Having not entered anything onto this blog since early this year I feel that says enough about my feelings towards writing out words about my photography at present.

You know what, I’m 48 and I want to enjoy my photography, I simply want to be out there having fun.Juggling social media platforms  for me is a chore, if that is to my disadvantage then so  be it, frankly I’m bored with updating.I’ll never be in a photo clique or particularly popular and I feel it is now time to leave some of the social media platforms I am on.

Cheers to any of you that have looked at this blog.



Go North my son part 3 (tfft I hear you say)

Go north my son part 3

The next morning (I’d lost track of what day it was by then) I decided to head southwards with a view towards making the trip to Sandwood Bay.Firstly I would visit one of the small beaches nearby and then decide whether to go, once I had shot my first images of the day.

Polin beach is situated just to the North West of Oldshoremore and was a nice place to get me started.Another idyllic location with the bonus of some rather lovely light.As in so many situations like this I bumped into a local chap out walking his dog and he asked the standard ‘what are you photographing?’ question, it always makes me laugh.


Polin Beach


Polin Beach study

After getting back to the car I drove the short distance to Blairmore which is where the car park for the Sandwood bay walk is situated.It was raining, not heavily but the old photographer procrastination kicked in, the trouble being is that Sandwood Bay is a commitment, if I start on the path and it hammers down the rest of the day but I can see nice weather a few miles away then that will be painful but of course that is the photographer’s lot, if you don’t try you don’t get.

So I decided to give it a go, after checking the forecasts which said the weather would break a little for the last couple of hours.

One word description for the walk to Sandwood Bay, BORING.

With the aforementioned boring walk behind me I looked down on a quite stunning scene and came to the conclusion that I would need days around here to just take it in and explore, I had a few hours but they would be fun.

As I don’t intend to write a part 4 I better be a little more concise with this entry as I still have a bit to cover so let’s just say, if you get the chance, do make the fecking boring trip (it’s been upgraded) to Sandwood Bay.My main concern was trying to put across it’s scale and in all honesty I am not sure you can but it was damn exciting to try.What a stunning place of natural and raw beauty.Hopefully these few images highlight this fact.


‘I’m gonna need another visit!’ – Sandwood Bay


Sandwood Loch


Blue skies would not have been befitting of this place!

The walk back was fecking boring too, and cold and wet and slippery!

For some reason on the way back I stopped and took some images of the mountains beneath the stars.Quite beautiful.


Beinn Spionnaidh and Cranstackie under the stars

After a good nights sleep which I had definitely earned it was time to head for them there hills.Driving out of the village I was photographically seduced by the view of the Kyle of Durness at low tide with snow covered hills behind.Tidal channels are so beautiful viewed from some height, I wish that were possible back home!


Kyle of Durness

It was a lovely crisp morning and just a couple of miles down the road the camera was out again for views of the snow covered local mountains Beinn Spionnaidh, Cranstackie and Foinaven.On all my trips to Scotland I have barely seen snow at ground level so this was a lovely experience, perhaps rent a cloud could have sent over those white puffies but nonetheless I was a happy chappie.


View from the Rhiconich Road


Loch Tarbhaidh

On looking though the local maps during the evening one place nearby had intrigued me, the walk along the river at Rhiconich.If I could gain some height here it would hopefully give me some nice views of the mountains.The start of the walk was lovely, Arkle loomed large though perhaps not showing it’s best side and I decided to bear left and head to some wee hills to gain height.

The views made the trudge through the heather clad slopes worthwhile.Before me was a wonderful aspect of Foinaven with the bulk of Arkle as the ‘support act’.Good call Gibbo.




Arkle -not showing it’s loveliest side

It was a little chilly and a little windy but I stayed for a good hour before the cold started kicking in.Time to head to the car for a last light of day session with Arkle.

Having just seen it’s less attractive side it was time to see Arkle from it’s more famous angle, showing the wonderful scree slopes, though these are obviously not so apparent when the mountain is snow covered but nonetheless the mountain looked beautiful at the end of day, especially with a lovely alpen glow in the sky.


Arkle and alpen glow

The following morning it was back out on the mountain road to take advantage of the lovely winter scenes whilst the light and weather was still with me, frankly I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.


Rhiconich road view

This was probably my least successful day.A case of not really being in the zone, plus the weather gods let me down at the end of the day when I had found a nice spot for some end of day shooting.Nevertheless the walk into the area around the base of Arkle was a great experience and is there for another day,without a doubt I will be back to visit this viewpoint.




Nice but not quite what I had hoped for

Earlier on in the day I had shot a few images around the River Laxford which in a nice spot which I can only describe as a wee gorge I shot swirls of water which were forming wonderful abstract patterns and it was nice to see pancake ice, quite bizzare.


River Laxford

When faced with a quite bewildering choice of locations something has to miss out but I was determined to head east from Durness for at least one day exploring the area around Loch Eribol and the Kyle of Tongue.It wasn’t long before I regretted not taking this route earlier but this will be my place to explore the next time, perhaps based in the area, so I don’t have to do the drive around Loch Eribol every day,it’s beautiful but it would add some miles and time every day.

I had started the day with a brief morning visit to Sango Bay to get me started and to check how the weather would develop,once again it was looking very promising.From there it was the big drive around Loch Eribol, once I got to the head of the loch the camera was out for wonderful vistas, including the back of Beinn Spionnaidh and Cranstackie and further on a great view of the wee headland of Ard Neackie with the snow covered hills behind.


A start at Sango


Beinn Spionnaidh – gibbo uses 70-200!!!!


Ard Neackie and posing sheep

The rest of day was pure exploration,any images would be a bonus.After leaving Loch Eribol behind the rather brutal hulk of Ben Hope and the much more aesthetically pleasing Ben Loyal came into view.It is wonderful seeing these mountains in their relatively isolated situation, no other mountains to compete with.

As per usual the coast seduced me and I made a detour towards the lovely wee village of Talmine where I had a brief stop to check the map.On just this small drive along the Kyle of Tongue I had already seen lots of possible images but I decided to head to Port Vasgo for a walk along the cliffs there.A brief shower above the bay here made a rainbow appear that felt so close that I could have reached out and grabbed it, further walking along the cliff tops heralded more stunning views, the sense of regret that I hadn’t visited earlier was apparent again but I made some images and mental notes of places to return to.


above Port Vasgo


Kyle of Tongue

The end of the day was spent at a frozen Lochan Hakel looking across to the wonderful outline of Ben Loyal, the light wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be and the clouds thinned out somewhat but what a great looking mountain.


A frozen Lochan Hakel (which despite my biscuit intake took my weight) and Ben loyal

I drove the thirty miles back to Durness and never passed one car, bliss!

The final day, (thank god they all say, you do go on Gibbo, when you want to!).

The morning was spent walking the coastline of the Kyle of Durness starting from Balnakiel.The weather was a little grey with some definition in the clouds, not brilliant but not a disaster either.The first couple of hours were spent shooting long exposure images and trying not to bugger over on slippery rocks or fall into Geos.In all honesty I didn’t get anything I was particularly happy with but it was just nice being out.


Geo heaven

After a brief visit back to the apartment for a cheeky coffee and a single digestive (😉 it was time to say goodbye to the wonderful beach at Ceannabeine where unfortunately my timing was just out as the shot I had hoped to get was thwarted by the incoming tide, never mind, I had some lovely images from this location.



The last hours of the day were spent at Balnakiel and it turned out to be a lovely evening.As you may know I am a happy boy among the dunes so I whiled away the afternoon shooting the grasses and sand and managed to do my best to break my bloody leg when I decided to jump off a dune like a small child only to discover that the sand was frozen solid, cue rolling/tumbling Norfolk photographer!

At Faraid Head there are some quite shapely sea stacks and they were my choice of location for the last light of the day,I made images from both the shoreline and from the dunes.It’s a wonderful spot and I got some lovely sunlight for just a few minutes, this place would look stunning on a really wild day.




Balnakiel / Faraid head


Obligatory long-ish sea stack exposure

On the walk back along the shore at Balnakiel I made some images looking across to the Cape Wrath area and it then hit me that the trip was over, the most enjoyable photographic trip I have had ever, without a doubt.


A Balnakiel goodbye

The next morning the trip back home through Scotland was stunning, beautiful weather all the way to Glasgow and then it piddled down.The highlight of the trip back was the incredible hoar frost conditions in the Cairngorm area, all of Hollywood’s cgi trickery couldn’t have bettered that,I didn’t make a single image, I just considered myself lucky to have witnessed those conditions.

Thanks for reading this, really appreciated

Go North my son Part 2

The next morning I was able to get down on to the beach at Sango Bay.As I got my gear together a chap pulled up in a vw camper van and asked what I was hoping to catch down there and whether the fishing was good!!! Mmmm

Anyway,as I mentioned in part 1 this is a fine wee beach, lovely sea stacks, wonderful sand patterns and great colours in the rock, combine that with a slightly rough sea and that was me happy.Straight away I felt that a lot of these images were going to be better suited to a monochrome treatment.The rarely seen Gibbo six stopper (ooh er) was out for some long exposures (ooh er pt 2) and I was on my way with another day which weather wise was looking pretty damn good.


Sango Bay, a monochrome morning

I spent the next couple of hours shooting rushing waves and rough seas crashing into the rugged coastline and then I though perhaps it might be better to go and have a wee recce of one of the small beaches to the east, Traigh na h’Umhaug.


Sango Stacks

Two minutes down the road and the gear was coming back out of the car, suddenly a vw camper van appeared,no not really! I was parked in a small lay by which is the also the start of the Ceannabeine township walk so I thought before I try and find my way down to the beach I will walk along and try and find out a little about the area and its history.

The settlement would have been in a lovely spot,within the rolling hills that skirt the coast in this area.In fact some of the walls of the buildings are still in situ, a haunting reminder of the highland clearances, in this case the people didn’t leave without a good fight, but a year after being notified by their landlord, the people were gone.This location reminded me of the walk I had done on southern Skye to the Suisnish peninsula, a wonderfully situated area with the odd wall to remind you that this was once a thriving crofting settlement.No doubt life was harsh and hard in those times and I often wonder if people of  that time had an appreciation of the natural landscape around them as they toiled on the land.Whatever their thoughts may have been I can’t help thinking that they would have occasionally stopped and thought to themselves ‘This is beautiful’.The view from the Ceannabeine township is certainly that.

I walked around the rolling hills of this area and had a look down at Traigh allt Chailgeag where I had been yesterday afternoon.From above the beach it is a quite wonderful vista taking in the beach (this time flooded with the water of high tide) and beyond to Whiten Head and Loch Eribol.


Above Traigh allt Chailgeag

Realising that time was getting on and I had to get the car to Chris I made my way down to the cliffs above Traigh na h’Umhaug and looked down onto another area of coastal perfection.


Traigh na h’Umhaug


Sand Patterns, Channels and Rocks

The beach is a little like Sango Bay,it is small and there is plenty to see and photograph within a relatively short distance.In treating this visit as a recce I took a few phone images and a few abstracts as the light conditions suited it and then made mental notes of the potential of certain compositions for visit number 2, hopefully with some dramatic morning light.


Traigh na h’Umhaug

So after the brief recce it was time to go and visit Chris at Balnakiel and hand him the car.He really is a lovely chap and obviously loves the area, ‘Come back when you’re done taking pics,you’ll have fun over there’.His workshop is right next to the Balnakiel Craft village, a couple of friends on twitter had told me to pop into Cocoa Mountain for a hot chocolate but alas it was closed which is fair enough for January!!!! So instead of choc and cake it was a short walk down the road to Balnakiel Bay for the second time and this time for a good explore.The light was already quite lovely and the tide was a little way out, revealing a beautiful sheen on the beach.Luckily the landrovers that drive to the MOD base at Faraid Head skirt the base of the dunes therefore reducing the stress of cloning the tracks out of the images.You know me, as little computer work on an image as poss.



After the initial shots overlooking the bay I decided to head to them there big dunes.They really are bloody huge, probably not on the scale of the dunes at Luskentyre on Harris but they are impressive nonetheless and we all know Gibbo likes a dune or two.Before I could contemplate how I was going to shoot the dunes I had to seek shelter, ominous black clouds were forming over Cape Wrath and were headed towards the bay,I was in for my first soaking of the trip.

It didn’t happen and I have no idea why but it passed me by,it lashed down on Balnakiel house, a couple of hundred meters away with great dark sheets of rain flowing down from the clouds and I watched in comfort and thought to myself ‘This is a good trip’.


Atop ‘Big Dune’


Them there dunes

The cloud did stay pretty heavy after that and I was a little disappointed as I wanted the dunes lit up so it showed their shape and contours better but it wasn’t to be.So as it had started to darken I headed back to pick up the car from Chris not before trying an image of Balnakiel House and the ruin of the wee church with the mountains as a backdrop with the added bonus of a little bit of moonlight.


Blue Hour view towards Cape Wrath


Balnakiel House and the wee ruined church

Chris was slaving away on some old boat part when I got to his workshop.I thanked him and said I’ll drive down to the hole in the wall at the local shop and get his money.’No worries, when you’re passing next’ll be fine’,Legend! Back to base for a warm up and to think about the next day.

It was only ever going to be the wee beach wasn’t it?

I don’t often panic but holy shit the weather and light on that morning were stunning at Traigh na h’Umhaug (I have probably typed this name differently every time, not going back to check!).The colours were just bizarre, even first thing there was a strange luminent aqua blue tint to the sky as I shot overlooking the bay but this was nothing to what the light would be like down on the beach.I knew that processing the images would be a white balance nightmare but that was for me to worry about later.For now and I hate to see it I was genuinely a little panicked,I was probably not quite in the right place but I daren’t move in case the light was short lived so I did my best to calm myself and make the best of this opportunity.

I did ok in the end, I became obsessed with this lovely pyramidial rock situated between the bigger sea stacks and cliffs and took images at varying focal lengths and that was it for me, I was happy after a good hour or so.Snow had begun to fall so I took that as a cue to nip back for a sneaky coffee and one digestive (yeah right!).


Trying not to panic at Traigh na h’ Umhaug, the colours in this don’t reflect what I experienced


Beach pyramid, to the right in the distance, Whiten Head

After my wee break I left the house under quite a grey and leaden sky and decided it would be time to be a tourist and visit the Smoo Cave.

Situated at the end of a 600 m inlet (Geodha Smoo) the cave is pretty impressive and was worth a wee detour though to be honest I much preferred the setting rather than the cave.The inlet is rather impressive.Would like to see and hear a wild sea in this setting.


Geodha Smoo


A study in Smoo

After leaving the cave I decided to have a walk to the mouth of the inlet on the east side and see what the coastal scenery was like there.There were now frequent snow flurries so I wasn’t bothered if the location was good or not but it was a pleasant surprise and I made a few images here whilst seeking shelter every so often from the wilder weather as it rolled in from the north.


Coastal scenery near Geodha Smoo

That was a nice and unexpected bonus location and I made a couple of mental notes for shots for another visit.As the last couple of hours of the day was upon me it was time to find the end of day location.

I decided to drive around to where the ferry leaves for Cape Wrath and have a walk around the coastal landscape skirting the Kyle of Durness and see if there were any nice vistas.I skirted the small cliffs keeping very aware of the gang of killer cows that threatened to topple me over the edge, respect cows people, they are big heavy and can move bloody fast if they want to!!!!

In all honesty I wasn’t seeing anything and the light wasn’t great,I probably did about a mile and took a couple of idea shots and then decided to turn around to avoid facing the killer cows in the dark.It wasn’t a disaster or a waste of time but it didn’t produce a nice image,just ideas for another time.

On getting back to the car I wished that I could get over and have a look at Cape Wrath sometime but the ferry service is summer only,the alternative?,a very long and boggy walk and a wild camp or bothy stay so another time, always leave somewhere to see on your next visit I say.

Thanks for reading

Part 3 to follow soon


Kyle of Durness


The land of the killer cows

Go North my son pt 1

I think it was the tiredness that made me feel damn cold, a poor nights sleep and a slow day at the gallery must have finally taken its toll, as well as the small matter of driving 600 miles and still being a small distance from my destination.It could have been simply a case of acclimatization, December ‘blessed’ me (and many others) with a month of photographic misery in the form of wet and  freakishly mild weather,I went out with my camera once in that awful month! Here in the East of England we get very very chilly cold winds that get to my old bones but there hasn’t been a ‘winter’.Though I was suffering it was rather nice to feel the cold, this is why I had driven up here, to feel the seasons change, to remember what cold crisp mornings feel like and experience that wonderful light which is so pure and has an amazing clarity.

I was on a small hillock looking at the wonderful shapes of the mountains Quinag and Sail Gharbh as clouds covered and then revealed their snow capped summits.This was the furthest north I had been and I was lucky to get that far before my first photo stop.Stac Pollaidh and Suilven seemed to say to me ‘Stop here a while, photograph us, don’t we  look stunning’ , yes you bloody well do but you are for another visit,perhaps my next visit!


Sail Gharbh

Though I was layered up like the Michelin man the cold was,shall we say getting though but there was some wonderful light on that first brief photo stop but I really had to make some miles.

A couple of weeks prior to the trip I had made the decision to ‘go to the top’ so to speak, I was reading up on the area around Durness which I though would make a great base for coastal and interior landscape work.Sometimes you just get that feeling ‘I want to go there’ and you stick with it, though very often before a trip there is always that fear of bad weather, is it the right place to go to?, would I better be better off shooting stuff nearer home?,in this instance I am pleased to say I made a very good decision both on a personal level and photographic level.

Did I say earlier that when I was on top of that small hillock that I needed to make some miles ! The trouble is when you have a landranger or an explorer map at your disposal there’s always a distraction, it’s all those lovely ‘crinkly bits’ (technical term) that Scotland’s coast has, for a coastie like me they are simply irresistible.So a small walk around to the headland at Scourie it was after just a few more miles were eaten up, and even this was after a short diversion photographing stones and sand patterns on the small beach at Scourie.

The headland wasn’t a disappointment, wonderful coastal views and in the distance showing itself beneath a moody sky the wonderful outline of Suilven, is there an angle where that mountain looks anything but imposing? After a brief visit it was back to the car and time to think about what to do next.It was obvious the evening light was going to be very good and you have to grab the light when you can so I wasn’t going to make it up to my accommodation in daylight hours.


Scourie Headland with ‘hey look it’s me’ Suilven looming in the distance

Having read and re-read (I probably need a new copy in all honesty) Joe Cornish’s book Scotland’s Coast my thoughts turned to a beautiful beach that I had first seen a picture of in that book.There was no doubt that Oldshoremore would be visited sometime on this trip but I though it may be a good idea to get over there now.Why is it that when you get out into the country or off the beaten track the road miles are lenghthened, ok, they are not really but that’s how it always seems to me especially when the roads start getting more twisty and turny (technical term no 2).Six miles starts to feel like a never ending journey, especially when the photographer panic sets in, ‘will I get there in good time to get settled in and be relaxed enough to make some nice images?’.

Without me having to resort to rally driving I pulled up at the car park and grabbed the gear and walked to the dunes overlooking the bay.OMG! Firstly, what a stunning view,secondly, the light was already gorgeous and thirdly,I’d forgot how cold I was.The next three quarters of an hour went by so quickly and I made some nice images in a state of hyper-tiredness (technical term no 3) but I had a overwhelming feeling about this trip, it was going to be a good one.I had been a tough and very long day but it was all forgotten about so quickly when you witness such natural beauty.



There was one fly in the ointment though,a nagging grating of metal upon metal emanating from the car.It wasn’t an annoying bit of grit like I first though, unfortunately one of my brake pads was stuck and well, grating away!!!! Nothing I can do,just head to my accommodation and ignore that awful sound and we’ll worry about the car in the morning and accept that the next mornings trip out will be a short one.



The journey from Oldshoremore to Durness was undertaken in darkness which was a pity as it’s nice to get an idea of your surroundings though I did get a beautiful blueish glint of the waters of the Kyle of Durness as I skirted it’s shore,it looked beautiful.On arriving at Durness I had a brief chat with Cathy who co-runs the apartment I stayed in as I couldn’t find the apartment, tiredness was really kicking in by now.We had a lovely chat and Cathy told me that there is a chappie called Chris who does car repairs in Balnakiel so that was a real bonus and a weight off my mind.

Whenever I stay anywhere one of my pet hates is the heating being turned up to Death Valley temperatures on arrival, this time I actually welcomed it! As well as a nice pizza from the very well stocked village shop.

The next morning I decided to go and look at Balnakiel as it would then be easy to go and see Chris about the car.Just like I mentioned about Oldshoremore earlier,Balnakiel was another coastal location that was stuck in my head due to the lovely images I had seen of it, initially in Scotland’s Coast.

The first day shooting after a long journey can be tough, I do not usually produce anything worthwhile on the first day and it’s more a case of settling in and not being bewildered or overwhelmed by the huge amount of photographic possibilities that lie ahead.At Balnakiel the cloud cover was quite heavy but nice and moody.Almost immediately the camera was switched to monochrome.


Balnakiel House – ‘I’ll take it’

Balnakiel is a big beach,a lovely sweeping curve with great views across the Kyle of Durness to Cape Wrath.Just to keep me happy there are dunes, dunes and more big, giant, enormous dunes, blimey,it’s a busman’s holiday already.As I joked on social media at the time with a wee upload,I imagined Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee walking past me (rather unlikely )as I stood looking towards Faraid Head and saying ‘Now that’s a dune!’,in Norfolk that would be a bloody mountain.

I took a few images,mostly graphic black and whites and decided to explore the area more intensively on another visit.The state of the car was niggling at me so I walked back and drove to see Chris.What a super fella, a Geordie mechanic in the far north of Scotland.In truth I could have photographed his workshop all day, organised chaos.Chris informed me that the parts needed would arrive the next day and so I decided that when I left the car with him the next afternoon that would be the time to have that big explore of Balnakiel.


Balnakiel Bay

After knowing that the car would be fixed and therefore being a lot more relaxed I headed a short way down the road to park up above the small and perfectly formed Sango Bay.I had envisaged a trip back to Ullapool to sort the car, funnily enough you’ll always find someone in these remote areas who can ‘sort it’ for you, they just don’t have giant signs saying that they are here, best just to ask a local, everyone knows everyone else,that’s really quite lovely.

There were storm fronts coming in towards the bay and every few minutes I was having to rush back to the car from my position on the cliff top to shelter from the hail and heavy rain.The weather was going to thwart my plan to go down on the beach and shoot amongst the lovely sea stacks and more of those ‘crinkly bits’ so it was a case of getting a couple of idea shots and then return when the weather was kinder.


The small and perfectly formed Sango Bay

I headed back to my accommodation for a lovely warming cuppa and then checked the maps over to see where to go for the last part of the day.

Just a short drive away were two beaches that I was very keen to visit so I made the decision to go and look at Traigh allt Chailgeag, alternatively called Ceannabeinne.As you drive up a small incline towards a white house, just before the beach, you get a stunning view down onto the sands and across the water to Whiten Head which is on the east side of the mouth of Loch Eribol.

There is a rather large car park here so I take it this can be a very popular beach and it was easy to see why this would be the case.Pristine sands, that beautiful turquoise tone of the water and wonderful reddish rocks and suitably moody weather.Simply beautiful, that first day tiredness was soon forgotten, I knew I’d be re-visiting here a couple of times too, the question was that would  I be able to drag myself away from this wonderful coastal scenery to visit the mountains too.


Traigh allt Chailgeag – look at the colour of that water!!!

I spent a good couple of hours here and bumped into a lovely couple who had joined me on the beach with their dog.They were initially from Wiltshire but fell in love with the far north of Scotland and now live on the Caithness coast.Seems like a good few people get this place under their skin.

Part 2 to follow soon



Traigh allt Chailgeag



Not inspired enough today to think of a title

Once again I must just say thanks to whoever reads my meanderings.I haven’t posted anything for months and I still get visits to this blog.Thank you.

I suppose the only thing to do is just go through a few new things, reminisce a little, have a moan here and there and see how long it takes me before I go ‘ that’ll do ‘ for this entry.

Firstly I apologise for not starting Mountains of Cake pt 2.I really enjoyed that trip but it does seem daft now going over something that happened back in January.Suffice to say myself and Marc are looking at returning  the same time next year so hopefully some more good memories and hopefully some good images to come from that, it was a great trip.

Talking of myself and Marc, in hindsight we probably put up our advertisements and posts for our North Cornwall workshops a little too late for this year.I’m fully aware that this is an over-saturated market.There are workshops out there run by companies who have been running them for years and doing them bloody well with very famous photographers leading them and unfortunately there are also workshops being run by people who have read their camera manual and have taken a couple of nice sunset pics that their Mums have said ‘ooh, that’s nice dear’ to.

We are certainly not famous photographers and we are certainly not the latter of my two examples(!!!) but what I believe myself and Marc will offer is a great workshop experience,I’m not going to make outrageous claims,just to say we are here and really keen to share our photographic experience.

Anyway, we will be running a couple of workshops next year, probably either side of summer.There are no confirmed dates yet but if you would be interested or know someone who might be please get in touch and I’ll be happy to go through any questions you may have.

Marc has a lovely entry on his site for our workshops, the link is below

Marc Elliott and Jon Gibbs North Cornwall Workshops

DSC_3320Boobys Bay, Cornwall

This entry has gone a bit workshop based but I must make a plug for my Scotland workshop too.For over ten years now I have been visiting the Lochalsh and Skye areas and nothing would give me more pleasure than to take photographers round this stunning part of the world on a workshop.I openly hold up my hands and admit I have never been able to get any workshops off the ground for this area and I have tried and advertised before, again, perhaps it’s the price I have to pay for my non-photographic fame, I sincerely hope it’s not the quality of my work!

So if you do fancy a workshop in a quite beautiful area led by someone who has fallen in love with this part of the world,please keep me in mind.Please see the link below for further details and please get in contact if you have any questions.Please also see the links below for my Scottish work.

Jon Gibbs Scotland Photography workshops

Scotland Photography

Isle of Skye Photography

jg03274Loch Cil Chriosd, Isle of Skye

Reminiscing, Anniversary, section up next,have your hankies at the ready…

Whenever I think of Scotland I always return to my first photographic visits there as a wee boy (who am I kidding!) ten years ago.For me it’s a kind of an anniversary, it was my first big photographic trip away from Norfolk and I suppose the beginning of my ‘journey’ into serious landscape photography (whatever that means) that’s now been going on around ten years.

From that trip I recall……..

….shooting with my brand new shiny built like a brick shithouse Canon eos 1dsmk2 (wonderful camera – still going -eh JD!).

….having my driver door of the peugeot being blown back by a passing lorry on the a82 as I stupidly changed my foot wear on the road side of the car.The bloody door wouldn’t shut properly to start with.Got there in the end.

….being in awe of Glen Etive which I visited after the door incident!

….on the same day as the door incident I drove into a small ditch on the Glenelg peninsula and had to rev the peugeot like crazy to get it out,poor wee thing.

….that I have still, never experienced better light, and by saying that I mean the ‘wow’ type of light (remember kids there’s no such thing as bad light in landscape photography,only different opportunities) as I did when visiting Elgol for the first time and seeing ‘that’ view.I never tire of visiting there.

I’ve recalled enough I think.So…. ten years of ‘serious’ stuff, hmmm.

Small old shot gallery follows…..

_J4H0017 Benacre, Suffolk from 2006, note how the sea has broken through to the freshwater broad.

CRW_1115Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth, 2004, Christ! I was doing ICM back then!

Over those years great things have happened to me and I must be proud of what I have done and thankful for the wonderful things I have seen.There are many things I could and should have done different though and unfortunately those are the things that stay with me and haunt me at present.

Enough of that though, onwards and upwards.

Soon another silly season will be over at the gallery.Thanks to anyone who has popped in.September and October are still very important months for us but it is now the time when I start getting a little itchy to see some different parts of the UK.

There’s a chill in the air in the mornings and morning alarm calls are now manageable, that’s good news.This summer I have done barely any morning shooting except when at the gallery and this seems to be a pattern for me now.Don’t get me wrong, summer is  a great month for shooting images but let’s just say I take the foot off the gas a little.With the amount of images I have lying around waiting for edit it’s probably best not to add too many more! Not that I’ll ever catch up.

DSC_0111-8Stiffkey Marshes

Over the past few months I have been putting together a whole new website dedicated to the Norfolk Coast.As you may or may not know I am a real coastie and I am lucky to have such a varied coastal environment on my doorstep.

The images on the site are mostly new-ish work, from the last couple of years.This will spur me on to re-visit some places and make some new images from there.It’s a little like starting again, something I feel that I’m doing anyway, I’m as unknown and unseen as I’ve ever been so I thought,why not,’let’s have a new site too’.There’s still a lot to do on the site,images to put up, a bit of promotion and some boring seo type stuff to do.The link to the new site is below, any comments or feedback would be much appreciated

Norfolk Coast Photography

My main site will stay as it is for the present but I do feel it needs a change so maybe that’s something for next year.

Apart from all the above I will leave it for this short entry,hopefully this will get me back into the blog habit as I honestly enjoy writing this stuff just don’t expect pixel peeping talk or gear reviews or arty bollocks talk!!!!

cheers for now

JonDSC_8163Holkham Bay









Mountains of Cake pt 1

The two intrepid travellers made their way into the holiday cottage.’It’s colder in here than outside’ one of them said.Pushing aside icicles and moving the frozen remains of the last guests who were huddled together in one last desperate act for survival they moved to the kitchen were they unloaded the food and beer.
Ok,guilty as charged,I over dramatised that first bit but wow the cottage was freezing,I usually hate arriving at a b and b and the heating is at sauna level but there was no heating on at all,January! the Lake District!, hardly the Bahamas.
And thus began me and my good pal Marc Elliotts trip to the Lakes.Like every trip you make in the uk at this time of year it’s always a bit of a gamble but even if the weather went boobs up me and Marc could eat cake and drink beer and talk dangly bits,which we did anyway.
Our base was Ambleside which is a nice base for the southern area of the lakes and we had no agenda and no ticklists, let’s just see where the landscape takes us.Back in the day it would have been a kind of vain hope that if I get a ‘good’un’ here it will look after me in stock sales,nowadays I go without a ‘I must shoot this attitude’ and please myself (and displease myself) with my images first and worry about their end use later.Luckily for me Marc has exactly the same mindset ‘let’s just get out there and see what happens’.

We had arrived in the Lakes earlier in the day and did some shooting before we headed for our accommodation.I always think it’s nice to settle in to the area and be relaxed in your surroundings so after I had slipped and fell on my arse while we viewed the Langdale valley at our first stop Marc suggested we climb up towards Stickle Tarn! Oh well, always worth getting the old legs used to a bit of hill work, the most climbing I do at home is up a sand dune or two.

Actually it was great to climb up towards Stickle Tarn, we never got to the Tarn though, the views as we went up were great and we photographed them and the waterfalls and the  Langdale Pikes above us which looked quite amazing in the fresh snow.A great start to our trip.

Our first proper day out had a real winter wonderland feel.We found ourselves skirting the shoreline of Rydal Water.Thick snowflakes  were falling which did make it difficult to make images but as it’s such a rarity for me to see conditions like this it was great to be out amongst it and I got some nice images looking across the water and of the  nearby fells.The starkness and monochromatic feel of a winter enables wonderful graphic images to be made,there wasn’t a blue sky so it wasn’t picture postcard winter,it was more about shapes and forms.

DSC_0182Rydal Water

The second part of the day was spent at Hodge Close, doesn’t sound very promising does it but it was a real gem and worthy of further exploration on a future visit.In another life Marc was a very keen rock climber and this location was a place he had climbed in the past.It’s actually full of possibilities photographically, the wide vistas are there, trees are everywhere and there are also the quarries which are fascinating subjects.Plenty to keep us occupied.We were even blessed with the presence of none other than Mr Charlie Waite who was leading a light and land workshop.

After a good couple of hours shooting and with the last light of day approaching we sensed that perhaps we should move on for an end of day shoot elsewhere.I knew Tarn Hows was close by and Marc set the Astra to warp speed and we got there for some quite lovely last light though I admit my favourite image of this rightfully popular location was after the sun had set, nothing like a backdrop of snow covered hills in twilight light.DSC_0386Tarn Hows

As we ventured out the next day winter still had an icy grip and the roads were a little slippery as we headed towards the absolute gem that is Little Langdale.We had a visit to Blea Tarn in mind but we just had to stop when we were presented with this.DSC_0415Little Langdale

What a beautiful scene.We had no option but to stop, climb over the fence and into a field and use that wonderful wall as a foreground to that stunning backdrop.It would have been madness to travel on and ignore it.The beautiful minty greens you get with frost against the blue light of the mountains tinged with the first magenta hues in the sky, oops, I’ve gone all poetic, I’ll be scratching my beard next but it was simply gorgeous, to use a non arty term.

It is such a pity we have don’t have the access laws as they have in Scotland.I am always wary when photographing somewhere when we are quite obviously on someone’s land but us photographers can be a little naughty occasionally and risk the wrath of an irate farmer.We did see a landrover pass us on the nearby farm track but the chappie didn’t bat an eyelid, hopefully he saw we weren’t doing any wrong and hopefully he thought ‘not a bad morning for you there lads’.Do they become immune to the beauty around them, I’ve always wondered that, I know I’ll always love walking round Great Yarmouth Town centre!

After shooting here we trundled further down the road with the aim of visiting the Blea Tarn area but thick slabs of ice at the bottom and on the way up the hill to the car park put us off, amazing how you don’t see some of those patches of ice until you are nearly on top of them.Nasty.

Change of plan then.I do believe we may of then made our first visit of the week to Chesters (a famous lakeland cafe/restaurant)  at Skelwith Bridge.Now Chesters have lots of cake, they are big pricey cakes but you certainly know you’ve eaten one and with a killer coffee (strong and sweet) that makes a damn fine photo pit stop before moving on to a new location.Did I mention the cakes?, a huge display of temptation and sugarry heaven, you can only pick one but which one, you could pick two but you may not get up that hill!

So after our little pit stop we parked up the motor at Skelwith Bridge and headed for the Loughrigg area on foot.It was to be a great afternoon of walking and photography.

We first headed for the area around Little Loughrigg and shot from a high-ish point in all directions.The wee gem that is Loughrigg Tarn was below us, another one of those popular but rightly so locations.Plenty of those in the lakes.Marc was using his Mamiya 67 here, what a beaut and a beast of a camera, the image seen through the viewfinder of this camera brings on some serious composition ‘chimping’ action, ooh, ooh!

DSC_0491Loughrigg Trees

Later on we found ourselves on top of Loughrigg Fell with the wonderful view down into Grasmere and beyond, the steps up to the top of the fell were a slippery bloody nightmare but well worth the climb.Last time I was here it was all showers and rainbows, this time a beautiful wintry landscape was before us.

The end of the day was spent on top of the fell shooting in the Elterwater and Little Langdale direction.We didn’t get that intense last light or a spectacular sky but the scene was quite simply stunning.I even had time to make a daft video of Mr Elliott faffing about with his bloody lightmeter talking to himself.Bloody good day,but it was getting bloody cold, time for the fairly long walk back to Skelwith Bridge (if Chesters were open we’d of had another slice/slab).

DSC_0607View from Loughrigg Fell

That’ll do for part one, in part two we meet up with photographic royalty and his dog,and we eat more cake!

Cheers for reading this nonsense.




This is going all over the place………..Pt 2. In and out of focus with a little trumpet blowing

Firstly I am going to do something I don’t do often and it’s also something I have been ‘told off’ about  in the past.So let’s have a little bit of trumpet blowing, I’m a shy, quiet, retiring sort of chap (mostly) but I am going to highlight some competition success I have had recently.

On Friday the 13th I was at Kew Gardens for the opening of the International Garden Photographer of the Year (competition no 8) exhibition.It was a great day out and it’s a really lovely exhibition with some quite stunning work, the joy of the setting (the Nash Conservatory) is that’s it’s mostly lit by natural light, surely the best way to view images.

My image of my beloved Holkham Bay (below) won the changing coastlines category.I genuinely cannot put across how much that means.If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know of my rollercoaster ride of emotions and confidence issues with my photography so it’s good to be recognised occasionally and to let the world know ‘I’m still here!’.jg01606Holkham Bay

A new competition that started last year was the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year and credit must be given to photographer Stuart Low for getting this all up and running, not an easy task I would imagine.If there was ever a country that deserved it’s own landscape competition it’s Scotland.

After sending off my entries I was pleased to get six shortlisted images and was therefore hopeful of getting myself a commended image and an appearance in the competition book.Another golden oldie got me there but it’s an image I am so fond of, it’s a view of a lovely wee bit of coastline between Ashaig and Breakish in the south of the Isle of Skye (below).This was commended in the Seascape section.jg03247                 near Breakish/Ashaig, Isle of Skye


Back in the heady days of 2007 when I was in all honesty just a small way into my photographic journey I won the inaugural Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.Like a lot of competition titles the name doesn’t sit well with me, I really do believe it should be just photograph in most instances but I also understand the title must carry some kudos and be an incentive for entrants.

Anyway, I digress.Over the years I have probably entered the competition a couple of times to hopefully ‘get in the book’, unfortunately to no avail.Last year I managed to get into the book with an image in the Your View category.As I mentioned in the Scottish words above, all I would like is a book appearance to keep the name out there and luckily this time I got in and once again it means an awful lot.

I do get asked about the competition a lot and believe me I would swap my inaugural win for a win today in this more media savvy world.Poor Mark (Littlejohn – last years winner) probably didn’t know what had hit him after his well deserved success, I think I had a small interview with SAGA magazine and that was about it! It was a different world back then and I musn’t complain, I’ve still won the competition and am justly proud.

The image that got through was a long exposure image (2 mins) from the cliffs at Weybourne in North Norfolk (below), in all honesty not a technique that I am particularly fond of but I remember being very pleased with this image when it popped up on screen.In an earlier blog post on here I recalled how I didn’t have the noise reduction on and therefore this image took ages to ‘clean up’ and remove all the hot pixels, the little green and red demons that present themselves on long exposures.All my squinting and meticiulous pixel ‘bashing’ paid off though!

jg02764Weybourne, North Norfolk

I had started drafting this entry at the turn of the new year and had then wiped it out.Same old, same old I thought to myself, worrying about this, moaning about that, sod it, let’s just go with what I’ve been up to with the camera.

Well, I’ve been trying to update some old local Norfolk faves, mostly the windmills and a few of the Broads.I have tried to avoid photographing Winterton which is a silly thing to say because I cannot stop photographing the place.Will have to commit my images from there to some sort of hard copy one day, it’s too gorgeous a place not to.

DSC_1317Winterton, you can’t blame me for regularly visiting here, it’s gorgeous!

A recent visit to the rather lovely Upton Fen Reserve in deepest Broadland saw me going all out of focus (or at least a very selective focus).When I venture out now, I may have a destination in mind but never a particular shot unless I’m up in North Norfolk when I could be in ‘this’ll look good in the gallery’ mode, so on this brief morning visit the ‘rulebook’ (there shouldn’t be one) was thrown out and I had a wee experimental hour or so, a bit of photographic heaven in all honesty.It’s not a case of trying to be arty or impress other photographers, it’s just fun, who bloody well says that the pic must be in focus, or sharp from back to front.The magazines and websites suggest this but they don’t say you have to, sticking by rules or having a ‘pre-visualised’ image in mind, (what utter crap, I hate that term) can lead to disappointment, let the landscape speak to you how it will and let your own feelings that day dictate how you’ll approach photographing a scene, ideally, do a bit of everything, mix up a few styles.

DSC_9514Upton Fen, not a lot if anything in focus here!

I’ll leave this wee post here for now and when I finally get to do another entry I’ll cover my great trip to the Lake District with my good pal Marc Elliott and my latest trip, a visit to lovely Northumberland.

cheers for now