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Path to Roseberry Topping


Roseberry Topping is a distinctive hill on the western edge of the North York Moors. A dusting of snow on the path around the time of sunrise makes it a dominant element of the composition, while the setting Full Moon provides a balancing element in the sky.

Beech clump at sunset


I positioned myself so the shadows of tree trunks in this small beech clump would form leading lines in the foreground as the Sun neared the horizon.

Bearded Reedling


This charismatic bird lives in reedbeds, where it feed on the seeds. As they climb to the top, their weight is prone to bend the reeds over. On a breezy day at Radipole Lake, this one was keeping a tight grip on two stems to avoid that indignity.

Celestial Conjunction


The two day-old crescent Moon, Venus and Saturn over Stonehenge. The night side of the Moon is faintly lit by earthshine - sunlight reflected from the day side of Earth. Using a 200mm lens, I limited my shutter speed to one second to avoid any blurring due to Earth's rotation.

Llyn Padarn


Lone trees are a favourite subject for photographers and this one has a superb setting on the shore of Llyn Padarn, framed by Snowdon and The Glyders beyond. When the lake level is high the tree looks especially good, surrounded by water with leading lines formed by pieces of slate. In winter the sun rises over the Pass of Llanberis, directly behind the tree, and on this occasion the pre-sunrise sky complemented the subject perfectly.

Rime Ice, Glyder Fawr


Rock formations on the 1001m summit of Glyder Fawr create an other-worldly landscape. Harsh winter conditions of snow, wind and freezing fog combined to coat the rocks in spectacularly jagged crystals of rime ice. Under a clear blue sky the following day, the effect seemed surreal. For more pictures from Snowdonia in winter please visit my Recent Work gallery.

Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa)


This is my favourite viewpoint of Wales' highest mountain and it is easy to reach on foot along a well-graded track. I have long wanted a combination of snow and reflections in Llyn Llydaw and on this occasion, a few minutes before sunrise, I had both.

Cwm Idwal in Winter


The north-facing corrie of Cwm Idwal is one of Snowdonia's most dramatic landscapes. It is well-suited by low cloud draped over The Glyders.



Gorgeous plumage of a starling photographed during a day at the well equipped and excellently situated Woodland Reflections hide in the New Forest.

Dorset 1:1 workshop


Golden afternoon light on Corfe Castle during a winter 1:1 photography workshop in Dorset. The viewpoint was carefully selected to give separation between two parts of the ruined keep whilst hiding a distant mobile phone mast behind the castle. Other locations visited during this two-day workshop included Stair Hole, Worbarrow Bay, Portland Bill, Kimmeridge Bay and Durdle Door.



One of most exotic-looking birds, waxwings are winter visitors from Scandinavia. They arrive along the east coast of Britain, which is where they are most frequently seen, especially on rowan trees such as this one in Suffolk. Winter migrations seem to be triggered by poor berry crops in their breeding grounds, which has been the case in 2022. This could lead to a waxwing irruption, the first on this scale for 10 years.

Midwinter Sunset


At the winter solstice, Earth's north pole is tilted at its maximum extent away from the sun, resulting in the shortest daylight hours of the year. Our Neolithic predecessors had no clocks to measure changing daylight hours but they understood the solstice as being the day on which sunrise and sunset are at their southerly extremes on the horizon. Stonehenge was built along an axis oriented towards the winter solstice sunset, presumably as the location for a midwinter celebration or festival. I photographed this sunset on the evening before the solstice from beside the Heel Stone, which is thought to have marked the processional approach to Stonehenge.

Rime Ice


Rime ice is formed when water droplets in the air freeze onto surfaces such as branches and twigs. These four beech trees on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain were enveloped in freezing fog overnight and as it thinned just after sunrise, they looked as if they had been coated in icing sugar.

Hoar Frost


Hoar frost forms when water vapour condenses straight to ice, often on vegetation close to water on cold, clear, still winter nights. I captured this scene looking south-east along the Bristol Avon towards a winter sunrise.

Red kite


In recent years, red kites have become a common sight on the Marlborough Downs. I took this photograph from a specially-built raptor hide through one-way glass to enable top-quality images with no disturbance to the birds. The hide is available to book.



This intriguing sunken lane or holloway is carved through greensand in the Vale of Pewsey. I used a wide-angle lens to capture the context, including beech trees in their autumn splendour and their roots exposed.

Savernake Forest in Autumn Photography Tour


I led three one-day tours of Savernake Forest scheduled to coincide with the expected peak of autumn colour. We visited 10 veteran trees each day, of which "Fallen Preacher" was a favourite amongst participants. The tour finished with a nearby tree tunnel, a fascinating destination which is hardly known in the photography community. This tour will run again next year.

Warnscale Bothy


Looking over Warnscale Bothy with Buttermere in the distance is one of the best views in the Lake District. It is a little strenuous to reach and slightly tricky to find but amply rewards the effort. I chose an afternoon with ominous dark clouds hanging over the mountain tops to evoke the mood I wanted.



Countess Beck provides the foreground to this view of Wasdale taken on my Lake District in Autumn Photography Tour. Yewbarrow and The Screes are visible in the background. We waited over an hour for the sun to appear shortly before sunset, bathing Wasdale in golden light.

Langdale Valley


Langdale Pikes framed by a golden beech tree and a couple of glacial erratic boulders on my Lake District in Autumn Photography Tour.

Hartland Quay


The incoming tide splashes over steeply tilted rocks as the rising sun turns the sky pink. A neutral density filter slowed down the rushing water, enabling the viewer to concentrate on the remarkable rock structures, a remnant of the Variscan Orogeny (mountain-building) some 350 million years ago.

Fairy Lantern


Two daylight-balanced hand torches enabled me to light this fungus both from the side and from below. The light from below makes it appear to glow as if the mushroom is lit from within.

Bude Breakwater


This image was taken at sunrise, about an hour after Spring high tide. Waves had been pounding over the breakwater before sunrise leaving it wet and reflective. I liked this image for the colour in the sky.

Moonrise over Great Staple Tor


I hiked up Cox Tor on Dartmoor for a view of the Hunter's Moon rising over Great Staple Tor, 1 km to the east. I like the distinctive profile of the granite pillars on Great Staple Tor and positioned myself so the Moon would be behind the tallest pillar.

Fly agaric


I lit this New Forest fly agaric using two hand torches and a golden reflector. The image comprises 19 focus-stacked frames at different points of focus, each at F/5. This has given depth of field throughout the mushroom but left the background diffuse.



At 3,343m, Marmolada is the highest mountain in the Dolomites, viewed here at sunrise from Passu Giau. Incredibly, a three-stage cable car (of which the upper two stations are visible in this image) takes visitors to the top in just 12 minutes.



The jagged peaks of Italy's Dolomites in the eastern Alps are made of magnesium-rich limestone known as dolomite, formed some 250 million years ago from coral reefs in a subtropical ocean. The rocks were subsequently uplifted by the collision of the European and African tectonic plates. I spent all morning waiting for the mountain to clear and when it did I used my telephoto lens to make a tight composition that emphasises the drama of its cloudy embrace.

Dartmoor Sundog


This lonely hawthorn tree surrounded by granite instantly evokes Dartmoor. On the second evening of my Dartmoor Tors and Hidden Valleys Photography Tour we were treated to a bright sundog which lasted over half an hour. This atmospheric phenomenon is caused by refraction of sunlight by ice crystals within high-altitude cirrus clouds, looking a little like a fragment of a rainbow but at 22 degrees to the position of the Sun in the sky.

Dartmoor Sunset


This view of the twin pillars of Great Staple Tor is a classic. On the first evening of my Dartmoor Tors and Hidden Valleys Photography Tour the sun dropped behind the western pillar in exactly the right position to capture a starburst.

Harvest Moon


Harvest Moon rising between the pillars of the Prince of Wales Bridge. I wanted to get the Moon behind the stays of the bridge. This alignment only occurs on a couple of evenings per year and the Moon fitted in the gap for just a few seconds.

Cherhill Down


I have been trying to get a picture I am happy with of this well-loved part of my local landscape. My plan was to take advantage of golden lighting on golden grass parched by our hot summer and to emphasise the complex folds of the landform. This proved tricky as the downland faces north and the best evening light is directly behind the optimum shooting position, giving rather flat light on the slopes. So I settled for an evening when the sun was peeping out from behind clouds, giving natural spot-lighting on the white horse and a subtle interplay of light over the downland folds to bring out their rich texture. I waited an hour and a half for a few seconds of suitable lighting.

Milky Way and Jurassic Coast Photography Tour


My photography group was delighted to find four dinghies beside the boat crane on Portland Bill, ideally placed to capture the core of the Milky Way in the background. There was just enough light from the nearby lighthouse to illuminate the foreground in balance with the night sky. This composition was made by stacking to improve image quality and stitching to expand the field of view.

Porlock Marsh


Porlock Marsh in Somerset at spring high tide, around half an hour after sunset. Some 30 years ago the trees were part of an orchard but they have been killed by seawater following a breach in the barrier beach (visible behind the tree on the right). Their skeletons stand as sentinels to rising sea levels.

Moon rise over The Needles


August's Full Moon rising over the Needles on the Isle of Wight. I was standing 12.6 km away, making this the most distant foreground I have yet used in astrophotography. As the Full Moon clears the horizon, it appears distended, bloated and misshapen. This is the result of atmospheric refraction. In fact at the moment I took this picture, the Moon was below the horizon. What we see is an image of the Moon projected by atmospheric refraction around the curvature of the Earth. Taking that into account, it is unsurprising the Moon seems not its usual self.



This reflection pool in the New Forest has been set up with a sturdy access ramp for badgers. I used four flash units, two giving front lighting and two back-lighting, to give modelling to the subject whilst avoiding shadows and red-eye.

Roses for breakfast


Sometimes the best photographs are right there under your nose. While eating breakfast on my patio, I noticed these rose sawfly (Arge ochropus) caterpillars nibbling their way through our garden roses. I managed to get them all sharp a F/16 while keeping the background (my box hedge) diffuse.

Wrong turn at the equator


Black-browed albatross on the Yorkshire coast. This is probably the rarest species of bird currently resident in the British Isles as to my knowledge there is only one. Its friends and potential mates are 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic. In search of company this lonely albatross is hanging out with gannets at Bempton Cliffs.



Close up of a resting shag on Inner Farne during my Seabirds and Castles Photography Tour.

Catch of the Day


Puffin on the Isle of May photographed on my Seabirds and Castles Photography Tour.

Summer Solstice


Sunrise over Stonehenge on the longest day of the year was witnessed by 6,000 people.

Barn owl with field vole


This barn owl is a prodigious catcher of field voles. One evening on my Bustards, Butterflies and Barn Owls Photography Tour we watched it take five voles in 40 minutes. Careful positioning at the edge of a field over which it was hunting enabled us to photograph the owl with sun on its face carrying prey, without causing any disturbance.

Otter eating wrasse


We saw this otter fishing in a sheltered sea loch on my Mull's Otters and Eagles Photography Tour and took up position, waiting quietly on the shoreline near a small spit which looked to be a likely landing place. The otter brought its catch close to the beach where we were able to get frame-filling photographs.

White-tailed Sea Eagle


Sea eagles feed by snatching fish close to the water surface. I captured this image from a boat during my Mull's Otters and Eagles Photography Tour using a shutter speed of 1/1,600th second by keeping the a block of central focus points over the bird as it swooped.

Sleeping Cygnet


Just a few days old, this cygnet was asleep, snuggled down between its mother's wings. I zoomed in on the cygnet and showed just an impression of its parent.

Boxing Match


A local farmer invited me to photograph hares on his land as they are particularly active. I watched about 10 of them, sometimes sitting in a circle as if having a conversation and then racing round the field chasing each other. Boxing like this is usually the result of a female (jill) fending off the attention of an ardent male (jack). The action lasted about a second so catching the moment require following the hares around the field with fast shutter speed (1/2,500th second) and burst mode pre-set.

Stourhead in Spring


The designed landscape of Stourhead is nationally and internationally famous for its autumn colour. It is less well-known but equally engaging in late spring. This unusual view was taken during my Secrets of the Wiltshire Landscape Photography Tour.

Wiltshire in Spring Workshop


This sublime mosaic of bluebells and ramsons in an ancient woodland featured on my Wiltshire in Spring workshop for the Royal Photographic Society Landscape Group.

Land's End


Sunset over the spectacular rock arch of Enys Dodnan at Land's End on the final evening of my Milky Way and Cornwall Coast Photography Tour. The variety of granite boulders in the foreground at this location enable a variety of different compositions.

Milky Way and Cornwall Coast


This image of the core of the Milky Way in England's darkest skies was captured at 3am on the second night of my Milky Way and Cornwall Coast Photography Tour. Later on that day (after a good sleep) we did an indoor tutorial on how to process the image, combining 20 light RAW files of 20 seconds at F/2 and ISO 6400, 15 dark RAW files of 20 seconds at F/2 and ISO 6400 and one light RAW file of 8 minutes at F/2 and ISO 6400.

Old Man of Storr dusted by snow


My second Glencoe and Skye Photography Tour ascended the Storr in darkness to reach this position before sunrise. I like the juxtaposition of foreground boulders with the jagged outline of the rock pinnacles against the skyline from this viewpoint. A dusting of overnight snow transformed the scene, which was completed by subtle colour in the sky over the distant Cuillin mountains.

Mountain Hare on the Run


My Cairngorms Birds and Mammals Photography Tour enjoyed mountain hares, leaping squirrels and lekking black grouse. We were able to approach some of the hares to within a few metres, whilst this one gave us an action shot as it bounded across our field of view. In the first week of April it was in the process of moulting from white winter to brown summer pelage.

Rannoch Moor at Sunrise


I led my Glencoe and Skye Photography Tour to Lochan Na H-Achlaise, arriving before sunrise to find it completely shrouded in mist. As the sun rose, the mist parted to reveal a beautiful tranquil scene reflected in the lochan. I made this image as a lenticular cloud cap briefly formed over the Black Mount beyond the lochan.

Welcombe Beach


This remote beach is a little difficult to find but the effort is well rewarded by superb rock ridges running out to sea. These are the eroded stumps of folded and twisted sedimentary rocks, upended by huge tectonic forces. I timed my visit for a day on which the falling tide exposed the best ridges just before sunset. It was rather stormy and every few minutes a large wave sent water cascading up the channels between the ridges to reach my feet. A 30-second shutter speed has rendered this retreating wave smooth like mist, with the rock ridges forming strong leading lines.

Northern Lights


A spectacular aurora covers the western sky at Grundarfjordur in Iceland's Snaefellsnes peninsula. The mountains are lit by an 85% waxing gibbous Moon. I included a house in the foreground of this composition as a focal point.

Heavenly Waterfall


Skogafoss is one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls. I waited several hours in the dark, during which time it snowed twice, to capture this moonlit view with an auroral curtain above the falls.

Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier


Each winter, meltwater forms new ice caves in Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier in south-east Iceland. Daylight filtering through the ice from above appears blue as longer wavelengths are absorbed by water molecules in the ice.

Storm at Diamond Beach


Icebergs calf into Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in south-east Iceland, from where they float out to sea. On this stormy day a great many were washed up on nearby Diamond Beach, with huge waves pounding the shore. I used a neutral density filter to make a four-second exposure, pressing the shutter as the wave reached my feet and then started to recede.

Roundway Down


This classic Wiltshire scene shows the western end of the Marlborough Downs, deeply incised by combes carved by streams running over frozen chalk during the last glaciation. The foreground terracettes are formed by soil creep. Trees on Oliver's Castle create the needed focal point, scattered clouds take care of the sky and a little golden light from the setting sun completes the image.

Morning Mist, Bishops Cannings


Towers, hills and anything that sticks up can look good in mist, particularly when photographed from an elevated viewpoint above the mist. The spire of St Mary's the Virgin Church in Bishops Cannings is a good candidate; even so it has taken me several years of visiting to get conditions that fulfilled my vision. There was a beautiful pink and red sky before sunrise, the colour of which is reflected in the mist.

Devil's Den


This reconstructed Neolithic dolmen on the Marlborough Downs comprises the entrance stones to a now lost prehistoric long barrow, which was built with its entrance facing midwinter sunrise. I went in the hope of photographing hard overnight frost and a colourful sky as a weather front arrived from the south-west. The cloud thickened slightly earlier than forecast and I was fortunate to see the Sun for 30 seconds on the horizon, just enough time to photograph a sunburst through the dolmen.

Jurassic Coast in Midwinter Photography Tour


My Jurassic Coast in Midwinter Photography Tour visited classic locations such as Kimmeridge Bay, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, together with many lesser-known places. Careful planning around the tides enabled this image of a wave cut platform in Kimmeridge Bay being covered by the rising tide an hour after sunset.

Stair Hole


Stair Hole and Lulworth Cove photographed just before sunset. The foreground gives us a good idea of how Lulworth Cove (beyond) formed as the sea first broke through Portland limestone and then eroded the softer sands and clays to landward. Look for the Lulworth Crumple between Stair Hole and the Cove; layers of strata concertinaed by the tectonic forces that upended the rocks of the Jurassic Coast as Africa collided with Europe.

Planetary Trio


Jupiter, Saturn and Venus were all visible in the evening sky soon after sunset. I photographed them over West Kennet Long Barrow, with Venus between two of the sarsen stones at the entrance. The composition seemed unbalanced so to better link the foreground and the sky I stood on the Long Barrow and shone my torch towards Jupiter.

Halnaker Tree Tunnel


Tree tunnels have become fashionable photographic subjects. Amongst the best-known is at Halnaker in West Sussex. There was enough autumn colour to make this picture work; the main challenge was waiting until it was free of pedestrians. I took three images at different points of focus and stacked them to ensure front-to-back sharpness.

Ancient Oak


Savernake Forest in Wiltshire has a remarkable assemblage of ancient trees. This bizarre veteran oak puts me in mind of a giant arthropod with multiple limbs ambling through the forest.

Monk Coniston Jetty


During my second Lake District in Autumn Photography Tour, a brief shower of rain just before sunset transformed this scene, making the jetty reflective of the sky.

Borrowdale Old Mill


This restored old mill is well hidden amongst trees along the banks of Combe Gill. It is slightly tricky to reach but the effort is well rewarded. On a rather damp day during my first Lake District in Autumn Photography Tour there was not much light and I increased my ISO to 200 to get an 0.3 second shutter speed, which pleasingly smoothed the water.

Watching Sunrise from Parkhouse Hill


Parkhouse Hill in the Peak District gets its distinctive shape from its formation as a reef knoll in tropical seas during the Carboniferous Period. On this October morning it was rising from swathes of mist in the surrounding valley. The picture was completed by two walkers standing on the summit to watch the sunrise.

Jackdaw looking for ticks


Red deer are Britain's largest land mammal. The jackdaws in Richmond Park have learned that ticks living on the deer are tasty and nutritious meals. This one is moving in for a snack.



The distinctive peaks of Fleetwith Pike and Hay Stacks at the south-eastern end of Buttermere frame this image, with the well-known lakeside pines central to the composition. For this image to work, the water has to be perfectly still to give a reflection. Optimum lighting is when the sun rises over Honister Pass (as it does around the equinoxes), giving an interplay of side lighting and back lighting on the mountain slopes about an hour after sunrise. All that I planned for ... but I did not know I would be competing with Tom Cruise and a huge film crew for my carefully selected shooting position!

Tracking the Milky Way


Milky Way, Jupiter and Saturn over West Kennet Long Barrow on the Marlborough Downs. To get everything in, this is a vertical stitched panorama, with the sky tracked using a SkyWatcher Star Adventurer. The panorama comprises three tracked frames of the sky and two untracked frames for the foreground. Exposure of each frame was 6 minutes at f/2 and ISO 400. This method has given a pin-sharp sky and much lower digital noise than shooting a shorter exposure with a higher ISO.

Migrant Hawker


This wary species of dragonfly is not easy to approach in flight. It is however territorial and patrols its pond on a regular beat. When his one momentarily hovered, I was able to get a sharp picture at 1/1,600th second, f/5.6 and ISO 800. Even at that shutter speed, its wings are softened by motion blur.

Adonis Blue


The dazzling Adonis Blue butterfly looks to me like a fragment of summer sky that has fallen to Earth. By adopting a low viewpoint, with my camera braced against the ground, I was able to photograph this one against the sky.

Sunflowers at Sunset


These sunflowers lend a Mediterranean flavour to the landscape of Salisbury Plain. I selected a position at the edge of the field such that a small copse of trees on the horizon would be balanced by the setting sun. Composing carefully, with my tripod fully extended, enabled me to include both these and a dense area of flowers in the foreground. I focused on the flower at bottom right, which gave me depth of field from the nearest flower to infinity. Five bracketed shots at two stop intervals combined in Lightroom captured the whole dynamic range of the scene, from sun to sunflowers.

Milky Way and Perseid Meteors


Celestial fireworks and our galactic core viewed from a cove on the Dorset coast on the last evening of my Milky Way and Jurassic Coast Photography Tour. Superb clear skies over Lulworth Ranges revealed the glory of the Milky Way and dozens of Perseid meteors. Rich in magnesium and glowing green as they burn up on entry to Earth's atmosphere, there are nine meteors in this image (though they are not all easy to see against the bright background stars). This photograph comprises 21 light frames taken just after 11pm for the sky, each of 20 seconds at f/2 and ISO 6400; 10 dark frames of the same exposure; one exposure of 20 seconds at f/2 and ISO 100 for the foreground taken at 9.30pm; and eight frames (out of more than 700 exposed between 11.30pm and 1.30am) of 8 seconds at f/2 and ISO 6400 for the meteors. The tripod was not moved throughout so all elements are shown where I saw them. If you are interested in finding out more about this tour, it was reported nationally on ITV Regional News.

Worbarrow Bay


Worbarrow Bay is a remote, undeveloped part of the Dorset coast sheltered by a conical hill ("tout") overlooking its eastern end. This 10-second exposure at sunset during my Milky Way and Jurassic Coast Photography Tour is framed by the limestone tout on the left and the chalk of Bindon Hill in the distance.

Purple Emperor


I ventured into the Purple Empire. Gliding and soaring through dappled sunlight, this magnificent Purple Emperor in Savernake Forest made me feel as if I had been transported to the tropics. The Emperor's purple is not a pigment; rather it is formed by refraction of light from the structures of his wing scales. Purple can only be seen when the wing is at the right angle relative to both the observer and the sun, making it tricky to photograph simultaneously in all four wings. His Imperial Majesty is an aristocrat amongst British butterflies but his tastes are far from fastidious. This one was partial to a tasty dog turd.

Milky Way, Portland Bill


Portland Bill boat crane echoes the angle of the Milky Way after moonset. This image is a stitched panorama of three frames taken with my 14mm wide angle lens.

Somerset Lavender


Early morning sun side-lights lavender rows, creating leading lines towards distant trees.

North Landing


Traditional Yorkshire fishing cobles beached at North Landing, Flamborough Head in evening sunshine.

Courting gannets


A naturally-lit, high key portrait of courting gannets on Bass Rock during my Seabirds and Castles Photography Tour.

Diving gannets


Hundreds of gannets diving into the Firth of Forth just a few metres from our boat created spectacular photographic opportunities during my Seabirds and Castles Photography Tour.

Bamburgh Castle


A falling tide reveals rock ledges creating a leading line to Bamburgh Castle in evening sunshine during my Seabirds and Castles Photography Tour.

Duke of Burgundy


One of Britain's most localised and sought-after butterflies, the Duke of Burgundy was one of 18 species of butterflies seen and photographed on my Bustards, Butterflies and Barn Owls Photography Tour in June 2021.

South Stack


South Stack lighthouse is spectacularly situated at the north-western tip of Anglesey. In late May, sunset is well-placed beyond the lighthouse with a foreground of flowering thrift, buffeted by wind during my exposure.

St Cwyfan's Church


Eglwys Bach y Mor ("The Little Church in the Sea"). Built in 1254 and dedicated to St Cwyfan, this petite church occupies a fascinating location on the tidal island of Cribinau adjacent to Anglesey. At high tide it is surrounded by water, with a rough causeway of boulders being the first connection revealed.

Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris


The first sunlight catches the steep east face of Cadair Idris, viewed across the beautiful glacial lake of Llyn Cau. At 473m above sea level (420m below the summit), this lake takes a bit of getting to for sunrise. I was pleased I took my fisheye lens.

Rainbow, Mawddach Estuary


I do not usually have much luck predicting rainbows but here I succeeded. The weather pattern for much of the day was clear skies over the west coast of Wales and rain inland over the mountains of southern Snowdonia. I knew that the sun would drop below 42 degrees height soon after 4pm, giving the possibility of a rainbow. I also knew from a previous visit that around 5pm BST the sun aligns with the south-west orientation of the Mawddach Estuary. So I went to Panorama Viewpoint, overlooking the estuary from above Barmouth, at 4pm and waited for an hour. Sure enough there was my rainbow, perfectly positioned in the north-east above the estuary and its surrounding mountains. Needless to say, both Sarah (the model) and I got drenched during the taking of this photograph.

Pagan Sunrise


May Day saw a perfect sunrise over the frosty Marlborough Downs, with sufficient mist and hazy cloud to soften the sun so it could be included in this view of The Cove at Avebury stone circle. This pagan was celebrating the sunrise and kindly stood still for a few seconds while I made this bracketed exposure.

Moonset at Stonehenge


April's Full Moon set over Salisbury Plain at 5.52am, just one minute after the sun rose, providing the opportunity of a well-balanced exposure. I took this picture as the Moon appeared to be momentarily resting on a sarsen stone, looking almost as if it is setting within the stone circle.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy


Minack Theatre, near Land's End, has a stunning location on the side of a Cornish cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. At 3.30am in April, the core of the Milky Way can be seen rising over the stage. This image comprises a stack of 65 RAW files (all identical in composition), of which 47 were light frames of 20 seconds at f/2 and ISO 6400, one was a light frame of 20 seconds at f/5.6 and ISO 1600 torchlit and 17 were dark frames of 20 seconds at f/2 and ISO 6400. So this image represents 22 minutes of exposure time. It shows how stacking multiple exposures increases the detail and quality of the final image. Thanks to The Minack Theatre for providing access between 1am and 4am.

Trebarwith Strand


This unusual beach in North Cornwall features a rock promontory surrounded by water at high tide. In mid-April the sun sets in line with this promontory. I scheduled my visit for the day of the month on which high tide was an hour before sunset, so that the falling tide would leave reflective wet rocks. A neutral density filter extended by shutter speed to 30 seconds so that the water is rendered smooth and attention is concentrated on the texture of the rock.

Snake's head at sunrise


Snake's head fritillaries are a nationally rare plant and 80% of Britain's wild population grows in a single meadow at Cricklade in Wiltshire. I photographed this one at sunrise using a 16mm wide angle lens, with my camera pressed to the ground. Five bracketed exposures have enabled me to capture the full dynamic range from the shady grass to the bright sun, a range in brightness of around 19 stops.

Grass snake


I found this grass snake comatose in a compost heap, which was generating enough heat to keep it from freezing on a distinctly chilly night. Being long and thin, snakes are tricky to photograph so I decided to concentrate on its head, with a foreground of soft-focus scales. Focusing on the eye, I took a rapid burst of shots to get its tongue fully extended as it tasted the air.



Salisbury Plain has excellent populations of this charismatic mammal. Using my car as a hide, I was able to photograph this hare nibbling young corn shoots. Its acute hearing picked up the sound of my camera shutter instantly and it turned to face me, looking for the source of the noise.

White Horse at Sunset


Pewsey White Horse is one of the smallest of Wiltshire's eight chalk horses and seems to lack an interesting foreground. The solution is to make the horse itself the foreground with a flaming sunset beyond. For a few days around the equinox sunset is in just the right position, due west behind the horse.

Crow Mobbing Barn Owl


Corvids are known for trying to drive birds of prey from their hunting territories and this crow was giving the barn owl a hard time. I managed to keep them both in frame as the owl turned and twisted, trying to get away.

Full Moon Rising


February's Full Moon rising over the Ridgeway in Wiltshire. I positioned myself 5.4 km from the tree clumps to make the Moon appear bigger than the trees and used a 400mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter.

High-key Hawthorn


When snow falls we hope for a blue sky but often we get a white sky. I walked into Fyfield Down to photograph gnarled hawthorn trees against a canvas of white and soon found myself enveloped in fog, which added to the abstract look I wanted. This tree, with an almost featureless background, seems like a pencil drawing.

Buzzards Fighting


This juvenile buzzard (on the left) had possession of a dead pheasant which the adult (on the right) wanted. When I saw the stand-off developing I set a shutter speed of 1/2000th second and an aperture of f/8. After some hostile manoeuvres, the adult delivered a kick to the juvenile which knocked it to the ground. That was the end of the contest. It happened so fast I couldn't really follow it with my eyes but at 7 frames per second, the images recorded by my camera told the whole story.

Rine Ice


Freezing fog covering the hilltops of the Marlborough Downs overnight came into contact with this tree and the suspended droplets froze, covered it in rine ice. I photographed it at dawn, as the fog parted to reveal subtle colours in the sky.

Woodborough Hill


The last day of 2020 produced the best photographic conditions of the year. After a gloriously frosty sunrise, thick mist swathed the Vale of Pewsey for three hours. In this image taken from Wiltshire's highest hill on the escarpment of the Marlborough Downs, Woodborough Hill and Picked Hill rise through the mist beyond the foreground slopes of Milk Hill and Walkers Hill.

A Glimpse of Prehistory


Is this what midsummer sunrise looked like in 2500 BC?
It is well known that the main axis of Stonehenge was constructed to align with sunrise on the summer solstice and sunset on the winter solstice. However, the positions of sunrise and sunset were not the same when Stonehenge was built 4,500 years ago as they are today. The earth's axial tilt has been slowly decreasing over time, from 24 degrees then to 23.4 degrees now. At the latitude of Stonehenge, this is enough to change the compass bearing of sunrise on the summer solstice from 48.2 degrees then to 49.3 degrees now. In other words, Stonehenge was built to align with a sunrise position that was about one degree further north than it is today. When people flock to Stonehenge to see sunrise on the summer solstice, they do not see exactly what the builders of Stonehenge observed.
Being approximately opposite in the sky to the Sun, the Full Moon rises at its most northerly annual position on the horizon in December. However, because the Moon's orbit around Earth is inclined to the Earth's orbit around the Sun by 5.1 degrees, that most northerly position of moonrise on the horizon each year varies over a 18.6 year cycle. Twice during that lunar nodal cycle, the December Full Moon rises (and sets) at the same position on the horizon that the summer solstice Sun rose (and set) at the time when Stonehenge was built. 30 December 2020 was one of those dates.
Moonrise was at 4.19pm, at which time the sky was heavily overcast and I was about to give up. Then at 4.49pm the rising Moon shone briefly through a little gap in the cloud, enabling me to capture this photograph.

Winter sunset


Once their leaves have gone, trees make beautiful silhouettes; the perfect foil for a dramatic sunset. This beech clump on Salisbury Plain comprises just four trees, giving good separation, some of them leaning at kooky angles. I composed so the trees framed a bush beyond them and retracted my tripod legs so there was separation between the branches and the ground.

Autumn Mist


Thick mist swirling around Knapp Hill as it spilled out of the Vale of Pewsey. This photograph was made at 10.15am as the mist continued to build. It finally burnt off at 10.45am, more than thee hours after sunrise, enabling me to go home for breakfast.

Sunbeams in Savernake Forest


The Grand Avenue in Savernake Forest is oriented to the south-east, so in late autumn the sun shines along its length soon after rising. I positioned myself so the sun was hidden behind foliage and the image was framed by tree trunks in shadow. Sunbeams are made visible by a little mist.



A spectacular dawn sky over Buttermere. This lone tree is usually on the shore of the lake but high water levels this autumn engulfed it, creating an unusual spectacle.



As the elegant fruiting bodies of Magpie Fungus (Coprinopsis picaceus) mature, they roll up from the sides to form an almost flat, circular dish. This then liquifies, the flesh digesting itself into glistening black goo. Viewed straight down from above, illuminated by two hand torches.

Porth Nanven Beach


One of the most westerly beaches in England, Porth Nanven near Cape Cornwall is battered by Atlantic waves, which pile up huge rounded boulders. A 30-second exposure belies the typically stormy conditions and gives an impression of tranquillity. Photographed on the day that neap low tide coincided with sunset, waves swirling round the foreground boulders have been transformed into what looks like mist.

High Tide in Porlock Marsh


The biggest tides of the year occur around the New Moon closest to the equinoxes. I travelled to the Somerset coast where these equinoctial high spring tides coincide with sunset. This tree was alive until 1996, when the sea broke through the shingle beach at Porlock Bay and flooded the field in which it was growing, creating a new area of salt marsh. (The breach can be seen behind the tree on the right.) Right on cue, the rising tide flooded the salt marsh as sunset colour spread across the sky. The tide rose higher than I was expecting and continued rising after the tide tables indicated it would have peaked. The photographic opportunities got better and better but by this time I was standing on a small elevated bank surrounded by sea water. When darkness fell and my refuge seemed about to disappear, I waded out.

Caen Hill Flight


The rising sun shining down Caen Hill flight of locks on the Kennet and Avon canal west of Devizes. This alignment occurs one week before autumn equinox (and again one week after the spring equinox). On the morning I took this, the sun is not quite perfectly placed but the moored canal boat and mist complete the picture, making an attractive scene.

Flowering Heather


Dawn sky echoing the colour of flowering heather in the New Forest.

Milky Way over Durdle Door


Clouds clearing to the west reveal the core of the Milky Way, along with Jupiter and Saturn, over Durdle Door on Dorset's Jurassic Coast.

Stonehenge by Moonlight


In this image made at 2am after several hours trying to photograph Perseid meteors, Stonehenge is slightly backlit by the third quarter Moon, low in the sky to my right. I like the way the subtle interplay of moonlight emphasises the antiquity of the stones. There was a series of spectacular lightning storms in progress about 60 miles to the north which are illuminating the sky behind. The bright star just to right of centre is Capella.

Sunflowers at Sunrise


This lovely field of sunflowers beside a main road across Salisbury Plain has become a popular visitor attraction. By arriving before sunrise, I had the field to myself and was able to set up a pleasing composition to make the most of the first, best light of the day. Sunflowers face east, to greet the rising sun. This warms them up more quickly in the morning and attracts pollinators.

Plough and Windmill


Aspects of celestial and terrestrial agriculture: Plough and Windmill. Comet NEOWISE can be seen between the sails. 20 seconds at F/2 and ISO 1600.

Brown hawker


Brown hawker (Aeshna grandis) patrolling the River Kennet in Wiltshire this afternoon. This highly territorial species is hard to photograph in flight as (unlike the Southern Hawker) it is not inquisitive and doesn't hover. I returned home with over 200 images, of which many had no dragonfly in them at all and of those that did, only one was sharp.



July 2020 saw the first bright comet in Northern Hemisphere skies for over 20 years. I photographed it rising beside St Michael's Tower on Glastonbury Tor at 2.15am on the first clear night after perihelion (closest approach to the Sun). Using a 400mm telephoto lens, I had to limit my shutter speed to 2 seconds to avoid trailing of the comet and background stars resulting from Earth's rotation. Despite the early hour, two comet-watchers who happened to be on Glastonbury Tor completed the scene.

Gathering Storm over Opium Poppies


Grown under license for medicinal purposes, opium poppies are a striking element of the midsummer countryside. I photographed this field near Hungerford in evening sun, as dark storm clouds approached from the south giving an unusual colour balance. A short telephoto (84mm) lens compressed perspective, pulling the distant tree clump into the image and making the poppies appear dense; requiring multiple frames to be focus-stacked. No opium poppies were harmed in the making of this photograph but one photographer got thoroughly drenched.

Sunset at Westbury White Horse


Perched on the north-western edge of Salisbury Plain, Westbury White Horse is well positioned for evening light. This image is captured with a fisheye lens to include both horse and sun, making a balanced composition that is only possible around the summer solstice. I was lucky with the sky.

Moon and Tide


The highest tides each month (spring tides) fall two days after New Moon and Full Moon. High spring tides at Clevedon in Somerset are at 9.30pm BST, coinciding with sunset in June. An hour after sunset, the tide had started to fall leaving reflective wet rocks at the top of the beach, whilst the two-day old crescent Moon was well-placed above the end of the pier.

Barn Owl


Barn owl caught by the last rays of evening sun against a downland background that is already in shade. Exposure of 1/1250 second at F/8 and ISO 800 was set manually to correctly expose the pale feathers of the owl against a contrasting background. I love these iconic birds, of which we are fortunate to have a good population in Wiltshire.

Summer Solstice


This Neolithic dolmen on the Marlborough Downs was constructed 4,500 years ago to face the rising sun on the winter solstice. Now only the entrance stones remain and looking through them in the opposite direction, they frame sunset on the summer solstice.

Meadow From Below


A meadow featuring ox-eye daisies, meadow buttercups and ragged robin, looking straight up. My camera can see what I never can directly, as I can't get my eyes that close to the ground! I captured this image with my Canon 5D IV and an 8mm fisheye lens. At 5.35pm, the sun was low enough in the sky to illuminate the flower heads but just screened from the camera lens, forming a starburst at top left (11 o’clock position).

Great Bustard


With maximum recorded weights of up to 21 kg, male Great Bustards are the world’s heaviest flying birds. Huge in size and robustly built, they are stately in appearance with a heavy chest and characteristically cocked tail. These charismatic birds are indigenous to England but thanks to their popularity on banquet menus and trophy hunting, became extinct in 1832. The Great Bustard Group was formed in 1998 to reintroduce this iconic species to its natural habitat of rolling grassland on Salisbury Plain. I photographed this male bustard displaying from a specially built hide near the release site.



In the 18th century, smuggling was a significant activity in rural England and Wiltshire was on the route from the south coast to customers in the Midlands. A folk tale, first recorded in 1787, relates how some local people had hidden smuggled barrels of French brandy in a village pond, reputed to have been The Crammer in Devizes. While trying to retrieve the contraband at night with agricultural rakes, they were caught by customs officers. The locals explained themselves by pointing to the reflection of the Full Moon and saying they were trying to rake in a round cheese. The revenue men, taking them for simple yokels, laughed at them and went on their way. The moral of the story is clear; Wiltshire folk are resourceful and should not be underestimated. This is why the county’s inhabitants are proud to call themselves Moonrakers. Image taken at moonset on the Marlborough Downs from a distance of 680 metres with a 400mm lens plus 1.4x teleconverter, 1/4 second at F/16 and ISO 400.



About 1 in 10,000 wild bluebells lack pigment. I found one of these albinos in a Wiltshire wood and thought it would make a good photograph amongst its blue counterparts. By shooting with my aperture wide open (F/3.5), only the white flower was in focus and the all the others became a soft haze of blue.

Hairy-footed Flower Bee


Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) visiting cowslips in my Wiltshire garden. This handsome solitary bee is one of the first to emerge in spring. I pre-focused on the flower having set exposure of 1/400th second at f/11 and ISO 400 and waited for bee.



The two day-old crescent Moon is only 5% illuminated by the Sun. To an observer on the Moon, Earth would appear 95% full and more than 40 times brighter in the lunar sky than a Full Moon appears in our sky. That sunlight reflected from Earth faintly illuminates the night side of the Moon. This image was captured with my Canon 5D MkIV camera and 400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, giving an aperture of F/8. To correctly expose both the day and night sides of the Moon, I bracketed three exposures at ISO 6400: 1 second, 1/8th second and 1/60th second. I merged the three frames manually in Photoshop to show the Moon as I saw it.

Great Crested Grebes


The spring courtship ritual of great crested grebes is fascinating to watch. Both male and female first feign disinterest, then rise up from the water and present each other with bouquets of water weed.

River Kennet at Dawn


Storm Dennis brought heavy rain to much of England. The ground was already saturated by a notably wet winter, so even chalk streams like the Kennet in Wiltshire overtopped their banks. Two days later, water levels at the top of the catchment were already falling, leaving debris stranded on the flood plain. I composed looking along the length of the river with West Overton Church as a focal point in the background. In the foreground, the river bank and a little flood debris on the left are balanced by a fence on the right. But it is the gorgeous pre-dawn sky and its reflection that really makes the picture.

Churchyard Snowdrops


Sometimes it is good to be able to walk out of the house and take a photograph without having to get in the car first. These frosted snowdrops were in a village churchyard on the Marlborough Downs this morning. The sun rose in exactly the right position to complete the composition. The image comprises nine RAW files of identical composition: three at different points of focus (for focus stacking), each at three different exposures (for high dynamic range processing). The result is an image that is correctly exposed and fully sharp throughout.

Storm Ciara


Porthcawl in South Wales is exposed to the full fury of Atlantic storms. Standing on the end of the promenade, I photographed these spectacular waves breaking around the lighthouse during Storm Ciara using a shutter speed of 1/1600th second to freeze the action.

Freezing Fog


Freezing fog is quite rare in southern England but creates exceptional conditions for photography. I captured this image of sunrise over Salisbury Plain looking across the misty Vale of Pewsey from Golden Ball Hill on the Marlborough Downs using a 182mm telephoto lens. I like the way the rising sun is balanced in the image by the clump of trees on the right.

Floodplain at Charlton-All-Saints


The Salisbury Avon is a classic chalk stream, rich in wildlife, winding its way through the countryside of south Wiltshire on its way to the sea at Christchurch Harbour. Prolonged winter rainfall has saturated the ground, resulting in localised flooding. Tall riparian trees, frosted ground and a great dawn sky give character to this winter image.

Astrophotography Exhibition


My landscape astrophotography exhibition opens on 18 January 2020 at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

For thousands of years, people have been fascinated by the beauty of the night sky. But it is only in the last century that we have discovered the huge scale of the Universe that can be seen by our unaided eyes. More recently advances in digital cameras have enabled us to photograph fantastically distant objects in unprecedented detail and this exhibition presents images of the Universe over spectacular landscapes on Earth.

Dunstanburgh Castle at Dawn


This view of Dunstanburgh Castle from the north benefits from a foreground of wave-rounded basalt boulders. In winter, the sun rise behind the castle giving the possibility of attractive tones in the sky. To work, the boulders need to be wet and reflective so a falling tide is needed. I was lucky that on this occasion I was able to shoot from a rocky outcrop, providing stable footing and a good foreground composition. I used a 6 stop neutral density filter to slow down the exposure and show the waves as a misty effect around the boulders. Three exposures at F/16 for 10 seconds, 2 seconds and 30 seconds captured the whole dynamic range of the scene.

Bow Fiddle Rock


Bow Fiddle Rock is an elegant natural rock arch at Portknockie on the Moray coast of Scotland. I photographed it by gibbous moonlight, with the bright stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation of Gemini above and to the right. An outcrop of intertidal rocks made a good line-in line, requiring a separately focused frame, combined in processing, to get the whole scene within the depth of field at F/2.8.

Pine Marten


These charismatic mammals making a recovery and have been reintroduced outside their Highland stronghold to parts of the Scottish lowlands, Wales and England. A little honey and raisins kept this pine marten busy while I photographed it from a hide in Dumfries and Galloway using a powerful flash.

The Old Man of Coniston


The Old Man of Coniston is one of the best-loved mountains in the Lake District. I photographed it from Kelly Hall Tarn, providing a well-balanced foreground and a reflection. It was important to select just the right position to achieve separation between the boulder and reflection of the mountain. The dawn sky was mostly cloudy but it was just thin enough for spectacular colour. As the sun rose behind me, the sky over the Old Man lit up and completed the scene.

Silbury Hill


Now it feels like winter has arrived! A stitched panorama of Silbury Hill before sunrise, surrounded by a frozen moat and a little hoar frost, with a gorgeous pink sky.

Freshwater Bay


A welcome shaft of sunlight illuminates chalk cliffs at Freshwater Bay on the south coast of the Isle of Wight on an otherwise overcast morning. At the top of Tennyson Down, 147m above sea level and 2.5 km from this viewpoint, a huge granite cross is just visible in this photograph. It is a memorial to the life of poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, who lived nearby and walked here nearly every day. A neutral density filter enabled a 20 second shutter speed, smoothing out the movement of water around these impressive sea stacks.



Buzzard photographed from a hide on the Marlborough Downs. Contact me if you are interested in booking this hide.

Teffont Evias


A tranquil rural scene at Teffont Evias as autumn colour reaches its peak in Wiltshire. Described as one of the most beautiful parishes in England, the village has an uncluttered, timeless feel. The church and adjacent farmhouse are viewed here across the village pond and well-tended pasture with grazing cattle; a scene reminiscent of a Constable painting. I selected this shooting position very precisely so that a parked car adjacent to the church was hidden behind the branch of a yew tree.

Mist at Buttermere


An exceptional morning at Buttermere. First the rising sun illuminated the western lakeshore with golden light, then mist rolled up the lake to frame the perfectly reflected mountainside. The effect lasted less than five minutes before the warmth of the sun created ripples which broke up the reflection. A four stop neutral density filter helped bring out the reflection.

Hardknott Pass


Beams of sunlight breaking through cloud can make for dramatic photographic conditions. Viewed from Hardknott Roman Fort, the sun briefly catches Hardknott Pass, which is reached by England's steepest road. This cold and windswept outpost on the Cumbrian Fells must surely have been one of the least popular postings in the Roman empire.

England's Temperate Rainforest


A wet morning gave vibrant colours to the luxuriant mosses and ferns of Wistman's Wood, an Atlantic wet woodland in a Dartmoor Valley. I composed to exclude any distracting chinks of sky.

Great Staple Tor


Great Staple Tor. This shooting location shows its twin pillars well-placed in the frame. Menacing clouds parted for a few minutes to give some crepuscular rays beside the more distant pillar. I made three exposures at different shutter speeds to capture the full dynamic range of the scene, fully revealed when they are combined in processing.

Star trails over Ludgershall Castle


Ludgershall Castle is a ruined 12th century royal residence in Wiltshire. I made 110 30-second exposures at F/2.8 and ISO 1600, which I combined in processing to show the result of Earth's rotation over one hour. Because the castle was close to my camera, I needed additional depth of field to get it sharply focused so I made an additional exposure at F/8 for 4 minutes for the foreground. The terrestrial landscape is lit by gibbous moonlight.

Eclipse of the Moon


The first partial lunar eclipse at moonrise to be visible in Britain for nearly 13 years was keenly awaited. I positioned myself about 1 km north-west of Colmer's Hill in Dorset, giving a clear line of sight to the position of moonrise over the Isle of Portland on the horizon. While I was waiting, a herd of 25 bullocks came to investigate what I was doing in their field, completely encircling me so they could all have a look. Having persuaded them to move on by waving my tripod above my head, I then had to wait for the moon to clear some thin cloud lying on the horizon. Single exposure of 0.5 seconds at F11 and ISO 800.

Marbled White and Moon


I captured this image on the Marlborough Downs as a single exposure in camera using a 300mm lens and macro twin flash to light the butterfly. It was tricky to get the camera in exactly the right position for the butterfly, which was waving around in a slight breeze, to be against the disk of the Moon and to keep autofocus locked on the butterfly when it kept trying to wander 400,000 kilometres beyond it. I took 290 images with a success rate of less than 1%.

Lindisfarne Castle


Rising out of a rocky crag on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, this castle makes a compelling focal point in a landscape photograph. A rocky, lichen-encrusted shore makes the perfect foreground and a dark, menacing sky completes the scene.

White Horse under Dark Clouds


I walked up Cherhill Down on an evening of heavy showers and sunny intervals in the hope of getting this kind of lighting. It is worth spending a while getting rained on when I can see it coming.

Bee Orchid


One of Britain's best-loved flowers, the bee orchid has evolved to trick male insects into trying to mate with its flowers and thus distribute its pollen from one flower to another. The result is that the orchid achieves fertilisation whereas the bee does not! In order to get a good depth of field for the orchid and a diffuse background, I took nine frames identical in composition and exposure but with slightly different points of focus, then combined them using focus stacking software.

Poppies at Sunset


It is not possible to be sure in advance where poppies will appear each summer and that is part of their charm. This display on Salisbury Plain is visible from the eastbound A303 in Wiltshire. I composed with the earthworks of Yarnbury Hill Fort on the skyline and made the most of a spectacular sky.

Box Tunnel


The western entrance to Box Tunnel on the Great Western Railway, a masterpiece of engineering by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I waited 1.5 hours for an exiting train to coincide with sunshine and chose a shutter speed of 1/13th second to give motion blur to the train.

Crackington Haven


Crackington Haven on the north Cornish coast just after sunset. A rising tide was chasing me up the beach, with waves wetting rocks above the waterline. I used a neutral density filter to achieve a shutter speed of 3.2 seconds, sufficient to smooth out of the water surface and concentrate the viewer's attention on the leading lines formed by the rock ledges running from each corner.

Glastonbury Tor at Dawn


Glastonbury Tor just before sunrise, with a little mist rising from the Levels. I positioned myself with a view through the door of St Michael's Tower and a gate silhouetted at bottom right.

Bluebells, looking straight up


A different take on bluebells in West Wood near Marlborough. I placed my camera on its back with a fish eye lens set to its widest focal length of 8mm and smallest aperture of F/22. The result captures the whole sky - a canopy of beech trees framed by bluebells.

Sea Eagle in Action


The White-tailed sea eagle is Britain's largest bird of prey, with a wingspan of almost 2.5 metres. A shutter speed of 1/1,600th of a second has frozen the action whilst an aperture of F/8 gave sharpness from wing-tip to wing-tip.

Snakeshead Fritillary


Snakeshead fritillaries are flowering early this year, no doubt thanks to our mild winter. Many at Upper Waterhay Meadow, adjacent to the River Thames in Wiltshire, are white (Fritllaria meleagris alba), though this one retains a hint of chequered pattern. It astonishes me how such a delicate plant can survive being hard frozen by April frost, which we had early this morning. This ability enables them to flower before other grass and other plants outcompete them later in spring.

Corfe Castle


The rising sun breaking through dawn mist at Corfe Castle. I selected my location on the flank of West Hill so the castle stood against the sky, to the right of the hill over which I knew the sun would rise. I was careful to retain separation between different parts of the ruined keep and to hide obtrusive modern development. Nothing has been cloned out of this image! The resulting composition gives a timeless feel to this 12th century castle, which was ruined in the English Civil War following its capture by Parliamentary forces in 1645.



Britain's most beautiful snake is best photographed when basking in early spring sunshine. As morning fog cleared in the Forest of Dean, I spent an hour with them before they reached their optimum temperature and moved off into undergrowth.

Winter Sky


Orion, Sirius and Pleiades over Martinsell Hill in Wiltshire on a winter evening. I timed my arrival to coincide with moonrise and as the gibbous moon rose above mist in the Vale of Pewsey behind me, it bathed the Scots Pine in soft, cold light. Less welcome was brisk wind during my 20 second exposure, which has caused a little motion blur in the pine branches.

Sandstone Rocks


Pastel tones of sunrise complement the sandstone rock pillars of Ladram Bay in Devon. I chose to make a fairly tight, portrait-shaped crop in order to simplify the scene, reducing it to just two rock pillars leaning in opposite directions. A four stop neutral density filter further simplified my composition by smoothing out the motion of the sea. This finished image was made by combining three consecutive exposures separated by two stops (0.8 seconds, 3.2 seconds and 13 seconds) in order to retain detail in the rocks and the bright areas of sky where the sun had just risen.

Martinsell Hill


I like the squeaky crunch made by freshly fallen snow as it is compressed under hiking boots. Especially at dawn, when there are no other footprints in the snow, providing certainty that no-one else has trodden through or gazed upon the unfolding scene beforehand. However, when I reached the summit of Martinsell Hill in Wiltshire this morning, I found a rabbit had got there first. I decided to use its tracks as leading lines to the much-photographed pine tree. As the risen sun was only just out of frame, I shaded the lens with my hand to avoid flare. Sharp focus from front to back was ensured by making three images at different focus points, which I combined in processing using focus-stacking software.

White Horse in Winter


I have tried to realise the potential of this winter composition at Alton Barnes in Wiltshire many times over the last 15 years. Today all the elements finally came together to make this image. A dusting of overnight snow turns the horse gleaming white and picks out the tractor route to form leading lines. I set up my tripod and waited for a brief shaft of sunlight to bathe the White Horse in golden light. Differential lighting across the scene emphasises the main subject, whilst dark clouds beyond Milk Hill add some drama.

Fountains Abbey at Night


The night sky viewed from within Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. I made this image with an 8mm fish eye lens pointing straight up, to show the whole sky in a single frame. The constellations of Auriga and Gemini are framed by the arch at the bottom of the image, Cassiopeia is almost overhead and the Square of Pegasus towards the top right. I lit the interior of the Abbey with a little torchlight to bring out some detail in the stonework.

Portland Bill


Winter solstice sunset at Portland Bill. I selected this viewpoint from which the sun, setting at its southernmost point on the horizon of any day in the year, disappeared right behind the lighthouse. A shutter speed of 1.3 seconds has blurred the movement of waves just enough to form a pleasing foreground pattern and captured reflected colours from the gorgeous sky.

Sheep at the end of the rainbow


Sunshine and showers can make good landscape photographs. Setting out under overcast skies, I was hoping for late afternoon sunlight to break through and catch this clump of trees on Salisbury Plain with dark clouds beyond. When I arrived, I was treated to a bonus in the form of a rainbow with a flock of sheep at the end of it.



Moorhens are ordinarily matt black in colour but low winter sunlight brings their plumage to life, especially when reflected off water. I found this one at Slimbridge and waited for it to face me and bend to take a drink, so the bright red forehead almost, but not quite, touches its reflection.

Golden Toadstool


Fly agarics are quintessential toadstools and popular photographic subjects. I made this image just after sunset at Spye Park in Wiltshire, shining a small torch onto a gold reflector to illuminate the fungus. In order to get the camera low enough to the ground, I mounted it upside down beneath a horizontally extended tripod column. To give sufficient depth of field for the main subject whilst maintaining a diffuse background, I made several images of identical composition at different apertures and focus stacked them.

Light at the End of the Tunnel, Savernake Forest


The ancient hunting forest of Savernake is Wiltshire's largest area of woodland. The leaves tend to last longer on the trees than at other locations, perhaps because the size of the forest offers protection from wind and frost. I made this image looking down the main drive through the forest at 9am, with the sun straight in front of me. My first composition was from the middle of the drive but I found that by stepping just two metres to the right I could achieve a much more interesting, asymmetrically balanced composition. Backlighting filtering through the leaf canopy brings the leaves to life and an intriguing pool of sunlight further along the track draws the viewer through the image to a well-placed focal point. I took care that the sun was hidden behind a tree and not falling directly onto the front element of my lens.



Hoopoes are rare in Britain and the arrival of this one in rural Wiltshire resulted in considerable interest. This is the 150th bird species I have photographed in Britain, all of which can all be seen in my British Birds Galleries.

Andromeda Galaxy


The Andromeda Galaxy, photographed from my Wiltshire garden. Situated 2.5 million light years from Earth and containing around one trillion stars, this spiral galaxy is larger than our own Milky Way. I photographed it with my Canon 5D Mk iii and a 400mm lens at F/5.6 and ISO 3200. The light used to produce this image was acquired during 50 exposures of 45 seconds each, stacked in processing.

Langdale Pikes


Langdale Pikes viewed from Loughrigg Tarn. The moody, overcast sky is an important part of this image and I had to wait for shafts of sunlight to illuminate first the peaks and then the foreground. Knowledge of the location, time of year, time of day and ideal lighting conditions, along with patience, paid dividends.



Doric Temple reflected in the lake at Bowood.



I made this image of the charming church of St Michael de Rupe on Brentor a few minutes before sunset, benefitting from golden light on the church and perfectly situated wisps of cloud in the sky.

Swanage Pier


Wet planks reflected light from a grey sky, bringing this image to life in a way that would not have occurred on a dry day. The wind direction was northerly and hence not driving rain directly onto our camera lenses. I increased contrast in the sky using a virtual graduated filter in Lightroom.

Spinnaker Tower


Graceful Spinnaker Tower has become an iconic image of Portsmouth. I wanted to capture the pink sky about 10 minutes after sunset and also the time of crossover lighting, when there is a balance between ambient light from the sky and the artificial lights on the tower. I made two shots with identical compositions, six minutes apart, and blended them in Photoshop using the Lighten mode to give this finished result.

Solar Alignment


On 15 September each year, the sun shines down the length of Caen Hill locks in Devizes for a couple of minutes shortly after rising. It also occurs on 28 or 29 March. This image is a high dynamic range capture of four RAW files at different exposures to record detail in the shadows as well as the highlights. The only digital alteration was removal in Photoshop of an unsightly rubbish bin beside the towpath.

Westbury White Horse


A sunlit subject with a dark, stormy sky behind it usually makes dramatic lighting so it is a combination I often seek. For this image I used the classic compositional gambit of the main subject (Westbury White Horse) on one intersection of thirds and the foreground interest (a conveniently situated white cottage) on the opposing intersection of thirds. It has been done countless times before - because it works!

Waiting for Sunrise


I arrived at this field of sunflowers on Salisbury Plain before sunrise and noticed that they were all facing east, as if waiting to greet the rising sun. Apparently when they are growing, sunflowers follow the sun around the sky but when mature and less supple, they settle down and face east. That warms them up quicker in the morning, which makes them more attractive to bees (Atamian, Hagop et al. “Circadian Regulation of Sunflower Heliotropism, Floral Orientation, and Pollinator Visits.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 5 Aug. 2016, Photographically, I love the scene and composed with the tree clump central in my image, allowing the hedge line to its right and the soft clouds on the left to give asymmetric balance. A pink-tinged line of cloud creates a subtle leading line from top left to the tree clump.

Our Galactic Centre


Milky Way and Mars over Durdle Door. I captured this image from the clifftop by making five overlapping frames, each exposed for 20 seconds at F/2, using a 24mm lens in landscape orientation. I then stitched the five frames together in Lightroom to create a vertical panorama. A Perseid meteor, distinctly green in colour, was captured on the fourth frame against the Milky Way. Both Mars and the Milky Way are reflected in the English Channel, creating shining paths of light in the dark sea.

Wheel of Stars


One hour of star trails over Wilton Windmill. By positioning myself so that the Pole Star was directly above the windmill and making 120 consecutive 30 second exposures, I showed the effect of Earth's rotation as a giant wheel of stars, echoing the daytime rotation of the windmill's sails. A Perseid meteor can be seen just to the right of the windmill. I lit the windmill with a small torch for a few seconds on the final exposure. All 120 exposures were cleaned of aircraft and satellite trails and stacked in Photoshop.

Terrestrial and Celestial Transport


The International Space Station passes over the Prince of Wales Bridge. This image is a montage of 20 exposures of 10 seconds each at F/4 and ISO 800, all identical in composition, capturing the trail of the ISS as it moves from west to south across the sky. Because the ISS is moving, its brightness depends on aperture and ISO but not shutter speed. Hence by reducing the length of each exposure, I was able to make the bridge darker while maintaining the brightness of the ISS to balance the image. The exposure I used was the maximum I could while not blowing the highlights in the bridge. In processing I pushed the exposure of the whole image by +1 stop and then held back the exposure of the bridge using a virtual -1 stop ND grad. I combined the 20 frames as layers in Photoshop. Because the sky got darker between the first and last frame (3 minutes 20 seconds apart) I blended the 20 frames using the Lighten mode and then overlaid the ISS trail onto the background of the first (lightest) image, so as to show Jupiter (towards the left, between the bridge and the ISS) and the stars as points rather than trails. It is a pity there some murk over Newport that obscures the western end of the ISS trail; I was hoping to see the ISS rise between the bridge pillars.

Red Planet


Mars shining brightly over Stonehenge at 1am, the darkest time of a summer night. Just past Opposition, on 31 July the Red Planet was at its closest to Earth for 15 years. The terrestrial landscape is illuminated by light from the waning gibbous moon.

The Eyes Have It


There is very little that is sharp in this image but I think that puts all the attention on the amazing complex eyes of this southern hawker dragonfly. This species is innately curious and was hovering to take a close look at me beside a pond in Ravenroost Wood, Wiltshire. I used a 300mm lens wide open at F/5.6 to get just the head in focus, a shutter speed of 1,000th second to freeze the movement of the head (though not the wings and body), ISO 800 for correct exposure and quick reactions to get my focus point over its head before it flew away.

Golden Wiltshire


The summer heatwave has left much of Wiltshire looking parched. I made this image of Cherhill Down three quarters of an hour before sunset, when for a few minutes warm evening sunlight turned the grass golden. My location was carefully selected so that the contours of chalk downland and texture of dry grass play a prominent role in the foreground. Giving a strong sense of place, well balanced in the composition, Cherhill white horse and the Lansdowne Monument are the key focal points of the image.



Beavers are living wild in the west country after an absence of 400 years. This female was born to wild-living parents two years ago and has now established her own territory, where she and her mate are busy clearing channels and building dams. These shy animals are nature's engineers and delightful to watch.

Dunstanburgh Castle


Situated on a lonely crag between Craster and Embleton, Dunstanburgh Castle has the most dramatic location of all Northumberland's castles. Although only a solitary tower is visible from the north, the viewpoint benefits from a beach foreground of wave-rounded boulders. As high tide turns these are left wet and reflective, whilst half an hour before sunset, the crag and tower are bathed in warm light. With the boulders in shadow at this time of day, three different exposures were required to capture the whole dynamic range. I used a four stop neutral density filter to give a 10 second shutter speed on the longest exposure, which has pleasingly smoothed out the waves to give a tranquil feeling to the scene.

Arctic Tern


Arctic tern photographed with a wide angle lens as it swooped in to dive-bomb me. By manually setting the focus, the depth of field enabled me to include the island's Pele Tower in the background.

Puffin Delivery


Puffin delivering sand eels to its nest on Staple Island. Getting focus locked on is tricky owing to the speed at which puffins fly and requires careful panning as they approach. A little sea mist softened the light, avoiding harsh contrasts between the puffin's sunlit face and shaded underside.

Military Orchid


Military orchid is one of Britain's rarest flowers, with just three known sites. I made this photograph after overnight rain in Buckinghamshire. Each of the flowers was at a slightly different distance, so I made five frames at F/8 with identical compositions but different points of focus using my 100mm macro lens. I then combined them using focus stacking software to create this finished result with the flowers sharp and the background diffuse.



Yellowhammers are surely one of our most striking native birds. I thought they would look good against a backdrop of flowering oil seed rape so I tracked down a nesting pair on the Marlborough Downs and set up my hide at the field edge just after sunrise. Both parents were bringing a regular supply of insects for their brood to eat, though the female was working considerably harder than her partner! I photographed the male for his bright yellow plumage, almost exactly the same tone as the rape flowers.

Bantham Beach


Bantham Beach in south Devon features spectacular rock fins and ridges. Access to the beach is cut off around high tide and I chose the day for this shot so I could get onto the beach just 50 minutes before sunset. Fifteen minutes later, the falling tide had exposed enough of these ridges to make an interesting foreground, whilst the low evening sun imparted golden tones to the rock fins and cliffs beyond. A four stop neutral density filter enabled a 15 second shutter speed, which has pleasingly smoothed out the waves and brought out a reflection of the largest rock fin. The right tidal and lighting conditions for this image come together for just a few minutes on a couple of days per month.



Cuckoos are often heard at this time of year but seldom seen. This male has been a regular visitor to Thursley Common in Surrey during May for the last five years. He announced his approach by calling, enabling me to photograph him in the act of landing on a carefully placed branch.

Night sky over Elan Valley


Far from major towns and cities, the Elan Valley in mid Wales is an International Dark Sky Park. I photographed the night sky over Garreg-ddu reservoir, lighting the Victorian Foel Tower (a water intake) with my hand torch to provide a foreground. Looking due north at midnight, the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia lies over the tower, with the faint band of the Milky Way running through it. The water was sufficiently still to reflect the brighter stars, though slight ripples during my 20 second exposure have turned the reflected stars into short streaks.

Hartland Quay


Dramatic intertidal rock formations at Hartland Quay in North Devon are best photographed between one and two hours after high tide, as the sea begins to receed leaving reflective wet rocks on the upper beach. Just after sunrise, clouds in the western sky coloured up, whilst a strong westerly wind was sending big waves crashing into the seaward rocks. I used a 4 stop neutral density filter to lengthen the time the shutter was open to four seconds, giving a soft, flowing appearance to the receeding water in the foreground.



Ptarmigan are a demanding species to find, being confined within Britain to high mountains of northern Scotland. A trek through deep snow on the flanks of Cairngorm mountain was eventually successful. Using overcast light, I made a high key photograph in which the ptarmigan's white plumage blends with its snowy habitat to make an almost abstract image.

Mountain hare in snow


This mountain hare had already moulted most of its white winter coat, making it easy to spot on a steep hillside. We were able to approach closely to make portraits of the animal resting, alert and grooming.

Red Squirrel in Snow


Snow was falling, creating excellent settings for photographing red squirrels.

Glen Affric


A tranquil loch bounded by Caledonian pine forest and ringed by snow-capped mountains, Glen Affric is a vision of what Scotland must have looked like before most of its native trees were felled. On Easter Sunday morning, the mighty peak of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan is reflected in Loch Affric, surrounded by a foreground of ice.

Frost at Old Man of Storr


Starting two hours before sunrise, I ascended The Storr to capture golden light on the Old Man and his neighbouring rock pinnacles. Overnight hail was scattered over the ground which, together with a hard frost, brought the foreground to life. I like the way that the first few minutes of sunlight play on the contours of frosted ground.

Misty Morning at Kilchurn Castle


Superb conditions at Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe. A perfect reflection, mist descending and the rising sun behind me casting golden light on the hill beyond the castle. Mounting my camera low to the ground, I framed the castle's reflection with two shoreside boulders.

Cold Day at Silbury Hill


A flooded moat, ice and snow are a rare combination at Silbury Hill; in fact this is the first time I have seen all three at the same time. I liked the texture in the wind-blown snow and made that my foreground, with the boundary between icy moat and snow sweeping in a curve from bottom right through the image towards the main subject. I waited until there was good amount of cloud in the sky, predominantly to the right of the hill so as to balance the bright snow at bottom left.

Big Freeze


I went to Snowdonia to photograph the effects of the cold weather gripping the country. After several days of sub-zero temperatures, Llyn Cwmffynnon, a glacial lake between Glyder Fawr and Moel Berfedd, is under ice. Intriguing patterns in the ice suggest that the lake froze while wind was rippling the water surface. Although Glyder Fawr was hidden in cloud, I was able to include Moel Berfedd in the background. I spent a while fine-tuning my position to make the most of the foreground rocks so when lovely pink tones spread across the sky at sunset, my composition was ready to go.



Harsh weather brings fieldfares into gardens in search of food. I welcome these handsome, fiesty thrushes and put out some apples for them to eat. After a second day of snow, the apples have almost disappeared from view. However, the fieldfares are hungrier and there have been up to four in my front garden, sometimes fighting with each other over apple rights. This one made a well-balanced composition with just enough of the apples showing and the bird almost entirely within the plane of focus. I like the patch of snow on the fieldfare's forehead and used fill-in flash to put a catchlight in its eye.

Star Trails over Knowlton Church


The ruins of Knowlton church in Dorset are an evocative place. On a clear, cold night, I made 105 exposures of 30 seconds each at F/2.8 and combined them as layers in Photoshop to show the effect of the earth's rotation over nearly an hour. The church and surrounding landscape are illuminated by the waxing gibbous moon.

Claerwen Dam


Claerwen Dam is the largest of four dams in the Elan Valley of mid Wales, impounding 48 billion litres of water. I asked two passers by to stand on the bridge to show the scale of the spillway, 56m in height. My four stop neutral density filter gave a 0.6 second shutter speed to pleasingly blur the flow in this artificial waterfall.

Sunrise at Devil's Den


First light revealed a light dusting of overnight snow, so I went to Devil's Den, a Neolithic dolmen in the heart of the Marlborough Downs. The entrance to this ancient burial mound, of which just these standing stones remain, may well have been deliberately oriented towards the direction of winter sunrise. I waited for the sun to reach the exact corner of the aperture, giving a starburst but no unwanted flare.

Crib Goch


Dawn at Llyn Cwmffynnon in Snowdonia, reached by a steep climb from Pen-y-pass. Perfectly still conditions reflect the snow-capped peak of Crib Goch and a subtly toned overcast sky. My four stop neutral density filter increased the shutter speed to 10 seconds, bringing out the reflection even more strongly than I saw it.

Glaciated Landscape


Ogwen Valley, Tryfan and Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia, viewed from Pinnacle Crag. My photograph captures the glacial hanging valley of Llyn Idwal, 64 metres above Llyn Ogwen in the larger glacial valley below. Both are overlooked by the serrated, snow-capped peak of Tryfan.

Snowdon at Sunrise


A pre-dawn hike up the Miner's Track to Llyn Llydaw was rewarded when the clouds parted at sunrise to reveal Snowdon suffused in pink, orange and gold, along with the waning gibbous moon. Unfortunately it was too windy for a perfect reflection, so instead I balanced the mountain in the composition with a large glacial erratic boulder in the foreground.

Super Blue Moon


A "super moon" is when full moon coincides with lunar perigee, making it 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an apogee full moon. A "blue moon" is the second full moon in a calendar month. On the last day of January we had both, though unfortunately today's total lunar eclipse was finished before the moon rose in Wiltshire. Standing in a cold, muddy cabbage field, I captured moonrise behind a solitary tree on Salthrop Hill.

Woodborough Hill


Viewed from Golden Ball Hill on the Pewsey Downs, the distinctive landmark of Woodborough Hill is balanced in this composition by a small group of farm buildings adjacent to a copse of trees. Mist lying in the southern Vale separates Woodborough Hill from Salisbury Plain in the distance. Winter sunrise creates raking shadows across the frosty fields and an interplay of light and shade around the contours of the hill.

Blue tit at reflection pool


Last year I built a reflection pool in my garden. Raised up on timber uprights to just below the level of the viewing slots of my garden bird hide, it enables me to sit in comfort with an eye-level view of the birds as they come to drink. I placed a log as background and dead leaves to cover the liner. Today's low winter sun shows the plumage of this blue tit to good effect.