In search of Style
  I’ve read a couple of interesting pieces this week that concerned themselves with considerations of style and audience. Guy Tal wrote a fine piece on The Pitfalls of Style and David DuChemin’s piece on who to please with one’s photography. Both of these landed on a draft for this post which had been sitting and stewing for some time.
On being Ruthless
Traditionally we understand the term ‘ruthless’ as being without pity or compassion; a lack of care for the feelings of others. Many years ago I was introduced to another , less loaded, connotation. That being to do what needed doing quickly and effectively without any prevarication, self doubt or any self indulgent angst. It presupposed of course that the act was indeed necessary.
Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 S Review
Nikon Z 14-30mm f4 S Initial Impressions Review The brand new Nikon Z 14-30mm F4 S lens is finally arriving into circulation. I received mine this week and here are my initial findings. This is a lens with specifications that would have been unthinkable only a decade ago. Nikon have managed to combine an extreme wide angle zoom with compact size and the ability to mount conventional filters. The new Z mount together with ever improving optical designs and exotic elements and coatings have brought a product that sounds like the perfect wide angle zoom for many photographs. Read on to see how successful Nikon have been.
Nature First Alliance
The Dutch have a word for it…. Landschapspijn — literally “landscape-pain”, “place-pain” (Dutch); the distress that comes from seeing familiar habitats or ecosystems degraded and depleted. This popped up on Twitter as Rob Macfarlane’s Word of the Day last week. (If you don’t follow, Rob, you should.) There is a painful symmetry here as it was also the Dutch who gave landscape photographers and painters the word ‘Landscape’. They named the beginning and foresaw the end of what we do. I’ve written before (here) about our responsibility to minimise the damage that we ourselves cause. Those arguments don’t need to be repeated here. Last week a number of interrelated events coincided.
Netspex – Midge Protection
There are many ups and downs associated with landscape photography in the summer months including clear blue skies, high sun, harsh shadows and very early starts for dawn. However one of the biggest issues for those operating in the north of Britain is that of the midge. Milder, wetter winters will I suspect lead to more successful midge breeding and increasingly it seems that insects that once failed to survive hard frosts are now wintering through. Responses range from getting bitten to death and complaining about it to refusing to go out on still days.
Kingshouse Hotel – Glencoe
So close, and yet…. The Kingshouse has been around for 250 years and part of mountaineering history for a large part of that. The old hotel was an iconic building, perched on the moor at the entrance to Glencoe. However time, neglect and poor development had led to it becoming a mess. Many of those who opposed the redevelopment had, I suspect, not visited ( and certainly not stayed there) recently.  Apart from a nod to history, there was little to recommend it. The plans and the finished redevelopment have come in for a degree of opposition and many feel that the aesthetics are less than ideal and too little of the original building has been retained.
Hunter Balmoral Neoprene Wellington Boots
Landscape photographers in the UK seem to be split into a number of groups when choosing footwear. Those that prefer to wear trainers or other non specialist footwear. Those who choose walking boots and those who prefer Wellingtons. These groups of course overlap according to location and conditions. Are these Hunter boots the best choice for Landscape Photographers? Read on
Lee 100 Filter Holder
There is the well used saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. There is however another useful phrase, ‘You cannot stand still. You either move forward or slide backward, there is no viable long term stationary position’. The Lee 100 Filter system is part of the history of image making; for many years it was the de facto choice for anyone who took the process seriously. The holder most Lee users own was introduced 25 years ago. Over recent years the competition has increased substantially and as so expertly proved by the British Motorcycle Industry in the 1960’s, complacency by any manufacturer, however strong, is fatal. In my view, Lee have evaluated an almost perfect product and sought to improve it. Have they succeeded? Read on.
Perfect Winter Glove?
For some years, I’ve been using what I found to be the perfect winter glove system. The original blog post can be found here. This winter I’ve been trying a variation and can recommend it without hesitation. I bought a pair of Heat Company Shell Gloves and have been using them over the past month. https://www.theheatcompany.com/en-gb/gloves/shell
The Joy of Serendipity
I enjoy creating intimate landscapes immensely, those small scenes that comprise found objects and arrangements. The better the end product however, the more likely it is to precipitate the range of questions to do with asking or suggesting that the items had been placed or rearranged. The questions range from pure inquisitiveness to peevishness and those that are no less than accusatory and derogatory by implication.
NORTHWEST by Alex Nail – Go Big or go Home.
  I’m going to echo an introduction that I’ve used before. This isn’t a review of a book it is a response to it. It may only be semantics but review seems to suggest a level of judgement that I don’t feel qualified to claim. A creative work is produced with a ‘message’. That message isn’t always the one that is received by the audience. This is my response and may not be the message that was intended. 
Alpkit Compact Ultra II Walking Poles
I remember the first time I saw photographs of mountaineers in the Himalaya using ski sticks to aid walking. Jump forward 30 odd years and we now see them being used to aid walking along the streets in Lake District towns. They have become an almost essential ingredient in the ‘fashionable walking holiday wardrobe’.
Nov 25
A hierarchy of Landscape Photography
A number of posts on Twitter this week have set me thinking. There are many ways in which we as landscape photographers may choose to describe our work.
Why don’t you come on over Vallerret?
Vallerret are a young Norwegian company trying to conquer a niche market. Their core product is an insulated glove with up to two fingertips that can be slipped back to allow fingertips to more easily operate camera controls. There are two gloves and one mitt in the range along with some inners. Refreshingly they offer a women’s specific glove but sadly not alternatives to every model. In every case the hinged fingertip can be secured out of the way by use of sewn in magnets.