Best photos from 2015

29th December 2015
At the end of the year, I always like to look back at my key achievements from the last 12 months. 2015 was a bit of a strange year (I probably say this every year) - fewer photo opportunities than usual, however when the chances did come along, they were really good ones... So, as I put this review together and look at the stories behind my 'Photos of 2015', I find that there are a lot of photos to talk about! (sorry!)

Brentor (Dartmoor)
Let’s begin in winter, and this shot of Brentor. This tiny old church sits atop an isolated hill, so it makes a good landmark. In the predawn gloom, I spotted the church popping out from a bank of fog hanging low in the valley, and knew this was where I needed to be. I arrived and climbed the hill just in time for the sunrise. In truth, I did not expect this shot to work - the contrast between the foreground and the bright sun should have been too great. However there was just enough mist in the air to diffuse the sun and make the shot.

Great Miss Tor (Dartmoor)
This is a simple shot, with a simple story. I was on my way up to Great Miss Tor. I had just missed sunrise, but good light was still possible when a little snow storm blew in. I waited a while to see if the storm was going to blow through, and as the storm lifted, this amazing scene was revealed, with the fresh, delicate snow and sublime soft light.

Bedruthan Steps (Cornwall)
The Bedruthan Steps, near Morgan Porth in Cornwall is one of my regular springtime treats, when the cliff tops are covered in a lush display of colourful flowers. This year, I had an excellent sky and light to work with, but I am particularly pleased with how this shot came out - I shot several frames to combine as a panoramic more as an experiment, but once merged together, the 'scoop' effect in the foreground cliffs becomes a natural amphitheater for the view beyond.

Trebarwith Strand (Cornwall)
There were two things which struck me when taking this photo - the first was the pristine beach, not a soul nor footprint in sight! The second was the amazing, dramatic, warm light. Epic light even. It's not often we get light like this to play with, and when we do, it's incredibly exciting!

Holwell Lawn (Dartmoor)
If cliff top flowers are one of my springtime staples, then bluebells on Dartmoor are another. Despite their reputation as a woodland species, they flourish on these open windswept moors. Holwell Lawn is one of the better known bluebell spots on the moor, in the shadow of Haytor. This shot makes my list for 2015 due to the sky, and the mackerel like clouds. The sky that day was in two halves - behind me it was dark and dramatic, but looking towards Haytor, it was blue and harmonious.

Godrevy (Cornwall)
Some locations, as you revisit, become a case of looking for variations on a current theme. Other locations, such as Godrevy, you can visit time after time and come away with completely different shots. I love spots like this. Here I caught the last of the spring thrift and an amazing sunset

Wheel Coates (Cornwall)
I was not expecting to come away with much as I arrived at Wheel Coates mine near St Agnes. Oh, I love this area; the natural scenery is amazing and the old abandoned mine buildings so atmospheric, but the sky was clearing and did not give confidence. However as I climbed down to the Towanroath engine house, right on the cliff face, the light glowed brilliant and warm, and this shot came together before my eyes. I particularly liked the way the path leads up to the engine house. I shot this as a Panoramic. Initially I was worried that the shot would be 'unbalanced' with the cliffs on the left side and open sea to the right, but in the end the extra sense of space afforded by the wider angle has really added to the photo.

Bodium Castle (East Sussex)
I really should get out of the south west more often! It's difficult because it's so nice down here. However Bodium is a particular gem from the south east, with a mostly intact castle surrounded by a picturesque moat. This was from a fine autumnal day, when the golden leaves were matched by the sublime soft golden light from the setting sun.

Dewerstone Woods (Dartmoor)
Early in autumn, we had a long spell of mild dry weather. I wanted to catch this location before the rains came as I find these small rocky waterfalls are usually at their best when the water runs low and clean. But this shot is not just about the river - the trees here are full of character with their twisted shapes and (early) autumn foliage

Dartmoor Tree.
Another shot from a very productive autumn in Dartmoor. I had planned on a fine misty morning, however there was rather more fog than expected, and my initial viewpoint was out of the question. So I ended up driving across the moor looking for interesting trees to photograph in the fog, and really hit the jackpot with this one! I knew it was special, and spent a long time photographing it from all angles - but it was not until I tried this wide angle shot, looking up from below the tree that it really worked. I love the way the last of the autumn foliage is fanning out from the lower branches while the tree's 'skeleton' is clearly visible in the diffused light.

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