I was once interviewed on BBC radio and the presenter complimented me, about one of my shots, saying it was like a painting. I was slightly ambivalent about the comparison because I don’t think that’s a quality which is especially important. It is effective however with the right subject. It’s as if you paint the picture when the composition, balance and interest is a pleasurable experience but the subject, as such, is nothing remarkable. I have several shots like that. A field in Cheshire near Dunham Massey Park. A bush beside a small lake near the Langdale Pikes. A distant tree across Blea Tarn with beautiful reflections and astonishing autumnal colours.

There’s not much to photograph here, on a road I used to cycle from Swanley to Eynsford. That’s a lovely boyhood memory. Country lanes in summer, tee shirt, water bottle, shorts. I now rarely have that experience. It’s eclipsed with the greater attraction of the hills. There was one occasion however, some years ago, wandering the roads near Loweswater in the Lake District. It was spring, warm, sunny, the hedgerows bursting with flowers, Crummock Water in the distance, the Buttermere fells beyond.

You can think about outdoor photography in two categories. There are prospect shots and refuge shots. One inspires and elevates, the other comforts and consoles. The prospect is the vast view from Slioch in Scotland, looking towards distant An Teallach, as I photographed three years ago. The refuge shot is the pretty lake, woodland scene, colours and flowers in a hedgerow.


Outdoor Photography: Fields of Kent

Sunday May 24, 2015