Sunday 29 December 2019

Top ten not bird images from 2019

Birds are not the be all and end all, and I continue to enjoy taking photographs of landscapes and other scenery wherever I end up. Landscape photographers are true artists. Unlike birds you do not just bowl up and try your luck, there appears to a tremendous amount of planning involved, as well as immense amounts of skill to blend all the elements together. It is all about the light, the first rays of the sun lighting up a landscape of rugged beauty. Getting into position can take hours, often in the dark, and as for knowing what to do when you get there.....I cannot hope to get anywhere near that level of proficiency. But I do go to some amazing places, and some of these are so photogenic that you can take something that looks great with just your telephone. 

Monument Valley in the American south-west. The USA is overflowing with unsurpassed landscapes like this. The weather was somewhat against Henry and I, and this shot was taken shortly after a snow storm had passed through and temperatures low enough to make us seriously and sanity-questioningly uncomfortable. The light that morning was very peculiar indeed, with the fresh snow combined with orange rocks creating a living sepia effect. We may not have come away with any coffee table stunners, but we will remember this trip for a very long time!

Photos cannot do Antelope Canyon justice, although there are legion attempts far better than this as any google search will show you. Henry and I visited in February and the place was rammed even with a blizzard going on. Most photos show grains of sand falling pleasingly across a sunbeam. I've chosen to go with flakes of snow.

I can't even really remember where this was other than to say it was somewhere between Las Vegas and Zion National Park just before sunset. What we didn't yet know was that the polar vortex would deliver some of the most violent weather either of us had ever seen, which turned the ochre landscapes of Arizona and Utah white. This photos was of one of the preludes to this band of weather, which gave an ethereal quality to the light as the sun went down.

Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, taken from the eastern side during the blue hour. The weather was once again playing tricks, but I successfully dodged the thunder storms that turned the sky black over to the north east. Singapore is a spectacular city, and I really want to go back.

I took this on a walking tour of the city with a colleague, not sure what I balanced the camera on as I didn't have a tripod, but it has come out rather nicely for all that.

This is phone photo, taken whilst driving along the road to Mauna Loa on Hawaii. Shortly after this I heard but could not see my first Omao, the Hawaiian Thrush. Just look at the landscape though, This is not a skilled image, but this transports me back to a red Camaro convertible in glorious weather in a magical place.

Black Sand on Punalu'u Beach, Hawaii. This is actually a colour photograph, I didn't have to tinker with it at all. Birding was my primary purpose of course, but a bit of tourism never goes amiss. Hawaii is a wonderful place, just a bit far away.

The Pacific Ocean, facing west from Hawaii. Over to the right is Maui, but straight out  from Hapuna Beach there is nothing for six thousand miles until you hit Hainan Island near Vietnam. Watching the sun set over the ocean is one of life's great pleasures, were that I lived somewhere where this could be a regular event but alas I am tied to London. 

The only photo from Wanstead in 2019, the incomparable Flats early in the morning. I rarely take my camera out there, so I suspect that this must have been on my phone. The more photos I see from phones the more I wonder why people bother carting massive cameras around the place. Soon I will be too old to carry an enormous camera anyway....

Boston's historic north end early in the morning - I couldn't sleep and got up before the city awoke to a lovely morning. I only had a day, but I ran around like a mad thing and had a thoroughly wonderful time.  On a more serious note, this trip was an absurd indulence and I in all good conscience I should not have gone on it. Fun as it was, it is not on the menu for 2020.


  1. You are a carbon criminal. Disgusted with you

    1. Someone's jealous? Fantastic images Jono - keep on keeping on & Happy 2020 - Dylan

    2. The comment has some merit I'll admit, but I'm not going to engage in any kind of debate with anyone hiding behind anonymity. That said it is just as likely to be one of my mates on a wind up.

    3. But anyway, thanks Dyl and you too.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes and no! If I wasn't in this job I probably couldn't get to where I go, or at least not frequently.

      Also you should see what real landscape photographers create, these are poor imitations.