With another year and in fact another decade having drawn to a close, many of us have been reflecting on our photographic journeys and posting their “best 9 images” from Instagram. But a blog from Lizzie Shepherd recently caught my eye. Lizzie had posted her favourite image from each year of the last decade and it sounded like an intriguing idea, so I decided to have a look and see if I could put something together myself.
2010 – Horcum in Winter
2010 was a busy and productive year for us, with trips to Mull, Harris and St. Kilda, but we also had a lot of snow that year and it was this image from Horcum that has long been a personal favourite.
I particularly liked the dynamic shape of the tree, it reminded me of a ballet dancer with upstretched arms.
2011 – Fort William
Looking back at 2011 and it seems to have been a year characterised by a lot of stock “pretty pictures”, but not a lot of great artistic merit. However, this one of Fort William from Corpach, captured on a typical dreich Scottish dawn stood out for me. If any image illustrates the old adage “It’s quality of light, not quantity that matters” then this is it.
2012 – Milarrochy in the mist
2012 was the year we had our first visit to Lofoten, so I could have chosen any one of a number of favourite images from that trip, but it was an image from an autumn camper van trip to mainland Scotland that got the nod.
We often said “We must visit here one day” as we travel through mainland Scotland on our way to visit the Western Isles. So come the October, we rented a camper van and headed for Milarrochy on the banks of Loch Lomond. Rising early on the first morning, we were greeted with a lovely layer of mist across the loch, which gave us that simplicity that we are both so fond of.
It’s hard to image that after breakfast, the sky had cleared and we were shooting bright, saturated images.
2013 – Life on the Edge, Hamnoy
Another busy year which kicked off with a return visit to Lofoten. This is an unlikely choice of image for me, as I have an aversion to shooting “Iconic” scenes, but back in 2013, this was a little-known location and certainly not the magnet that draws hundreds of photographers from all over the world as it does today.
2014 – Tranquillity, Loch Ard
For me, the highlight of 2014 was a trip to Loch Ard. We’d recced the location at Kinlochard on our arrival, but were dismayed to find 24 other photographers milling about when we returned for dawn the next morning. Whilst they all stood around grumbling about the lack of a sunrise, we were in our favoured element and soon had the place to ourselves.
A bit of a photographer’s photograph and a commercial failure, but still an image I’m very fond of.
2015 – The Promenade
An image that was eight years in making! I’d spotted the shape of the Spa promenade at Scarborough, but that elusive combination of high tide, mist to reduce the background and actually being in a position to be there eluded me all those years.
Whilst I can’t claim any originality for finding this location, as I think I pinched the idea from David Chalmers, but I’ve been totally amazed by how many other people have been inspired to try this location, since I first posted my image on social media.
2016 – The Rowing Boat, North Uist
2017 – Frosted – Strensall Common
Strensall Common has become a bit of a muse for both Janet and myself over the last few years. We love the simplicity of the images we can produce here on a misty day here. But on this occasion, I was looking for a stronger foreground and I think I found it with these beautiful, delicate frosted grasses.
2018 – Twenty Trees
I think you can probably see a theme developing here. We both have a love of simple, high key images and we like to use these misty days to give us the diminished backgrounds we are so fond of.
The “Beast from the East” was a godsend for us and gave us an opportunity to produce several images that could have made the cut here. I’m surprised that my “Grassy Knoll” didn’t make it, but Twenty Trees has an even stronger place in my heart.
This row of trees at Kingthorpe has been my muse since 2004, but on this occasion, I was driving home and spotted this scene and just had to stop. Separating this row of trees from the row behind is difficult normally, but on this day, the conditions did it for me and this has to be a contender for my all-time personal favourite.
2019 – Solitude 11
I’ve mixed feelings choosing this image, because it was Janet that first spotted the potential of this tree. We were out on the Wolds on just about the only snowy day we had in 2019 and Janet called me over and pointed to the tree. Then it started to snow heavily. Fortunately, the snow was blowing on our backs, so we were able to “work” the scene without getting snow on our lenses. But once again, it’s an image making use of our trademark diminished visibility to give us that simplicity we often strive for.