I’ve never done this end of year summation before, but the last 12 months have been extraordinary. And apart from that I got bored over Christmas – nobody wants to work from mid-December onwards…. Guess they don’t love their job like I do….
I’ve chosen my favourite shot from each month; not necessarily the ‘best’ shot, or the most successful, but I’ll try to give my reasons as we go….
January started the year on various highs – skiing in Tignes was trumped by a jaunt up North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal, with Exped Adventure. You can see the resulting film of the trip on my website here but of the stills, this one brings back the sensory immersion of the first night and is a fitting vignette of how manic the next 12 months would be.
For February I’ve chosen a shot from a ski trip to Cairngorm. I learned to ski there 27 years ago and it was as much of an “experience” upon my return.
I’ve cheated here. I must have been asleep through April, so I’ve included two shots from March instead. The first was from a really nice day out with James Mchaffie when he was training for his epic Lakeland challenge later in the year. Considering the magnitude of what he was attempting I was surprised to have the pleasure of a laid back day, just him and me, enjoying a mild spring day in Cumbria. And equally happy to sell a few shots to his sponsors, Rab.
The second of my March shots is from the Whinlatter Challenge event which I shot for Madison. 10 days before I went out with Caff, and very different conditions, with plenty of snow high up making for a stunning back drop to a cracking event.
In May I was working with BBC Scotland to cover the Tweedlove event, but it wasn’t my highlight. Yorkshire always wins. I got to go home to Yorkshire and shoot the Steel City Downhill event, but I wasn’t home for long….
June, July, August. I’ve had a difficult time trying to choose the moments that mattered out of so many. Alice and I spent the summer travelling Europe, living out of a van. It seems to be a rite of passage for this line of work! But there’s a reason why – the experience threw up endless opportunities for stunning shots (I almost wish I’d created a year in travel photos to go along with this action-based selection). I settled on this camping shot for June. High above Chamonix at the Col De Brevent, Mont Blanc was majestic under the stars, but the sunrise topped it all. I could have chosen Basque Coast mountain biking or horse riding in Les Gers but the freedom, adventure and beauty in this shot sums up the whole of June for me.
July is going to be Chamonix-based too. Despite a month that included shooting Crankworx and interviewing Gee Atherton for Adventure.com, photographing climbing world cup events, and the best festival in Europe (Vanka Regule, Croatia, if you’re wondering), I still find skiing in summer a novelty! And getting to meet Alison Culshaw of Off Piste Performance whilst shooting for Jottnar was a great bonus too!
In August we returned to our second-home, the Dolomites. This shot was on a hike I’ve done many times, but illustrates why I love these mountains – everything is always different. Sas Ciampac, Alta Badia.
September offered the brief respite of a lazy Autumn in the Lake District and an endless stream of visitors. Langdale Boulders kept them entertained.
The rest of Autumn, again, revolved around getting muddy on bikes. In October the guys from Escape Bikes showed me around their backyard, under Ingleborough, for a magazine article (yet to be published…) And November took me from Yorkshire to Portugal to shoot with Jim Carroll for another article. The shot below was licensed by Enve Composites, who sponsor Jim with their wheels. I chose it because I’ve worked hard on my MTB work all year, and was happy to nail the ‘moment’. I could have posted dozens of beautiful scenic shots from the Algarve, but this is the money shot!
And now it’s winter again, so naturally I’m on a snowy mountain. December’s photograph was taken yesterday. I don’t consider myself a landscape photographer, but this is home for the forseeable future. I hope this shot illustrates why!