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Best of 2016

I thought I'd write a blog post with the photos that I personally have liked the best from all of those I have taken throughout 2016. This last year, for me as a photographer, I feel that I've improved the most behind the camera. At times it didn't feel this way, it seemed that I was missing opportunities or that laziness (when it came to sunrises) was holding me back.

Overall though, when I do look back, I suddenly realise that I have done quite a bit over the 12 months of 2016. I've had a few weekend camping trips with camera in tow, become a dad for the first time and had a weeks holiday on Skye that enabled me to take a camera all the while under the purported title of a 'family' holiday.

I've also noticed that I've become extremely fussy, both in what I'm looking at and my compositions (although sometimes it might not seem this way!). I've also noticed that the number of photos taken per trip or day out has fallen off quite sharply. If the conditions aren't right I tend to leave the camera alone, or I'll wait if I have the time to see if the light will change. This compares to my previous ways of taking photos regardless of the what's happening and then having to sort through lots of junk images in the vain hope of finding something 'that will do'.

So, in no particular order I have chosen by favourites, these are shown below and each have a few sentences as to why I feel they have had an impact on either me or my photographic journey so far.

Suilven, Assynt

This one was taken back in February when I was on a two night camping trip with my friend Jason. I wouldn't say it was a spur of the moment photo but it was an opportunity that presented itself and I'm glad that I took the time to set up the camera. The reason it means so much to me is that it was accepted for exhibition at the RSA in Edinburgh, where it spent 6 week on display at the Mound. It proved to me that time spent entering competitions or exhibitions is never wasted as you don't know what will catch the eye of judges.

Neist Point, Isle of Skye

This next image was one that was taken on Skye during our weeks holiday. Although I am familiar with the island I had never visited this particular place before, in order to rectify this I made sure it was on our 'tour' list. A planned visit at sunset and I think we managed to time our visit perfectly. I just like the colours and the way the dying light highlights only certain points on the cliff face.

Aberdeen Beach, Aberdeen

This one is just a little closer to home. Aberdeen Beach isn't a place that particularly inspires me, it doesn't have much of a surf and natural features are hard to come by. However, on this occasion there had been a bit of a storm and the resultant waves interacting with the groynes meant that there was opportunity to be had. With this image I kept the exposure time short but not so fast it froze the action - this I felt resulted in showing the power of the waves as they first crashed up the beach and then sucked back down the sand.

Plodda Falls, Tomich

On my second trip to Glen Affric in 2016, again with Jason, we ventured a little further afield. Rather than just sticking solely to Glen Affric we spent a morning at the wonderful Plodda Falls which is a short drive (down a very suspect 'road') from Tomich. The falls truly are spectacular. After making our way down the the bottom and carefully crossing the river we had a rather special seat looking back up the falls. This image is of the lower section where the upper pool exits and drops further to the river below.

River Tay, Dunkeld

Possibly my favourite autumn photograph. Taken on a beautifully sunny October morning on the banks of the River Tay. The view looks towards Dunkeld Bridge with the trees displaying the full splendour of the colours of autumn.

Elgol, Isle of Skye

Elgol on Skye has many memories for me, I still recall the first time I saw the place and I also recall my boat trip to see Loch Coruisk many years ago. It was a place I was keen to revisit with Anna and my camera as I knew it would produce something good (if spectacular wasn't available) no matter what. Our visit happened to coincide with a day that followed overnight westerly gales and blustery showers, the forecast was showing it should clear around midday so there was hope of maybe a little sunshine...

Bealach na Ba, Wester Ross

The memories I have that are associated with this place all seem to involve cycling. The first time I ever saw it was from the saddle of a bike as I crawled my way up the road as part of the sportive that is run here annually. This visit, which thankfully didn't involve me actually being on a bike, did still involve cyclists - my mad friends to be exact. On both of those occasions it also involved rain, and lots of it... This image shows my two of my three friends on the road below the hairpins as they toil ever upward into the awaiting cloud.

Nigg Bay, Aberdeen

Another one that is a much closer to home. A stormy sunrise after a night of strong winds in the North Sea. An early rise and a walk on the coastal path found me this location where I could look across the bay towards Girdleness Lighthouse. The early light catching the seaward side of the buildings as a lone vessel makes it's way out into the stormy seas.

Beinn Mhòr na Còigich, Coigach

Another one from the February trip to Assynt. This was taken early on the Sunday morning as we headed south after a cold night. Most of the hill lochs were frozen which confirmed our thoughts on the overnight temperature. This is Loch Cùl Dromannan with a partially frozen surface and the reflection of Beinn Mhòr na Còigich in the section of clear water.

Girdleness Lighthouse, Aberdeen

Girdleness Lighthouse is a subject I've been trying to capture successfully for a while now, it's location on the coast isn't exactly ideal for isolating it against a scenic backdrop and wider views tend to show the loveliness of being so close to an industrial part of Aberdeen. On Christmas Eve I managed to head out for sunset at Nigg Bay and, after the sun was gone, I decided to stick around for a few more minutes while I checked out possible locations and angles. I happened to drive past the lighthouse and saw this opportunity - Girdleness Lighthouse at dusk with the last of the sun and the first of the stars.

Loch Beinn A' Mheadhoin, Glen Affric

Another from Glen Affric, this particular photo was taken as I wandered around our camp on the Sunday morning. With us being up bright and early for sunrise we had spent some time checking out where we would like to be as the sun made its appearance above the surrounding hills. So, with my main camera setup I took to wandering around with my spare and a 70-200 looking for other shots and this reflection of the trees in the loch's surface caught my eye. 

Nigg Bay, Aberdeen

Another sunrise at Nigg Bay, taken on the 29th of December this was to be the last photo trip of 2016. This one was a result of a bit of research and luck, knowing where I wanted the tide to be on the shoreline I chose the day but the weather was up to luck. As it turned out Aberdeen had a decent run of colourful sunrise and sunsets between Christmas and New Year so our luck was in. The mix of shoreline features - sand, pebbles and the waves lead into the bay with Girdleness Lighthouse in the distance.

So those are my choices for my best of 2016.

I'd like to thank those of you who have been following my blog throughout the year and I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my trials and tribulations over the last 12 months. If you are new to my blog then I'd like to welcome you and I hope that you check back often.

I'm hoping to build on what I achieved last year and with that make 2017 another year to remember. I do also have a couple of announcements that I will be making on here in due course so please keep your eyes peeled!!

Wishing everyone all the best for 2017.