A Change of Scene

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Blog | 18 comments

A Change of Scene

Well, it really has been an interesting past six months. Looking through the new images I’ve recently posted on this site I’m pleased, and even more surprised to have produced some satisfactory work. This Autumn/Winter/Spring has been plagued with misfortune and has left me with a feeling of great frustration caused by a lack of time out on the hill with and without my camera. With the demise of one of our cars, the constant (and extremely expensive) breakdowns and repairs of our other and the lack of means to replace either and an injured knee I became trapped at home at the end of a three mile long lane. To be honest the weather has played its part too with literally month after month of torrential rain and wind making Large Format photography even more challenging and frustrating (and rewarding) than usual. The upside of this has been that, once I found the motivation, I have been able to approach photography in a different way; a fair few new images have been made within sight of or just a mile or so from home. Not one single LF image made in the last two months has involved the use of a car, now that should be the way ahead for all of us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The area, just West of the village of Benderloch is mostly covered with very boggy grazing land and a shooting estate through which narrow dirt tracks lead to some truly breathtaking views out to Lismore, Mull and Ardgour over the Firth of Lorn. During the Summer months the odd cyclist and motorist travel down the road, perform a u turn at the no entry signs and head back and other than that no-one comes here. I’m fairly confident that the images I have made are pretty unique and will probably stay so. It’s far off the beaten track, requires a fair amount of effort and research to get to and is not plastered all over the image sharing sites encouraging the less adventurous photographer to visit.

Sadly we will only be here in this idyllic part of the world for a further seven weeks as we are relocating back to England. As beautiful and tranquil as the landscape here is it has not been paying its way of late, most professional landscapers I know are feeling the pinch as this recession goes on and on and the traditional income streams of the landscape photographer dry up or become more and more dilute. Living out on the West Coast is expensive, property isn’t particularly cheap but everything else comes with a premium price. Our family trip to see The Avengers on Sunday involved five hours of driving, £40 of fuel and lunch out before we even got into the cinema. Beyond the practical stuff though comes the need to be closer to ageing parents and more important to us, opportunity for us now and for our children in the not too distant future.

Of course I have mixed feelings; the thought that I will no longer step out to absolute silence on a calm Spring evening is tempered by the fact that there will be no midges where we live through the summer months allowing us to enjoy the outside space. That I will not be able to drive the relatively short distance to Skye or Ullapool is balanced by the fact that Snowdonia (perhaps still my first mountain love) will be only an hour and a half away and I will be finally able to visit mountains and valleys that I already have detailed (walking) knowledge of. That living as we do now just a few hundred metres from the sea we will no longer hear the wonderful sound of Snipe at dusk but will far more rarely need to suffer its violent weather which will allow me to garden again knowing that my plants will survive the Winter gales.

So it will soon be farewell the Scotland but ironically I know that that will mean more photographs of it. Living here for the past eight years I have never walked or climbed so little. Running the gallery, managing a website, devising and attempting to market product and tours has all taken its toll on my time and living among the mountains means that I have tended to postpone my photography to get the other work done. In the future, travelling away from the office for longer trips to photograph should hopefully yield better results. I still intend to run tours and to travel alone here in Scotland but now I will also be in striking distance of Snowdonia, The Brecon Beacons, The Peak District, The Lake District and North Devon, all less time by car than Ullapool is now.

Within the next couple of days I shall post a new set of weekend workshops to all of my old haunts in Wales and the Peak District for those interested. In the meantime I hope you enjoy some of my latest images in the gallery section.

18 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear its been so tough for you lately Richard, and sad to hear that you are departing Scotland soon. Your wonderful portfolio of work and in depth kwowledge and understanding of our landscape has been a great inspiration for wannabe photographers like me. I thoroughly enjoyed your Skye and Argyll workshops. I wish you all the very best in your new home down south and hope to meet you again sometime, perhaps on one of your future tours.
    Slainte.
    Mike

    • Thankyou Mike, Scotland will still be featuring highly both for my personal work and for workshops. It looks like I will be spending at least five weeks up here this coming Autumn and ironically will therefore be spending more time out with my camera than I have in the past.

  2. Sorry to hear of the array of difficulties and frustrations you have had over the past six months. It must have been a big decision to make the move back to England. I do hope that it works out well for you all, and that you soon settle in as a family. No doubt you will find new and different opportunities and challenges and I wish you all the best. Jenny

    • Thanks Jenny, we’re moving to Bridgnorth which means I get to visit North Wales far more frequently. In fact the Welsh coast will be much closer than Inverness is now and I’m really looking forward to taking my camera to all the great places I found years ago. I’m going to be starting some private music tuition again to replace what we have lost here since the gallery went. One of the main reasons is to be closer to our parents, particularly now that my father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

  3. Richard, How sad it has made me to read that you are leaving Scotland to relocate back down south. Very sad! for me your images show just how much you love and understand the Scottish landscape, the light and the tartan kaleidoscope of the colours, magical.
    You have not only seen all this with your own eyes but you have that wonderful gift of showing others how not just to look but to open their eyes and see, feel and understand these gifts from nature as they sweep over them.

    For all that I thank you Richard.

    Your pupil Pat

    • Thanyou so much Pat, Scotland has without doubt made me the photographer I am. Seeing the astonishing beauty of a wet day is something that most photographers miss but I was initially forced to photograph in those conditions because the sun shone so rarely. In no time at all I found that I prefered the light and palette of those conditions and I have never looked back. I will miss living with all this beauty but as I have said to the others I expect to be out photographing in Scotland more frequently than I have been in recent months and will continue to run workshops here. It really does have the finest scenery in the world, especially when you dig beneath the surface. Incidentally, Glasgow is only one and a half hours further by car from where I will be living and even quicker by train so there are lots of plans afoot; I still have to finish my Munro’s and I have a list of images to make here that will certainly keep me busy for years to come.

  4. I have certainly enjoyed looking at your recent work, Richard, which continues to be a source of great inspiration. Sorry to hear you are leaving Scotland but encouraged to hear that you will still be returning here regularly!

    • Thanks Douglas, it looks like I will actually be out with the camera here in Scotland more than I have been. One of the main reasons we moved here in the first place was because I spent so much time travelling up, it seemed to make sense to be here permanently. Sadly Oban has really suffered in this recession and the local population cannot sustain our business through the many months when the tourists don’t visit so we’re taking my work to where there is a far greater density of population on our doorstep and also the be closer to relatives who find it more and more difficult to get to see us here.

  5. On a personal note, I would understand how difficult it is leave after so many years but you have amassed a collection of outstanding imagery, all of which I have enjoyed over the years and your workshops have been tremendous. On a entirely selfish note, you will now be leading workshops much closer to where I live and I look forward to seeing images from the new locations that will now be on your doorstep. Good luck with the new endeavours!

    • Thanks David, I’m not looking forward to leaving this beautiful place but we are moving to Shropshire which is a very lovely county and borders another favourite place (not Birmingham!). I know Wales even better than much of Scotland and am really looking forward to photographing it with the eye that Scotland helped me develop. My first visit is already planned for July (assuming there is some decent grey and wet weather!).

  6. Richard,

    Sorry to hear of your problems in Scotland. I,like most of the contributors above, have found your work inspirational and I have no doubt that you will be able to continue your work south of the Border. Will be particularly interested in Snowdonia workshop and although I don’t know Shropshire, I have always felt whilst travelling through that there is a special “something” about the area and that you will find interest there. I hope that the change to a new venue will bring you better luck, you certainly deserve it.

    Bob

  7. Richard – I’m also very sorry to hear you will be leaving Scotland. I know how hard you have all worked to follow your dream. I look forward to travelling with you again to Scotland and as David O’B points out, now also to Wales. South and west Shropshire is a fantastic place. I go walking in the Shropshire hills and Welsh boarders several times a year. I have though found them quite challenging from a photographic point of view. I’ll be interested to see what you make of them. Best wishes for the move.

  8. Richard – let me add my best wishes for the future to the other messages you have received. I know that the transport problems have been as much pain to you as the knee! It must be encouraging to you that you have the the support of so many clients for continued visits to Scotland and to new venues south of the border.
    Graham

  9. Hi Richard,

    I empathise with your situation however its the right move to be nearer to your parents. I lost my job about a year before my father was ill with cancer, however my free time meant I could be with him every day, a real blessing.

    Unfortunately, this photography / workshop malarky just gets worse and worse. Teaching photography is great, and using film and a camera you like thats preferable to you, is also beneficial. However, I cannot help but feel that ever since digital arrived on the scene its robbing photographers of income. Everyone who has a digital camera these days thinks themselves a professional who wants to run workshops. Unfortunately, quite a lot are not professional, but, it hasnt stopped the increase in people offering workshops and robbing real talented photographers of work. Having a reputable name helps, but it doesnt help really with the multitude of workshops available and just about now all over the country. Times are hard, money is short, and people will hope in the nearest workshop and photographer to them. Despite being a photographer of some 12 years, and still trying to use and promote film (and knowing digital too) I have found aquiring workshop students virtually now impossible, no matter my knowledge or experience. I live near the coast, can easily access Essex, Kent and Sussex, but do you think I get anywhere? Nope. Its dried up to absolute nothing. Im now trying to sell work at Country and County fairs as the only way of getting my work seen. Its the sign of the times Im afraid, and its only going to get worse…

    I know your location to move will help with your parents as well as get you back to old haunts, but its very populated with photographers and workshops. Hope you do well anyhow. Im sure being a L&L tutor helps no end…a lot of us dont have that…so think yourself fortunate…

    Chris

  10. Hello Richard,
    Sorry to hear your leaving the wilds of Scotland behind you as your images on the west coast and highlands have been wonderful, inspiring and certainly show your love and knowledge of the area (albeit a very large area!). I hope you enjoy your move southwards and I look forward to seeing your future work in the northern areas of England and Wales. I hope the move brings you and your family better fortune than you’ve been having. Still a sad day though.
    Take care on the slopes.
    Paul

  11. Hi Richard,

    I am sorry that circumstances have caused you to take this decision and I am sure you must have mixed feelings about your move. You have justifiably become a highly regarded photographer of Scotland’s landscapes and I am sure you will carry on doing so with the extended trips you plan. Your images have been an inspiration to many of us and will continue to be so whether from Scotland, Wales or England. I am sure you will find locations and conditions you enjoy in your new environment too. I wish you and your family all the best with the new venture and look forward to my next trip with you … wherever it may be.

    Regards, Pete

  12. Dear Richard,

    We have never met but have often heard your name in photographic discussions. A few years ago I was doing quite a lot of photography on Mull, Iona and Staffa. I always used to pop into your gallery in Oban before catching the ferry. A wonderful and inspiring gallery – I was amazed to find such a place in Oban. For a landscape photographer it was a intriguing prelude to what awaited on Mull and got me fired up. From what you write, it would appear that galleries are fraught with difficulty – particularly in a place like Oban. So I admire your tenacity and for revealing some of the great light to be encountered on the west coast.

    I wish you all the best in your new venture in shropshire.

    With best wishes,

    Malcolm

    • Thankyou Malcolm. Leaving Scotland has been very difficult but at present I have a visit scheduled every month right through to March what with workshops, camera club lectures and personal work etc. With any luck I will actually get more time to photograph Scotland than I did when I lived there and had the day to day gallery work to handle. Hopefully we will get the chance to meet on one of those occasions.

      All the best

      Richard

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