Hello, and welcome to my Blog.
In this section on my website, It's my aim to add a bit of background behind some of my photographs, that goes a bit beyond the title and location of an image.
It's also where I can debut new photographs I've taken and show and discuss things that perhaps are not on the main site.
Please scroll down to see my most recent updates
Once again, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank anyone who has taken their time to view my site.
Click on any image to view full size, and all shots are available to purchase as prints should you wish - please use the contact form with any questions or queries !
July 2019 - Summer Days
Since my last update I have found myself in a change of circumstances regarding my main job, so although limited to being close to home, have had an opportunity to get out a lot more than usual.
Added to this I have joined the 'bandwagon' and changed camera equipment from a DSLR to Fuji mirrorless, which has probably spurred me on to getting out and using my new equipment even more than I would normally have.
The new camera system is small, tiny in fact, and whilst this was not the main driver to changing, the weight saving with a camera and a few lenses is very noticeable. Yet the quality is at least as good, if not better than previously.
The family also has a new arrival in Sophie, a very photogenic,if at times maniacal kitten following the loss of Charlie a few months ago. In a very short space of time she`s turned our home upside down !
With the Fuji I've even played around with using some old Pentax manual 35mm film lenses via an adapter. I've had these sitting a bag for over 25 years so there`s a real sense of satisfaction in airing them again and getting good results.
So In this big update I have shots from land and coast, cats to seals, poppies to petunias
and a lot in between.
I hope you enjoy my photographs.
May 2019 - Spring Time
This is, what was supposed to be my second April update - however as it is late it has become my May 19 blog instead !
These shots probably encompass everything from late March to now (May 30th), so show a variety of changes in the landscape.
We were very fortunate to have a fantastic display of both Bluebells and Cherry Blossom around Sunderland and I have been able to get a few shots of each, from Bluebells in quiet woods to the pink blossom in a local churchyard.
Spring flowers have also carpeted the open spaces of Cleadon Hills and the buttercups and clover contrast against the blue skies of May.
Spring has also seen an arrival of young animals and I've been able to get some photos of the local wildlife.
Finally I've been messing around with some close up flower shots and of course have some local coastline images too.
April 2019 - Scottish Highlands
I've decided to split this update into two, as it covers quite a lot of images.
The first half is a selection from my return to Ballater in Aberdeenshire on a family holiday.
Ballater, (in what was once called Royal Deeside) is probably the nearest large village/town to The Queen`s Balmoral Estate, a large area that encompasses the famous house and grounds, as well as miles of woodland, moors and mountains.
Ballater stands next to the RIver Dee, not always a positive thing due to its periodic flooding, although the town itself seems to have recovered fully from the decimation of a few years ago.
It's difficult to run out of views to want to photograph in the area for me and i make no apologies for revisiting some of the places I've shared before which draw me back every time I visit, hopefully I've also included some new angles as well.
So, below are a few of the photographs I've managed to put together so far; Images of The River Dee itself; waterfalls at and around The Burn O'Vat (a `kettle` hole within the granite rock);the wide open space and tranquillity of Loch and Glen Muick on the Balmoral Estate; The National Trust For Scotland`s Crathes Castle; as well as some local flora and fauna.
I hope my shots convey some of the diverse beauty and splendour of an area I have visited almost yearly for over 25 years, yet never tire of going back.
My next update will follow soon !
March 2019 - Outdoor Photographer
It`s been quite a while since I last updated my site, so I felt it was time to provide an update.
I've tried to photograph a variety of things on my doorstep over the last two months, attempting to capture new shots and locations, whilst at the same time returning to familiar places and themes.
It can be a challenge to find new viewpoints of places I've photographed often, however the changing weather and seasons in the UK can serve to offer a different take on a familiar scene.
So there`s quite a mixture below; from stormy seas to calm river reflections,;the first spring flowers of the year and (hopefully) last remnants of winter; waterfalls; castles and majestic swans.
Hopefully something I have photographed appeals to you, the same way it did to me being there and pressing the shutter.
As ever, thanks for spending time viewing my work.
January 2019 - From Dusk To Dawn
A belated Happy New Year to everyone reading my blog and viewing my latest update.
This month I've been able to take advantage of the combination of late sunrises and early sunsets to get out onto my local coastline, and take in, as well as photograph some stunning skies over the Sunderland beaches at both ends of the day.
A relatively mild winter so far has made it a real pleasure being in the outdoors, without the uncomfortably early starts around the corner. I also think being on the beach at first light is something I still find magical. You never know if nature is going to put on a display for you or not, and there is that air of excitement as it develops in front of you. As well as that, the beaches are visited by others enjoying the start to the day; photographers, dogs and their owners or just other people out for some fresh air; and there seems to be an extra cordiality amongst everyone that you wouldn`t see as much later in the day - as if everyone has a shared bond. Or maybe we're all a little crazy being at The Sea pre-dawn in winter !
Along with these shots, I also have some shots of the Northern Spire as i am always looking for new viewpoints of this structure.
Thanks for viewing my site, and feel free to pass on any thoughts or comments from my `Contact` page.
My final entry to my site for this year is very overdue, so contains a selection of images from October to the end of December.
As it contains quite a large update, there is a little bit of everything thrown in; night and day; land and sea; rural and urban shots.
So rather than go into too much depth describing the photographs, i'll simply show them instead !
Thanks to everyone who has followed my website and here's wishing you all a Happy 2019.
October 2018 - Autumn Reflections
Hello everyone and welcome to my latest blog entry.
Since my last update, the UK has firmly moved into Autumn, with lengthening nights bringing with it crisp mornings, big storms and the changing colours of foliage from green to yellow, red and orange.
We have had balmy days suggesting Indian Summers, give way to strong winds, rain and cold from the tail end of atlantic hurricanes.
Being a photographer who loves being outdoors means I am guilty about banging on about the weather at times, but it does stop things from ever becoming too repetitive or predictable I suppose, although less rain is always good - at least when I want to go out !
Over the last 5 weeks I have managed 2 separate trips to Durham and photographed it at my favourite time of the year for the city, capturing both seasonal colour and its architecture reflected in a still river.
I was able to capture Sunderland`s Northern Spire bridge illuminated at night for the first time, as the earlier time of sunset makes things a bit easier for me to access.
Finally I fitted in a few trips to the local coastline as usual, both natural and man made as Roker Pier re-opens after being closed for 6 months following the fierce storms at the end of last winter.
So as this entry covers everything from the final harvest in the local area, up until the first autumn storms, I have placed my images into a few sub sections and hope you enjoy looking at them, as much as I did taking them
Thanks everybody for looking at my site.
For this month's update I have quite a lot of images to share.
I've been fortunate to be able to get out both in my local vicinity, and further afield on the West Coast of Scotland.
A family holiday to the Dunoon area of Argyll meant a revisit to the amazing Puck`s Glen.
This narrow ribbon of a stream (The Eos Mhor) tumbles down the rocks in a steep gulley on its way into Holy Loch below. Through its journey over a few kilometres, it passes over numerous waterfalls, surrounded by vivid moss and ferns. Although none of the falls are higher than 20 feet or so, what they lack in height they make up for in quantity and beauty.
I'll apologise in advance if some of the shots are similar to photos from last year, but i couldn't resist the lure of photographing them again, especially with a new camera from this time last year !
We then followed a recommendation for a day on the beautiful island of Bute, and i was able to take some images from Ettrick and Scalpsie Bay`s looking towards Arran.
Finally, we moved inland and around Loch Lomond, somewhere I feel that I have only just started to scratch the surface.
Apart from my Scotland visit, I've also been out and about around Sunderland.
After over 2 years of building work, Sunderland`s Northern Spire Bridge finally opened to traffic. The first structure across the River Wear in the City for over 40 years was always going to be a big event, and I joined hundreds of people able to access the bridge by foot, on the day before it opened to traffic. This gave some photo opportunities that would possibly be difficult to recreate in the future, and it was a surreal experience standing on the structure that I have photographed for so long from the river bank.
I also later took some images of the bridge reflected in the surrounding river and inlets, trying to find new angles to explore.
As usual, I returned to my favourite spots on the coast for some seascapes.
I think no matter how often you visit the same places by the sea, there are always subtle changes to record be it, lighting, tide or sky. Hopefully my work captures this in some way.
Finally, whilst it isn`t my strongest discipline, I love animals and wildlife of all types and have some photos to share of water birds, both sea and inland.
Thanks again for viewing.
For this month`s update I've not had the opportunity to venture too far from home.
The generally exceptional summer has meant opportunities for landscapes, seascapes and a bit of everything else in between, so I've revisited some of my favourite local spots.
I think it's a;ways intriguing to take a photo of somewhere familiar at different times of the year, and get such varying depth to your images
Next month I'm hopefully going to Scotland so should have some different photographs from my normal views, either way thanks as always for looking
This month has generally been a bit of a write off from a photography point of view, with limited opportunities to get out with the camera due to illness, so I decided to use the time to revisit some of my photos from last year.
The majority of my images tend to sit on a hard drive, so it seemed a good opportunity to either process shots that either had never seen the light of day, or perhaps redo some shots that I felt needed some tweaks here or there.
I shoot all my pictures in what is known as RAW format, which means the camera doesn't apply any saturation, contrast or sharpening (as is done in all JPEG images from phones and cameras) and I therefore have complete control to do this manually.
Looking back at my images from when I started using a digital SLR back in 2015, my style has certainly changed (hopefully for the better !) and has been an evolving process.Viewing shots even from just 6 months ago again, I can see areas for improvement and how a re-process can get a subtly different finished result.
So below is a selection of these images along with a few shots from the North-East Coastline and some more from Herrington Country Park earlier in the month, when cygnets and goslings started to appear.
Thanks for reading,
May 2018 - Spring
As we move towards the end of May, the UK has once more waken up from its long winter slumber and the countryside is covered in colourful spring flowers, new green shoots and the sounds of birds and animals again.
Cox Green Woods, somewhere I only discovered last year was somewhere I needed to re-visit as it has spots carpeted with Bluebells at this time of the year and whilst my first visit wasn't quite timed right, the following week I managed to get some lovely images (in my opinion) of these little drops of colour in the woodland (ironically on visiting the same place 10 days later they'd died back, showing how briefly they are around)
I've also managed to take a few bird photographs from local lakes as well as a few of my usual favoured seascapes.
A bank holiday excursion to Finchale Abbey near Durham on a hot Bank Holiday didn't prove great photographically, as it was heaving with tourists (like myself) but I plan to visit again at a quieter time.
Finally as promised, if somewhat belatedly, I have also included the rest of my pictures taken from the Scottish Highlands around Ballater.
I hope you enjoy viewing my pictures.
Thank you for spending time viewing my site
April 2018 - Scottish Highlands (Part 1)
In this update I've moved away from my usual stamping ground and have managed to combine a family holiday on Royal Deeside in Scotland, with some outdoor photography both to places I've previously shot and some new locations.
Before that though I was able to put my new camera through its paces earlier in the month, with some shots from in and around South Shields, playing with filters to get some long exposure shots.
Later in April we spent the week in Ballater, a scenic village on the banks of The River Dee about 8 miles from The Queen`s residence at Balmoral and I was able to get to 3 or 4 picturesque places in the area.
My first port of call was The Burn O'vat, a small waterfall withinl natural hollow behind a narrow opening in the rock. I managed a few different angles in the rain as well as thew surrounding woodland know as The Muir Of Dinnet.
The following day I got to the place I'd really wanted to photograph; The Linn O'Dee.
This is a narrow gorge about 7 miles north west of Braemar. Here the River Dee is squeezed through the rock, only a few feet across in places.
The power of the water here is mesmerising and hopefully my images do it justice.
I did manage another trip to The "Vat" in fairer weather before finally visiting Loch Muick, quite close to Ballater but feeling very unspoilt and remote. A large glacial valley on the Balmoral Estate with `Big Views` over the Glen Of Muick, past the Loch and towards the snowy peaks of Broad Cairn and Lochnagar.
A lovely break with some good walking and (hopefully) good images to accompany it.
I've decided to split this entry into 2 posts as I have a fair few images to share.
I'll share some more shots next month.
Thanks as ever, Robin
March 2018 - Sea Change
I do try and not become pre-occupied with weather reports in my Blog postings, but this month has seen a massive swing in the weather on our little island, from the "Beast from the east" right at the start of the month bringing snowfall I havent seen for years along with huge seas and destruction to beautiful mild spring days and back to winter with a vengance.
Lingering colds and flu along with extreme weather curtailed my photo opportunities early in March, so again I looked through some shots from 2017 sitting unloved on hard drives:-some of these can be viewed below.
A bigger change has come with my camera equipment, in my About Me section i've mentioned that since the days of 35mm film to getting into digital, I've used Pentax cameras. I felt the time was right to upgrade my DSLR for some features I really wanted but sticking with Pentax was too much of a jump financially.
So with a mixture of emotions I've replaced my camera with a Canon 200D. A lovely tiny DSLR that I'm enjoying getting to know. First impressions seem very good and whilst I would never have anything negative to say about Pentax, Canon comes with a great support service and user base.
Hopefully I can continue to take pictures that people like to look at.
Below are are mixture of shots from the last month.
February 2018 - Confinement
This month has seen myself and my family mostly stuck indoors due to a particularly nasty flu bug.
So there are only a few new images for me to share on here but what I have done is looked through some photos from 2017 that have never made it from the hard drive for whatever reason. Sometimes the shots are quite similar to others I've already published or I'd just skimmed past them looking at something else.
I know a lot of people don't like the idea of 'processing` a digital image from a camera but like it or not every image has been manipulated in some way automatically. I prefer to add my own style to a shot.
So, although I may have previously shown an similar image before from the same batch of photos , it's interesting to see how my method of processing an image has changed over time with the 2018 versions.
Anyway, here are a mixture of the few new shots I've been able to get and a selection of some extras from last year.
Happy New Year !
Hello and welcome to my first update of 2018.
This month the times I've been able to actually get out to take photographs combining with good weather, seem to have been at odds with each other but I still feel I've been able to get some nice images.
I always remember winter as a child bringing regular and frequent snow falls.Whether this was actually fact or not, we certainly don't get anywhere near as much snow, as often on the North East Coast these days.
Some heavy snow this month bucked that trend but infuriatingly I missed the opportunity to shoot the best of it, apart from a cold sunset at Penshaw Monument, with the ploughed field under the snow giving geometric lines leading to the old monument. At least I was able to grab a few shots from the public footpath over the field. A few horses in winter coats seemed to view me as a strange visitor standing still in the darkening, freezing evening ! The few pics I did get I was very happy with though.
As well as that I've been taking quite a few long exposures, deliberately lengthening shutter speeds to blur clouds, water or both can give a bit of a dynamic effect to change an image to convey that sense of movement and give an effect that we cannot see with the naked eye. This is best seen in my Northern Spire & Queen Alexandra Bridges sunset shots, as well as the seascape images from Whitburn, Roker and Seaham coastlines.
Finally something a little bit different, a portrait of a pair of swans from Herrington Country Park (in the shadow of Penshaw Monument) as the sun sets on a cold winter`s day.
Thanks for reading and viewing my photographs.
December 2017 - Fire And Ice
This month I'll keep things brief, suffice to say I've been incredibly fortunate to be out and about and shoot some wonderful views.
From fiery sunrises and sunsets to ice covered lakes I've taken advantage of this beautiful time of year; culminating in capturing a sunrise and sunset on the same day for the first time ever, when really I should have devoted my time to christmas shopping ! (sometimes the lure of a saturated sky is just too much to resist)
So on that note, to everyone who has taken time out to view my images, I hope each of you have had a fantastic Christmas and enjoy a wonderful 2018.
November 2017 - From Dusk To Dawn
Like most outdoor photographers the last hour either side of sunrise and sunset is highly desirable for shooting for the quality of light and at this time of year I have more opportunity to maximise this time around a busyl life, than I would in the height of summer. I also find night pictures have an air of magic about them, as they can give a new lease of life to a scene that may be relatively dull if shot during the day. Where possible I like to take these shots when there is still a little bit of colour left in the sky before it goes pitch black, what is often referred to as The Blue Hour.
So for this update I've been able to take some twilight photographs of the new Wear Crossing at Sunderland as it nears completion (and its official choice of name) in near gale force, ice cold winds as well as some night-time cityscapes and the illuminated Monument at Penshaw.
On the opposite side of the coin there`s also a few pictures of sunrises from Roker Beach and Harbour, with the early sun light bathing the vista in golden tones.
Who says shorter days are all bad !
Thanks as ever,
The days beginning to get shorter is not always welcomed by everyone but one advantage to an outdoor photographer is that sunrises,sunsets and night photography are achievable at a bit more of a `sociable` hour of the day, than the height of British Summer.Well, I still haven't got round to the sunrise shots yet this autumn but I have managed to get a few night and sunset pictures.
I've also been able to get some more autumn-y shots from Durham and stormy long exposure seascapes.
As ever - thanks for looking at my images
October 2017 - Autumn Mixture
Well over the last month I've been fortunate to get out and about quite often and photographed a variety of subjects, from mini waterfalls to seascapes, beautiful reflections on still waters and even a wild bird or two. I've experienced warm, late evening sunlit evenings to overcast skies and the tail end of a hurricane.
Instead of rambling on I'll post the pictures instead !
September 2017 - After The Harvest
Over the end of August and start of September I'd managed to get out and about a bit and get a few photos from a number of different places back on home turf.
Summer 2017 had not been vintage in the North East Of England but we`d had some warm dry weather at times, before the end of the school holidays seemed to coincide with Autumn`s arrival bang on cue.
Local farmers seemed to be very aware of the impending change and the harvest happened in a short time frame.
However I was able to get some pictures of the results of their labour; piles of straw in bales and geometric shapes, lit by low evening sun.
As a contrast I also have some long exposure shots from the National Trust`s Coastal Path near South Shields, South Tyneside. Using a neutral density filter has extended the standard exposure times from a fraction of a second into over a minute, turning the sea into a milky blur.
As a comparison, I also have the original `non-filtered' shot giving a more realistic look to the sea, TBH I like both versions.
There`s also a photo of an autumn visitor to the UK and a picture from the National Trust`s Cragside in Northumberland.
August 2017 - West Scotland
My first update for my blog this month comes with a change of scenery.
I am a fairly frequent visitor to Scotland but haven't been near the west coast properly since my honeymoon on Arran over 25 years ago.
Argyll is not somewhere I can ever recall being to before but is another stunning part of the British Isles and we were fortunate to have rented a cottage with stunning views over Holy Loch to the town of Dunoon.
The are was peaceful and beautiful and within a few miles of our base we had Benmore Botanical Gardens and a local hilly woodland known as Puck`s Glen.
The gardens were beautiful and quite quiet when we visited but Puck`s Glen is a pure delight and an outdoor photographer`s dream. Set alongside the Eas Mhor river the path follows the small stream up the hill for over a mile within a narrow, steep gorge. Although relatively small, the water twists and turns through woods, rock and moss over waterfall after waterfall. The white water contrasting with the verdant greens and peat tinged pools. We`d been recommended by a friend to make this a must-see and it didn`t disappoint, a place of amazing ethereal beauty and presence that I want to revisit many times.
As a contrast Holy Loch was a big view, with long exposure times smoothing the water surface and adding to the tranquility.
From here we moved inland towards Loch Lomond, somewhere else I'd never been to before and although a quick trip, we managed a tour around the Southern half of the Loch by boat , and visited a Bird Of Prey Centre before heading home feeling refreshed and wanting more !
Here is a selection of some of my shots form the trip.