THE STORY

Mike |

I'm originally born and bred in Lancashire, in a small village near Chorley; Eccleston. A quiet place, much like myself. I grew up introspective and creative, with a fondness for nature and the outdoors and nature.

My artistic streak began early in primary school, becoming adept at detailed drawing as I went through high school. At college I studied Graphics and Fine Art, and went on to graduate university with a BA Hons in Illustration before ending up working at... a local garden centre. Naturally!

​It was about this time in my life that I started finding my love of photography, and it was oddly enough kickstarted by the rise of Instagram and smartphones. I'd previously dabbled in traditional darkroom film photography during college and thoroughly enjoyed it, but this proved to be a rewarding 'instant' creative outlet. I posted my filtered iPhone pics of local countryside or, contrastingly, urban exploration adventures - accessing derelict buildings on the sly was quite the thrill. The adrenaline rush of being somewhere off limits, and being visually enthralled by the aesthetics of decay and nature taking over again. Soon, it was time to get serious, and I invested in my first DSLR to really get stuck in, to see where my photography would take me.

Potential |

THE INSPIRATION

I first tried my hand at nature and bird photography, which did develop into memorable antics like draping a camouflage tarp over myself and sitting on a stool in a field to capture a Barn Owl hunting, hearing a passerby discuss at length with a friend whether there was "somebody in there”...

But after venturing on holidays away to the Lakes, Wales and Scotland, it was landscape photography that I caught got the bug for.

My first ever morning in the Lake District was a stunning calm sunrise at the shoreline of Grasmere, with lake mist and reflections. I didn't really know what I was doing with the camera, I think even the horizon level was wonky, but I savoured the moment and wanted more.

Scotland was to impress me even further with the vastness of the scenery and the sense of the wild.

The various appealing aspects of landscape photography became all too apparent over these few years. The challenge of being in the right place at the right time. Figuring out how to plan a shoot. The anticipation of what may happen. Being often the only person around, in silence apart from the sights and sounds of nature, and just being in that moment. The reward of a beautiful scene, and then the creative challenge of portraying and editing the scene in a way that brings the vision to life.

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Destination |

THE LAKES

After several holidays spent in the Lake District, it began to feel like a place I wanted to live in the future - easy access to fantastic scenery and a chance to become more dedicated to what was now a growing interest in landscapes.

When my job at the time began to make my life feel more like a work-sleep-work cycle, I decided enough was enough and made enquiries at Hayes Garden World in Ambleside, in the hope that my experience would get me in. It did. Almost as if my current job had played a hand in my fate.

Once the Lake District had become my new home, in my free time I was keen to get out at all hours in a bid to "chase the light" without the prospect of a trek up the motorway, to capture the stunning scenery of the Lake District at its very best whenever I wanted to, even before or after work. All the while learning from my experiences and mistakes, and building a portfolio through seasons.

I'm now living in Windermere which is a fantastic village in so many ways, not least the fact that it's so close to a lot of the great scenery and I can be enjoying the views from up Loughrigg or Lingmoor in under an hour or two.

Gear |

IN THE BAG

Camera 

Sony A7Rii

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Lenses
Sony Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4
Canon 70-200mm F4 L
 
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Filters

Formatt Hitech Firecrest 13 stop ND

Formatt Hitech Firecrest 6 stop ND
Firecrest 100mm Filter holder & Firecrest slim polariser
 
Other gear
F-Stop Satori EXP backpack
Velbon Ultra Rexi L tripod (retro-fitted with 3LT spikes & column hook)
Benro B1 Ballhead + Sunwayfoto Levelling Base & Nodal Rail  
Sigma MC-11 Adator for Canon EF
Apple Macbook Pro Retina 13"
Samsung Note 4 (also used as remote trigger via IR and app)
NEOS Trekker Overshoes