End of year photo review: 2016

At the end of each year, I've made it a habit to publish a selection of images I've captured throughout the previous 12 months. These aren't necessarily my favourite images but, nearly always, they are images that have helped me reinforce decisions I've made regarding what I need to focus on in the future (for example, in 2017, I've resolved to take more close-up / detail shots so I offer clients a wider variety of images to choose from). My thanks goes to everyone who has supported me in 2016. I hope you like the images as much as I've enjoyed taking them. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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In January, I headed to the North-West Highlands of Scotland to shoot Edinburgh-based athlete Joanne Thom on the great ridge of Garbh Choireachan on Ben Mor Coigach. We also shot on the nearby summit of Sgurr an Fhidhleir, with its great views north to Stac Pollaidh, Cul Mor and Suilven. Compressport kindly provided Joanne with lots of new season clothing for the shoot.

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Whitewater kayaking in Scotland

Later in the same month, I had the opportunity to photograph Pyranha Kayak-sponsored athlete Mark Mulrain and his friend Dave Martin whitewater kayaking on the River Orchy and River Dochart in Scotland. It's not until afterwards you appreciate how talented people make things look very easy.

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Hillwalking in Scotland

In February, I headed to the West Highlands of Scotland to visit a mountain bothy I'd not stayed at before. Gleann Dubh Lighe bothy near Fort William was burnt down in 2011 but, after a lot of hard work by volunteers from the Mountain Bothy Association, is back in use. A friend and I used it as a base for a great 12-hour ‘feet in front of the bothy fire’ to 'feet in front of the bothy fire’ traverse of Streap and another Corbett, Braigh nan Uamhachan.

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April saw me in the Mamores south-east of Fort William with another photographer from Edinburgh, Chris Lomas. Our planned winter round of the excellent Ring of Steall was cut short on the apex of the Devil's Ridge due to what we felt were dangerous snow conditions. 

A few weeks after wading about with Chris in deep snow on the Mamores, I was paddling in heavy rain off the west coast as we kayaked towards Ladhar Bheinn on the Knoydart peninsula for a sea kayaking / hillwalking assignment for The Great Outdoors magazine (TGO). The main images are embargoed at present but look out for the feature in TGO magazine early next year.

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In the past, I've encountered great weather in May on the Isle of Skye. Not this year however, during a location scouting trip, but we still had a great time on the island, which is home to the magnificent Black Cuillin, arguably the UK's best and only Alpine-style mountains.

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In June, a friend and I planned to attempt Tranter's Round, a 24-hour running challenge over 16 Munros in the West Highlands of Scotland. Due to injury, we called off at the last minute so I asked if anyone fancied coming out for a photo shoot instead. My friend Naomi Freireich and her fiance Charlie Lees kindly filled the void and we shot a number of my favourite images from the year, of Naomi mountain biking and Charlie running on the Grey Corries.

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I booked separate photo shoots in June with Aaron Palain (top) and Vasilis Toxavidis, both endurance athletes from the United States, ahead of an assignment to photograph the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon. Aaron is the race organiser for a new extreme triathlon, Alaskaman, which premieres in 2017.

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Austrian Max Schoiswohl competing in the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon. You can read a Q&A with Max on my blog.

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The last few months of my year it transpired were mountain landscape months. These two images are from trips I made to Glen Coe to capture images for a personal client. They're the result of one of my favourite activities, waking up on top of a mountain summit.

End of year photo review: 2015

An end-of-year presentation showing just some of the images I've taken during 2015. I hope you like them as much as I've enjoyed taking them. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mountain running in Scotland

In June, I continued a personal project, taking time out to meet friends and photograph the mountain running leg of the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon. The effort I put into making these images (traversing the 4km ridge three times and making multiple descents and re-ascents of a 100m scree shoot) proves to me that pursuing personal work does pay dividends as the Celtman crew have commissioned me to photograph their event in a similar style in 2016.

Road cycling in Scotland

Whilst I was at the Celtman, I hooked up with elite triathlete Dirk Zangen from Germany, the eventual race winner, for a road cycling shoot of Dirk wearing the latest Nopinz Bioracer SpeedConcept TT skin suit.

Hiking in Scotland

The image above was taken in January during one of two shoots I had in the Cairngorms National Park this year. We were not long into a great 11-hour winter hiking adventure that took us up the Fiacaill Ridge, down underneath the remote Shelterstone Crag, up Beinn Mheadhoin and home after dark via Bynack More. It was a fun day spent doing what I like doing best, lightweight photography in the mountains, making images whilst participating in the sport.

Mountain running in Scotland

In October, I returned to the Cairngorms National Park for a mountain running shoot with Scottish ultra runner and fitness coach Donnie Campbell (www.getactiverunning.com). Our shoot was a commission for a large picture agency but Donnie’s wife, Rachael, broke her leg so we postponed. Donnie and I chose to go out anyway, shooting a series of mountain running images I've used for portfolio and editorial purposes.

Hiking in Scotland

I'm used to photographing on Beinn Eighe as part of the Celtman. But I'd never traversed the full c.8km ridge from east to west. Taking advantage of the excellent National Trust accommodation at Mol Mor in Torridon, David Hetherington and I turned a unusually late start into a great alpine adventure, walking and scrambling over eight summits until we descended to the roadside well after dark.

Climbing in Scotland

The winter season is my favourite season by far (though on days when it's cold, wet and windy and we're trekking through deep snow far from home, I do fondly recall warm summer camps spent drinking coffee by an open fire as the sun sets).

Adventure sports > Kiteboarding

Kite-surfing was just one of the new adventure sports I photographed this year. I'm looking forward to adding white water kayaking images to the mix in 2016.

Trail running in Scotland

Joanne Thom is an ultra runner and adventure racer from Luanshya, Zambia. I honestly have no idea why she doesn't have sponsors coming out of her ears as she's awesome (her list of achievements in 2015 include multiple first female podium positions and first team place in the European Adventure Racing Championships). In 2016, Joanne's signed up to the world number 1 adventure racing team, Spain's Columbia Vidaraid, so I'm expecting more great things from her. 

The year in review: 12 adventure sports images from 2014

An end-of-year presentation showing some of the images I've taken during 2014. I hope you like them as much as I've enjoyed taking them. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


January - Winter climbing on Stuc a'Chroin

In January, I photographed a winter climb up the north-east buttress of Stuc a'Chroin. It's an easy but enjoyable winter route up a Scottish Munro.


February 2014 - Supporting Scottish Mountain Rescue

In February, I donated images to Scottish Mountain Rescue's 'Mountain Spirit' campaign. They've been used all year round in an advertising campaign to help increase donations for this voluntary charity.


March 2014 - Winter hiking in Glen Clova

March saw me visit Glen Clova for a Scottish winter hiking shoot. We had excellent weather over two days on Broad Cairn, Driesh and Mayar.


April 2014 - Soaked in Glenfinnan

Terrible Scottish weather was the order of the day as I accompanied two Spanish hikers who wished to record their stay in a mountain bothy and climb of two Scottish Munros.


May 2014 - Scrambling in Skye

Not long before Cut Media and Danny Mackaskill made the Skye Cuillin Hills globally famous with their amazing mountain bike film, I spent a fantastic weekend photographing scramblers on the Skye Ridge. 


June 2014 - Backpacking in Lochaber

June saw me follow Tranter's Round, a famous 24-hour fell running route in the West Highlands of Scotland. We bailed from Aonach Mor, 14th of the 16 Munros in the round, in freezing temperatures and hailstones (yep, in June).


July 2014 - Hiking and scrambling in Wales

I was on the front cover of The Great Outdoors magazine, from a trip to Snowdonia National Park in Wales in 2013.

I also made my now annual visit to photograph the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon, part of a personal project I'm working on.


August 2014 - Oban Sea Kayak Race

I made a conscious effort to widen the adventure sports I shoot by gratefully accepting an invite to photograph the Oban Sea Kayak Race. 


September 2014 - Trail running in Torridon

Arc'teryx sponsored athlete, Tessa Hill, and I spent a great two days in Torridon running with local climbing guide Paul Tattersall over the Beinn Eighe, Liathach and Stac Pollaidh mountains. 

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October 2014 - Road cycling in the Trossachs

I headed out for a PR shoot with Scottish triathletes Hazel Smith and Stuart Macleod as they trained running, swimming and cycling in the South-East Highlands of Scotland.


November 2014 - Mountain biking in Torridon

I spent a lot of time working in Torridon in 2014 and liked it so much I chose to go back for some fun mountain biking with friends.

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December 2014 - Trail running on Tarmachan Ridge

Earlier in the month, just as the first snow fell, Joanne Thom and I had an early start and a great mountain running shoot on Meall nan Tarmachan in the South East Highlands of Scotland.