Blog

  • A solo trek to the Shap Fells via the Kentmere Horseshoe yielded a classic bothy night and a chance to practice core mountain skills, as winter’s first snow dusted the Lake District.

  • Six months after my failed attempt on the Cape Wrath Trail, I finally feel ready to examine what went wrong - and to look ahead to my next attack on the notorious route.

  • Back in April I failed to complete the Cape Wrath Trail. The awful truth is, I barely even started: after a wonderful and exhausting hike across Knoydart, I fell on snow in the shadow of the Forcan Ridge, wrenched my left knee and had to abandon my attempt. Two months later I am still struggling to master my disappointment, and have yet to summon the words to describe my experience. As I slunk back to London I felt I’d left my hopes, confidence and credibility behind me. These difficult emotions could all too easily play into my long-term experiences with mental illness – a problem for which hiking is usually a help, rather than a cause.

  • As I write I have just finished packing my Cape Wrath Trail kit – a full five days before I hit the track. I find that the last few days before a very long hike always fill me with trepidation – there’s nothing worse than...

  • In April I will be hiking the Cape Wrath Trail - a 430km route in Scotland from Fort William to Cape Wrath. It has a hard-earned reputation as one of Britain's toughest long-distance walks: wild, remote, magnificent. Perfect for an 18-day stretch of photography and writing.

  • Hailstones lashed down from the graphite-grey sky, stinging my face; I winced as the wind whipped the storm up into a blazing fusillade of ice. Above the rattling of hail on my raincoat I heard the Atlantic exploding furiously against serrated cliffs. Then, as though a switch had been flicked, the storm was over. I uncapped my lens, fitted an ND filter, and captured one of my favourite photographs: the Svörtuloft lighthouse at Öndverðarnes, gleaming bright orange against the stormy sky.

  • This is a story of an air crash, wild beauty, film photography and selfies. It’s my recollection of a visit to the famous Iceland plane wreck site at Sólheimasandur – and of my view on the popularity of ‘abandoned’ places and the ubiquity of the selfie.

  • 2018 has been quite a year for photography: it’s taken me through the bogs and fells of the Pennine Way, to the peak of Ben Nevis, across Great Gable and to the summit of a Japanese volcano. A year-in-review article is tricky at the best of times. Narrowing 2018 down to my top five adventure photography moments has been especially challenging, so I’ve abandoned any pretence at rating my favourites: instead, they are presented here in chronological order. Here goes...

  • A couple of weeks ago I wrote about one of my favourite parts of Japanese culture (onsen, those relaxing hot volcanic baths that offer sanctuary to salarymen and travel writers alike). While I visited Tokyo I took time to enjoy something yet more iconic: a boisterous and engrossing sumo tournament in the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Japan’s national sumo wrestling stadium. It brought me my first – maybe only – chance to shoot some sumo photography. Not my usual subject!

  • Who’d ever have imagined they might find themselves eating eggs boiled in a volcano? That’s just what I found myself doing on top of a volcano in Japan during a recent travel photography assignment. Mount Hakone stands high above a spectacular geopark and scenic lake, all within striking distance of Tokyo. It’s an area of typically grand Japanese beauty.

  • No visit to Japan could be complete without spending time relaxing in onsen. These hot volcanic baths play a huge role in Japanese culture. The only other place I’ve visited that is so attached to hot baths is Iceland, and there the baths tend to be slightly rowdier than Japan’s respectfully quiet onsen: these are places to relax in contented silence. And I found nowhere better to do that than the Iya Valley – a hidden gem, fairly well off the beaten track. Perfect for a complete disconnection from the world, and a spot of hilltop photography.

  • One of my favourite places in Japan was Kyoto, a city whose ancient temples should be on any traveller’s wish list. Not that you’d ever be able to visit all 1,500-odd of them: indeed, you might not wish to, since many of them are regrettably overcrowded. I’m not a fan of selfie sticks at the best of times, but in some places the clamour for tourists to tick off another Facebook selfie checklist really does become too much. My trip to Kyoto had to involve time away from the crowds – to make travel photography uninterrupted by the stick-wielders.

  • Wildlife photography is a valuable tool in any travel photographer’s skillset; although we aren't necessarily up to the standards of full-time wildlife photographers, it's important to be able to show readers and viewers some of the natural attractions we spot on our travels. So during a recent visit to Japan I had to make the most of the chance to capture some of the country’s wild residents.

  • Kamikochi sits at the heart of Japan’s Chūbu-Sangaku National Park, high in the Hida Mountain’s – the country’s ‘Northern Alps’. I always feel at home in mountains, whether they’re the towering spikes of the Himalayas or the rolling, bleak fells of the Lake District and Pennine Way – and Kamikochi quickly lulled me into that familiar feeling. This was where I was meant to be – resting in a woodland cabin, taking walks alongside the startling blue water of the Azusa River, and making mountain photography – day and night – of the incredible scenery.

  • I’m never as happy as I am when trudging across fells or downs on some windblown adventure, making landscape photography of whatever wild places I find myself in. That means I always have outdoor gear almost ready to go at home – so one Friday, on a whim, I grabbed some food, my kit, tent and camera, and headed out to shoot some South Downs landscape photography.

  • As a photographer who tends to prefer stormy days on wild hills or coastlines, it’s not often I’m able to indulge my other love: portrait photography. Time’s at a premium at the moment as I’m studying for a Higher National Certificate in Creative Media Production at the excellent Forces Media Academy. This could keep me further still from making portraits – but it actually gave me a chance to make some head shots of my course colleagues.

  • Last year I had the great privilege of supporting humanitarian operations in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. I was there as the Royal Air Force's deployed head of strategic communications, a role that involved a lot of hard work liaising with UK and international media and, from time to time, escorting journalists through some of the worst-hit areas. I was lucky enough to be working with a truly superb RAF photographer, Jimmy - but I could also turn to my own skills to turn out news photography when the situation called for it.

  • In April 2018 I completed the Pennine Way – a 16-day adventure (and ordeal), and an outstanding opportunity to take time to make landscape photographs. Here I’ve reproduced part of my travel journal covering the final day of the walk – one of the toughest days of my life.

  • The last few months have been pretty fraught, as I have been supporting the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary celebrations. It was a full-on job, and left me little time for travel photography. So I hope you’ll forgive the long silence since my last blog post –...

  • When planning a travel photography job, preparation is important – especially for something as challenging as the Pennine Way, which I’ll be tackling in April. I’ve spent more than enough time in mountains and on long-distance trails like the Annapurna Circuit and West Highland Way...

  • Life can be tough for a freelance photographer. There are plenty of challenges to overcome, day-to-day – from keeping records of expenses (huge) and income (tiny, for the time being) to finding potential clients, pitching and waiting, seemingly endlessly, for responses. I wouldn’t be doing...

  • These last few weeks have been all about pitching my portfolio to potential clients. It’s grinding hard work, especially since it leaves me with little free time to make new portraits or travel photography. This leaves me with a conundrum: as a professional photographer I...

  • Travel photography and writing have taken me to some wonderful places – from the mountains of Nepal to the chalky clifftops of the South Downs and stormy Scottish coastlines, I have been lucky to see places that live in my heart and mind – and to...

  • In 2013 I proposed to my now husband following an arduous trek along the Annapurna Circuit high in the Nepalese Himalayas. After two weeks surrounded by pristine, paper-white peaks soaring into powder-blue skies, making travel photography of quiet villages and immense vistas, even something as...

  • I’ve written often enough about how much I love landscape photography in stormy weather. The challenge of capturing the drama of a good storm, or emphasising the threat from glowering grey clouds, is enough to get me out of the door in the worst possible...

  • Few places demand repeat exploration with quite the force of Dungeness. This peculiar wilderness on the coast of Kent combines eerie desolation, good food and spectacular biodiversity. It’s a gift of a place for anyone interested in wildlife photography. And I’m hooked. Dungeness is a...

  • The story behind my award-winning picture of a Scottish lighthouse dwarfed by stormclouds and framed by a rainbow.

  • In 16 years of Royal Air Force service, regular and reserve, I have served in Afghanistan, throughout the Middle East and at various spots in Africa and beyond. None of this prepared me for what I found when I deployed to the Caribbean on 8...

  • Often in travel photography unplanned diversions deliver some of the best opportunities to make photographs. While I was visiting Dunnet Head – the northernmost point in Great Britain – for a personal photography project, I stumbled upon a desolate piece of wartime history. It made...

  • On Monday 22 May at 0810, I stepped on to a half-submerged concrete jetty in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Awash with seawater and slick with seaweed, this tiny walkway is the easternmost point in Great Britain – and journey’s end for my trip to the four extreme...

  • Two of my landscape photographs have been short-listed for prestigious awards from the Association of Photographers.

  • The next stage in my personal photography project took me to the northernmost point on the British mainland: Dunnet Head, a storm-lashed promontory in the north of Scotland. For landscape photographers the whole place is a gift: one proud white lighthouse, plunging cliffs and a...

  • At Corrachadh Mòr – the westernmost point on the British mainland – the wind is ceaseless. It tears at my jacket as I set up my tripod on ancient lava flows, frozen beneath pastel-blue skies and gilt-edged clouds. Before me, the Atlantic pounds the rocks...

  • Cornwall is one of those places I think I’ll never explore in full. I’m a frequent visitor, attracted to those wild coastlines, stormy skies and – let’s be honest – cream teas. So I was pleased to have a chance to visit a spot I’d...

  • 26 March sees the first shooting phase of my personal project, which will see me visit the four extreme points of mainland Great Britain – Dunnet Head in the North, Corrachadh Mór in the West, Lizard Point in the South and Lowestoft Ness in the...