Well, 2016 is drawing to a close and despite the year being remembered for political change and celebrity deaths. Not for me. It's been a year of marriage, and the start of our family which means more to me than any referendum. It's also been a year of finding my feet, photographically. Making a choice to work towards wedding photography as a career, and photographing landscapes and nature along the way to fulfil my creative buzz.
So here's 10 of my favourite images from 2016 with a little explanation why.
1. Whitby Pier
It's a wonderful feeling when a 4am get up for sunrise pays off in the middle of summer. The beauty of this time of the morning is you're usually on your own. The exception this time was some lads on their mopeds doing an 'all-nighter' in a Quadrophenia kind of way. They acknowledged me and went about their business.
2. Skelton View Brew
This is a beautiful viewpoint, about a 5km trek across moors from the car park. This is an iPhone pic (iphonie) of my setup as I wait for a steam train to pass. Yorkshire Tea particularly liked this one, sharing it on their social media.
3. Home Aurora
Seeing the Northern Lights in the UK was considered a rarity. Previously you just had to be lucky, and be in a place dark enough away from light pollution. However nowadays solar activity can be measured and a short term forecast can be predicted. Coupled with a clear sky and a new moon, viewing conditions can be perfect and they can be seen here in Yorkshire. I use the Aurorawatch UK app, other apps are available. This has been the only time I've been able to witness the Aurora with the naked eye, it was an extremely memorable moment. My photos from this night were spotted by the researchers of BBC Radio York, the next morning I was on the daytime show explaining how I achieved the photos.
4. Owl Chasing
This is my first encounter of photographing local wildlife and one of my favourite native birds. The Barn Owl. An hour before sunset, we set off on our own safari. Emma driving the jeep, with me ready to stand out of the sunroof to get an unrivalled view. Within half a mile we had our star, and we followed him as he scoured the hedgerows. We've located an owl box locally, away from the road so I hope to have some more owl pics soon. They're such a beautiful and majestic creature.
5. The Young One
From South Africa now and this elephant was great fun to watch. He had no care in the world. It wasn't easy to get a photo of him, as his mother and others always kept him hidden for his safety.
6. Sutton Bank Sunset
This has been on the list for a long time. I'd wished I had made it while the heather was still in bloom but never mind. It's good to know that to find this view you need to walk north away from the popular viewpoints. On this day there was just enough cloud in the sky. I hope to return and do some long exposures. A must visit for anyone in the area.
7. Whitby Harbour
This is almost perfect for me. I would have loved a fishing vessel to just complete the scene, but hey ho! I took two exposures here, one with a Big Stopper that smooths the water out. This one wins, as I prefer the detail in the water.
8. Simply Hare
For our honeymoon, I purchased a new telephoto lens. To make sure I came home from South Africa with the best honeymoon photos. Whilst getting to grips with the lens I photographed the hares in a local field. I've since witnessed hares boxing, one of natures wonderful sights. I like to present my hare photos in a high key mono format. I've got big ideas for prints of these pics, hopefully in 2017.
I really think that this is one of the North York Moors best kept secrets. Sonley Wood is high within the Farndale Daffodil Valley. Farndale is well known for its wild daffodils which draws in visitors every year however many do not know they should return a month later for the bluebells. This image is taken with a 50mm lens which gives better prospective of the carper of bluebells on the woodland floor.
10. Single File Please
This image taken in January has won me a national competition and sits proudly on the Princes Countryside Fund Christmas cards. I hope HRH received one himself!
An amazing moment on our first night on safari. This Lion, the leader of the pride sat enjoying the last of the evening light. It was a magical moment as the background became darker into shade. It was at this moment he started to roar to show dominance over the pride. The other lions joined in a ritual roaring which took our breath away being so close