Win!

Win a Acrylic Art  Block, hand polished for a crystal clear finish or a Fine Art print with an image of your choice from NGP's Facebook page. You choose! 

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All we ask is for you to Like this post on the NGP Facebook page and comment with your preference - e.g. Block or Print.

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The winner will be announced on the NGP Facebook page

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Competition closes 23:59 on 26/9/17

 

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Due to the locations of our printing partners, this competition is not available for the following countries: Iran, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Syria and Crimea.

Movement, Movement and Movement

Capturing time that will hopefully live on forever in print form is a truly magical thing.  Whilst other methods of recording time are employed, for me nothing trumps photography.  Its important that the recorded image can be believed and trusted without manipulation but that's for another post... 

Adding movement really helps bring another dimension to the still frame, it really breathes life into the image. I can still taste the salt on my lips, feel the north easterly wind on my face and the sand under foot. But its a real challenge to bring all these senses to the viewer.  I feel adding movement within the composition  goes a little way towards this. I also find movement can be a great compositional tool that can direct the eye through the image. Capture the imagination and hopefully allow the viewer to reflect on their own experiences.

If the image is 'alive' it truly can live forever.

 

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Self Doubt...

Self Doubt...

Self doubt can be and is a terrible part of the creative process but something that many of us face on a daily basis. 
My favourite image is always the one I have just taken, but it's not until I have 'lived' with the image for a period of time that my failings are highlighted. Or I began to see the qualities within that were missed. Because this image didn't immediately jump out the screen or off the page, I placed it to the side. 
It's easy to find an image that works, one that speaks to you. It's even easier to find images that completely fail for whatever reason. But the ones that sit in the middle ground can be a real problem. 
I'll be honest and say the image presented is one I feel I will need to live with for a little longer. I just don't see it!
Granted I set the composition up, took the time to make the image and most certainly felt the connection at the time. 
But the twist is my ten year old son assures me that it shouldn't be dismissed. He is connecting with something I'm simply not seeing. I trust his judgment and have uploaded today. I will conclude my personal thought process in six months or so after I've lived with it a little longer!
I know there can be no right or wrong, good or bad. I'm just happy my son is now forming his own opinions and appreciating the world we live in.

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Isle of Arran

Isle of Arran
Isle in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

Hundreds of miles travelled, sleeping under canvas with no Starbucks in sight and all the Isle of Arran has to offer is rain, wind and more rain. Rather then crying into my Tupperware cornflakes bowl I plan for an evening location. Because Arran is an island the possibilities are endless... sunrise locations on the east and sunset locations on the west, right? Wrong. 
Six out of the seven days were a complete write off, unless you like Dan brown that is. 
But on the seventh and last day of my photography trip, just like it had been a test all along, the clouds part and the sun illuminates the foreground. I will go back one day and all I can say is I hope it rains again and I get just a little luck with the sun. What a wonderful place.

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Bow Fiddle Rock

When shape, form and texture come together to make all the raw ingredients for the concerto its a truly magical moment. But when the the concerto is accompanied by the orchestra of the sunrise very special things start to happen! 

On days like this its simply impossible to fail.

Just like truly great music the sky continued to build, gaining intensity until the full cacophony was displayed through my viewfinder.  
I have always loved Henri Cartier-Bresson’s - The decisive moment. Capturing the very moment when everything comes together. In reality I find with landscape photography its almost impossible to know when the sky his risen to the full cacophony or potential. By no means do I advocate the machine gun approach or capturing images with no thought or consideration but I personally find lots of little ‘decisive moments’ can be beneficial.  
With the technique employed I find it aids capturing the sky at its climax. It also and in this case allows a more considered approach when viewing the images later and considering if I have actually done justice to a location. At one point, the subtlety of the shapes and form were completely lost and most definitely overwhelmed with the colour palette within the sky. I have opted for this more sympathetic image that I feel compliments the magnificent Quartzite natural sea arch when every detail was revealed. 

The image was made during the intro!

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Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

The alarm rings at some ungodly hour, I roll out of bed, comb my hair with nothing more than my fingers, coffee in a flask and I'm out the door within ten minutes. I'm just not a morning person. But the call of the outdoors, the smell of colour in the sky and most saliently the need to be creative is enough to motivate myself without question... well ok ... a few questions, again I'm really not good in the morning. 
A short drive and the sky looks promising, I can feel that the chances of the sky catching fire lie in the balance and the sooner I'm set up the better. 
I park up and make the small walk down to my chosen location. Ok I'm a little late and I'm not the first photographer on site, we say our hellos and to be fair to the gentlemen he offers to move one of his two tripods to allow me to set up. I kindly decline and make my way along the cliff top looking for inspiration. I make my chosen image, enjoy the miracle that unfolds in front of my eyes.
I always continue to make images into the second half of the golden hour after sunrise but unlike at the sunrise when I prefer my own companionship, I can be sociable afterwards! I head back to the original starting point and ask the gentleman if he wishes to join me down in the bay. This is something I have always done and made many friends along the way. I mean it takes a special sort of person to drag themselves out at that time. 
The gentleman declined my offer as he was 'done' and I completely understand that, we all take different things from the creative process. He was done with photography for the day. I say my goodbyes and continue to seek compositions. 
I set this image up feeling a real connection with my surroundings, soaking in this moment as the light kisses the fence that provides the compositional lead in line. This image was made after the colour was gone from the sky. But in my humble opinion more than justifies itself. I will always continue to shoot in golden hour when the light is soft and warm and others have gone home. 
Keep going until it really is over, your bed will still be there regardless of the time you get home.

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Moray Coast, Scotland.

Moray Coast, Scotland.

After spending most of my time making images down by the shoreline, as the sea receded, the sun departed and as the rain began. I packed up my gear and began the long and very steep walk back to the car. 
As I climbed the cliff path, well I say cliff path it was more a shortcut that had been carved out by lazy people like myself that couldn't face the long way round. Let's just say it's very steep and even more precarious path. The rain was now in full force hindering the ascent but more importantly without stopping to think, I had found myself right in that very special window of opportunity when two weather fronts collide. 
This is my personal favourite time to make images! The problem was I was so focused on getting back to the comfort of the car, I was totally blinkered and not listening to my instincts. But call it what you will, like a magnet I found myself pulled off the track and arguing with myself if I should get all the gear out or leave it for another day. Five images later and all my gear completely soaked I got this image. I must say I'm glad my heart won over my head.

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Muir of Dinnet

Muir of Dinnet - Lying within the Cairngorms National Park Scotland.

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Findochty, Buckie,Banffshire - Scotland

Findochty, Buckie,Banffshire - Scotland

The melodic rhythmic patterns of sound within this timeless location just begged to be recorded. The echoing shapes, form and movement included within the composition help build the image, hopefully conveying the true wonderment of this fascinating coastline. I truly connected with this location on so many levels during the process and all I can do is hope to present it in a way that will do it justice and others will hopefully appreciate.

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Greyhope Bay Aberdeen.

Greyhope Bay Aberdeen.

Unlike the relative safety of making images on Scotlands west coast, the east coast is less forgiving. I have always found time, consideration and contemplation has to precede the making of images in the east. Scotlands less welcoming but equally rewarding east coast is a morning location. This means setting out in complete darkness and given the extremely short window of opportunity as the soft warm light comes and goes, preparation is key. 
This is achieved by checking tide times, placement of the sun at a given time within the year and composition within my chosen location. Hopefully the image in my minds eye can become a reality.
I find it imperative to continually develop my vision over a period of time, rather than reacting to the unfolding conditions that are found when making images at the end of the day on the west coast. (Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should… Plan plan plan).

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Loch Morlich

Loch Morlich - Badenoch and Strathspey area of Highland, Scotland near Aviemore.

Loch Morlich and the surrounding area has always been a special place to me. A sense of belonging isn’t something that can be manufactured or summoned at will to help with the creative process. But combined with a connection for the landscape it can be a powerful tool that I try to utilise when considering the emotional content of the image. The abundance of space, the deafening silence, the subtly of the landscapes working plane, enhanced by the backdrop of the unassuming yet spectacular Cairngorms will stop anyone in their tracks and question life’s real priorities.

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