Birch trees in snow.

January 2023 - Looking back and ahead

December was a chilly month with plunging temperatures, ice and snow - perhaps the perfect conditions for a photographer? Clear skies delivering overnight frost can produce wonderful colours around sunrise and sunset. However, one needs to be hardy and well wrapped up to endure days when the mercury fails to rise above freezing. Frozen fingers, numb toes and an overall increasing sense of cold is the pain one endures for pictures at this time of year!

We spent Christmas in the Cairngorms and it was wonderful to see snow on the hills. Conditions underfoot were icy but we still managed plenty of walks to enjoy the winter conditions and views.

I had one last trip to assist with counting grey seals in the Firth of Forth in early December. As always, it was a real privilege to sit with them on the beach and watch the action unfold in front of you. Plenty of photographs were taken but the folk who put all the hard work into arranging, counting and recording the statistics year-on-year need to be applauded as they have now produced comprehensive data of the Forth’s grey seal population stretching back decades. In short, the seals are doing well.

Looking back, 2022 was a productive year. My series of three articles for ‘Outdoor Photography’ magazine (November, December and January issues) on photographing wildlife within the confines of the law concluded this month. It was a pleasure to write them and a welcome challenge to cram so much information covering two legal systems (Scottish law differs from the rest of the UK) into around 900 words! It was also satisfying to see my own photographs accompanying the articles and has spurned me on to consider other subject-matter that might be appealing to the photography magazine market.

I also won the Treescape category in the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year. As I had neglected to check their website and social media pages, I hadn’t realised I’d won the award until some 6 months after the announcement! Nevertheless, it was a wonderful surprise and I look forward to seeing the exhibition of winning pictures at Bonnie & Wild, Edinburgh, later this month.

The new year promises fresh and interesting projects. Having photographed Dundas Castle estate for a year now, the grounds still offer so much more to explore and experiment with. I am also excited to start learning about camera-trapping and drone photography which will both be new experiences. Meantime, I have some photographic talks lined up, including one to Falkirk Camera Club on 5th January.

So, it just remains for me to wish you all a happy New Year and may 2023 bring some dreams to life - with camera in hand or otherwise.