2015 to 2016 and beyond

20th January 2016
Thought i should probably update my blog, it's been a while! I always have such good intentions of doing this more regularly, but other things always seem to get in the way.

So I'm looking back over the last 12 months or so and what a year it was! It started off pretty normally, although with an overly warm winter which yielded too few scenes of iciness and none locally of any snow whatsoever.
However, my lack of exposure to the white stuff was to change in February, after i was approached by the Royal Bank Of Scotland to see if would be interested in some commission work. So at their request, i flew up to Edinburgh for a meeting with their National Project Manager to find out more...obviously with a trip north to the highlands thrown in for good measure!

Here's some from a lovely couple of days scooting around in the Glen Coe/Rannoch Moor area, before being forced to make my escape as blizzards blew in and i couldn't get to the airport! Just glad i decided to upgrade to a 4 x 4 at the car rental place, or i don't think I'd have made it out!

Bauchaile Etiv Mor, or 'The Shepard Of The Glen'

Looking across the incredibly beautiful Loch Etiv

Wild and remote, the Scottish Highlands have a unique beauty all of their own.

I was initially a little wary about taking on a large scale commercial project as they are extremely time consuming and very deadline driven. I'd also not really done anything like it before, but Who Dares Wins, right?
So anyway, the brief was quite large and a little daunting at first. Due to an extensive branch refurbishment programme, RBS needed a landscape photographer to shoot local scenes for each branch, of which there were 13 allotted to me in total, ranging all along the central south coast of England. The area i was to be covering ranged from Dorchester in West Dorset, to Waterlooville in East Hampshire...quite a distance!
For each of these branches, they required a choice of 5 multi-image 'stitched' panoramas, which would then be blown up to huge proportions on their ATM walls, some as large as 12 metres wide. As well as these massive images, they also wanted a choice of 10 different single shot photos to choose from, 3 of which would be framed and mounted on a 'gallery' wall at A2 in each branch. All of them had to have blue skies and lovely green trees and plants, which is easier said than done in the UK, especially when you're starting to shoot in March, when the countryside is at its most washed out and grey!!

So, after i worked out a cost per branch and had my quote accepted by them, i started the research stages..and soon became aware of just how hard it was going to be. Some places are much 'prettier' than others and some would require some real imagination and effort on my part to create a visually pleasing scene for the locals who use their bank to enjoy.
Plus i had to fit all this around other large work commitments and the mercy of the fickle British weather.
What followed was months of seemingly endless driving, exploring parks, places of local interest and strange, suspicious looks from members of the public as i set my tripod up somewhere. Over enthusiastic dogs and sometimes children also added to my difficulties!
And the amount of time i spent editing...!!!

One of the panoramic images, this was for the Weymouth branch and is the view north over Fortuneswell on Portland

However, the September deadline rolled around quickly and i managed to get everything done, on time. I even managed a couple of little quick missions away, one quick dash to the Cornish Coast in May, the other to Waterfall Country in the Brecon Breacons in October. Didn't get quite the conditions I'd have liked at either, but it was lovely to get away and shoot something for myself, nonetheless.

Westwards along the north Cornwall coast from Hartland Quay

Hartland Quay itself, alas no clouds just clear sky...but a good excuse to return.

My trip to Wales was much needed and i managed a full tour of the magnificent wooded gorges where wonderful cascades of water were everywhere. I was lucky to catch them all in full flow too:

So when i found out that RBS were so pleased with what i'd done in the previous project that they'd given me another 13 branches to do, i was a little shocked but really pleased. All my hard work had paid off. The deadline was a lot tighter this time, but by now i knew exactly what they were after and had my work process finely honed, which made things a lot easier. Finally, in late November, it was all done, bar three more branches which I'll start work on again in the Spring.

I've managed to see a few of the branches they've done already and they look fantastic, even if i do say so myself:

To finish off, here's a few of my personal favourites from this year that i shot just for me..

Rolling mists over the Blackmore Vale

A December sunset from Charnel, Kimmeridge Bay

December sunrise at Winspit Quarry

A moody October afternoon under Swyre Head

Sunsrise at Boscombe Pier

A passing shower at one of Dorset's many neolithic sites

Sunrise over Man O War Bay

A Stormy afternoon along the shore knowas The Spittles, near Lyme Regis

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