We reach the end of another year and what a year it has been with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Olympic Games, two NationalParks celebrating their diamond anniversaries, Pembrokeshire Coast and North York Moors and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Scotland’s first National Park having its tenth birthday. Subject to the weather forecast being correct this could be the wettest year on record beating the next wettest 2000. A remarkable run of wet years 1998-2012, with 6 of the years in top ten wettest on record(2012, 2008, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998) all of which along with a bad back for a short while limited my photo trips for the year.
I only managed three trips those being to Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, North Cornwall and the North York Moors along with a very brief foray into a small part of the Peak District. For the first time since 2006, I failed to visit Scotland which I normally try to visit twice a year. Very disappointed. During this brief look back I will share with you one of my favourite images from each trip as well as sharing an image that I have discovered during my review of the unprocessed ones.
The year began with my trip to EastAnglia starting in Essex to explore the coastal creeks. Then a return visit to Suffolk last visited briefly in 2006 but this time to see the southern areas of the county and finally onto Norfolk again and particularly the Broads. My favourite image from this trip has to be the one captured at Brograve Mill on a beautiful Spring day. Although this a popular photographic spot I was looking for a different perspective on the location when I noticed an area where the reeds had been blown over and there was still a breeze blowing and thought that this combination worked perfectly with the now dilapidated wind pump in the background.
For my newly discovered image from this trip, I have chosen one from the beach at Happisburgh. Normally such a desolate location with all its ongoing problems of coastal erosion but not on this visit as you can see. Having managed to find a safe way down to the beach just north of the village I was welcomed with glorious blue skies and sunshine. I could have been in the Caribbean although I am not so sure they have sea defences like these.
The following month was May and normally I make a two week trip to Scotland but shortly before my intended visit, the weather in Scotland had been poor and not what I would normally expect in May. So I decided to head south and it was a change of plans I might have regretted as the weather turned out to be very good up there just as I was arriving on the wet murky North Cornwall coast. Still, the weather picked up and I had quite a good week especially on my day trip onto Bodmin Moor. My favourite from here was surprisingly not from the wonderful coast but from the edge of Bodmin Moor at Golitha Falls. My visit was fortunately timed at an especially quiet time of day, mid to late afternoon and there were very few people around and also some perfect late afternoon sun. Earlier in the year, I had purchased a Hoya NDX400 nine stop neutral density filter and this would be the first time I had used it normally preferring to capture my images as naturally as possible. Anyway, I was delighted with the result which I felt was acceptable for a first attempt.
The newly released image for this trip is also from Bodmin Moor but shows Stowe’s Hill which is a tor not far from Minions. On the southern side of the hill, the Cheesewring Quarry has gouged a huge scar where the granite has been blasted out and changed the profile of the hill forever. On the edge of the quarry is the famous “Cheesewring”, a natural tor feature which was the real purpose of my visit to the hill, however, I am still unsure of my preferred image of the Cheesewring so have shared this one instead.
I was still hoping that I could have my trip to Scotland in the Summer but June, July and August were not very good months with lots of rain together with school holidays, tourists and midges which are not a good combination for landscape photography so my next trip did not materialise until September with my visit to the North York Moors just prior to their diamond anniversary. Now that the schools were back I was expecting it to be fairly quiet but I suspect everyone had the same idea as me even so photographically it proved to be a successful week. My favourite image from here has got to be Ana Cross with the rainbow behind. The cross was not even on my locations list and I was just driving across Spaunton Moor heading back to my base with intermittent heavy rain and fast-moving clouds when out of the corner of my eye I happened to spot the cross about a mile from the road. Parked up I waited for the heavy rain to pass and then set off across the moor. Just after arriving at the cross another storm passed through in the distance and leaving in its wake a beautiful rainbow perfectly positioned behind the cross. One of those special moments that landscape photographers are always searching for.
The new release from the archive of this trip comes from Hutton Knowl and a particular area of lone trees and heather that I had spotted on the first day of my trip when the weather was not too favourable. So I returned later in the week hoping for better conditions and was not disappointed with plenty of fast-moving clouds and blue sky. I don’t think I will have to explain what attracted me to this composition you only have to look at that vast cloud-filled sky and that lonesome tree to realise what a special moment that was.
October should have finally brought my Scotland trip to include the Cairngorms and the Moray Coast. All was planned and bases booked and two days before departure I developed a problem in my lower back which meant I could hardly move at first and certainly couldn’t drive and walk my planned itinerary. So it was all cancelled, but there is always next year.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning my short afternoon visit to the Peak District in August and in particular The Roaches when yet again there was one of those photographic moments that we all are waiting for but unfortunately don’t come along too often. This was when I spotted a cloud formation which I had not seen before and may never see again. I mean of course the feather cloud.
So that concludes the review of my photographic year which despite the weather and set back produced some memorable moments and satisfying images. With a new project almost in the pipeline hopefully, 2013 will be even more productive. Thank you, everyone, that as followed me over the last year and I look forward to you joining me on the next stage of my journey.
May you all have a Happy and Successful New Year.