Here’s a list of all the articles and galleries on the site – knock yourself out!

  • Expectations of Pictures
    I got thinking about how we each look at images and how we bring our own expectations of how images work. What really interested me was how we deal with the times when that expectation is not met.
  • Material ingredients
    Several years ago as we were building our new house, I was taken by the idea of recording some of the materials we used or found on the site.
  • Black and White Photography – Pictures for the Imagination
    A very personal view of black and white photography.
  • The Heron Wood Project
    COVID lockdowns brought frustrations but they also provided us an opportunity. The resulting pictures of our local woods reflected the complexity of the situation. They are now available in a new book from Blurb Books
  • How a small edit changes a snapshot to fine art
    How can one photo work as both a snapshot and as fine art with just one small edit?
  • The Fin, 2011
    Way back in 2011, I was fascinated by the buildings in Manchester – mainly the Victorian and Edwardian commercial architecture. There was lots to go at, and much that was in an attractive state of dilapidation. But there’s lots of modern buildings too and I regret not photographing more while I was there.
  • The Light in the Shadows
    Creating a book from a website feels like it should be easy. But it turned out not to be like that at all.
  • Art@Ancrum, 2020
    Art@Ancrum is a very special arts and crafts event in the Scottish Borders. Sadly the virus got the better of Art@Ancrum this year but having a website means I can still at least do an online exhibition stand.
  • The Heron Wood, 2020
    Thought-through or intuitive? Do your pictures depend on your experience or do you just go exploring?
  • Distant Horizons, 2019
    Sometimes, when you take a photograph, you know immediately what it’s about. Other times, you’re not so sure. This was one of those times.
  • Wrong end of the telescope, 2019
    You get the telescope out to try and see more clearly but it doesn’t help. It’s the wrong way round. And they’re getting further away.
  • The Serpents’ View, 2015
    Has something just happened? Or is something about to happen? Or perhaps nothing ever happens up here in the waiting room on the roof of the known world.
  • Safe Homecomings, 2016
    Thoughts of home after the uncertainty of carefully picking your way up river past sandbars and shoals.
  • Cammo
    Dream-like pictures from the Cammo Estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh
  • The Night Express, 2016
    It’s as though the bridge is being cast in front of your eyes, a trail of molten gold flowing along the raised track.
  • Time’s Arrow, 2016
    There was something about the line of gravestones not just leading to the door but also taking you back in time as you walk along beside them.
  • Bamburgh, 2016
    Bamburgh, 2016: bringing myths to life – the story behind the image.
  • Piemme, Bologna, 2006
    I remember feeling quite overwhelmed by the blue and didn’t really notice anything else for a while. I knew I had to take this photograph.
  • A Longing for Distant Shores, 2015
    It does seem I get inspired by bad weather. I just needed 50 seconds between squalls to get the long exposure shot, and I wasn’t getting them.
  • A gallery of arborial delights
    Over the years trees have featured prominently in the photographs I take. Here’s some of my favourites.
  • Autumn light at Gosford House
    As we started walking round the grounds at Gosford House in East Lothian the light started to turn grey, Could we find any contrast worth talking about in the trees?
  • The Farnes, 2019
    Going back through my pictures, I’ve been finding it far easier to identify interesting monochrome images to document rather than colour ones. Better? Or just different?
  • Late bar, Venice, 2008
    By daylight the scene is nothing to write home about. But at night, nearly midnight, all those extraneous elements and colours just disappeared, and the atmosphere of the Venetian night took over.
  • Chad! No! Manchester, 2012
    “But it’s just a picture of a wall!” It’s also a picture of ambition moderated by pragmatism, of nostalgia, of seeing how things were, how things are now and how they got there.
  • Manchester Art Gallery, 2004
    As soon as I saw the negative emerge from the developer I knew I’d got something worthwhile.
  • Lower Gilmore Bank, Edinburgh, 2019
    It’s the sort of picture I’ve always longed to be able to make – technically and compositionally appealing.
  • Talk about your picture
    Try this as an exercise. You’ve got three minutes. Describe your image and give me some idea of what motivated you. Intimidating? Impossible? Here’s how.
  • Creative Photography: Michael Freeman’s Fifty Paths
    Michael Freeman on Creative Photography really doesn’t need more publicity. However this book published way back in 2016 definitely warrants more exposure. Freeman ranges widely across photography considering different approaches to being creative with your camera.
  • Level horizons and the bull’s red rag
    Level horizons are really just the tip of a critical iceberg. Here’s why you should consider going straight.
  • I saw the light
    This year, a new camera has changed the way I take pictures. I’ll not break the habit of a lifetime – this won’t be a camera review – so this is all about how you see.
  • The Tweed Crossings – the development of a project
    Three years ago I started a project to photograph all the river crossings across the River Tweed between Kelso and Berwick. This is the story so far.
  • Struggling for inspiration? Just keep trying!
    Its the middle the day in the middle of summer. The sun’s shining and you’re out with a bunch of friends intent on taking some photographs. And the light’s dreadful. What to do?
  • Why Photographs Work: George Barr
    George Barr’s approach is to take 52 images from photographers both well- and less well-known. We come away with an armoury of potential approaches to reviewing our own or other peoples’ photography.
  • Ian Roper and North Crag Eliminate
    How a photograph both frightened and excited me when I first saw it. Can photographs really have that sort of an impact?
  • Panoramas
    Panoramic images and wide aspect photographs.
  • Manchester
    Images of Manchester’s buildings, old and new.
  • Denis Thorpe and Hebden Bridge
    How a black and white picture of Hebden Bridge by Denis Thorp in the Guardian in 1978 still influences how I take photographs today.
  • Ultra-w-i-d-e
    Many photographers have a preferred genre, their comfort zone. A place where creativity arrives without conscious effort. For me, it’s ultrawide landscapes
  • Manchester graffiti
    Manchester, like all cities, has its share of graffiti. Here’s a sample.
  • Italy
    Northern Italy is one of my favourite places to visit. Food, wine, culture, and some great photographic opportunities.
  • The value of a good editor
    Finding someone else to help with editing our pictures and choose our collections can prove useful. It works in other fields; why not photography too?
  • In praise of trees
    It might seem a bit odd starting an article on trees with something that is most certainly not a tree. For me though, it’s a tree in all but name.
  • Contract or assumption: what do I owe the viewer?
    Is it realistic to expect a photographer to concern himself with his viewers expectation about the nature of photography?
  • Why do I take photographs?
    Looking is one thing; seeing is another.
  • Monochrome: one less distraction
    Consider the use of monochrome to concentrate your viewers’ eyes on the real subjects of your photos.
  • I know WHAT it is but WHY did you take that photo?
    I feel like something of a scratched record about this, banging on about photographic intentions yet again. But it’s important.
  • Learning to see: going beyond looking
    We all take disappointing pictures at times. To get out of the habit, we have to learn to see in a different, more conscious way.
  • Panoramas – taking the wider view
    Exploring the potential of panoramas? From wide angle landscapes to more intimate close-ups.
  • From intentions to image – a worked example
    In this article I describe some of the aesthetic decisions I made when processing a raw image file to get to this picture of Berwick Pier.
  • Critiquing others to improve your photographs
    Surprisingly perhaps, you can improve your own pictures by learning how to critique other peoples’ images. Being specific about, and putting into words, what you do and don’t like will help when you come to create your own images.
  • Don’t ask me about my camera settings
    When you start out it sometimes feels like other photographers are deliberately hiding the details of their craft from you. It takes a little time to realise that the most important feature of the camera is the viewfinder.
  • How do you title your pictures?
    Do you need to tell people what your photograph is about? As ever it all depends on circumstances – what does your audience need to make the most of your images?
  • Make your intentions plain
    Being clear about your intentions for a photograph before you actually press the shutter button is the first step in creating images that say what you want them to say.
  • Why monochrome?
    Working in monochrome means you can’t rely on colour contrasts to separate elements in your photographs. You have to use the light and capture differences in luminance to produce an image with impact.
  • Simplify, simplify! Pictures with impact
    One of the hardest lessons to learn when starting with photography is not how to fit everything relevant into your pictures, but how to leave everything else out. Here are three steps I follow when I’m trying to create images with impact.
  • It’s all about the camera
    How the obsession with camera hardware gets in the way of creating interesting photographs.
  • Landscape pictures are what, exactly?
    Well, that’s an easy question to answer isn’t it? Landscape is a picture of natural beauty somewhere in the countryside. Isn’t it? There, done. We’ve put that in its box, move on. But not so fast. That just raises more questions than it answers.
  • Don’t just look – See!
    “Seeing Things” by Joel Meyerowitz was conceived as a “Kid’s Guide to Looking at Photographs”, but it works for older people too.
  • Pose questions, don’t provide answers
    In a blink this book by Henry Carroll, apparently for beginners, with pages of detail on how to choose shutter speeds and apertures resolved how I should be taking photographs for maximum impact.
  • Fiddlers Ferry Panorama 2011
    This image was part of a panorama project I undertook for a client in Oldham in the UK. You can clearly see, from 40 miles away the Fiddler’s Ferry power station on the Manchester Ship Canal.
  • Kelso Town Hall and Square 2016
    In 2016 I developed a series of images to create a panoramic view of the Square in Kelso. I felt it would be both interesting and useful to record the current state of the Square.
  • The Tweed Crossings Project 2016 –
    Maps identify over 30 river crossings on the Tweed between Kelso and Berwick in the borderland joining England and Scotland. Many, especially the fords and ferries, have now vanished. But each of them has a story to tell in the turbulent history of the region.