The Highlights of 2014

December 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

2014 has been a very busy and productive year. In this article I would like to focus exclusively on the landscape, travel and architectural photography. With just a few days left until 2015 I have compiled a selection of my 10 personal favourite images created this year.

The Pap of Glencoe viewThe Pap of Glencoe view

1. Sunset view from The Pap of Glencoe, Scotland, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head, manual exposure blending.

This image combines my passion for hillwalking and the admiration of the beautiful Scottish highlands scenery in the soft, warm evening light. The scramble to the summit was a race against time to see the sunset. It was certainly worth all the hard effort - this photograph is undoubtedly my pick of the year.

The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens was the perfect choice for shooting the sunset, providing the desired field of view, good flare resistance, and very low distortion and chromatic aberration. It was indeed my go-to choice this year, and has in fact eclipsed the new, innovative Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS ultra-wide angle lens.

The Rainbow, Loch Etive, Scottish HighlandsThe Rainbow, Loch Etive, Scottish Highlands

2. Loch Etive rainbow, Scotland, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with Samyang 14mm f/2.8, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

The weath​er can be unpredictable in the highlands. The early spring afternoon was casually dull and rainy; however I chose to wait at the lake side for a small miracle and it eventually happened. There was a short break in the clouds painting a rainbow arch and illuminating the mountains with a golden light. The 14mm extreme wideangle lens was the perfect choice for photographing a double rainbow over the loch.

Rannoch Moor, Scottish HighlandsRannoch Moor, Scottish HighlandsA beautiful clear morning at Rannoch Moor in the Scottish highlands, UK

3. Rannoch Moor, Scotland, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

The early morning light provides a spectacular illumination of Glencoe peaks. The simplicity of the stones in the perfectly still lochan na h-Achlaise helps to break the symmetry and balances the image. While I am very pleased with this image, I hope I will be able to create another one in the wintry conditions over the next few months.

Dunstanburgh castle dawnDunstanburgh castle dawn

4. Dunstanburgh castle beach at dawn, England, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

The coastline at the castle is extremely varied and ranges from a sandy beach with dunes to the rocky sheer cliff face, and of course the black water-polished boulder bay. I was very lucky to arrive before the dawn at the high tide on a clear summer's morning; the water level was ideal for the dynamic images I had in mind. The golden glow of the rising sun on the stones and the dancing waves in my opinion is one of the cornerstones of this image. The distant castle ruins rising above the cliffs and fiery sky complete the romantic scenery. What a great way to start a new day!

Fog covers Clifton Bridge in BristolFog covers Clifton Bridge in BristolThe lights of Clifton Suspension Bridge glow through a dense fog in the evening in Bristol, UK, on Thursday April 3, 2014. High air pollution in the UK is caused by the sand storm in Sahara and local emissions.

5. Clifton bridge in the fog, Bristol, England, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

As an avid traveller and artist, I still see the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge as one of the finest in the world. I had countless opportunities to photograph this amazing location over the last few years, yet a dense fog at midnight and still river water provided a new and very unusual backdrop. Mist creates mysterious or even ghostly atmosphere hiding the majestic Avon gorge and heightens the sense of elusiveness in the scene. Mist also enhances, or diffuses the city lights and as a results transforms the night's sky. Most of my architectural work is usually planned around the blue hour; the late night black and orange, featureless skies rarely suit the images. However, this Hotwells scene was very different in a positive way. The post-processing was the key to finalising the mood and feel of the bridge. As initially planned, I opted for a low contrast, subtly toned black and white conversion.

Millennium bridge, Newcastle-upon-TyneMillennium bridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

6. Newcastle bridges in the blue hour, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

A very different architectural marvel is situated at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne quayside. Here the modern architecture dominates the landscape. The best views can be admired at dusk, as the bridges are illuminated by a changing palette of colours. In this image the yellows contrast and complement the stormy evening sky.

Eilean Donan castleEilean Donan castleEilean Donan castle lit up at the blue hour, Scottish Highlands, UK

7. Eilean Donan castle at dusk, Scotland, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

In the far north, on the sea loch Duich, the historic Eilean Donan castle braces the battering winds and showers. The castle, previously destroyed during the Jacobite wars and rebuilt in the early 20th century to its former glory, is a truly iconic sight and unsurprisingly it is one of top visitor destinations in the picturesque Scotland. At dusk the castle is illuminated, and really stands out for the cool and still as mirror loch water and the cloudy low sky. It was however fairly challenging image. The shores are full sea weed and kelp vegetation on the right. In order to create a clean image I had to work almost waist deep in the freezing and salty water. It always pays off to pack a pair of long wellies, a torch, spare clothes and lots of snacks in the car.

Glencoe - Buachaille Etive MorGlencoe - Buachaille Etive Mor

8. Buchaille Etiv Mor, Scotland, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

Buchaille Etiv Mor or the great herdsman of Etive is my favourite Munro peak deep in the Scottish highlands. It is well-photographed landmark, and the best known view has the waterfall further downstream. I have picked this image from my visits to Glencoe range because of its uniqueness and contrasty morning light. The mountain river is fast flowing and chillingly cold even in the summer - it was a very delicate balancing act on the slippery stones to photograph the scene as desired.

The Clyde Arc on BlueThe Clyde Arc on Blue

9. The Clyde Arc, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

Glasgow, the once-prosperous, industrial city, looks best after the sunset to my eyes. Many areas have recently seen the efforts of redevelopments, including the former site of Clyde shipyards. Modern flats, offices music venues and hotels replaced the gigantic machinery. Clyde Arc is a modern bridge with close resemblance to the Gateshead Millennium bridge. To make this image I exploited the symmetry created by the reflections on Clyde water and balanced the natural evening glow light with the modern bridge illumination. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II lens creates lovely 9 pointed starbursts even at moderate apertures - a lovely detail that enriches the final image.

La Tejita sunrise, Tenerife, SpainLa Tejita sunrise, Tenerife, Spain

10. Tejita beach sunrise, Tenerife, Spain. Canon EOS 5D mark III with EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM II, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 410 head.

The year culminated with a photographic trip to Tenerife, Canary islands, Spain. Without a doubt it is a very different environment with warm ocean water, sandy beaches, tropical vegetation and the decade volcano Teide at the heart of the small island.

The images are for sale as fine art prints, framed prints, or canvas and may be licensed for promotional or editorial use.


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