81 George Turner is a former ad-man turned wildlife photographer, who is driven by a desire to highlight the world’s most pressing conservation issues. He works with tourism boards and brands across Europe, and his work has been widely published.

At the age of five, Fergus Kennedy loved messing around in the sea and playing with gadgets. Forty years on, very little has changed. He is a marine biologist and works as a freelance photographer, drone pilot and camera operator for clients such as the BBC and Canon Europe.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Ade Gidney, Agnes Proudhon-Smith, Andrew Ray, Chris Gartside, David McCullough, Laurie Campbell, Owen Vachell, Robert Harvey, Steve Young

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Outdoor Photography considers article ideas for publication, which should be sent to the Editor, along with a stamped self-addressed return envelope if you require your material back. GMC Publications cannot accept liability for the loss or damage of any unsolicited material. Views and comments expressed by individuals in the magazine do not necessarily represent those of the publishers and no legal responsibility can be accepted for the results of the use by readers of information or advice of whatever kind given in this publication, either in editorial or advertisements. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd. With regret, promotional offers and competitions, unless otherwise stated, are not available outside the UK and Eire. GMC Publications cannot accept liability for the loss or damage of any unsolicited material.

Fistral Beach

I made this photograph of Newquay’s popular beach on a busy Easter Saturday afternoon. Until the weather you can see offshore rolled in, it had been a sunny day and, as you might imagine, this popular surfing beach was very busy indeed. I wanted a simple, clean photograph that was all about the light rather than the crowds, so I used my circular polariser and the Big Stopper. Reducing the light reaching my sensor by 12 stops, the filters allowed me to keep the shutter open for 2 minutes, which was enough to make everyone disappear! I also used a 0.6 hard grad. People usually talk about grads as being useful for balancing exposure but I think that’s just the starting point and they get really interesting when seen as more of a creative tool. The dynamic range in this scene didn’t require a grad, but I used one anyway to accentuate the contrast between the sunny beach and the menacing presence of the incoming weather front.

Rachael Talibart

LEE 100mm Filter System LEE 0.6 ND Hard Grad LEE Big Stopper LEE Polariser Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 16-35mm lens 120 seconds @f11

Š Staffan Widstrand /

6 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Pallas’s cat by Staffan Widstrand I took this image of Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul) peering at me on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai, China. Named after the German naturalist Peter Pallas, who described this species in 1776, Pallas’s cat is similar in size to a domestic cat and hunts pikas, gerbils and voles, among other small creatures. The species is listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora as possibly being in danger of becoming extinct if trade in the species is not strictly regulated.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 7








© Jose Fragozo

© Mikolaj Nowacki

Outdoor Photographer of the Year crowned

who made the trip to Birmingham from Kenya, receives a £1,000 Fjällräven Award. Throughout The Photography Show, visitors had a chance to see all of the category winners, plus some of the highly commended images, in an exhibition of beautiful large-format prints made by leading UK fi ne art printing lab, Spectrum Photographic. To find out more about the competition and see all of the 2017 winners visit – who knows, maybe next year it could be you stepping up on stage to receive the trophy?

In a live awards ceremony at The Photography Show at Birmingham’s NEC in March, Polish photographer Mikolaj Nowacki was declared the overall winner of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2017 competition and stepped up on stage to lift the slate trophy. Mikolaj’s action-drenched image – which also won the Live the Adventure category – was taken during a storm in the Baltic Sea ‘somewhere on the way from the Swedish island of Utklippan to the Danish island of Christiansø’ during the photographer’s fi rst voyage on a yacht. Just like the battle he faced on the boat, taking the overall title was no small achievement, with Mikolaj beating off more than 18,000 entries from over 60 countries to take the top spot. As well as the prestigious title, Mikolaj receives a £3,000 Fjällräven Award, which he can use to purchase outdoor clothing and equipment from the Swedish clothing manufacturer and OPOTY sponsor, with one-to-one advice from a Fjällräven expert. ‘This award has a special meaning for me,’ explains Mikolaj. ‘For two years my father had been lying on his bed suffering from MSA (multiple system atrophy), unable to move. This situation was causing me huge stress and deep sadness; my father taught me to love adventure

8 Outdoor Photography June 2018

and we had travelled a lot together, and he also bought me my first “proper” camera, supporting my then-new hobby. He would also sail during his youth. When I said goodbye to him, before flying to Sweden to embark on the yacht with captain Jacek Pasikowski, my father was fully conscious, happy and excited about my journey. I didn’t know that would be the last time I would see him alive. I dedicate this award to him.’ Coming a close second was runner-up, Jose Fragozo, winner of the Wildlife Insight category for his stunning rain-soaked image of giraffes and impalas in Nairobi National Park. Jose,

BWPA entry discount Time is running out to enter the 2018 British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA), but you can still take advantage of an entry discount of £5 for OP readers. The competition closes on June 8 and this month’s offer is valid until midnight on 30 May. It can be applied to any entry plan; simply head over to the BWPA website ( and use the voucher code OPJUNE18.

Young nature photographers wanted A new initiative has been announced that aims to provide a virtual community for nature photographers under the age of 25. Using social media in its nascent period, Young Nature Photographers aims to connect its members ‘to support the discovery of new environments and the development of creativity and artistic sensibility, without forgetting environmental and conservationist values’. The platform is the brainchild of Mónica Busquets, Jon A. Juarez, Sergio Marijuán

and Adelina Sánchez, and each day on Instagram it will showcase one of the images posted by its members, who also have the opportunity to win prizes courtesy of the project’s partners. You can find Young Nature Photographers on Instagram ( youngnaturephotographers) and Facebook (; at the time of writing, a website is at the top of the organisation’s to do list, along with arranging its first ‘real world’ meet-up in Berlin in the autumn.


Scottish Nature Photography Awards The 8th Scottish Nature Photography Awards have been announced and congratulations go to Stephen Whitehorne, who picks up the title Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017. His image, ‘Autumnal Birches and Willows reflected among the Water Lilies of Polney Loch, Dunkeld, Perthshire’, was the winning entry in the Scottish Landscape – The Land category and was commended for its dramatic lighting. Stephen’s photograph marked a slight departure for the photographer, who tends to focus on details in the landscape and was ‘initially concentrating his efforts on abstractions through the reflections on the water’, rather than the broader view. For the second year in a row, the title of Junior Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year, for photographers under the age of 18 when entries closed, went to 15-year-old Andrew Bulloch, for his photograph ‘Eriskay Football Stadium’, shown here. Andrew took his striking image ‘on a family holiday to North Uist in the summer of 2017. We drove south to Eriskay on a stormy day and I saw this little football pitch down below the road. We stopped so I could get a photo and then I just had to go and play football on it as well. Very recently I found out it was featured by FIFA as one of the eight most unique places to play football in the world!’ Meanwhile, Rebecca Witt was awarded Student Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2017, a

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is asking the public to keep an eye out for wild mammals as part of its annual Living with Mammals survey. Running from 26 March to 24 June, participants are asked to identify and visit a ‘green space’ within 200m of a building (such as a garden, allotment or park) on a weekly basis, spending a short amount of time there and recording ‘any sightings of mammals, or the signs they leave behind, such as droppings or footprints’. To sign up to the survey and find out more visit


Eriskay Football Stadium © Andrew Bulloch

category for students over the age of 18 in full or parttime education. Reacting to a broad brief of ‘woods’, Rebecca’s award-winning entry consisted of a portfolio of three images that showcased the native wildlife of the Cairngorms National Park. A touring exhibition of all the winning images starts at The Lever Gallery in Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, on 4 July, before moving on to Aden Theatre in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire in August and the Scottish Natural Heritage Battleby Centre, Perth, through September and October. The winners and shortlisted contestants will also feature in a portfolio published this summer. For full details – and to see all the winning entries – head over to

Fotospeed Photographer of the Year 2018 As well as the OPOTY winners being announced at The Photography Show, Fotospeed revealed the winner of its 2018 Fotospeed Photographer of the Year competition, with top honours going to Amy Bateman for her photograph of a silhouetted herd of fell ponies on The Helm, near Kendal in Cumbria (shown left). Amy only took up photography a couple of years ago, having traded a London-based career in physiotherapy for life on a farm in Cumbria. Since then she has set up her own photography business selling prints. Amy’s prize consists of a Canon A2 printer, £500 worth of Fotospeed inkjet paper, plus a day of one-to-one tuition with acclaimed outdoor photographer Doug Chinnery. © Amy Bateman

Acid threat to south-east beauty spots Following widespread resistance to the controversial process of fracking (which is now banned at depths of less than 1,000m and from the surface of protected areas), Unearthed, Greenpeace UK’s environmental journalism project, has revealed that oil companies could be able to get around this by using a process known as ‘acidisation’. This approach uses dilute hydrochloric acid to improve the flow of oil within an oil reservoir by dissolving any mud or soluble rocks (such as limestone) that might be inhibiting the oil flow. Acidisation has been used for many years in the oil and water industries, but the Environment Agency only recently began to regulate the practice after it was found that sufficient volumes of acid could ‘potentially pose a risk to groundwater’. Already, a group of oil companies is preparing to drill an exploratory well


in the Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), and should this prove viable, Unearthed claims that up to 2,400 wells on at least 100 sites could follow. However, Europa Oil and Gas, one of the companies involved in the drilling, suggests that this is ‘factually incorrect’ and that the number of wells (from Europa at least) would be ‘less than five’. The wells could legitimately be set up in protected areas, including national parks. At the moment, the oil companies’ main area of interest is a ‘hybrid limestone and shale oil reservoir called the Kimmeridge’ in the south-east of England. According to Unearthed, ‘47% of the area licenced for oil exploration above the Kimmeridge is made up of protected landscapes and habitats.’ You can read the full Unearthed report at


In a bid to ‘protect the last wild rivers of Europe’, eco-friendly outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia has launched Save The Blue Heart of Europe, a project aimed at raising awareness ‘about the massive scale and long-term negative impact of the Balkan Rivers hydropower boom’. At this time, around 3,000 hydropower dams are planned for construction in the Balkans, which Californiabased Patagonia claims will ‘disrupt Europe’s last free-flowing rivers and threaten communities and wildlife’. The campaign is accompanied by a feature-length documentary, Blue Heart; to watch the trailer, sign the petition or simply find out more, head over to


Photo-retailer Wex has announced a new rental service, offering cameras, lenses and other equipment to photographers and filmmakers. Customers can arrange to collect their rental gear from any one of the company’s nine stores, or choose to have it delivered to their door. For details visit rental.


It’s partially good news for peregrine falcons, with a study by the British Trust for Ornithology suggesting that the UK’s breeding population has increased by 22% since 2002, rising to a record 1,769 pairs. According to the survey, lowland areas of England have seen the sharpest rise in numbers.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 9


OUT THERE Unwired Jacqueline Hassink Hatje Cantz 978-3-7757-4398-3 Paperback, £60 This intriguing book presents two projects by Jacqueline Hassink that examine the influence of mobile phone use on our world and us. The first series highlights landscapes where it’s impossible to build a network – such as Svalbard, Yakushima and Iceland. All are shot in vivid colour with a non-imposing st yle and are printed to fill each double-page spread, allowing the vast scenes devoid of technology to quietly wash over us with a sense of calm. In contrast to this is the iPortrait series, where we see passengers using their smartphones as they travel on the metro through the world’s busiest cities. The uneasy truth of the utopian vision of the internet as a universal source of knowledge to liberate and educate is exposed to powerful effect. ‘The project confronts us with our smartphone addictions and appeals to our fundamental need for mental rest ,’ says Hassink. While the concept is strong and the production excellent – especially the decision to print each series on very different paper stocks – the book could, perhaps, have benefited from a tighter picture edit. Fewer images could have made it more impact ful. Botanical Samuel Zeller Hoxton Mini Press 978-1-910566-33-6 Hardback, £17.95 This is a charming book that’s well edited and produced. Zeller began this project three years ago after a stressful day at work. Deciding on his commute home to get off a stop early, he walked around Geneva’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden and, with camera in hand, shot what he was drawn to. Pushing the limits of conventional rules of composition, Zeller experimented with photographing the exotic plants and flowers through glass, giving his pictures a painterly quality. Seeing the potential for this st yle of imagery, he subsequently travelled to document greenhouses in Belgium, Scotland, Poland and France – and decided to change his career from graphic design to photography. As we’ve come to expect from Hoxton Mini Press, this book is beautiful and interesting in its approach. Its concept is also a reminder that taking the unknown route in life can lead to surprising and satisfying results.

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Andreas Gursky Steidl and Hayward Gallery Publishing 978-3-95829392-2 Hardback, £50 Andreas Gursky is one of the most influential figures in BOOK OF THE MONTH photography of our time, and his work returned to the spotlight once again earlier this year with a major retrospective at London’s Hayward Gallery. This sumptuous book was published to coincide with the exhibition and is of a standard you’d expect from the heavyweight partnership of Steidl and Hayward Gallery Publishing. Particular highlights include the photographer’s

conversation with Canadian artist Jeff Wall about his influences, ideas and creative development – helping to shed new light on his photography practice. Insightful essays by Ralph Rugoff, Gerald Schröder and Brian Sholis are inspiring reading and a more personal account from sculptor Katharina Fritsch provides an intriguing perspective on the German photographer. A richly illustrated catalogue, at the heart of this book are, of course, the plates, featuring 68 colour images carefully chosen from his 40-year career. The book’s principal success is its fresh approach towards looking at Gurksy’s work, and fans will appreciate the significant number of previously unpublished pictures within the selection. This is a fascinating and beautiful book to treasure.

Bahrain I, 2005 © Andreas Gursky/DACS, 2017 – Courtesy of Sprüth Magers

EDITED BY ANNA BONITA EVANS BE INSPIRED BY THE MASTERS OF OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY We look at eight photographers each at the top of their game and one inspiring piece of media they’ve created – be it a book, podcast or film – that can enhance your way of seeing the outdoors. Ben Tibbetts A Line in the Snow: Greenland Available at Mountain and adventure photographer Ben Tibbetts has made his name by creating awe-inspiring images. He’s also an accomplished filmmaker, with two beautiful short films to watch on his website. Giving us a deeper understanding of the environment, this film about Greenland highlights Tibbetts’ dedication towards his creative practice.

Jimmy Chin Meru Music Box Films DVD, £5.99 Adventure sports photographer and filmmaker Jimmy Chin is also a phenomenal athlete, being one the few people to have skied from Mount Everest’s summit. In this feature length film Chin tells the story of his goal to reach the top of Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, a 6,660m peak he first attempted in 2008.

MASTERS OF LANDSCAPE Michael Kenna Forms of Japan Yvonne Meyer-Lohr 978-3-7913-8162-6 Hardback, £49.99 Michael Kenna’s continuous fascination with the landscape has made him one of the leading fine art photographers in the world. This beautifully produced book presents his pictures taken in Japan over the past 30 years. See his interpretations of Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Okinawa and Shikoku being paired with classic haiku poems by Japan’s great writers.

Sebastião Salgado The Salt of the Earth Wim Wenders DVD, £5.99 Sebastião Salgado has dedicated the last 40 years to photojournalism, creating defining series such as Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000). In 2013 he released Genesis, an eight-year project where he travelled to the earth’s last undamaged places. This inspiring documentary tells us the story behind the Genesis project and why its ethos is so important to the Brazilian photographer.

MASTERS OF WILDLIFE Juan Pons reCOMPOSE Photography Podcast Available at Puerto Rican wildlife photographer Juan Pons is celebrated for his dedication to documenting magnificent wildlife in their natural habitats. He’s also a contributor to the popular podcast The Candid Frame and is co-host of the biweekly podcast reCompose, where he and Andy Williams discuss gear and technique and share plenty of entertaining anecdotes.

© Morgan Heim

© Ben Tibbetts


Morgan Heim Ay Santa Ana Available at Morgan Heim’s passion for thinking up new ways to tell stories of the world’s wildlife has made her one of the most highly respected multimedia journalists today. On her website are 16 of her short films to enjoy. A highlight is Ay Santa Ana, which explores the devastating effects for Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge if Congress approves the border wall funding.

MASTERS OF TRAVEL David DuChemin See the World: 20 Lessons for Stronger Travel Photographs Craft & Vision ebook, $20 Available at David DuChemin is driven to share what he’s learned while travelling the world’s seven continents. Part of his business is Craft & Vision, which publishes a series of tutorial e-books. This 210-page PDF is designed to, as David puts it, ‘teach you the real art of travelling with a camera while experiencing new places, landscapes and cultures.’ It includes interviews with Bob Krist and Art Wolfe.

Art Wolfe Earth is My Witness Mandala 978-1-6838-3131-0 Hardcover £35 It’s not only Art Wolfe’s creativity with line, form, colour and light that makes his images so memorable, but it’s also his focus on using them to gain support for conservation issues. Here are some of his most arresting pictures in this reformatted edition of the large format, fine art book that was first released in 2014. Full of beautiful photographs, this is a book to return to time and again.

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Summer’s Breath © Michela Griffith

EXHIBITIONS Of Wood and Water To 22 May Joe Cornish Gallery, Northallerton After the success of her Streamscapes series in 2015, Michela Griffith has built upon her interest in water in motion for her new project, Of Wood and Water, which is on show now at the Joe Cornish Gallery. Photographing the subject in an experimental and distinct st yle, Griffith says about her work: ‘These personal interpretations of wood and water made over the past three years reflect not only the seasons, as experienced near my home in the Peak District or during trips to North Yorkshire, but the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has fundamentally changed my way of seeing, and I now look at the land with new eyes.’ Landscape Photographer of the Year To 3 June London Victoria railway station Be inspired by the beauty and diversity of British landscapes and nature at this exhibition of 55 of the successful pictures from the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. Following on from the show at London Victoria, the exhibition continues to London Paddington station from 5 to 24 June and then finishes its tour at Cardiff station from 11 July until the end of the month (check website for end date).

Puffins on Skomer Island, South Wales, 2017 © Matthew Cattell / LPOTY

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RPS International Print Exhibition 160 To 9 June The Gallery @ The Civic, Barnsley Now in its 160th year, the RPS International Print Exhibition features an impressive range of images demonstrating a mixture of techniques, genres, st yles and subjects. With 100 photographs on show, highlights include an image from Nicholas White’s compelling Black Dots project (see opposite bottom) and Margaret Mitchell’s emotive In This Place. The display will be accompanied by an exhibition by local photographer John Crossley, entitled Barnsley’s Past In The Present.

EDITED BY ANNA BONITA EVANS NATURE EVENTS Dragonfly ID and monitoring workshop 19 May, 10.30am to 4pm Brandon Marsh Nature Centre, Coventry Discover various dragonfly species during this four and a halfhour workshop, where you’ll learn about dragonfly behaviour to help increase your chances of capturing that stunning photograph. The session should be perfect for macro shooters passionate about gaining a deeper understanding of this beautiful miniature creature. This is a free event, booking essential. Call 01926 632400 to reserve your space.

Reed Bed Walk Dockey Wood bluebells © Martin Evening

CATCH IT QUICK! Ashridge Landscapes 5 to 7 May and 12 to 13 May Ashridge Estate National Trust visitor centre, Hertfordshire This spring, Martin Evening exhibits a collection of his landscape pictures of Ashridge Estate, which together make up a comprehensive portrait of the beautiful grounds from varying viewpoints and at different times of the year. Known for its glorious woodlands, lush meadows and vast bluebell displays, the Hertfordshire site is an inspirational place for landscape photographers and nature lovers, and Evening’s evocative photographs are a fitting tribute.

13 May, 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm WWT London This two-hour walk along a part of the WWT London reserve usually out of bounds to visitors is a wonderful way of experiencing the wildlife that’s supported by the reed bed’s diverse ecosystem. A warden will be on hand to answer any of your questions. Please note, the ground is uneven so make sure you wear suitable footwear. Tickets costs £3 per person, booking is essential. To reserve your place call 020 8409 4400.

A Walk at Mount Caburn 15 May, 10am to 1pm Glynde, East Sussex Look out for various sp ecies of birds and flowers during this engaging three-hour springtime walk from Glynde village to the National Nature Reserve at Mount Caburn – the highest part of an outlier of the South Downs. After a moderate climb to the prominent landmark, you’ll return to Glynde village via a downhill track. Suggested donation £3, non-members welcome. To book, email secretaryswteastbourne@hotmail.

Spurn Migration Walk 10 May, 10am to 2pm Spurn National Nature Reserve, Hull A site that has something different to offer in each season, Spurn National Nature Reserve is arguably at its most spectacular in spring during the bird migration. Expect to see wimbrels gather here before their northbound journey and the return of blackcaps, chiffchaffs and robins to the site for the breeding season. Tickets cost £6 for nonmembers (£4 for members), booking is essential. Reserve your place by calling 01904 659570. Bristol Festival of Nature 9 to 10 June Habourside, Bristol Get the whole family in touch with their wild side at this year’s Bristol Festival of Nature, where you can experience interactive exhibitions, workshops, talks and much more! With 100 organisations, both local and national, on board – including Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Zoo, Woodland Trust, WWT and Natural England – there’s sure to be something for all nature enthusiasts. The festival is free to attend, and there’s no need to book.

Osprey Watch Various dates from May to August, 10am to 5pm Kielder Waterside, Northumberland Observe the beautiful ospreys at Kielder Waterside throughout the summer before they migrate in late August. See all the action up close through a live camera feed and use high-powered telescopes, with help from volunteers, to see them on their nests. This event is free to attend, booking recommended. To reserve your place email Black Dots © Nicholas White

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 13


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© Angus Williamson

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Left Cadgwith Cove, Cornwall. Right Mousehole, Cornwall.


What you see is not always what you get

Your Locations guide in the April issue (OP229) highlights Mousehole as a very nice photographic opportunity. I was in Cornwall recently and decided to visit, but as you can see in the accompanying photo (above, right), there were no boats or water! The entrance to the harbour had been blocked with timber to keep the water out and there was a digger on the sand doing some works. While I was in the area I also visited Cadgwith Cove, as featured in OP230 (above, left). This was a little better, as there was at least some sea to be seen, plus plenty of brown seaweed and a boat up on props, but the other boats that appeared in the magazine were obviously out catching fish! Purely coincidental of course! Angus Williamson, email OP says: This is one of those classic things that happen to many photographers, but very few ever tell the story of ‘what might have been’ (for travel photographers it is scaffolding covering a building that is usually the biggest problem). It also highlights the importance of research and timing when it comes to photography. Of course, we’re not in any way suggesting you’ve done anything wrong here Angus – you were on holiday ‘going with the flow’, not setting out on a dawn raid specifically to bag the perfect picture


– but this type of thing could have been costly in terms of both wasted time and money if you were on a mission to get the images. No one wants to set out to photograph a specific location, perhaps driving for several hours, only to discover that someone has almost literally ‘pulled the plug’ and let all the water out! Like you say, it was purely coincidental, and at least you got a great story out of it!

Back-button focus I am an amateur photographer who loves getting out whenever possible with lenses in tow. Although I enjoy all aspects of photography, I am more into wildlife than landscapes and am constantly on the lookout for the next shot. I have had praise from a few friends and fellow photographers and even sold two prints of my work, but I still struggle with panning and birds in flight. I have watched some YouTube tutorials on this and there seems to be a lot of talk about ‘back-button focus’ being a far superior way of focusing than holding the shutter button down. Is this right or is it just down to personal preference? Stephen Jenkins, email OP says: The advantage of ‘back-button focusing’ – where you use a button on the back of the camera, usually at the top right activated by your thumb, to focus – is that it allows you to set the focus without locking the exposure. By separating the focus

and exposure reading stages you can activate the focus at any time, so you can be ‘locked on’ to your subject and tracking it before you press the shutter release. Because the camera is already focused, it will respond much quicker to you firing the shutter, hopefully allowing you to better catch that ‘decisive moment’. A lot of DSLRs have an ‘AF-on’ button on the back that can be used for back-button focusing, although you may need to delve into the menus to activate it and/or separate the focus and exposure processes. Some cameras will also let you assign a different button to back-button focus, but this is purely down to personal preference. In any case, it is worth experimenting with. Alternatively, you might also have some success using manual focus. It might sound counterintuitive, but if your feathered subjects are at ‘infinity’ (in terms of focusing distance) then set the lens manually at that distance. By pre-focusing at infinity you won’t have to worry about focusing at all: everything at ‘infinity’ will be in focus, allowing you to concentrate on framing and timing your shots. Of course, this will only work if your subject is at infinity, so you need to be prepared to change things if it gets closer to you, but it is another option worth exploring when it comes to ensuring sharp shots of fast-moving subjects.

OP ONLINE On the winning OPOTY image… @davideberlin It’s a very atmospheric winning image, and reminds me of sailing as a youngster.

On the awards ceremony... @will_mallett I’d like to say an enormous thanks to all @ OPOTY! Everyone was so nice and you were an absolute pleasure to spend time with. I’m over the moon with being a category winner!

On OPOTY Portfolio III… @dixondavidphoto Congrats all! An inspirational set of winning images!

June’s letter of the month winner receives a 64GB Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD memory card with SD adapter

This month we’ve teamed up with Samsung to give away a 64GB EVO Plus MicroSD card and SD adapter worth £39.99. With read speeds of up to 80MB/s and write speeds of up to 20MB/s this Class 10 high-speed card is ideal for shooting HD video. The EVO Plus MicroSD is compatible with most smartphones and tablets, while an included SD adapter allows it to be used as a full-size SD card in digital cameras and other devices. Discover more at

14 Outdoor Photography June 2018

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Darren Ciolli-Leach A ‘landscape photographer’ who is uncomfortable with both words, Nottingham-based Darren Ciolli-Leach has a laid back, understated approach to making his extraordinary ‘quiet landscapes’ as devoid of cliché as he can possibly manage… Interview by Nick Smith

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Opening spread Torridon, Highland. Above Capel Curig, Conwy.

hen you look at Darren CiolliLeach’s portfolio the fi rst thing that jumps out is that this is a body of work that is deeply unconventional. It’s also remarkable in that it is both daring and risk-taking. His colour palette is muted, limited almost exclusively to earth tones. He takes lots of photographs of the same subject and isn’t frightened of examining the commonplace in search of a deeper beauty. There is something about the body of work that is understated, anonymous and detached from traditional narrative. There are no famous landmarks in his landscapes, no people, no clichés and, although it might sound absurd, compared with the zeitgeist’s slick digital perfection, his work has a homemade quality to it that is deceptively and sometimes uncomfortably compelling. ‘I think that’s where the challenge lies,’ says the forty-something Nottinghamshire man who seems to be pathologically allergic to cliché. ‘I’ve always had a sort of punk rock ethos to what I do – a do-it-yourself mentality.’ Like many of


18 Outdoor Photography June 2018

the new wave of musicians in the 1970s that he admires so much, he says ‘I’ve never had any formal training either. It seems to me that you can produce something that is really exciting and original out of a simplicity of approach.’ In tune with the stripped back music of his youth, where the end-user experience of the final artistic product is the only thing that really matters, on-brand gear is of secondary importance. ‘Don’t get me wrong,’ says Darren, ‘I buy the best equipment I can afford. But I’m not going to mortgage my house to buy a highend medium format system, and I think you can take fantastic images on a pinhole camera.’ Darren was born in in the Nottinghamshire village of Southwell (which is arguably a city in that it has a cathedral). If the name of the village rings a bell it is because it was home to the Masters of Vision Exhibition put on by fine art landscape photographer and OP columnist Pete Bridgwood. The youthful Darren had already ‘fallen into photography by the age of 13 or 14 and had started taking images at music venues. That’s how I got the bug. But because I was living

in Southwell I was surrounded by countryside. Because I was one of those teenagers that needed ‘headspace’ I just used to get out there with my camera.’ However, Southwell couldn’t contain Darren for long and by the time he was 21 he had left for the big city because ‘there wasn’t a great deal going on.’ As his career progressed – he admits to not having left much of an impression on the academic world – he became a graphic designer, which initially involved directing other photographers while working on commercial photo shoots. ‘I used to really look forward to these. But after about six or seven years I went and bought my own medium format gear and started to do the shoots myself, which I found more enjoyable than design.’ Then, some 15 years back, he entered the realms of freelance graphic design, working as a sole trader and self-contained unit. It’s an independent world that, despite frequently bubbling up into something more hectic than he would like, is ideally suited to his good-natured anti-establishment leanings that he describes, not without irony, as ‘a bit

Cannich, Glen Affric, Highland.

anarchistic.’ The combination of graphic design and its associated commercial photography is how he earns his living. The landscapes are part of a satellite existence from which ‘I earn hardly any money. I don’t really sell prints and so there’s no pressure on my personal photography, which is fi ne by me.’ His lack of conventionality and ambivalence towards the photography community – ‘I don’t go on workshops because I don’t want to take the same photos as other people’ – means that, despite his accomplishments as a landscaper, his profile remains resolutely low. ‘That’s the way I want it. I don’t have ambitions to become a

famous photographer. I don’t even call myself a photographer.’ Considering Darren is by most standard definitions of the term exactly that, this seems to be something of a radical statement. But he qualifies this by stating that it is ‘due to the fact that I’m self-taught.’ Despite modestly claiming to have little confidence, he says he’s secure enough in his compositional skills ‘to be able to say I know how to take a good photograph. But there are levels of photographer, just as there are levels of footballer. When I look at work by people such as Julian Calverley, who is a bona fide photographer, I don’t see myself in that league. I’m just not comfortable calling myself a

Two Dales, Matlock, Derbyshire.

photographer. It’s a hobby that runs alongside my professional work. Maybe in 20 year’s time, if I’m still doing it, I’ll be more comfortable with the term.’ All this means that Darren the photographer calls himself an ‘image-maker’, a label he concedes is equally prone to misinterpretation and runs the risk of sound lofty or selfaggrandising. But, there’s a down-to-earth reason for preferring this alternative, which is ‘I see the whole process right through to the printed image, not necessarily just taking the photograph.’ He says that while he doesn’t like the word ‘previsualise’ either – ‘I think it’s been

Snowdonia National Park, Wales.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 19

North-west of Fort William, Highland.

20 Outdoor Photography June 2018

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 21


Birchen Edge, Baslow, Derbyshire.

thrown about a bit and overused’ – he is constantly dwelling on how the end-result will appear. ‘I’m thinking about what paper I want to print the image on, what toning I’m going to use and so on. This goes back to my days in the print trade, where I had full control on the end result. For me, the process starts with getting the camera out of the bag and ends with mounting the print. I see it more as a sequence of events rather than just pressing the shutter.’ Having dispensed with the word ‘photographer’, we’re still left with the word ‘landscape’, and it comes as no surprise that he has mixed feelings about this too. You won’t find any classic shots of Durdle Door set against a tempting orange sky in Darren’s portfolio of work. He’s more about the complexities of woodlands and the mysterious veils of mist, subdued light and a compressed colour range. ‘I’ve always had an obsession with the Romantic English landscape painters of the 17th and 18th century. I was in London recently and I sat there for hours staring at the Constables, fascinated by the way the light is captured. When I was growing up I was always very good at drawing, but could never quite emulate this. And yet this is what I’m still striving to achieve. Only this time I’m using a different tool. A classic landscape should have an element of mystery to it. I know this will annoy people, but I really hate sunsets and anything that’s too brash.’

22 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Bolehill Quarry, Derbyshire.

What Darren is working with is what he calls the ‘quiet landscape’, an innocuous phrase that sums up to the letter what his work is about. ‘I have quite a stressful life,’ says the father of two boys, ‘and so my quiet time is being out in the landscape. The quieter the landscape, the better it is for me. I think that probably the worst possible scenario – even though I have done it – is going to these clichéd locations where you’re queuing up behind five or six other photographers waiting to take an iconic shot. That’s not how I fi nd my enjoyment.’ While some landscape photographers choose to put the viewer in an identifiable location, this is of virtually no concern to Darren, who is on one level at least indifferent to where he takes his photographs. You won’t have seen many of the places he’s been to, and if you have, you won’t recognise many defining features, leading to a body of work that is curiously geographically anonymous. He says that he actively seeks this out as a style-marker because, ‘I don’t want my images to be obvious and I want to leave them open to interpretation. I want people to think that it is a beautiful shot of a serene place, for example. But once you start putting too many labels on things, you are pigeonholing the location. Beauty is everywhere, and I can find beauty in a coal heap. But I’d like to leave that open to the relationship between the final image and the person looking at it.’

As our conversation develops, the same descriptors keep coming up. We discuss the understatement of the imagery, the muted colour palette, the atmosphere of serenity, and his departures from current landscape conventions. But the word that Darren can’t keep out of his vocabulary for long is simply ‘beauty’, a concept that informs most of his portfolio. ‘Beauty lies in the subtleness of the landscape. Maybe it is in the big, shiny peaks or the wide, flowing rivers. But I get just as much inspiration from walking through a bramble thicket. That is also where for me the real skill lies: trying to find a good, balanced composition that reflects the beauty of the place without it being obvious. That’s what I’m striving to do. It’s too easy to stand in front of an iconic location. With today’s digital camera technology you can almost close your eyes and take a half-decent image. For me, it’s about searching out the places that no one else goes to, and this is where I find solitude. It’s as much about this as anything else. If I go out for three or four hours and don’t come back with an image then I don’t beat myself up. I don’t set myself photography goals. It’s more about the journey. It might be a cliché. But that’s what it is.’ To see more of Darren’s photography visit


Turning to Photoshop to remove a couple of unavoidable intrusions in his frame, Pete Bridgwood questions the division between ‘correcting’ an image and ‘cheating’ Nature’s canvas provides an infinite number of lighting variables, and although not immediately apparent, as far as light is concerned the same principles apply to shooting outdoors as in the studio. The big difference of course, is that when we’re outdoors shooting in natural light, there is usually only one light source, and the colour gels, light-modifiers and backgrounds provided by nature don’t allow quite the same degree of control. We can use exposure and filtration to modify the feel of the scene, but our ‘subject’ is fleeting and chaotic, necessitating a more reactive approach than that enjoyed by the studio photographer. I captured this month’s photograph on the shingle at East Wittering, one beautiful May evening. Low-lying cloud fulfi lled the role of a huge soft-box, diff using the sun’s ‘spotlight’ as it backlit my six subjects, throwing them into varying degrees of silhouette as soft shimmering highlights fl ittered across the

horizon. All that remained was for me to patiently watch the scene unfold through my viewfinder and await the ‘decisive moment’, ensuring simultaneous separation between my human subjects and balanced positioning of the gulls. Little processing was required in Adobe Lightroom beyond choosing the ‘cloudy’ white balance setting to warm the colour temperature, which resulted in a beautiful monochromatic sepia palette. My obsession with fi lmic imagery was satisfied by the Kodak Ektar profi le from VSCO, which selectively modified the image’s curves for the primary colours to most closely match the characteristics of Ektar colour negative fi lm. As shot, the scene contained a marker-post and an orange buoy floating in the water, so once my Lightroom workflow was complete I cloned out the offending distractions using the spot-healing brush tool in Photoshop. For anything more complex than dust-spots,

I still fi nd this offers a more immediate and superior solution than the cloning tools available in Lightroom. I guess it might seem strange that I made such a significant effort to ensure the perfect placement of the gulls and capture the decisive moment while on location, but then thought nothing of removing the markerpost and buoy in Photoshop. I could have quite easily altered the placement of the gulls by cloning in the same way, thus negating the need for such effort at the scene. Yet while I’m happy to remove elements of a composition in order to simplify it, I generally avoid adding or moving elements: that would be ‘cheating’, wouldn’t it? East Wittering, West Sussex. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens at 24mm, 1/1000sec at f/8, ISO 200, handheld, processed using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop with VSCO 5 Kodak Ektar 100 profile

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 25

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LEARNING ZONE IMPROVE 28 The art of colour in landscapes

36 Quick guide to... Shooting BTS videos

READY FOR THE BIG SCREEN? Simon Baxter’s top tips for shooting behind-the-scenes videos


The art of colour in landscapes Colour plays a fundamental part in landscape photography, but do we think about it enough? James Grant explores ways in which we can maximise the colour in our images, without cranking up the saturation For me, colour is one of the most important aspects of landscape photography. I have often been asked ‘do you do black & white’, and while I do it once in a while, when I go out into the landscape I experience the world in colour, often waiting for the light to enrich and paint it for me. To strip colour out would, for me, be doing the landscape an injustice.

However, learning how to work with colour is very important. Sometimes the world can be an explosion of hues, while at other times you have a more limited palette to explore. In either case, once you master the art of colour you will start to see an improvement in your photography, especially when your images are viewed together.

Above There was plenty of natural colour in this sunset scene, but I processed it with a slight boost to the purples to accentuate the heather. Sony a7r with 16-35mm lens at 21mm, ISO 100, 1/3sec at f/11, three exposures blended, tripod

COLOUR THEORY When you wer taught art at school there’s a strong possibility that you learned about primary colours, the colour wheel, complementary colours and the like. If you haven’t done so already, it is time to revisit those youthful years and brush up on your skills. The main theories about colour are all based on the colour wheel and relate to how the various colours on the wheel – and, by extension, the colours in your photographs – work together. Here are just some of the numerous permutations:

28 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Complementary colour is the most common of all the colour schemes. It occurs when two colours on directly opposing sides of the colour wheel are seen together. Orange and blue is perhaps the most common example that you will encounter in landscape photography, as it is the combination of warm and cool that echoes the colours of sunrise and sunset. A split complementary colour scheme is a variation on the complementary colour scheme, and sees three colours used from

the colour wheel. Instead of taking a direct complementary colour, the two colours adjacent to the base colour’s complement are used instead. So, if your base colour is light blue, the split complementaries would be red and orange. Again, this combination is easy to find in nature and can help you deal better with busy scenes with a mix of colours. Analogous colour is seen when all the colours come from the same part of the colour wheel (or adjoining areas), so a scene is predominantly green or predominantly blue,







Colour harmonies (or colour schemes), are based on how the various colours on a standard colour wheel appear and interact with one another.

for example. This harmony is easy to achieve when you simplify a composition – zooming in will often reduce the range of colours that appear in the frame – or it can appear naturally, as in woodlands in spring, when the environment is predominantly green. Triadic colour harmony comes when three colours that are equally spaced on the wheel come together, such as red, blue and yellow, or green, orange and violet.

Tetradic harmony is achieved when two complementary pairs are seen together, such as green and red, and orange and blue. This is also sometimes referred to as a rectangular colour scheme, as lines drawn between the colours form a rectangle on the colour wheel. Of course, while it’s great to know about these colour schemes, you can’t control the colours that appear in the landscape. You can go out and actively look for different

colour combinations, though, and doing this can help your compositions; as you start to compose for colour as well as shape you will

Below This photograph of Durdle Door, Dorset, at sunset reveals a classic landscape photography complementary colour combination, as the orange clouds complement the blue of the sea and upper sky. Sony a7r with 16-35mm lens at 23mm, ISO 100, 1/125sec at f/11, three exposures blended, tripod

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 29

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SIMPLIFY One of my favourite techniques with colour is to simplify a scene using analogous colours. The obvious starting point is to look for subjects with colours that are close to each other on the colour wheel, such as the vibrant greens of foliage in spring or the warm oranges of autumn, as this will instantly limit the hues in the image. You can also simplify colour through your choice of focal length, or more sp ecifically, what you choose to appear in shot. This is demonstrated by the two shots of Suilven shown (opposite). The first shot (top) was taken with a wideangle lens, which recorded multiple colours of orange, blue, yellow and (although not a colour) the white/grey of the clouds.

A little later, and with a little more light, I took a similar shot (bottom) using a telephoto focal length. Although the shots are fairly similar in terms of their content, the telephoto version has been simplified through the introduction of an overall orange tone, which also gives it a pleasing and calming feel. Another great way of introducing an analogous colour scheme is to shoot during the blue hour. Your images are naturally going to have an overall blue hue to them, due to the cool lighting, and this will simplify the image and create a certain mood. Regardless of how you do it, take time to break scenes down and think about how you could restrict the colour palette through your

choice of subject, lens or the time of day. You may also want to think about having a single opposing colour in a swathe of another colour to break up the image; an orange tree in a sea of green trees, for example. Opposite A wideangle shot of Suilven (top) shows a mix of colours, but using a longer focal length (bottom) simplifies the scene and gives it an overall orange tone. Below Shooting in the blue hour often creates an analogous colour theme. I’ve tried photographing the ‘plughole’ at Ladybower reservoir at many other times of day, but for me, the simplicity and surreal nature of shooting it in the blue hour really complements the subject. Sony a700 with 10-20mm lens at 13mm, ISO 100, 8sec at f/16, tripod

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TIME OF YEAR It is probably going to sound incredibly obvious, but the season you head out in will have a huge impact on the colour of your images. It will help if you have an understanding of the area you are photographing and think about locations you can shoot at different times of year; if you visited the same location once a month for a year you could potentially end up with 12 very different images. I live in the Peak District (and have lived here for many years) and understand what to expect when I go out, be it vegetation such as bluebells, heather and daffodils, or snow, falling leaves and spring trees. Consequently I quite often only go to locations when they are ‘in season’. For example, the moors of the Peak District

32 Outdoor Photography June 2018

are at their best in summer with carpets of purple heather and in winter with a covering of snow, but I prefer the greenery of the South Peak only in the summer months, with the trees in bloom; in winter they can look drab, messy and dark. There’s also a good reason why you see so many waterfall pictures taken in autumn, as the bright orange leaves contrast with the browns and greys of the rocks. If you are visiting a new area, research the locations you want to visit and find out when it is best to visit, perhaps leaving some of them for another time if they’re going to look better then. You should also think about the time of day you go out in and the weather, even if it’s just for practice. While I wouldn’t do it often, heading out on

Above Heading out on a winter’s day left this whole image feeling blue overall. In a different season, at a different time or with different weather conditions the colours would be completely different. Sony a200 with 28-80mm lens at 30mm, ISO 100, 1/640sec at f/8, handheld

a clear blue sky day could be accompanied by a search for oranges in the landscape, such as bracken or autumn trees, or maybe look for analogous colours on a grey day to push you out of your comfort zone. It is all about learning and understanding the relationships between colours and how best to use them at any time of day or year.

WHITE BALANCE Whether you set it in-camera or in postproduction, your white balance can have a fundamental affect on your images. Setting it towards the blue side of the colour temperature scale will leave you with a cooler, often moodier image, while a slightly orange bias will give a photograph a warm and welcoming feel. For the most part, I will aim to neutralise my white balance, but it can also be used to creative effect. In the shot from Elgol (right), a neutral white balance setting left the image looking grey and uninspiring. However, cooling down the white balance immediately introduced a different feel, without the colours looking unrealistic. Subtlety is the key to success here, so you need to know when and how to make realistic adjustments. If you shoot in the golden hour a lot your images are generally going to be warmer by nature. Sometimes when I’m shooting in these conditions I will cool down the white balance ever so slightly to introduce a bit more blue (the complementary colour to orange).

Above and below This is the same photograph, just with a different white balance. Taken with a neutral white balance the scene (above) became almost monochromatic, so I chose a cooler setting to add mood (below). Sony a200 with 10-20mm lens at 20mm, ISO 100, 1/640sec at f/11, tripod

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PROCESSING In general, images that are bright and bold and ‘in your face’ are the ones that are going to grab the viewer’s attention quickest, especially on social media, where this type of image often gets the most likes. However, they rarely represent the truth of a scene and I believe that using subtle colours or even subtle methods when working with colour is the way to go. My approach is to be quite reserved (in my opinion), especially during post processing where it is easiest to get this wrong; I don’t want colours bursting out of my images like streamers from a party popper. A good starting point is to understand how your camera interprets colour to start with. For example, Canon cameras lean more towards the red spectrum, whereas Sony/ Nikon are more yellow/green. It is quite often possible to work out which brand someone uses just by seeing his or her pictures.

STEPS FOR SUCCESS Learn the basics of colour theory. Simplify the colour in your images and scenes in the same way that you might simplify a composition, by excluding elements from the frame and changing your viewpoint. Head out in different weather conditions and at different times of day, not just the golden hour. Challenge yourself to photograph scenes and subjects you wouldn’t usually shoot, to better understand the relationships between colours.

Above Not only did I take a simplistic approach to this composition, framing the shot to exclude any distracting colours, but I also processed it subtly, which suited the mist y scene. Sony a7r with 16-35mm lens at 23mm, ISO 200, 1/250sec at f/11, three exposures blended, tripod

Most processing soft ware offers a variety of colour controls. In Lightroom (and by extension ACR in Photoshop), I find the most useful are the HSL (Hue/Saturation/ Luminance) sliders, which allow you to control all the different colours on the colour wheel individually. I will often tone down the yellow channel, moving it towards orange to take out the sickly tint, but sometimes desaturating an individual colour can be just as powerful.

The key thing to remember is that we all see colours differently and interpret them in our own way. We also have our own personal preferences as to which colours we like and this will ultimately affect our work st yle and end results. There’s no right or wrong here, but over-saturation is a common mistake: if you have worked with the colours in the landscape and the light has come good, you shouldn’t need to add any saturation.

Look for complementary colours in a scene and try and make them work together in your composition. Try experimenting with analogous colours. An easy way to do this is to shoot during the blue hour. Go through your back catalogue and see if you can identify any colour themes or examples where you have used colour theory. Sort your images into categories of colour techniques such as analogous, complementary, triadic and quadratic and see if you have a bias towards one particular colour scheme. Think about the seasons and how they can affect the colour in a scene. Keep your processing subtle. Be select ive in terms of which colours you enhance, while keeping the scene realistic. Be creative with white balance, either incamera or when you process your images. As with all rules of photography, the ‘rules’ about colour can be broken, so experiment to see what works.

34 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Above The purple of the heather and the skyfire colours of sunset are close to each other on the colour wheel, creating an analogous colour scheme. Subtle processing is needed not to over-saturate landscape images though; sometimes it’s a good idea to take a break from your processing and come back with fresh eyes. Sony a7r with 16-35mm lens at 18mm, ISO 100, 3sec at f/11, three blended exposures, tripod


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Shooting behind-the-scenes videos Simon Baxter, winner of the Light on the Land category in OPOTY 2017, shares his secrets for creating impressive ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos I started creating behind-the-scenes videos in December 2016, as a means of potentially reaching a wider audience with my work and to share my journey through photography. I was fortunate that my videos were positively received, and they have also resulted in a personally rewarding documentary of my passion for woodland photography. However, the prospect of putting your personality out there for all to see can be daunting. If you can get past that, then perhaps in years to come you will look back at your videos with a great sense of self-fulfilment. They will also remind you of the stories behind some of your favourite images. Check out my videos at

Getting started You need very little equipment to get started with shooting video; a smartphone will suffice. For practice, go for a walk somewhere very quiet and film yourself with your phone. This allows you to watch the video back (and inevitably cringe at the sound of your own voice) so you can make judgements on your presentation and determine where improvements can be made. One of the biggest annoyances for viewers is poor sound quality, so it’s worth investing in a mic and windshield (budget £50 for both of these items) that plugs into your phone or camera. This will give you a good ‘run and gun’ solution for your audio, although some people prefer to record their audio separately on to a digital recorder using a lavalier mic. This certainly gives more flexibility, but increases the expense. I started out with a small compact camera that provided good image quality, but the autofocus was unreliable, which is a real annoyance for the viewer. If you are handholding your camera and videoing on the move, switch to manual focus to prevent the focus from ‘hunting’ while you’re filming. A camera with a flip-out screen that can face in the same direction as the lens will help you frame and monitor your video when you’re in front of the camera. However, avoid the temptation to look at the screen while filming; you must look into the lens so that the viewer can connect with you and your narrative.

In the field Once you’re kitted out and ready to film, think about what it is you to want to convey to your viewers. Do you want to concentrate on technical advice, the experience, the

36 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Above Drones are small enough these days to fit into your bag alongside your stills camera gear. Below Being relaxed and enjoying yourself is important for helping viewers to connect with you.

philosophy behind your work or simply document your outings for yourself and your family? Whichever path you choose to follow, being genuine, relaxed and having integrity is very important. I try to pretend that I am simply talking to a friend and go

about my photography in much the same way as I always have. One of the trickiest parts of the process is telling a story through your commentary, videography and images. Think about

how you use ‘B-roll’ footage; these are the supplementary shots that break up the narrative and give added production value. Drones can add an interesting new dimension to your video work as part of the storytelling process, but they should be used with due care and consideration. As important as the photography and video are, never forget that viewers want to connect with the person behind them, so your story and how you convey it will make a huge difference. Relax, be yourself and enjoy it. The biggest challenge is accepting compromise. The chances are that you’ll make mistakes while you’re filming, miss photographs and sometimes become very frustrated. One approach is to try working backwards. Rather than documenting your search for the ‘perfect photograph’, find your photograph first , capture it, check it (and double check it) and then build your video around it. Starting your video and then missing the photograph because you’ve been busy filming is enough to put you off the whole idea of creating videos. Give yourself plenty of time: shooting behind-the-scenes video takes a lot longer than a regular shoot.

Editing I use Adobe Premiere Pro CC to edit my videos, but an ‘Elements’ version is also available, as well as other completely free options that you may already have on your computer. It is worth exploring these low and no cost options before you invest heavily.

based service with access to lots of great soundtracks; other music resources include Premium Beats, Jamendo and Soundtaxi, among others. It is an additional cost, but is well worth it for the added mood and emotion that music can bring to your videos.

Consider adding music to your videos, but make sure that it suits your presentation, video and photography st yle, whether that’s epic, relaxed, adventurous or sombre. Epidemic Sound offers a subscription-

I always ask my partner and certain friends to watch my videos before I publish them. A good friend will point out anything that doesn’t feel true to the person they know, ensuring that your videos remain honest.


A place in time Being connected to a place and knowing it well can lead to us producing our most powerful photographs, says David Higgs, and the place can also give respite from the busy lives we lead In recent times the world has undeniably become a more hectic, stressful and, let’s face it, ‘shouty’ place. Photography has to some degree mirrored this, and the changes have been accelerated by new technology and how images are consumed in this modern media-sharing environment. Looked at from afar, it would be easy to assume outdoor photographers are part of an extreme sport, locked in a competition to make more and more dramatic images in increasingly impressive places. Don’t mistake me for a Luddite, though, or think that I am sneering, as I too have served my time as a nomadic soldier in the army of three-legged beasts that shuffle about the more aesthetic

regions of our planet. No, my worry is that in among all this ‘noise’, we could be losing out on the real gifts of photography: not just, as Dorothea Lange put it, ‘to teach us how to see’, but also how to feel and how to learn about ourselves. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and live and work in some of the most stunning parts of the world, but I have a place, a special place, that will forever be home. Where I live is in a slightly scruff y region of ancient woodland, hills, ghylls and ponds, and I am part of this place. This tree, the ‘crooked oak’ also belongs here. Its shape tells a story; it was pollarded when young – maybe by man or maybe by deer – and the limbs have been contorted by time

and the harshness of the weather thrown at them, stunting the tree’s overall growth in the process. Yet still it grows, still it lives. The oak started out on this journey long before I did, and its life will end long after mine – woods live on a very different time scale to us – and to be in its presence can be humbling. Trees cast no judgement and have no memory, and for a moment I can join in their peace. I’ve visited this tree many times over the last 20 years, and while during those years I have changed a lot, the oak has changed little. To these woods, these cities of trees, our lives must seem so fleeting: a blur, a rush. The trees are a stark reminder for us to get out there, while we are here, and to try to make a difference, to have meaning and a place. My most successful work, the images that mean most on a personal level, are taken of this place that I feel part of, as the images I create there contain a part of me. This is one of the things photography can teach us, and it’s a gift that’s almost worth shouting about. June 2018 Outdoor Photography 39


John Birch John Birch recently turned professional as a wildlife photographer, and despite his early misgivings about entering such a competitive and crowded market, his successes have been outstanding. Nick Smith puts him in the spotlight Nick Smith: You turned pro in your mid fifties. What made you do it? John Birch: The big trigger that made me change from ‘playing about’ taking photos to doing it seriously was going on safari in 2015. Right from the start I got such a buzz from taking hundreds and hundreds of photographs. I’d had many years in public service and I just wanted to do something different. NS: And was it what you expected? JB: To a degree it was. I’d had a lot of family and friends saying that my photos were fantastic, but I wanted to validate myself independently. That was my first year’s objective as a professional. I entered some online competitions and what mattered to

me was whether I was routinely appearing in the top 10 or 20. When this happened – and it happened more regularly than I expected – that ticked the box that said I could take a decent photo and that other people thought so too. I almost expected the process to kill the project, but in fact the opposite happened. NS: Where are you on the career curve now? JB: Another part of the initial objective was to get photographs and illustrated articles published in magazines, and I was more successful at that than I expected. I wouldn’t expect anyone to buy work from me – or take tours or workshops – without being able to demonstrate that I am a bona fide photographer. Winning online competitions is useful, but it doesn’t do that.

A giraffe captured from a hide, Zimanga Private Reserve, South Africa. Nikon D500 with 200-500mm lens at 200mm, ISO 400, 1/800sec at f/5.6

40 Outdoor Photography June 2018

NS: It is often said that pitching articles is the hardest part of all this… JB: I take the view that I simply haven’t got the time not to do this. It takes you out of your comfort zone and into one of serious discomfort, but you have to do it. I think that if I had attempted this without a back-up income, I’d have run a thousand miles; with the knowledge I’ve gained since, I’d keep running. You read articles about turning pro that say don’t waste your time because you’ll never get anything published anywhere decent, but you’ve got to be determined. NS: The wildlife market is very competitive. As a newcomer how do you address that? JB: The photographers I benchmark myself against are people I know are making a

Lions gathered to greet a returning female, Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa. Nikon D500 with 500mm f/4 lens, ISO 3200, 1/800sec at f/5.6

good living at this. I’m prepared to work as hard as any of them and I get inspiration from them. If you look at the work of, say, David Yarrow, a couple of years ago I’d have said that I could never, ever take photos anywhere near as good as him. Now I believe that I can. Don’t get me wrong, Yarrow is outstanding, but I feel I can aspire to being that good, although I’m never going to sell prints for the sort of money he gets. I’m realistic about that. NS: How did you get started in photography? JB: I started when I was in the army, a long time ago, but after that there was a hiatus of about 20 years and I didn’t seriously pick up a camera again until about 2013. One of the reasons for

the break was that I had a darkroom at home, but couldn’t afford a decent enlarger lens. I was frustrated with the limitations this placed on me and it took the steam out of my enthusiasm. In a way, digital photography came along at the right time for me; there’s no question that it made the difference. NS: How did you become the awardwinning photographer that you are today? JB: There’s an osmosis going on here. Clearly you don’t just wake up one day taking bog-standard snaps and the next you’re taking fantastic pictures. There’s a phenomenal amount of hard work that goes into this and a huge part of that involves looking at other people’s work. You look at these photos

and you think: ‘what has that person had to do to get that shot? How much effort has gone into that to make it so outstanding?’ You look at what other people do, unpick the bits you like and then apply your own style.

John’s top tips I never go on a shoot without… patience and persistence. You will not get consistently good wildlife photographs without a lot of both. My one piece of advice would be to… learn and seek inspiration from the work of others, but then go one step further and try something different. Something I try to avoid is… getting glued to the viewfinder. Get something in the bag quickly, then pause and look at what else is around.

John’s critical moments 1969 My dad gave me my first camera, a Soho Cadet.

1981 Took photos in the army with a Nikon FM camera and learned how to process film in a darkroom.

Above Peale’s dolphin, West Point Island, Falkland Islands. Nikon D500 with 14-24mm f/2.8 lens at 14mm, ISO 280, 1/2500sec at f/3.5

To see more of John’s work visit 1992 Started doing mountaineering, with a succession of compact digital cameras.

2015 Decided to turn professional as a wildlife photographer, writer, trainer and guide.

2016 Runner-up in the BBC Countryfile Calendar; finalist in Mountain Photographer of the Year.

2017 Highly commended in GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year; published in the Guardian.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 41

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Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year Now in its fourth year, this competition puts the spotlight on the wonderful scenes to be found round Scotland, from the coastline to the high mountains. These are just a handful of our favourites from the awarded images‌


Paul Webster Overall Winner Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, above Glen Coe A dance of light and shade and shifting mists illuminated the Mamores ridge, with a mist-shrouded Ben Nevis behind. FujiďŹ lm X-T1 with Fujinon XF 18-135mm lens (focal length and exposure unrecorded)

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 43


Alex Nail Overall Runner-up Sgùrr Eilde Mòr, Mamores The symmetrical peak of Sgùrr Eilde Mòr in a full winter coat catches the first sunshine of the day. The patterns on the lake are formed by windblown snow. Canon EOS 5DSr with 16-35mm f/4 lens at 16mm, ISO 100, 1/90sec at f/13

44 Outdoor Photography June 2018



Brian Clark Landscape – Highly commended Near Inchlaggan, Lochaber A beautiful cold autumn morning in Lochaber produced ideal conditions for photography. As the thick mist began to clear, these treetops became visible, with Gleouraich in the background. Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 140mm, ISO 200, 1/10sec at f/16

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 45

46 Outdoor Photography June 2018



Nigel Morton Scottish Weather Award – Winner Loch Clair, Glen Torridon During a journey from Shieldaig to Inverness the light suddenly became very dramatic, so I parked and ran to the loch. As soon as I had set up, this beautiful rainbow illuminated Liathach in the distance. Canon EOS 6D with Canon 17-40mm lens at 27mm, ISO 200, 1/15sec at f/11, tripod Opposite

Johnathan Conlon Seascape Award – Winner Scarista beach, Isle of Harris This was taken during midday light; an unavoidable rebellion against typical landscape photography timings. The clouds were quite patchy and fast moving, which made for some interesting patterns on the ground. DJI Phantom 3 Pro, ISO 100, 1/800sec at f/2.8, three-frame HDR blend

Get the book! The Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year – Collection 4 is available now (Breeze Media, £25, ISBN 978-0-9935413-3-9) from

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 47

ACCESS RATING These are based around an ‘averagely fit’ person. Below are loose guidelines to what the ratings mean (N.B. they are assigned by the author and not verified by OP. P Walk distances are one-way only):

1/5 Easy access. You can pretty prett y much get st straight raight out of your car and quickly be at the viewpoint via good quality paths.

2/5 Some gentle walking is involved (generally less than a half mile), which may be on mixed quality paths.

Beinn Tulaichean, Stirling, by Paul Holloway


3/5 A walk of up to about two miles, over quite easy terrain.

50 Viewpoints of the month


1 Constantine Bay Cornwall 2 Beinn Tulaichean Stirling

4/5 Medium length hike up to about four miles over mixed terrain, possibly with some quite steep gradients.

54 Viewpoints 3 Muckle Flugga Shetland Islands 7

4 Marine Lake Somerset


5 St Ives Cornwall 6 Reighton Gap North Yorkshire

5/5 The most difficult access. Long hike over challenging terrain (e.g. mountains/summits/steep coastal terrain); or involves travelling over particularly extreme ground (e.g. scrambling on rocks/ exposed coastal paths or mountain ridges) over any distance.


7 Brock Mill ruins Lancashire 8 Traigh Mhor Outer Hebrides 9 Chapman's Pool Dorset 10 Wetton Staffordshire


9 1 5

Map plottings are approximate


Constantine Bay, Cornwall Matt Whorlow heads to the protected dunes of Constantine Bay, a Cornish gem that offers plenty of contrasting environments to seek out Constantine Bay is a little off the beaten track, but I love this place, as it offers so many different ways of photographing it. There is a wide strip of golden sand that often ripples into interesting patterns at low tide; there are rocky reefs at each end of the bay to explore, which provide shape, texture and rock pools; and even the background is impressive, with the sinuous form of Trevose Head and the Quies islands in the distance. There are also sand dunes, with sweeping views, wild grasses and flowers. Coastal dunes like this are formed when dry sand is blown by the wind off the beach and collects to form natural mounds. Marram grass then grows and its long roots stabilise the sand, creating a dune. At first glance, one dune seems much like another, but as you explore you will find that each has its own unique character, be it the size and shape, or the wildlife you find on it. At Constantine Bay the dunes are home to vibrant displays of valerian flowers. This species can be found in many dunes, but at Constantine it flourishes. It is at its best around late May and early June, when the rich

pink flowers can make a beautiful and eye-catching subject. With a light breeze and a promising display of fluff y clouds in the sky, I was anticipating a good evening as I pulled into the car park, which is located conveniently right behind the beach. Although it really could not be any closer, the car park is small, which can sometimes be a problem, depending on the time of day and year. However, at this time of year the best light is late in the day so the beach was quiet when I arrived. The dunes at Constantine are a protected environment, so the old adage of ‘take only photographs, leave only footprints’ applies doubly here; there are a few paths through the dunes and you should make sure you keep to these. It is also worth bearing in mind that marram grass can be quite irritable to skin, so if you are planning on exploring the dunes properly, avoid the temptation to wear short trousers. As I had arrived with plenty of time before sunset, I could explore the location at my leisure and carefully select the most promising clump of valerian blooming along the ridge of a dune. I was drawn to these particular

4 miles from Padstow • 25 miles from Truro

ACCESS RATING How to get there Take the B3276 from Padstow to St Merryn. Cross the central crossroads and then take the first right towards Constantine Bay. Drive through Constantine Bay village, and turn right at the Constantine Bay Stores; the car park and beach are at the end of the lane. What to shoot Wide sweeping beach vistas and details in the dunes and rock pools. Best time of day Late afternoon and evening, as the bay faces west. It can be good with any tide. Food/drink Fryer Tucks, St Merryn, Padstow, PL28 8NG, 01841 520724. Accommodation Waves Rooms, St Merryn, Padstow, PL28 8NP,

50 Outdoor Photography June 2018

07974 580059, Other times of year Constantine enjoys good sunsets all year round. Ordnance Survey map Explorer 106 Nearby locations Porthcothan (2 miles); Bedruthan Steps (5 miles).

flowers as they were positioned to the left of a small path, which formed a natural lead-in line down to the beach, and they also balanced visually with the headland to the right of the composition. Having found my viewpoint, I spent some time getting the tripod set up.

I wanted to get the camera as low as possible, so the foreground vegetation dominated the frame, but I didn’t want the camera so low that tips of the flowers crossed the horizon. In the end, I found that setting them against a background of sand rather than

positioning them against the bright sea worked best. While I was playing, the clouds were doing their best to thwart me. A large grey cloud had moved menacingly over the horizon, cutting off the dramatic light I had hoped for. But

the day was not quite done, and a tiny gap opened below the cloud. The light was subtle, and only added a tiny amount of vibrancy to the photograph, but this was perfect for the scene, allowing the soft tones of the grasses and sand to stand out.

Canon EOS 5Ds with 16-35mm lens at 19mm, ISO 100, 1/2sec at f/11, 0.6 ND soft grad, tripod, cable release

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 51

Beinn Tulaichean, Stirling Although its more imposing and higher neighbours – Stob Binnein and Cruach Ardrain – often overshadow it, Paul Holloway argues that Beinn Tulaichean’s unique character makes it well worth exploring Beinn Tulaichean lies at the heart of the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park and with a height of 946m (3,100ft) it just makes Munro status. I set off for the mountain at mid afternoon from the car park at Inverlochlarig with a full pack of camping and photography gear. The forest track along Inverlochlarig glen eases you into the hills, and then it’s a rough, boggy walk on to the ridge of the mountain. It was a misty day with rain showers, but luckily the rain had stopped by the time I was setting up my tent in a sheltered spot under the ridgeline. After a brew and a sandwich, I set off into the mist, hoping as I headed to the summit that it would lift for sunset. There were breaks in the cloud on the way up, which allowed me to take a few images, but the top kept its misty hat on all evening. That night, showers came and went. I was up at 4am, half an hour before sunrise, only to find myself looking at a wall of fog. I set off for the top again, more in hope than expectation, and when I reached the summit 20 minutes later, visibility was down to

just five metres. Although there was no sunrise, I decided to wait to see what would happen. After almost an hour I could sense a change in the air. It grew lighter and the mist began to break up. Within minutes it had almost cleared, revealing the mountain world around me. Beinn Tulaichean means ‘the hill of hillocks’ and as the view opened up

I could see why. Appearing out of the mist, the knobbly, grassy bumps of the south ridge looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. A path led the eye along the undulating ridge and into the scene, and a few wisps of lingering mist were enough to add atmosphere to the landscape. Soon the mist came billowing back. I was glad I had waited.

Fuji X-T2 with 18-55mm f/4 lens at 30mm, ISO 400, 1/75sec at f/11, two-stop ND grad

19 miles from Callander • 33 miles from Stirling ACCESS RATING How to get there From Callander, take the A84 north for 11 miles to Kingshouse, and then take the minor road on the left, signed Balquhidder. Follow this for eight miles, along the northern shore of Loch Voil and continue to the end of the road to a car park. From there, follow the track towards Inverlochlarig farm. Just after you cross a wooden bridge take the small path right, which will take you on to the track up Inverlochlarig glen. Follow this for around one and a quarter miles, then head off to the left, aiming for the bealach between Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain. What to shoot The south ridge, the glen and north towards Cruach Ardrain and Ben More. Best time of day Dawn and sunset. Food/drink Monachyle Mhor Hotel, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, FK19 8PQ, 01877 384622,

Accommodation Molmeg (B&B), Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, FK19 8PB, 01877 384722, Other times of year All year round is good here. Ordnance Survey map Explorer 365 Nearby locations Cruach Ardrain (1 mile); Loch Voil (2 miles).

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 53

Muckle Flugga, Shetland Islands his is the most northerly viewpoint in the British Isles, where huge sea stacks have been carved from the Hermaness coast by wild Atlantic storms. To one of these stacks clings the wonderfully named Muckle Flugga lighthouse. In June, the scenic interest is complemented by a spectacular array of seabirds. How to get there From Haroldswick on the island of Unst, take the B9086 north-west past Burrafirth. At the end of the road turn right and continue for one mile on a minor road until you reach the parking area at its end. The path to Hermaness is signed and climbs steeply for 600m before continuing along

© Robert Harvey


a boardwalk over level peat bog for about one mile. On reaching the cliff top you can turn right or left for views of Muckle Flugga, but allow at least half a day to reach and explore the location. What to shoot Sea stacks, cliffs and seabirds. Best time of day Afternoon and evening (the coast faces west). Food/drink Saxa Vord, Haroldswick,

Unst, ZE2 9TJ, 01957 711711, Accommodation As above. Other times of year Summer is best at this northerly latitude, but wild weather can occur at any time of year. Ordnance Survey map LR 1 Nearby locations Keen of Hamar National Nature Reserve (4½ miles); Norwick Beach (5 miles).

5 miles from Haroldswick • 65 miles from Lerwick ACCESS RATING 0 miles from Weston-Super-Mare • 24 miles from Bristol ACCESS RATING

Marine Lake, Somerset arine Lake in Weston-SuperMare is the perfect spot for creating minimal and abstract images; at high tide the causeway that holds the water in gets flooded, making the railings appear to ‘float’ on the water. Sunset can give very dramatic results,

© Agnes Proudhon-Smith


54 Outdoor Photograph June 2018

but sunrise tones are generally much softer and calmer. How to get there The A370 will take you in a south-westerly direction all the way from Bristol to Weston-Super-Mare. Follow the road past the railway station

until you reach the seafront, then turn right on to Marine Parade, passing the Grand Pier and beach on your left. As you reach the end of the beach, turn left on to Knightstone Causeway for metered street parking; Marine Lake is adjacent. What to shoot The causeway and lake are good for long exposure shots at high tide. The Grand Pier is a ten-minute walk. Best time of day Sunset and sunrise. Food/drink Stones Café, Knightstone Causeway, Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 2AD, 01934 625154, Accommodation Savoy Hotel, 36 Birnbeck Road, Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 2BX, 01934 629559 Other times of year Any season is good, but can get crowded in summer. Ordnance Survey map Explorer 153 Nearby locations Clevedon (11 miles); Burnham-on-Sea (12 miles).

St Ives, Cornwall he lighthouse on Smeaton’s Pier is one of the most prominent landmarks in the popular Cornish holiday resort of St Ives. It can be viewed from numerous vantage points, including the sea wall on the opposite side of the harbour entrance, which is where this shot was taken from. The lighthouse on Godrevy Island in the distance can also be included in the composition if you use a telephoto lens. How to get there From the St Erth roundabout on the A30 (one and a half miles south-west of Hayle) take the A3074 towards St Ives. Follow this for approximately four miles until the road divides near the St Ives Harbour Hotel. Take the right fork and after 400m make a sharp right turn into the railway station pay and display car park. Walk down the steps

© Andrew Ray


near the car park entrance and turn left to follow the Warren to the sea wall viewpoint. What to shoot The lighthouse on Smeaton’s Pier (with or without Godrevy lighthouse in the distance); colourful boats in the harbour; the picturesque harbour front. Best time of day Sunrise or sunset offer the best light. Food/drink Alba Restaurant, Old Lifeboat House, Wharf Road, St Ives, TR26 1LF, 01736 797222,

Accommodation The Queens Hotel, High Street, St Ives, TR26 1RR, 01736 796468, Other times of year The direction of the sun is best during the summer months, although successful images of the lighthouse can be captured at any time of year. Ordnance Survey map LR 203 Nearby locations St Michael’s Mount (8 miles); Godrevy lighthouse (10 miles).

0 miles from St Ives • 25 miles from Truro ACCESS RATING 5 miles from Filey • 41 miles from York ACCESS RATING

Reighton Gap, North Yorkshire


How to get there Head south-west out of Filey on the A1039, signed Bridlington. After approximately one mile you will reach a roundabout. Take the first exit on to the A165 (Moor Road), signed Reighton, and continue for just under two miles to Hunmanby Sands roundabout. Take the first exit, signed Reighton, and follow the road for just over one mile. As you enter Reighton, turn left towards Reighton Sands Holiday Village and

follow the road to the end, where you will find a car park and beach access. What to shoot The beach and sea defences (especially at sunrise/sunset); neighbouring Bempton Cliffs offers colonies of seabirds, including puffins. Best time of day Sunset is my preferred time of the day, but this area can be photographed any time of day. Food/drink The Honeypot Inn, Flamborough Road, Speeton, Filey,

YO14 9TA, 01723 891 783, Accommodation White Lodge Hotel, The Crescent, Filey, YO14 9JX, 01723 514771, Other times of year Autumn is good, with dramatic skies over the cliffs. Ordnance Survey map Explorer 301 Nearby locations Bridlington (10½ miles); Flamborough Head (13½ miles). © Chris Gartside

eighton Gap is situated between Filey and Bempton Cliffs on the east coast. At low tide the long, sandy beach is revealed in full, punctuated by the remains of World War Two beach defences, which can be used to add interest to your beach scenes.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 55

Brock Mill ruins, Lancashire his hidden gem nestles beside Winsnape Brook, which feeds into the river Brock at Claughton in Lancashire. There are the usual woodland landscape shots, with bluebells and other wild flowers in spring, as well as woodland birds and insects. The river is also scenic, set in tranquil rural surroundings. How to get there Take the A6 south from Garstang for approximately three miles, before turning left on to New Lane. Pass over the M6 motorway, then turn right on to Ducketts Lane and left on to May Lane. At the end of May Lane turn right on to Brock Mill Lane; there is a free car park at Brock Bottoms Picnic Site, half a mile on your right. To find the mill ruins, follow the path by the river

© David McCulloch


in a south-westerly direction, past a metal bridge spanning the river, until you see an ageing sign pointing to the left, towards Brock Mill. What to shoot The mill ruins; views of the river; woodland on the walk. Best time of day As the mill is concealed by woodland growth, any time in daylight hours; softer light works best, so morning or late afternoon is ideal. Food/drink Light Ash Farm Shop and Café, St Michaels Road, Bilsborrow,

PR3 0RT, 01995 640068, Accommodation Crofters Hotel, Preston Lancaster New Road, Cabus, Garstang, PR3 1PH, 01995 604128, Other times of year Snow in winter, although access may be difficult. Ordnance Survey map OL 41 Nearby locations Beacon Fell (2½ miles); Brockholes Nature Reserve (13½ miles).

5 miles from Garstang • 10 miles from Preston ACCESS RATING 6 miles from Leverburgh • 50 miles from Stornoway ACCESS RATING

Traigh Mhor, Outer Hebrides


How to get there Starting from Leverburgh on South Harris, take the A859 west and then north for roughly five miles, until you reach Scarista and the Isle of Hearadh (Isle of Harris) Golf Club. Continue for one mile further, until you

56 Outdoor Photography June 2018

reach a free car park with picnic tables on the left; Traigh Mhor beach is a fiveminute walk past the standing stone. What to shoot The 500m beach has black rocks at either end for foreground interest, sand dunes behind it, and Taransay and the hills of North Harris can be seen in the distance, so there are plenty of photographic opportunities to be found. Best time of day Harris can have wonderful light at any time of day, due to the weather fronts that rush in from the Atlantic; this image was taken at 2.30pm, as a storm passed the coast. Food/drink The Machair Kitchen, Talla na Mara, Pairc Niseaboist, Isle of Harris, HS3 3AE, 01859 503900, Accommodation Borve Lodge Estate self-catering cottages (various locations), Isle of Harris, 01859 550358,

Other times of year This location will work all year round, from calm summer sunsets to stormy winter days. Ordnance Survey map Explorer 455 Nearby locations Scarista (2 miles); Luskentyre (8 miles). © Ade Gidney

n the west coast of Harris you will fi nd a number of beaches that are a photographer’s dream, with near-white sand and islands and hills as a backdrop. At Traigh Mhor, located between the better-known beaches of Scarista and Luskentyre, the blue-green sea rushes in around almost black rocks, which make ideal foreground elements.

Chapman’s Pool, Dorset hapman’s Pool provides some of the fi nest examples of dramatic cliff faces on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. It offers a multitude of vantage points and is less popular with tourists than other nearby locations, providing peaceful shooting conditions. The setting sun lights up the cliffs with stunning side lighting, revealing plenty of texture and details.


© Owen Vachell

How to get there Take the A351 west out of Swanage, turning left at Langton Matravers on to the B3069. Continue for just over one mile and then turn left , signed Worth Matravers. Follow the road into and through Worth Matravers until you reach the free car park at Renscombe. The path to Chapman’s Pool is through the kissing gate.

What to shoot Dramatic cliff faces and Dorset’s rolling hills. Best time of day Late afternoon and evening are the best times, as the cliffs face west. Food/drink Square and Compass, Worth Matravers, BH19 3LF, 01929 439229, Accommodation Chiltern Lodge (B&B), 8 Newfoundland Close, Worth Matravers, BH19 3LX, 01929 439337, Other times of year Winter (the sun sets over the sea, illuminating the cliff faces in the golden hour). Ordnance Survey map OL 15 Nearby locations Winspit Quarry (2 miles); Corfe Castle (6 miles).

5 miles from Swanage • 15 miles from Bournemouth ACCESS RATING 9 miles from Ashbourne • 23 miles from Stoke-on-Trent ACCESS RATING

Wetton, Staffordshire


How to get there Follow the A515 north from Ashbourne for just over five miles and then turn left on to Green Lane, signed Alstonefield and Milldale. Just under one mile on, the road makes a sharp right turn, crosses the river Dove and then forks. Take the left fork and continue for one and a half miles before turning left at the Watts Russell Arms pub, signed Wetton. Follow the road around

Wetton and then turn right towards Wetton Mill; the barn is approximately one third of a mile on your right, just before the bends in the road. It is simple to get to, but be aware there is no designated footpath. What to shoot The barn; crop lines in the grass; Thor’s Cave is nearby, with easy overlooks. Best time of day Sunset, as the barn faces west. Sunrise can also work well in the right conditions. Food/drink The Royal Oak, Wetton,

DE6 2AF, 01335 310287, Accommodation Biggin Hall Hotel, Biggin-by-Hartington, Buxton, SK17 0DH, 01298 84451, Other times of year Winter, with a coating of snow. Ordnance Survey map OL 24 Nearby locations Wolfscote Dale (3 miles); Dovedale (5 miles). © James Grant

his abandoned barn is located close to the Thor’s Cave overlook near Wetton. In the summer months this characteristic barn is surrounded by long grass or crops. It is a great location to shoot after the sun has stopped hitting Thor’s Cave, so it makes sense to combine the two locations in one shoot.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 57

What is conservation photography? Even if you have a deep-seated love of nature, this isn’t necessarily enough to make you a conservation photographer says Morgan Heim If you are reading this magazine, it’s pretty much given that you love making photographs of the great outdoors, and in turn, love the very idea of nature, or at least a lot of the plants and animals in it.

58 Outdoor Photography June 2018

We’ll forgive any disdain for mosquitoes and poison ivy – though they too have a few champions, if for no other reason than their exquiste architecture of being. I’ll also assume that a lot of you share

your images with – at the very minimum – friends and family, peppering Facebook and Instagram with posts, hanging them on your walls and finding other opportunities to spread the love for the

OPINION Below Algal blooms in the lower Chesapeake Bay, USA. This algae can lead to toxic conditions if consumed, as well as blocking light needed by other marine creatures. Canon EOS 5D MkIII with EF 50mm f/1.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1600sec at f/5

amazing things you get to see. ‘I love nature,’ you say, ‘and I want others to love nature as well, and they will appreciate nature more when they see my pictures.’ Considering all of this love of nature, if someone were to ask you if you are then a conservation photographer, would you answer ‘yes’? What is the difference between conservation and nature photography anyway? The answers are murky at best, but for me,

conservation photography, in its loosest sense, is the idea of using photography to help the environment and the animals, cultures and individuals living within it. Nature photography, on the other hand, establishes no clear rules for motive. This is no doubt an oversimplification of both, but let’s dive into the former. There is a perception that conservation photography entails taking photos of destruction; of documenting all the wrongs of the world and showing us ‘the ugly’. Joel Sartore, one of my favorite photographers, once said that ‘the typical nature photograph shows a picture of a butterfly on a pretty flower. The conservation photograph shows the same thing, but with a bulldozer coming at it in the background.’ What he says is most defi nitely true; that a bulldozerfleeing butterfly has the making of a quintessential conservation image that literally tells a story in a single frame. But can the photograph of the butterfly on a pretty flower – without the bulldozer – also be a conservation image? The Wild Wonders of Europe initiative, headed by Staffan Widstrand, is a consortium of photographers that has collected stunning imagery – in the most classic, nature-photographer sense – that aims to document and grow appreciation for the biodiversity and rewilding of Europe. Although different in approach to Joel, the initiative is without a doubt the work of conservation photographers. If you’re wondering how you fit into this, then you need to take a look at the mother of all defining principles: purpose. Purpose is the critical component of a conservation photographer. It is one thing to photograph and share images and hope to grow appreciation for the natural world in the process, but for the conservation photographer, the photograph is a means to an end, and often one that is far, far away. The photograph is not the first thought, or indeed the second. Conservation – whether it’s for saving habitat, protecting a species, stopping a destructive practice, celebrating successes, explaining science, cataloguing biodiversity or making people aware that an amazing thing exists in the world – is the reason why we lug a cornucopia of gear around locations, not photography. The motivation for creating the image is the first element of purpose, but even with this as the reason to go click, you are at best halfway to being a conservation

photographer. In fact, photography is probably the smallest part of being a conservation photographer. Most of the role plays out in the form of meetings, events, pitch sessions, product development, grant writing, collaborations with non-profits, scientists and businesses, preparing materials to send to decision-makers, more meetings, the creation of web platforms, strategy development, collaborations with writers or filmmakers and adaptation of project goals and deliverables; it’s a prolonged investment of time Along the way, questions are asked, such as how are these images going to be used? With whom am I going to partner? What are these images going to help accomplish? In essence, these questions are the purpose for which the camera sensor sees the light of day. Conservation photography is about action. It is the purpose of the effort that defines a conservation photographer, and that effort is only as good as the follow through: you have to put those images to work, over and over again. Most conservation photographers I know don’t have much of an ‘off button’. The purpose becomes infused into our lives. Even when I just go on a hike in the hills with my smartphone, I’ll slip into thinking about how precious, rare and endangered these environments are, or how the beach I’m strolling is paved by a stream of tiny plastics. It then becomes an exercise in meditation to return to a state of being a nature photographer. If this has you feeling exhausted at even the thought of defining yourself as a conservation photographer, don’t fret. As you may have guessed, I’m a bit obsessed with the idea. In my mind, the pace of things falling apart seems to be a lot faster than the efforts to put these things back together. So for me, I have to work even harder and think even bigger about my efforts. But you can be a conservation photographer even as you are being a nature photographer, without having to undertake a multiyear project. You can choose a cause close to home or specific in scale and get to work. But you do have to have a purpose and keep pushing that purpose and letting it push you. If this is a calling you pursue, there will come a point when your photographer identity will no longer be uncertain. Someday when someone asks if you’re a conservation photographer, you will simply know, as if it had been a part of you all along.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 59


Interview with YouTube star Thomas Heaton Niall Benvie on why we need to get together Our exotic wildlife photo competition results

© Richard Garvey-Williams

In-depth guide to composing landscapes


When raising the photographic bar isn’t enough We all want to take better photographs, and we are all of one mind when we say we are determined to ‘raise the bar’. But, asks Nick Smith, does the creative world of photography have much to learn from sporting clichés when there’s so much more to be gained from taking the advice of champions in our own field It would be a supremely accomplished or sadly deluded photographer that thought there was no longer any room for improvement in their creative output. In either case, that photographer would be an extremely rare (and possibly endangered) species, and I have yet to meet one. No one, it would seem, is sufficiently daft or vain to say aloud that the top of the game has been reached and all that remains is to rest on his or her photographic laurels. In fact, one of the most common themes to spontaneously emerge in interviews I conduct with photographers is the need for what is sometimes called in the world of high-tech manufacturing ‘continuous improvement’. You could argue that ‘CI’ (as it has been dubbed by modern management aficionados) is such an obvious feature of the human condition that it hardly needs a special name, but a special name it has, deriving ultimately from the Japanese concept of kaizen (where kai means ‘change’ and zen means ‘good’). We all want to become better photographers, and it is interesting that this is often expressed in terms of ‘raising the bar’. This phrase is taken from field sports, such as pole vaulting or the high jump, and implies that if a task is made incrementally more difficult then we will strive for (and attain) higher goals. There is nothing wrong with that, apart from it being a curiously negative metaphor to apply to photography. This is because even the winners are losers in one sense, as it is rare that they will accept victory without having ‘one more go’, which by the defining parameters of the sport means that the end is only the end when the bar has crashed to the ground for the last time. It may be a small point, and it may just be a function of us routinely using sports imagery carelessly, but to define success in terms of failure is curiously out of alignment with photography’s creative spirit. If we accept that it stands to reason that we all want to get better, perhaps a more evolved question might be to ask how we go about achieving this. If we take it as axiomatic that there is always room for improvement, then it follows that all we have to do is listen to how other photographers got better, collate the data and create a system. I have interviewed hundreds of award-winning editorial and commercial practitioners working in just about every field of photography, from landscape to wildlife, astrophotography to portraiture, lenseless to remote drones. After casting out the wackier of the outliers, within the distribution curve there are five clearly defined approaches to progress. If this were one of those annoying flip-chart demonstrations I would give each an initial letter and come up with a catchy

acronym. But since this isn’t business school, and because my best acronym is the decidedly flimsy TIERS (it could have been the even weaker RITES or the downright patronising TRIES), I’ll just get on with what’s important and leave the task of working out how to remember five words to you: First there is time. Nearly everyone agrees that we don’t devote enough of this rare commodity to getting to know our equipment and putting it into action. Second we have influence, which is the need to review the work of others, perhaps by sitting down with a monograph by Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson and trying to understand what makes their photographs better than ours. Influence could equally extend to mugging up on technique in a magazine or going down the pub with a fellow photographer. We don’t do enough of this, especially the latter. Then we have experimentation, represented by the central letter of the acronym and central to all development. This could be something as basic as investigating what those weird buttons that you never use actually do, or thinking about some of the established rules of conventional photography and working out ways to break them. We get a subtle double next, in the form of repetition and repeatability, where the former specifically refers to revisiting locations and subject matter in order to gain deeper insight, while the latter is all about being able to replicate image quality, especially under pressure. It’s not much use to anyone if you become adept at getting all your critical variables spot on in rehearsal, only to get stage fright when you’ve got to make the image stick. We could call this ‘practice’, but the word isn’t big enough: you’ve got to keep doing it until, to paraphrase George Orwell, habit becomes instinct. Finally, we arrive at self-evaluation. We all know when our work has passed the quality inspection, but when it hasn’t we must be ruthless in our judgement. We have to be sure to take an unsentimental approach to what ends up on the cutting room floor. Despite the temptation to do so, there is nothing to be gained from arranging these points into a hierarchy, as they are fundamentally joined together in the way that the geometrical pentagram is formed. If you follow the line around you will pass through every single node in a continuous journey, because each is directly or indirectly linked to every other. So, having come up with something more useful, let’s have no more talk about ‘raising the bar’. It is far too small a concept to contain the subtleties involved with becoming a better photographer.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 61

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Where the wild things are While Brazil’s Amazon rainforest may get all the media attention, the Pantanal is South America’s biggest biodiversity star. Award-winning wildlife photographer Luke Massey and writer Katie Stacey head into this remarkable wilderness

Located in the heart of South America, the Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland. Covering around 81,000 square miles it boasts the highest concentration of wildlife on the continent and is home to around 1,000 bird species, 300 mammals and 9,000 invertebrates. Marsh deer and capybara graze the expansive marshland, while the ponds and streams that intersect this wetland are full to the brim with fish, gorged upon by scores of caiman and myriads of wetland birds, such as roseate spoonbills and whistling herons. While the dense foliage of the Amazon makes it difficult to observe the animals, in the open marshes of the Pantanal wildlife watching is an incredibly accessible activity, making it a location not to be missed by wildlife photographers. In our fi rst 10 days in the Brazilian Pantanal we’d seen some

absolutely incredible wildlife: from our very first sighting of a sunbittern, a bird so beautiful that when it spread its wings it looked like a treasure chest had been emptied over the top of it; to daylight robbery in the form of kleptoparasitism, as a black-collared hawk swooped in to try to steal a cocoi heron’s hard-earned catch. With three more weeks to go, we couldn't guess what else was in store. We were in the Pantanal working for conservation biologist Dr Charles Munn, the man who spearheaded jaguar tourism in the area through his company SouthWild. He’d directed us to a new site that he’d identified as possibly being the perfect place for a new eco-lodge. The location was a cattle ranch where Dr Munn had been paying the ranchers not to kill the jaguars that were killing the cattle there. Among the rolling grasslands and forests was a lake that was a little

under 10 miles from the river. Its distance from the river meant that during the dry season (which we were in the middle of) it could prove to be an oasis. With our boat loaded with camera equipment, a tent and enough beans to last us a week or so, we headed upriver. On our way up, with our boat fighting the current, a splash at the bank side drew our attention. A romp of giant river otters were playing and fishing. The alpha dog otter lounging among the roots of a fallen tree looked almost regal, with the smooth folds of the ancient trunk creating his ‘throne’. Another hour or so upriver and our campsite appeared. Once we had unloaded we jumped into the back of a huge pick-up truck while the ranch hands loaded a decrepit old canoe; our vessel for our oasis recce. We didn’t fancy its chances of floating, but it

Above A male jaguar in the early morning light. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, ISO 800, 1/640sec at f/4

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 63


A black-collared hawk attempts to steal a fish from a cocoi heron. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, ISO 800, 1/2000sec at f/4

A jabiru stork tosses a fish into its bill. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, ISO 1600, 1/1000sec at f/4

64 Outdoor Photography June 2018


Giant river otters are voracious hunters, here one devours a golden dorado. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, ISO 1000, 1/2000sec at f/7.1

A yacare caiman rests on the water surface. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens plus 1.4x III teleconverter at 700mm, ISO 800, 1/640sec at f/6.3

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 65

INSIGHT seemed to be our only option. The truck lurched across grasslands speckled with cows, carcasses, anthills and the odd rhea on the dusty, hot and long drive to the lake. On the way it transpired that our truck wasn’t 4WD, and occasionally the sandy tracks were more than it could handle. Eventually, with us dust-covered and rattled to within an inch of our lives by the rutted tracks, the forest parted and a lake appeared, not much bigger than two football pitches. Its mirror-like surface was flecked with water hyacinths while the boggy shore provided a buffet for an array of birdlife. Luke and our canoe ‘captain’, Roger, placed the brittle boat into the brown muddy water and it immediately sank. Unperturbed, Luke jumped in while Roger gave the canoe a hefty shove – miraculously it began to float. I hopscotched my way from the marshy land into the canoe, and Roger joined us. Piranhas jumped from the water in protest at our disturbance and caimans head-butted our bow, but the canoe held fast. Tentatively, Roger negotiated us around the caiman and piranha (and possibly anaconda) infested lake, and we watched as a jabiru stork caught a fish and tossed it into his enormous beak. A dead caiman on the lakeshore caught our eye and we made our way towards it. It was mummified, fully intact and intriguingly the vultures had taken no interest in it. ‘Perhaps it died when the water was higher and then it got caught on land when the water receded?’ hypothesised Luke, as he walked into the bushes for a quick pee. But Roger shot out an arm to stop him. ‘It’s coming,’ whispered Roger. ‘A jaguar is coming!’ Just beyond Roger, on the trail that led into the forest – the same route Luke was about to head down – a huge jaguar stood stock still and alert. He must have been 10 metres away at most, his frame slightly obscured by leaves and branches, but his eyes locked on to us. In one movement Luke retrieved his camera and took a few pictures. We retreated, leaving the king of the jungle on his path. Back-paddling slowly we didn’t have to wait long for him to reveal himself once more. He emerged out of the forest and came to the water’s edge to take a long drink, before wading into the water to cool off. This was his lake. This unforgettable moment was not to be our last encounter with this majestic creature, nor with the countless others animals who visited the lake, such as the white-lipped peccaries who arrived in a herd of gnashing teeth and harrumphing, the Eeyore-like tapir or the bizarre giant anteater. Dr Munn was right: it turned out to be a rather magical lake indeed. Right (top) A rhea walks through the dry grasslands. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, ISO 500, 1/3200sec at f/4 Right (bottom) A sunbittern, no doubt one of the prettiest birds in the Pantanal. Canon EOS 1D X with EF 500mm f/4 L IS II USM lens, ISO 800, 1/2500sec at f/4

66 Outdoor Photography June 2018




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June 2018 Outdoor Photography 69



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READER GALLERY Each month we publish the best images from those submitted for our Reader Gallery. Turn to page 68 to find out how to enter your work using our online system. Here is this month’s winner… Winner Catherine Bullen I first experimented with photography while studying fine art at college. I enjoyed it so much that I went on to study photography at university, and gain work experience in an Italian photography studio. That was over 11 years ago, and since then I’ve always worked within the photography industry. Although my current job, as a food and product photographer, is studio based, any spare time I have is spent exploring outdoors and taking images of nature and wildlife. I use natural light in my photographs to create vibrant images, and creatively use depth

of field. I seem to find myself alternating between macro photography and wideangle shots, but in both cases my aim is to give a sense of the landscape or habitat in the images. All my ambitions as a photographer are centred on nature and wildlife photography. When I go out to take photographs I never know exactly what I’m going to see, and that’s part of the enjoyment. I aim to continue to discover more of the world in which I live, creating and sharing photographs along the way. Having previously exhibited my work this is something I would like to pursue more, enabling me to share my photography and making sure that my images don’t just get stored away on my computer and

Above Haze Using a low viewpoint I decided to shoot through some yellow flowers to contrast with the blue, utilising the more eye-catching foreground rather than the dull background. Nikon D300 with Tamron 180mm macro lens, ISO 320, 1/400sec at f/8

forgotten about. Last year I was a fi nalist in Bird Photographer of the Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year, so I’m aiming to get one stage further this year!

Hometown Norwich, Norfolk Occupation Food and product photographer Photographic experience 15 years

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 71

72 Outdoor Photograph June 2018

Left Sand eels Photographing from a hide, I captured this shot of sand eels with the accompanying puffin. I think it’s an unusual view, one that's probably a love or hate shot! Nikon D300 with Nikon 200-500mm lens at 200mm, ISO 400, 1/400sec at f/5.6

Send in your best images and win great prizes. This month’s winner receives either a Sprayway Rador or Selen jacket, worth £100! The Sprayway Rador men’s jacket and Selen women’s jacket are versatile, micro-baffle, synthetic jackets that are perfect for shooting on cold days. The loose-blown fill gives the soft feel of down with the water resistant and quick drying benefits of synthetic insulation. There are two hand elastanebound pockets on the outside and an inner, zipped security pocket, offering storage and extra protection against the elements. Both jackets come with an adjustable drawcord hem and a stuff sack. To find out more go to

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 73


Photographic Adventure Travel to Superb Remote Locations Travel with us to Iceland, Greenland, Norway, India, Scotland, Spain, Slovenia, Italy and France. Our team of photographic tutors and guides are well qualified, friendly and avid adventurers themselves. We are trustworthy, place high value on your safety and are always available for a friendly chat – come and have an adventure!

NATURE ZONE DISCOVER 76 Laurie Campbell: Life in the wild

78 Nature photo guide

81 A moment with nature

82 Steve Young: On the wing

LISTEN UP EVERYONE! Steve Young on why you need to use your ears to see reed warblers


The finer points of using hides Using a hide is one of the best ways to observe and photograph wildlife, but as Laurie Campbell discovers, they can sometimes work a little too well Imagine the scene: you have spent the night sleeping curled-up on the floor of a one metre square by one metre tall hide sited in deep heather in an ancient pine forest at the foot of the Cairngorm mountains, hoping to photograph golden eagles the next morning. It is early August, and although the eaglets fledged a few weeks ago from their huge nest in the crown of Scots pine they are still more or less dependent on the adults for food and won’t stray far from the eyrie. I needed these photographs as part of a commission to illustrate a large-format book on these charismatic birds. Having already spent several years photographing them at rock eyries, I wanted to add variety to the collection by photographing them in a forest setting. The hide consisted of a thin canvas cover stretched over a tubular aluminium frame, with a plastic groundsheet for the roof. Covered in bracken and heather it blended in nicely with the surrounding hummocky ground and, to complete the illusion, I entered the hide the night before in darkness to avoid being seen. Asleep and resting against the framework of the hide, I was awoken the next morning by a metal support banging against my head. With no idea of what had just happened, I lay for a moment trying to make sense of the situation – at least until I noticed a set of large black talons piercing the plastic sheeting on the ceiling! It appeared that one of the two juvenile eagles had landed on the roof of the hide. For the eagle, this must have seemed just like any other mound upon which to perch, but its natural curiosity must have been aroused by the unusual springy surface. The next thing I knew it started using its bill to peck and tear off small pieces of the plastic sheeting. Realising the consequences of the roof splitting, the eagle falling through and the two of us trying to share a one-metre cubed space, I rolled over and gently but fi rmly pushed the eagle off the roof with my feet. Through a tiny gap in the fabric I was relieved to see the bird seemed none the worse, if not a little confused about what had just happened.

Left A juvenile golden eagle perched on a dead pine tree close to my hide in the morning. This photograph shows that it has seen one of the parents and is calling to it for food. Nikon F5 with Nikon 300mm f/2.8 manual focus lens, Fujichrome Provia ISO 100 film, 1/250sec at f/5.6, tripod, cable release, hide

76 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Useful hide tips However well the process of researching a subject , locating a vantage point and introducing a hide has been executed, you still need to avoid your subject associating it with people. Entering and leaving hides under cover of darkness may seem a bit extreme, but if you are dealing with sp ecies that are going to require long sessions or are active at first light this can be the best option. A tried and trusted alternative is to have a companion walk to the hide with you and then leave once you have set-up and are settled inside. With the exception of the crow family, birds cannot count, so they will assume that any danger will have passed when they see your companion walking away. Exiting the hide safely is just the reverse of this process with your helper returning and the two of you leaving together. It is worth noting that exiting a hide suddenly will cause a disturbance and for animals to lose all trust in it, so rendering it unusable and best removed altogether. Once inside a hide it is best to assume that your subjects are constantly watching it and that any error you make will be noticed. The first thing to do is to fit a lens and have it protruding from the hide. A tripod or beanbag is essential to hold it in place for long periods and once you have committed to using a particular lens, suddenly withdrawing it to exchange for another to change magnification can cause disturbance; zoom lenses offer the flexibility to avoid this. Alternatively, if a long lens is attached directly to a tripod, it allows the camera body to be removed and fi tted with a teleconverter, or a full-frame sensor camera can be swapped for a cropped one. Another option is to use a second tripod to hold a different camera and lens. Whatever the combination, be careful when panning lenses on to a subject and only do so when it seems relaxed, carefully monitoring its reactions via a tiny ‘peep hole’ in the hide.

Granted, this wasn’t exactly an everyday experience, but it does demonstrate how effective dedicated photography hides can be as a means of getting physically close to wary birds and mammals. An obvious statement you might think, but there is one proviso that is often overlooked, and that concerns how we use them. Naturally, the degree to which this matters depends on how wary the subject is, so it is best to start by working with commoner, more forgiving species to gain experience. Photographing garden birds visiting feeders or a pond to drink and bathe are both good examples, as there is less at stake when it comes to learning by trial and error. The goal is to be in a situation where the subject has no idea that you are close by, so you are able to photograph

Above This female hen harrier was looking at my hide and had probably noticed the reflection on the front of the lens or heard the noise of the camera shutter. Either way, it did not appear disturbed, because it passed directly over the hide – where I heard the whoosh of air passing over its wings. Nikon D3S with Nikon 500mm f/4 VR lens and Nikon 1.4x teleconverter, ISO 1600, 1/800sec at f/6.3, tripod, hide Below This is the damage done to the plastic roof covering of my hide by the talons and bill of a curious young golden eagle. Nikon D3X with Nikon 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, ISO 100, 3sec at f/20, tripod, cable release

it behaving naturally and with no sign of disturbance. Achieve this, and you will have entered a whole new world.

Pre-plan what you are going to need before any hide session, both in terms of equipment and your own comfort. Simple shoulder bags are preferable to backpacks for accessing kit in a confined space and you should do all you can to avoid unnecessary noise later by having compartments unzipped and small items that you might need in a hurry (such as spare batteries) easily accessible. Sometimes, the simplest items of nonphotographic equipment can really come into their own and, whether it is a tiny torch, gaffer tape or a few safety pins to secure a loose piece of fabric, your collection of these will grow with experience. Don’t skip on anything that will make your session more comfortable either; take an inflatable cushion and invest in a quality, lightweight and durable thermos flask.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 77


Laurie’s June highlights

Eider duck (Somateria mollissima) nests may be scattered on small offshore islands and undisturbed shorelines, but once the chicks have hatched they band together to form crèches. These can consist of a dozen or more young and several females, which together are better able to fend off marauding predators such as herring and greater black-backed gulls. Where this occurs in traditional fishing harbours the adults are more used to people, so there is scope for shadowing them at a short distance to document such attacks, macabre as it seems. Nikon D3S with Nikon 500mm f/4 VR lens, ISO 1000, 1/640sec at f/4, beanbag on rock Travelling any distance to photograph rare plants, such as these oneflowered wintergreens (Moneses uniflora), can often be a game of chance in terms of predicting the weather conditions. The actual condition of the plants matters too and the more erratic weather of recent years can affect the development of plants due to subtle seasonal changes. This means it is more important than ever to arrive with accessories, such as wind shields, clamps, reflectors, diffusers and flash to cope with the conditions on site. Nikon F5 with Nikon 200mm f/4 macro lens, Fujichrome Velvia ISO 50 film, 1/8sec at f/16, tripod, cable release, mirror-lock, reflector, diffuser, fill-flash

Being large and relatively confiding, northern gannets (Morus bassanus) really lend themselves to being photographed in a close-up and abstract way. Close-focusing long lenses and perhaps the use of a teleconverter on a tripod are what is needed to shoot precise and carefully focused compositions. Start by walking around and identifying individuals that are already incubating, where the lighting direction is appealing and there is a clear and distant background to isolate them against. Plan a line of approach, only moving forward when the bird relaxes and is not looking directly at you. Nikon D3X with Nikon 500mm f/4 lens, ISO 100, 1/500sec at f/5, tripod, cable release

It is difficult to resist photographing the seasonal displays of large areas of flowering hares-tail cotton grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) on damp upland moors and bogs. In calm weather, close-ups of individual or small groups of plants can look very attractive when photographed using lowangled backlighting in early mornings and evenings. These are also plants that occur in naturally windy places, so to convey this, try working from a low viewpoint towards the middle of a blue-sky day with a wideangle lens fitted with a polariser filter. Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. Nikon D3 with Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm, ISO 1000, 1/640sec at f/13, polariser, handheld

78 Outdoor Photography June 2018

More seasonal subjects

Damsels and dragons


Mid-May to mid-June is the prime time for photographing dragonflies and damselflies, as this is the period when the adults emerge and start to breed. You can find the insects flitting around ponds, rivers and other bodies of water around the country, but here are five top spots to get you started.

Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus) – a common wetland species throughout much of the UK. Globeflower (Trollius europaeus) – distribution confined to Wales and northern Britain; grows to 50cm tall. Giant rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria) – an impressive non-native plant from Chile, standing more than two metres tall and with leaves over one metre wide.

Fauna Green tiger beetle (Cicindela campestris) – the most common British tiger beetle; look for it on bare, dry, sandy ground in hot weather. Blackbird (Turdus merula) – a relatively common bird so it should be fairly easy to photograph one feeding fledged young. Fox (Vulpes vulpes) – young foxes will have left the natal earth by now and may still not be as wary as their parents, so should be easier to photograph.

Coire Loch, Highland With its pine forests, lochs and mountains, Glen Affric is often described as one of the most beautiful Scottish glens. Head to Dog Falls car park, five miles south-west of Cannich on the Glen Affric road, and take the two and three quarter mile-long Coire Loch trail. This will not only take you to Coire Loch (for the dragonflies and damselflies), but also lead you past the picturesque Dog Falls.


World wildlife spectacles

© Kristel Segeren /

Golden rays, Mexico Twice a year, between Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and western Florida in the USA, large groups or ‘fevers’ of golden rays (also known as cownose rays) can be seen gliding through the warm Atlantic

concern in the latter countries, though. In each case you will be expected to trek into and out of the jungle, so physical fitness is essential, and when you encounter the gorillas you will have just one hour with them. However, as that is 60 minutes with a critically endangered species that numbers less than 900 in the wild, it is definitely a bucket list proposition.

Dowrog Common, Dyfed Dowrog Common covers more than 240 acres of the Pembrokeshire coast, just a short distance north-east of St Davids. An abundance of small freshwater pools make it ideal for dragonflies and damselflies, including the rare small red damselfly, scarce blue-tailed damselfly and the unique hairy dragonfly. The site also features plenty of rare flowering plants, such as the lesser butterfly orchid, which flowers from June to July.


© Gudkov Andrey /

Mountain gorillas, Central Africa June marks the start of a dry season in Central Africa and is the peak time to visit the region’s mountain gorillas, as the trails are less muddy. Roughly half of the global mountain gorilla population can be found in the Virunga Mountains, which border Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it is not simply a case of turning up and walking a trail. To visit one of the habituated gorilla groups you need to be on an organised tour and have a valid gorilla trekking permit, the cost and availability of which depends on the region you are visiting. In Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park permit prices are US$1,500 (having doubled from US$750 in 2017), while permits in Uganda are US$600 and those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are just US$400; personal safety can be a greater

waters, heading north from the Yucatan in late spring and returning south in the autumn. Growing to more than two metres across and with up to 10,000 rays close to the water’s surface, this is a truly impressive sight, although a bit of luck is needed to be in the right place at the right time. Basing yourself on Holbox Island in the Yum Balam nature reserve at the northeastern tip of the Yucatan peninsula is a good starting point and here you will find a number of whale shark tour operators that will get you out on the water.

The Dragonfly Centre, Cambridgeshire Located 10 miles south of Ely, Wicken Fen is the National Trust’s oldest nature reserve and is also considered to be one of Europe’s most important wetlands. It is also home to The Dragonfly Centre, run as a joint venture between the National Trust and the British Dragonfly Society; with 22 recorded species this is a great location if you’re in East Anglia.


Foxearth Meadows, Essex/Suffolk In 2015 the Christian charity A Rocha UK took over this 11-acre site by the river Stour on the Essex/Suffolk border. The aim was to manage the nature reserve specifically for dragonflies and damsonflies, and with 21 recorded species this has clearly been a great success, making it a top spot for expanding your portfolio. foxearth


Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset/Hampshire Situated 10 miles north of Bournemouth, in Ringwood Forest, Moors Valley sees more than 20 species of damselfly and dragonfly each year, which has led to its river systems being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The park’s three-mile ‘park and forest’ walk takes in both Moors Lake and Crane Lake, providing you with plenty of photography opportunities.


June 2018 Outdoor Photography 79

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Face to face in the wilderness George Turner recalls a spine-tingling encounter with chimpanzees on a very special Tanzanian island If you were to quiz a seasoned naturalist about the national parks of Tanzania, I guarantee they would put Rubondo Island on their list. As small as this park may be, it is arguably the most interesting, and certainly a shining light for modern conservation practices. Rubondo is situated in the south-west corner of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, and is home to one of the African continent’s most unique conservation stories. In the 1960s, 16 chimpanzees were rescued from various European zoos and circuses by Bernhard Grzimek, a German professor from Frankfurt Zoological Society, and released on to the island. Nearly 60 years later the island’s chimpanzee population has grown to more than 50, thanks to the hard work and effort of Asilia Africa (an eco-tourism company) and Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA). The chimpanzees of Rubondo Island are now split into two distinct groups: one in the northern sector, the other in the south.

The former are part of a world-leading wild habituation programme led by Asilia and TANAPA. There is strictly no interference with their natural behaviours and any human presence is introduced very slowly over time. My trip to Rubondo was, without a doubt, the most challenging assignment I have had to date. Working with two specialist guides and a team of 12 chimp trackers, we trekked nearly 90km over four days, often hearing the chimpanzees only for them to slip through our grasp. The difficulty mainly stemmed from the season; this was the precipice between the dry and rainy seasons, and food was scarce, meaning the chimps would cover great distances each day in search of a meal. On the fifth day we had our first encounter, which lasted well over an hour, as the alpha male ‘greeted us’ to ensure we were no threat. His stare is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. When he looked towards us, he was looking at us as people not objects. It was clear he

was studying our faces, our behaviours and our every movement. Our second encounter was nearly two hours long, with the chimps fast asleep in the bush. Just as I thought I wouldn’t get the clear shot I wanted, the alpha male once again sought me out. Just 50ft from my position, he sat calmly and looked at me. I have never felt so small in my life. I slowly raised my rather heavy Nikon D5 and 500mm f/4, took the image and then returned to just enjoying the moment. Even now, I get shivers up my spine recalling the encounter. The future for Rubondo Island’s chimpanzees is now very bright indeed. With ever-increasing (but carefully managed) visitor numbers, Asilia is able to better fund the programme, and the more recognition the chimpanzees get, the more secure their future becomes. With the species in decline across most of central and western Africa, Rubondo Island continues to be a shining example of chimpanzee conservation.

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 81

NATURE ZONE STEVE YOUNG Left My struggle with orange tip butterflies was put to rest this year with quite a few good shots of various individuals; this one was taken with my 300mm lens.

On the wing Following a number of emails questioning the merits of a telephoto lens over a macro lens, Steve Young put theory into practice and set out to find which was best suited to photographing his local flying insects Last year I wrote about photographing dragonflies and butterflies at my local golf course using a 300mm lens, rather than a ‘standard’ macro lens. This raised a few eyebrows and I subsequently received several emails asking whether a macro lens would give better quality, closer images and so on. I decided to put this to the test, so when the species were out and about last year I headed to the golf course again, armed with two lenses – a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 macro and a Nikkor 300mm f/4 PF – to see which would work best in this particular environment. As well as dragonflies, I also wanted better images of orange tip butterflies. This is a species I always struggle with, as they never

seem to settle before flitting off to search for another flower to feed on. After finding a couple of males feeding on a patch of wild rape, I settled down to see if they would have any regular pattern. Luckily they did, but I wasn’t going to tempt fate by trying to get too close, so used the 300mm throughout the short session. During the summer the dragonfl ies came thick and fast, with four new species found on the course: banded demoiselle; red-eyed damselfly; black-tailed skimmer; and ruddy darter. The fi rst of these was just a single female seen on one day, but the other three all bred on the ponds, with the red-eyed damselfl ies forming a small colony and at least nine males all resting on lily pads. This

Perched on lily pads out in the pond, I had no choice but to use my 300mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter for this red-eyed damselfly.

82 Outdoor Photography June 2018

was quite a fi nd, as the red-eyed damselfly is not that common up here, and although they are spreading northwards it was still amazing to see so many on my golf course. The ruddy darter is even rarer, but it stayed throughout the summer months, so I had plenty of chances to photograph it – although I only saw it mating on one occasion. When it came to the photography and my ‘lens challenge’, the red-eyed damselflies were always out in the middle of the pond, so there was no chance with the 105mm macro lens; I even had to use a 1.4x teleconverter on the 300mm lens to take a reasonable sized image (and even then, the photograph shown here has been cropped by about 50%). The ruddy darter showed very well and could have been taken with the macro lens, but I have to admit to not wanting to flush it to the far side of the pond, so used the 300mm yet again. Later in the season, migrant hawkers could be seen. These are one of the best ‘posers’ for flight shots (shooting at around 1/4000sec just about freezes the wings), so I tried again to take some shots, with more success than in previous years. However, this again came through using the 300mm, as the image would have been too small with the 105mm. So, with the dragonfly season here again I must admit to preferring my Nikon D500 with 300mm lens set-up to the 105mm macro. It doesn’t matter if the dragons and damsels perch across the pond or on a reed in the muddy edges, as I can still take my shot without disturbing them. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter which lens you use, just as long as you enjoy your photography.

Setting the ISO to 1600 allowed me to shoot at 1/4000sec at f/8 with my Nikon D500 and 300mm lens. I am quite pleased with this effort, as the backlighting gives the background that little bit extra.

BIRD OF THE MONTH sort of species that would go by undetected if it weren’t for its song. Thankfully, they are very vocal in the breeding season and advertise themselves loudly and regularly from the comfort of the reeds where they can be seen clambering around the stalks and occasionally coming out into the open. So, make the most of reed warblers while you can, as they’re not here for very long and for much of the time will be hidden. Head out to your nearest reed bed, find one by its song, and hope it climbs up the stems in front of your lens.

A classic view of a singing reed warbler within the depths of the reeds.

With summer now here, the reed beds of the UK will be alive with the sound of various species, one of which will certainly be the reed warbler. With its dull grey/brown upperparts, off-white underparts and love of dense reed beds, this is the

Occasionally birds do come out in to the open.

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY TIP It may seem strange, but birds like to sunbathe. The most obvious ones to be seen are garden species such as blackbirds, robins, house sparrows and the like, which like to sit and stretch their wings in a quiet area. I’ve noticed that the birds in my garden enjoy sitting on bare soil, which must be warmer to sit on and transfer more heat into the body. To try to improve my chances of photographing this rather interesting behaviour, I now prepare suitable ‘bathing areas’. The first step is to find a nice patch of soil that is in the sun for most of the day. Clear any annoying grass or plant stems from the area, dig it over and then rake it, sit back and see what happens. I’ve had success with blackbirds, robins, dunnocks and house sparrows

on my small patch. The house sparrows also like to ‘dust bathe’, flicking the soil all over their feathers; an extra bonus shot for my efforts.

After shuffling down into the soil, house sparrows enjoy flicking the loose earth over their feathers in a lovely dust bath.

Despite my carefully prepared soil, this robin preferred to sunbathe on the garden bench seat. Sometimes things just don’t work out!

With its wings spread and head back and turned with the bill open, this is a classic sunbathing blackbird.

LOCATION OF THE MONTH © Christopher P McLeod /

Kensington Gardens, London Although they might not resonate immediately as prime birding spots, many of London’s parks and gardens are home to vast flocks of the UK’s only resident parrot: the ring-necked parakeet. According to the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2017, these feral parrots are now number 15 on the list of the capital’s most spotted birds in private gardens, but in the city’s parks they rank far higher and their numbers only seem to be increasing. The success of this non-native species has led to calls for the population to be monitored closely to ensure that it doesn’t adversely impact on native birds, such as woodpeckers and starlings, or for a cull to be put in place to control their numbers. Yet while some people see them as a threat, others delight in the colour they bring to the capital’s parks, especially on overcast days. In some of these locations – including Kensington Gardens, which sits to the west of Hyde Park – the birds have become so used to people that they can be fed by hand. Getting there Popular parrotspotting locations lie either side of The Long Water, between Bayswater Road at the park’s northern boundary and West Carriage Drive, which runs through the centre. Whether you are arriving by tube or by bus, alight at Lancaster Gate station, cross Bayswater Road and enter the gardens via Marlborough Gate. The parakeets shouldn’t be too hard to see (and hear!). Entry fee Free Opening times 6am until 6.15pm Website parks/kensington-gardens

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 83

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THE FUJIFILM X-H1 COMES TO TOWN Fergus Kennedy takes this mirrorless gem for a spin at the seaside


Fujifilm X-H1 The new Fujifilm X-H1 takes its place at the top of the company’s mirrorless range, and offers some exciting new capabilities. Fergus Kennedy puts it through its paces

Guide price £1,699 (body only); £1,949 (with grip kit) Contact Left (bottom) The X-H1 coped well with mixed lighting conditions. Fujifilm X-H1 with XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens at 29mm, ISO 400, 1/120sec at f/6.4 Right (bottom) The dynamic range of the X-H1 sensor is excellent. Fujifilm X-H1 with XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens at 16mm, ISO 800, 1/8sec at f/2.8 Opposite In-body image stabilisation means you can handhold long exposures. Fujifilm X-H1 with XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens at 16mm, ISO 200, 1.9sec at f/11

Looking back at my review of Fujifilm’s X-T2, I noticed that my only two ‘dislikes’ were the lack of touchscreen control and in-body image stabilisation. The X-H1 addresses both these issues, and with its 24MP APS-C sensor and similar retro styling to the X-T2, I was really happy be able to spend some time with it. The X-H1 feels good in the hands. It’s solidly built and exudes quality, although it is noticeably larger and heavier than the X-T2. The top plate is dominated by a number of dials, with ISO at the left and shooting modes on a ring beneath that. The right dial controls shutter speed, and to the right of that is a new top LCD panel, which is very similar to the one found on Fujifilm’s medium format GFX 50S. This differs from the panels on most of the competition in that the characters on it are white, set against a dark background (although this can be reversed), and data is displayed even when the camera is switched off, in a similar way to the e-ink in some e-readers. The characters

86 Outdoor Photography June 2018

LIKES Ergonomics; feels great in the hand Snappy AF and high frame rate Excellent image quality (stills and 4K video) Dual card slots for backup Very effective in-body image stabilisation

DISLIKES Rear LCD is not fully articulated Tracking AF sometimes misses when the subject strays outside the central area

are satisfyingly large and clear, to the extent that I could read them even if I forgot my reading glasses. The rear LCD tilts, but is not fully articulated, which means it’s not ideal for the selfie or vlogger generation, although admittedly this is probably not the camera’s target market in any case. Wandering out with the X-H1, it definitely felt like a ‘photographer’s camera’. There isn’t an easy to find

fully automatic mode, so it assumes a working knowledge of shutter speed, aperture and ISO. If you want aperture priority, you set the aperture on the lens ring and then select A on the shutter speed dial; for shutter priority it’s a question of setting the shutter speed on the top dial and setting the aperture to A on the lens ring. Manual exposure is achieved by simply setting both the shutter speed and aperture to the desired settings. Shooting at the coast after sunset, I really appreciated the new in-body image stabilisation, and combined with an IS lens the performance is pretty incredible – I was handholding shots of up to 1sec shutter speed and even managed 2sec and 3sec exposures by sitting down and bracing against my knee. The optional battery grip for the X-H1 is superb. You can leave the battery in the camera body and add a further two in the grip. In addition to the obvious ergonomic benefits of the grip while shooting in portrait format, the extra batteries also give you a boost

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Sensor 24MP APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm) X-Trans CMOS III Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels (max.) Lens Interchangeable Fuji X mount Shutter speed 1/8000-30sec, plus Bulb; electronic shutter to 1/32000sec ISO 200-12800 (expandable to 100–51200) Viewfinder Electronic; approx. 3.69 million pixels LCD 3in tilting LCD, 1040k pixels, touch control Flash Hotshoe Movie mode Max UHD 4K up to 30fps Card formats SD / SDHC / SDXC (dual slot) Power Li-ion battery NP-W126S Size 140 x 97 x 86 mm Weight 673g (with battery / no lens)

in continuous video recording from 15 to 30 minutes, and adds a headphone jack and enables you to charge the batteries while the camera is in use. As is often the case, gulls in flight made for a good test of autofocus performance. I found that the camera was very good at tracking a bird in flight against a plain background such as the sky, providing you keep the subject in the central area; outside this area the focus is more erratic. I was testing it with the excellent Fujinon 100-400mm stabilised lens, and the camera only started to struggle – as would many cameras – when the bird was in front of a messy background with lots of contrast. The AF is not quite up there with pro-level DSLRs, but is among the best for a camera of its type. For those keen on shooting fast-moving action, the X-H1 can also blast out an impressive 14 full resolution images per second. Video enthusiasts will find plenty to like on the X-H1, as it can shoot 4K video at up to 30 fps and comes with HDMI out, a microphone and a headphone socket (on the battery grip). The video quality is really nice, with a log mode – for those who like to shoot

flat video for grading in post-production – and a very pleasing Eterna film emulation picture style.

VERDICT Looking at the still images at the end of a shooting session, I was prett y impressed. The Raw files allowed plenty of manipulation, and it was easy to bring detail out from the shadows and pull back the highlights. High ISO performance was among the best of any APS-C sensor cameras, and I found little to complain about in terms of image quality. Overall, this is a camera that is easy to like. The X-H1 is an extremely versatile and refined mirrorless camera, backed up by a great range of lenses. It has few flaws and should keep a wide variety of photographers very happy.

RATINGS Handling Performance Specification Value

96% 97% 97% 95%



June 2018 Outdoor Photography 87


Sony a7 III Targeting photographers looking for an advanced full-frame mirrorless camera, Sony’s a7 III boasts a whole range of impressive features such as a 10 frames per second burst shooting rate, a 693-point AF system, a 24.2MP back-illuminated sensor, 4K video capabilities and 5-axis image stabilisation technology.

Packing the latest photography and video deo technology into the palm of your hand, o the Canon EOS M50 could fool you into thinking it doesn’t pack a punch. With 4K erful video, a 24.1MP CMOS sensor, a powerful Digic 8 processor and a continuous shooting rate of 10 frames per second,, professionals would have yearned for these same specifications not too long ago – even at 10 times the price. Guide price £539 (body only)

Guide price £2,000 (body only)

Pentax K-1 K 1 MkII Setting a new standard in Pentax’s K series, this full-frame DSLR is made for those wanting to capture high resolution, low noise images in low light settings. The K-1 MkII has an accelerator unit added to the camera’s Prime IV image processing engine, a 36.4MP CMOS sensor, Pixel Shift Resolution mode and extendable ISO of 819,200. It also promises a well-defined sense of depth in your images. Guide price £1,799 (body only)

GEARING UP Kenro Nanguang LED Pad Light Mixpad32 Aimed at photographers and filmmakers, this portable and compact light promises impressive brightness with 765 lumen output. Easy to switch from hard to soft to diffused lighting, the panel’s ultra-low flicker rate means it is perfect for slow motion video too. Guide e price £119.94

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 50-200mm A powerful telephoto lens that’s compact and lightweight, Panasonic’s latest offering promises to deliver the performance, distance and speed needed to capture amazing shots of your fast-moving subjects. Ideal for photographing wildlife, it has 15 elements in 13 groups and a nine blade aperture. Guide price £1,599

88 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Art An ultra wideangle zoom lens designed for 50MP cameras, Sigma’s new 14-24mm f/2.8 Art promises less than one per cent distortion, as well as minimal transverse chromatic aberration, flare and ghosting. Weather sealed throughout with a hypersonic AF motor, nine blade diaphragm and hree aspherical glass elements, it has a super-high-speed autofocus three system and is compatible with Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma SA mounts. Guide price £1,399.99

Páramo Torres Activo The Torres Activo is aimed squarely at people who get their kicks from serious outdoor activity. Using the well-proven Nikwax Analogy Insulator synthetic fill, this jacket insulates you from the cold – even in the wet – without causing you to overheat. Guide price £180 paramo

Keen EvoFit One The latest release from Keen includes its new technology, EvoFit, for four-way dynamic stretch so the sandal gives varying levels of flexibility based on the movements of your feet in motion. Ideal for those waterside or river adventures, the sandal has a PFC-free Durable Water Repellent finish with TPU overlays for extra durability in key abrasion areas. The Aquagrip rubber outsole gives great traction on slippery paths, thanks gs. to its multi-directional lugs. Guide price £99.99

IS! WIN TpH age 111 Turn to

MSR WindBurner Duo Stove System M T WindBurner Duo has an ingenious radiant burner, which is far The m more wind resistant than open flame stoves and promises to perform in more challenging weather conditions than conventional portable stoves and cookers. Ideal for two, the 1.8l pot is engineered to enclose th burner to block out wind and maximise heat transfer, so you’re the m meal is ready to eat as quickly as possible. G Guide price £160 m

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 89

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S U 2018 C R CI The

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Bournemouth – 01202 526606 329 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH9 2AD Salisbury – 01722 339909 11 Endless Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 1DL

prices correct as of 23/03/18, prices subject to change, check website for latest prices. *Castle Cameras acts as a credit broker and only offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance. Castle Cameras is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration number is 631924. Credit provided subject to age and status.

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95 June 2018 Outdoor Photography 95


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WORKSHOP SELECTION 2018 Please see website for more details

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MAY 2018 Ullapool, Suilven, Assynt, Stac Pollaidh · 10th - 15th · 5 night workshop £895 (1 Place, Max 5) JUNE 2018 Shetland - Sea Scapes 2018 Tour · 16th - 21st · £2295 Inc Flights DBB (1 Place, Max 4) JULY 2018 Copenhagen - Street, Architecture and Jazz Festival · 7th - 13th £1295 Inc Flights, Dinner, B&B (2 Places, Max 4) Cotswold- Lavender and Hidcote Gardens · One Day Workshop 23rd July ·£125 inlcudes coffee and light lunch (1 Place left) SEPTEMBER 2018 Isle of Skye Tour · 13th - 18th · £895 Inc Hotel DBB (1 Place) OCTOBER/SEPT 2018 Harris and Lewis, Callanish Stones, pick up and meet at Glencoe Sept 29th - 6th · £1495 Inc DBB, Ferry and Boat Fares (1 Place) DECEMBER 2018 Isle of Skye · 6th - 10th · 5 nights DBB · £895 (1 Place left) JANUARY 2019 Assynt/Sutherland · 18th - 23rd · 5 nights DBB · £895 (1 Place left) FEBRUARY 2019 Isle of Arran · 16th - 21st · 5 nights DBB Inc Ferry · £1295 (1 Place left)

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"Just to say many, many thanks for last week; it was one of the best workshops I have participated in. The weather helped but more-so it was the approach you took in getting us out there to the right places at the right time, being flexible and the willingness to share your expertise and experience" Paul Dowgill - Skye, March 2017

97 June 2018 Outdoor Photography 97

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with Sussex Wildlife Trust Photographer David Plummer

Hides include: kingfisher, tawny owl, little owl, buzzard, deer, woodland bird, drinking pool No Captive Animals Used Overseas Tours to: Kenya, Hungary, Brazil

www w .davidplummerim a

100 100 Outdoor Photography June 2018


If you only do one thing this month…

Black & white landscapes In our February issue competition, we asked to see your most impressive black & white landscapes and you certainly delivered. From a highly competitive line-up, here is the winner of the Columbia Powder Lite Hooded Jacket, and 18 runners-up… Left (top) WINNER Katrina Brayshaw High in the Fjallabak region of Iceland there were the remains of a snowfield. I was attracted to the graphic shape that it made as it nestled among the black volcanic hills. Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm lens at 25mm, ISO 250, 1/60sec at f/11, Gitzo tripod Left (bottom) Adrian Bowd One morning in southern Iceland we stopped to take advantage of some lovely light that was illuminating the snow covered mountains. The two riders appeared, and I felt they made a nice addition to the composition, helping to give the scene a sense of scale. Fujifilm X-E1 with Fujinon XC 50-230mm lens at 56mm, ISO 640, 1/800sec at f/16, handheld Opposite (top) Alipriya Ghosh This photograph was taken in Pangong Tso, Ladakh, India, in the freezing cold. The cloud, which resembled a moustache, particularly caught my eye. Nikon D7200 with Nikkor 18-140mm lens at 50mm, ISO 100, 1/1250sec at f/4.8 Opposite (bottom) Ade Gidney While in Assynt, Scotland, we were at Knochan crag, which gives great views across the landscape. Heavy hail showers were coming across us every 10 minutes or so. I deliberately fi lled the majority of the composition with sky, as that was where the action was happening. The black & white conversion brought out the full drama. Canon EOS 6D with 16-35mm lens at 33mm, ISO 200, 1/350sec at f/11

102 Outdoor Photography June 2018

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 103

Left (top) Andy Tibbetts Taken from the summit of Meall Buidhe, this image shows the last rays of afternoon light hitting the tops of the hills to the north-east of Knoydart in Scotland. After taking a shot like this at this time of day the choice is either to undertake a long walk home in the dark or to camp. Canon EOS 1DS MkII with Canon 17-40mm lens at 40mm, ISO 200, 1/30sec at f/16, Manfrotto tripod Left (bottom) Tony Gill Corfe Castle in Dorset is a popular location for photographers enchanted by misty mornings and evocative ruins. Thick fog swirling around West Hill â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the favoured viewpoint â&#x20AC;&#x201C; meant it was well after sunrise when the famous silhouette of the castle began to emerge, contrasting nicely with the billowing clouds. Canon EOS 6D with 24-105mm L lens at 65mm, ISO 100, 1/400sec at f/8, Manfrotto tripod

104 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Above Ian Mountford This is the unique St Cwyfan’s church off the west coast of Anglesey. Perched on a tiny island it is surrounded by a sea wall and is only accessible on foot when tides allow. I used a high spring tide to show the isolation of the church, with a few exposed rocks to lead into the scene. Canon EOS 5D MkIII with Canon 17-40mm f/4 L USM lens at 17mm, ISO 100, 8sec at f/11, 6-stop ND, tripod, remote timer Right Andrew Warren This is an image of Carreg Cennen castle near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, taken from about four miles away. I’ve been searching for quite a while for a good vantage point from which to shoot this castle, and think I’ve now found it. Nikon D810 with Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 lens with 2x teleconverter at 400mm, ISO 640, 1/500sec at f/8, handheld

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 105

Above Mark Helliwell I was hoping to photograph the upper part of the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland with a colourful sunset backdrop, but it was too cloudy. Instead I opted for a long exposure image because of the different tones afforded by reflections in the canal. I carefully composed the image to ensure there was sufficient separation in the arches, with a strong lead-in from the lower left corner. Nikon D810 with Nikkor 16-35mm

106 Outdoor Photography June 2018

lens at 32mm, ISO 64, 240sec at f/11, 2-stop ND grad, 10-stop ND, tripod Below Rob Sutherland This is a panoramic, focusstacked photograph of Tatham Barn in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire. Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII with Olympus 45mm lens, ISO 200, 1/15sec at f/13, 10-shot focus-stacked panorama, handheld

Opposite (top) David Southern This image was taken at Chantry Wood, a beautiful area of woodland and meadows between Guildford and Shalford in Surrey. It shows the view over Tillingbourne Valley early one morning in February. Canon EOS 6D with Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM lens at 180mm, ISO 100, 1/2000sec at f/9, tripod

Opposite (bottom) David Skinner There was light snow falling and the light was diff used, which I initially thought were adverse conditions for photography. Then this group of trees ‘presented’ themselves out of the mist and I was captivated by their shape and form, standing together against the monotone background. Sony a7R II with 55mm f/1.8 lens, ISO 125, 1/500sec at f/4, handheld revdavephotography.myportfolio. com

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 107

108 Outdoor Photography June 2018

Opposite (top) David Nixon These dramatic storm clouds had formed over Murlough Nature Reserve, near Newcastle in County Down, Northern Ireland. I took the image from the safety of the other side of the bay. Nikon D810 with Nikkor 70-200mm lens at 140mm, ISO 64, 1/15sec at f/8, handheld Opposite (bottom) David Ball It was a misty morning at Kilchurn Castle in Scotland. Having seen many brilliant images from this location, I wanted to come away with my own unique version. With the amazing weather and light conditions, I feel I have achieved that. Canon EOS 6D with Canon 16-35mm f/4 L lens at 19mm, ISO 100, 0.5sec at f/11, Lee 0.9 soft ND grad, Lee polariser, tripod Right Stephen Lavery It was a dull, dreary day at Murlough Bay on the North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. But a brief glimmer of light shone through the blanket of cloud to backlight an isolated tree. Nikon D810 (lens and focal length unrecorded), ISO 64, 102sec at f/11, Lee Little Stopper, tripod Below Adrian Squirrell It was a fairly hazy day, but above the village of La Magdeleine in Valle dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Aosta, Italy, the light was bright and the snow had a sand-like quality. I thought that a black & white conversion would make the scene resemble a desert. Olympus E-M1 MkII with lens at 45mm, ISO 200, 1/2000sec at f/11, tripod

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 109

Left Ist van Malik This image was taken in a deserted park in SuďŹ&#x20AC;olk. The gorse bush made it quite interesting and I converted it to black & white to emphasise the shapes and forms. Nikon D750 with 17-35mm lens at 17mm, ISO 100, 1/5sec at f/22, tripod Below Robin Couchman During a winter visit to Slovenia we drove up to a ridge overlooking these valleys very early so that we could catch the mist. When we arrived it was impossible to see what was out there, but gradually, as the light levels increased, this amazing view emerged; the mist was changing all the time. Canon EOS 5D MkIII with EF 100400mm f/4.5 L lens at 100mm, ISO 200, 1/30sec at f/16, tripod

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Your next challenge ENTER ONLINE NOW! Art of colour landscapes Although we can’t dictate the colours in nature, how we use them in landscape compositions can significantly impact how viewers interact with our images. There are no hard and fast rules to follow here, and bold colours, such as those found in spring and autumn, can add interest and visual impact as much as subtle colours can, such as the ones prevailing in winter; the key to success is to use the best approach to the subject you are photographing to achieve the emotional connection you are looking for. Make sure you have a good read of James Grant’s insightful feature on mastering the art of shooting colour in the landscape on page 28, and then send us your very best images to fit the theme to be in with a chance of being published in the Autumn 2018 issue. To submit your images, go to outdoorphotographymagazine. The closing date for entries is 20 June 2018. See page 68 for more details and terms and conditions.

Enter and you could win a MSR WindBurner Duo Stove System, worth £160!

Above Roberto Roberti I took this photograph at Lago Santo in the Parco Nazionale dell’ Appennino Tosco-Emiliano in northern Italy. Canon EOS 5D MkII with Canon 17-40mm f/4 L lens at 17mm, ISO 100, 12sec at f/20, Hoya ND 400, tripod

The winner of our ‘Art of colour landscapes’ competition will not only see their image published in the Autumn 2018 issue of OP, but will also receive a superb MSR WindBurner Duo Stove System. Its ingenious radiant burner is far more wind resistant than open flame stoves and promises to perform in more challenging weather conditions than conventional portable stoves and cookers. Ideal for two, the 1.8l pot is engineered to enclose the burner to keep the wind out and maximise heat transfer, so your delicious meal will be ready to eat as quickly as possible. Find out more at

June 2018 Outdoor Photography 111



Where in the world? If you can identify the beautiful lake in the image above, you could win a superb Lifeventure Meya 25-litre RFiD daysack, worth £59.99!

Where is it? This wonderful lake is in one of the world’s most photogenic locations, which is also popular for outdoor activities. But is it:

a) Lake Tahoe, USA b) Lake Wanaka, New Zealand c) Lago Nahuel Huapi, Argentina The answer and the winner’s name will be revealed in OP234 (on sale 26 July 2018). You can enter online at uk/c/win, using ‘Lake231’ as the code, or send your answer to, stating ‘Lake231’ as the subject. Alternatively, drop it in the post to: Where in the world – ‘Lake231’, OP, 86 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XN. Deadline for entry is midnight on 20 June 2018.

112 Outdoor Photography June 2018



A Lifeventure Meya 25-litre RFiD daysack

In our March issue, we asked you to name the location of the rock pinnacles in the image below.

This month we’ve teamed up with Lifeventure to offer one lucky OP reader a Meya 25 RFiD daysack. With a large main compartment, three external pockets, a hidden security passport pocket and a padded laptop top pocket with a tablet et sleeve, this handyy pack is made from m tough nylon and hypalon fabrics forr durability. The air-mesh padded backsystem and shoulder straps provide added comfort. Find out more at

Worth £59.99

The correct answer is: a) Tsingy Rouge, Madagascar


Chris Martin from Frodsham, Cheshire, is the winner of the Snugpak Venture Pile Shirt. Congratulations! We’ll be in touch soon.