I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year than spending it skiing in Switzerland. I first came here working as a filmmaker/cameraman shooting several ascents of the Eiger for BBC Television’s ‘Blue Peter’. This place made a huge impression upon me then and continues to do so nearly a quarter of a century later. I fell in love with it’s landscapes, it’s peace and tranquility and it’s spectacular scale and beauty. For me, the best form of relaxation is shooting landscapes. When I use the term ‘landscape’, it’s probably more accurate to say just about anything that interests me and that fits loosely into that category. I have a minimalist approach to personal work and like to experiment with just how little I can get away with in the frame before it becomes abstract. I believe that having an affinity for your subject or landscape really helps when portraying the essence of the place or person, and as with all my work, it’s the atmosphere that I am most interested in capturing. As well as the cerebral, this is also controlled by my technique i.e. lens choice, selective focus, lighting and of course post production.
I carry wide-angle lenses but keep coming back to my trusted 85mm prime. Somehow this lens focuses my view, framing elements of a vista and causing me to stop and think before I shoot. It’s like holding up a big piece of card with a window in it and when I see a view that I like then I shoot
I carry several wide-angle lenses but keep coming back to my trusted 85mm prime. Somehow this lens focuses my view, framing elements of a vista and causing me to stop and think before I shoot. It’s like holding up a big piece of card with a window in it and when I see a view that I like then I shoot. When I ski, I have a ‘Lowepro Primus Minimus’ camera rucksack, carrying two to three lenses: a 24mm, 35mm or a 17-40 zoom, and because it can often be quite hard on my kit, sometimes falling or dropping stuff, watching it bouncing down the piste, I also carry an old 5DMII. When on foot, I also bring a lightweight carbon fibre Manfroto 190CXPRO4 plus a 410 Junior geared head. This proved particularly useful for shooting the Jungfrau in moonlight. It’s also important not to forget the Lee filter kit: Polariser, Big and litter stopper, grad blacks and ND’s. Although whilst skiing, I find a simple screw thread ND adequate for most shooting, allowing me to shoot quickly and not spend too long on each stop. Postproduction for each picture is fairly minimal, and yet is a key factor in achieving the vital atmosphere that I have both captured and retained in a kind of mental library. I like to work quickly and Lightroom is my go-to choice for its speed and ease of use. The majesty and wonder of big mountains has been a huge and important part of my life for almost as long as I can remember, and skiing is an exhilarating way to move amongst them. Combine this with my other great passion, that of shooting pictures, and I’ve found a kind of Nirvana.