I have lived in Northumberland in the North East of England now for over 10 years. During that time, I have gone from owning a simple compact camera to becoming a semi-professional landscape photographer. I now spend every bit of my time and money on my passion for UK landscape photography. This journey has been influenced by many different things. I often think about the original source of my landscape photography inspiration. Just what was it that first enthralled me with capturing my surroundings and why did that devotion has grow and flourish?
The beautiful region I have been lucky enough to live in has played a huge part in this growth. It has also been the main source of my inspiration. The North East of England is one of the best areas for UK landscape photography. It has been the perfect place for me to cut my teeth as a landscape photographer. Whether ruined castles standing proudly over rugged beaches, Hadrian’s Wall weaving its way through field and over crags, or the stunning dark skies of Northumberland National Park.
Even now, after countless early morning rises and hikes, I am constantly stumbling across new scenes, landscape photography locations and places to photograph. Some of the places I like to visit have become quite cliché in British landscape photography circles. But this does not bother me at all. A place is normally popular because it’s great to take pictures of. So going back time and time again and discovering new ways of conveying that beauty is a challenge I love. I don’t buy into the school of thought that unless your photography is unique it is not worth something. For me, landscape photography is about enjoyment, something which no one else can dictate.
North of the Border
I love to throw my backpack on, set off into the wild (or as wild as UK landscape photography gets) and take images of the places that are not so common. On top of my penchant for Northumberland landscape photography, living near the border also gives me the chance to visit the stunning locations that Scotland has to offer. One such trip involved me wild camping with a friend on the Isle of Skye. We didn’t see a single drop of rain which helped make the trip a huge success. But whether I’ve been to a location a hundred times or never before, the common factor that connects the two is the necessity of prior planning.
How to find Landscape Photography Locations
Planning is very important to achieve the images I want, as often the conditions need to be just right. That’s not to say that heading out with my camera and chancing it is not something I enjoy, as it is. But for photographs that may involve elements like a sunrise, preparation is key. As basic as it sounds, the first thing I do is search online for a location that catches my eye and looks challenging. This quickly turns into a number of potential locations. In no time, I have a long list of places I want to visit.
Having decided on a location I want to visit, the first thing I do is find it on The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE). This is a free computer program that is extremely useful for any landscape photographer. With this, I can establish key information. Such as where the sun will rise, where it will set, how it will move through the day and much more. If you are shooting in a mountainous region, it can be used to work out when the sun will disappear from view. It can also be very useful for planning astrophotography. During the past year, I have spent a lot of time photographing sunrises at the coast. TPE has proved invaluable when calculating where the sun will appear on the horizon in relation to my subject.
So with my list of the potential locations to hand, and having studied them all on TPE, I find it useful to create my own Google map with them all pinned on. I then colour code them to what time of year the sun will be in the right place, based on the information from TPE. This means I can plan the coming months of photography trips and then just sit back and pray for good weather. It also means I can quite quickly work out what landscape photography destinations I’m able to get to if I’m short on time.
With all that done, it then comes down to having the right light, being familiar with my camera and some old-fashioned good luck. Hopefully, this will result in me driving home feeling satisfied with what I have captured. Frustratingly, this does not happen nearly as often as I would like. But when it does, and I experience the realisation that I have perfectly captured the landscape around me, there are few feelings I enjoy more.
"I am a photographer based in the North East of England with a passion for wildlife and landscape photography. By day, I work as a journalist for a national news agency in the UK but spend as much time outside of that getting out and taking pictures. I really enjoy taking images that combine water and land and making use of the coastal tides. I also love viewing other people’s work and, in particular, take my landscape photography inspiration from other photographers who push themselves to explore remote and beautiful British landscape photography locations."
Tom white - www.tomwhitephotos.co.uk