My year started off with a 'trip of a lifetime' to the frozen Japanese island of Hokkaido. I spent 10 days here exploring this snowy, frozen and wild wintry landscape. I have published a book from this trip which can be purchased here on my website here... Hokkaido Book
The weather was extreme, most days -10 degrees and at its coldest -20 degrees! Luckily I had all the correct clothing and footwear for such an inhospitable place at this time of year. I had specifically chosen January as the best time to go as this provided me with white pristine snow and minimalist landscapes to photograph. My Hokkaido gallery can be seen here... Hokkaido Gallery
Towards the end of my trip in late January we were beginning to get news coming in on Japanese TV of the Covid outbreak taking place 1700 miles away in Wuhan, China. What was even more surprising was the amount of Chinese tourists arriving into Hokkaido each day. Towards the end of the trip we began to see the first signs of facemasks being used widely!
Here are a couple of my favourite images from this trip...
Other January highlights...
Flooding: My local area had quite extensive flooding and I was able to capture these images at a local park.
February: At the beginning of this month I went on a special trip to Donegal in Eire with my brother. My mother was brought up somewhere in County Donegal and we wanted to search out some of the areas she might have lived in. This wasn't really a photographic trip but I still took my cameras!
This is the beautiful fishing village of Ballintoy which looked spectacular in this storm. I managed to get many different stormy images which were great to experience! I even managed to see the Giants causeway in the rain as well! The icing on the cake was we travelled by private jet... courtesy of my brother!!
March: Tried something different for a change... I tasked myself with going to a very local seaside town, Swanage, and shoot images as a project on the coast around the town. This project allowed me far more time to look for 'normal' compositions, rather than searching hard for one 'definitive iconic image'.
April: This month was mostly a Covid lockdown one so I started experimenting with flower photography and digital manipulation. I quite liked the colour images as I found that B&W didn't really express these so well! What do you think?
May: This month saw me take a couple out to visit another English coastline along the Bristol Channel. Weston-Super-Mare is a very popular traditional seaside town with huge tides. These tides can make for some great minimalist images, especially at high tide.. see below.
June: There are 2 huge sailing regattas that I go to that are world famous. What's really great is that Cowes on the Isle of Wight only takes me about an hour to get to on the ferry. I have found taking yacht racing photographs to be a great challenge! Standing up in a very fast inflatable speedboat, weaving in between professional racing boats, whilst trying to keep boats in the frame and focussed, is very special.
July: This month saw me exploring my local area as restrictions were still in place. My favourite image taken during this month was of 3 boats tied up on Alum Chine beach in Bournemouth, which is the main town in my area.
This image was taken at 04:45 with a little help from my torch to illuminate the boats!
August: My favourite image taken during this month was of 3 posts that form part of a sea defence at another local beach, Branksome Chine. This really appeals to me as it has a very minimalist look and feel to it .
September: This month I started a new project based upon outdoor swimming pools (Lidos). These are Art Deco designed pools that date from the 1930's and appealed to me because of all the graphical lines, shapes and textures. You can download copies of some of these for free when you sign up to my newsletter.
October: I visited a fishing town at the very Western edge of my local county, Dorset, called West Bay. The day I visited was really great... mist and rainy!! These images I'm especially pleased with... what do you think??
November: There was just one image this month that stood out both for me and on social media... bird on a boat! I was driving alongside Poole harbour when I glanced over to see this composition as i hurtled past. I quickly stopped, quietly got my tripod and camera out and set up, all the time hoping like mad that the bird wouldn't move off.
December: I saw the weather forecast for the next day was going to be heavy mist and I just knew where to head out before dawn to visit. This location is about 30 mins from my house so it was a no brainer to get down there to take some images. When I got there it was even better than I could have hoped for as the water was as still as it cold be. I was very pleased with the images I took here that morning.
Conclusion: I was amazed that during 2020 I could have such a variety of experiences considering for most of the year we were fighting a pandemic! On the whole I'm very happy with my work and am wondering what 2021 will allow us to do.
Currently we are in a total lockdown which is expected to last until March, so I don't expect there will be too many opportunities to visit new locations... we shall have to wait and see!
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