2013 Summary

03rd January 2014
Let me start by just reminding everybody that any image seen here can be purchased from this site.

As we're now a few days into the new year and I've finally had the chance to sit down for an hour so without too many distractions - I thought it was about time I got on with what I've been meaning to sort out for a while now - and do a blog post summarising my photographic exploits of 2013.

2013 was the first year where I've really taken landscape photography seriously in it's own right. The beautiful landscapes in the north of England may have been what started my love of taking photos but it was predominantly a secondary aspect of walking. It was only in October 2012 that I made my first trip out to climb a hill (Mam Tor) for sunrise, with the sole purpose being to take pictures... and I soon realised what could be achieved if the effort was made to be out at the right times of day, and in the right conditions, and so over the last year I have increasingly gone out purely to take photos - at whatever hour.

I'd say, on average, there has been a steady increase in the number of my trips - with me now trying to fit in at least one sunrise, plus one or two other trips per week. In the winter months sunrises are possible by getting the early train (6.20am) from Sheffield to the Peak and making a quick dash up a hill in the dark (hard work with umpteen layers and a load of camera equipment!), whilst in summer things are somewhat more difficult and I had to buy a tent and camp out in order to be out there early enough. So whilst most of you are longing for the warm weather to return - just keep in mind how much more difficult it makes things for us crazy folk who like to take photos.

I try to update my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/matrobinsonphoto) with a photo every day - and it is this that keeps pushing me on to get up at 5am, go out into the wind/snow/rain/sun or (if I'm lucky) mist, and improve as a photographer. So thank you to all you regular commenters and likers who give me the encouragement to keep it up!

Anyway, 2013 has been the year in which I started my own website, held my first exhibitions (SHAFF, the Penny Pot Cafe, the Countryside Museum in Hawes...), took my first commissions, had my image used on the cover of almost all of the official Yorkshire Dales publications for the year, licensed my first images and a whole load of other firsts... so it's been quite a busy year alongside doing my PhD. I could write forever on where I think I've improved, on what I still hope to improve on and all of that sort of stuff - but I'm sure you're all only here for the photos... so here is my (not so) brief selection of favourite images of 2013... I hope you enjoy them. The vast majority were taken in the Peak District but there are also a good number from the Dales and Richmond.

(Oh, and these are just my landscapes... if anyone's interested in my people photos just let me know and I'll have a look into doing a 'people post'!)

A view from a rather underphotographed spot on Kinder Scout, Peak District.
My love of trees has definitely increased this year, with them featuring increasingly in my work - especially through this autumn and winter. Back Tor, Peak District.
Higger Tor, Peak District. The deepest snow I've ever known, and an immense effort to reach this spot for this beautiful sunrise
Mam Tor, Peak District. My record ascent from Edale: 21 minutes.
Beautiful sidelighting on Carl Wark, Peak District.
Mist rolls across Grindslow Knoll, Peak District.
Taken this autumn, my most successful attempt at longer focal length landscapes. Gardom's Edge, Peak District.
The most colourful, entirely natural sunrise after my first ever camp out in the wilds of the Peak. Nr. Winnats Pass, Peak District.
The falls, Richmond, North Yorkshire. Something more abstract. 
An unconventional view of a Mam Tor sunrise, Peak District.
The massive Gordale Scar, Yorkshire Dales.
Another original view in the Peak, quite a rarity - since been replicated by one other photographer that I know of. Nr Mam Tor, Peak District.
Got a bit of luck with a full moon setting as I waited for sunrise, Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Another from that beautiful summer sunrise below Mam Tor, Peak District.
The night before the sunrise above, completed by the hang gliders. Winnats Pass, Peak District.
The inversion I'd waited a year for - and I had it all to myself. Mam Tor, Peak District. 
One of my favourite views, down the Kitkat stones. Compared to a winter version a little later on. Higger Tor, Peak District.
Taken close to 4am, well before sunrise. Alone on Mam Tor - the most magical moment of the year as the full scale of the inversion and loneliness dawned on me. An amazing, quiet 20 minutes stood there - barely able to take photos as I took it all in. Mam Tor, Peak District.
Eskdale, Cumbria. My first visit in too many years to the Lakes.
It only takes 30s of dim light out of the gloom to make a photograph... persistence can pay off. Bamford Edge, Peak District.
Mist flows over the Great Ridge. Mam Tor, Peak District.
Snow drifts on Higger Tor, Peak District.
Even in April it still felt like winter in Richmond. A composition I was really happy with.
My first visit to Edinburgh, and my attempt to capture the fireworks over the castle on our last night there.
An attempt at something new of this famous location. Hardraw Force, Yorkshire Dales.
The famous gate, with soft grass in the foreground. Mam Tor, Peak District.
My first architectural shot that I'm proud of. Millsands, Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
Perfect water depth to allow for this diagonal lead in to one of my favourite views. Richmond, North Yorkshire.
My first trip out into murky weather on purpose, and a composition and feel that sums up autumn for me. Mother Cap, Peak District.
A winter sunrise at the Kitkat Stones, some perfect golden light. Higger Tor, Peak District.
Simple, but some of the more beautiful light I've seen this year. Over Owler Tor, Peak District.
A slightly different shot from Surprise View, I can't claim originality here though - Rob Harris deserves full credit for that. Surprise View, Peak District.
After a wet and windy afternoon under grey skies on Stanage Edge, persistence pays off with this beautiful show as the sun bursts through. Stanage Edge, Peak District.
An attempt at 'longer' landscapes. After falling in love with the work of Pete Hyde it's my first relatively successful attempt at a style that became increasingly important in my compositional thinking as the year wore on. Millstone Edge, Peak District.
Similarly to the last shot, a composition I feel is flawless - at least to me. Beautiful pink evening light too! Crowden Clough, Peak District.
A lovely pink sky and a slightly shorter than usual (for me) exposure gave me a very pleasing shot of Richmond falls, North Yorkshire.
The use of soft, diffuse but still directional light and a composition I feel is amongst my strongest makes this a personal favourite. Back Tor, Peak District.
Quite possibly my favourite of the year. It's a recent addition, taken in mid-December, after taking my chances on a very grey, miserable start and using a bit of local knowledge to guess where to head in the hope of a cloud break, everything suddenly came together in spectacular style. I was the only one out that morning, and with an original composition from one of the most poplular spots in the country (the famous gate is a metre behind me) - I was grinning from ear to ear on the way back. Both frustratingly, and flatteringly, the day after this was uploaded another photographer has since used the same fence as foreground interest... shows how long originality lasts in these parts!
One of the last images of the year, amazing light up Wensleydale following a heavy downpour. Redmire, Yorkshire Dales.
The light underneath the downpour from Redmire, Yorkshire Dales.
A beautiful, colourful sunrise over Richmond at the end of the year. North Yorkshire.
One of my last photos this year, and my favourite ever from this location. Richmond, North Yorkshire.