Well, we had a full range of weather over the 'summer', didn't we? I've just finished all the shoots for the next book in the '52 Weekends...' series - available in all good bookstores from next April - now it's down to some serious editing. here's a little taster...
The lovely Upper Teesdale
and this really is August in Eskdale, Cumbria
Took a cheeky wee holiday in France and received three lovely pieces of news. Firstly 52 Weekends by the Sea has been shortlisted in the top five finalists for Lifestyle Illustrated books in the British Book Awards 2010. We are up against four rather lovely cookery books and it's great to be the only travel book to make the shortlist. Looking forward to a good night out with the 52 design team at the awards evening in October. This was quickly followed by three pictures being shortlisted in this years Landscape Photographer of the Year...
...and then two series of landscapes in the London Photographic Association awards: Silver for a new series of UK landscapes, and commended for some b/w's from Cornwall.
See the two sets here:
...Hmmm! must holiday more often!
This post is taken from the Day in the Life feature in Photography Monthly/Turning Pro magazine, May 2010 A Day in the life: Landscape Photographer
Beginning his career at The Independent’ newspaper, Craig Easton learned fast. He recalls making wet prints in the darkroom and running to the picture desk with them to fill a hole in the front page that was about to go to print. If that sounds old hat, it’s not that long ago; the early ‘90’s in fact.
Alongside his Fleet Street career, Craig always liked to shoot landscape images. Preferring transparency film he started shooting for books where the reproduction would do them justice. Today he does a lot of location based advertising work as well as continuing with the books. In the course of his working life, he has travelled all over the world, but for his latest book, a collaboration with writer Brigid Benson, he stayed in the UK. The result is 52 Weekends by the Sea which celebrates the diversity of the British coast.
Craig takes us with him on his travels over a 24 hour period shooting for 52 Weekends.
9.00am: I had risen early to shoot some quiet morning pictures of the Crinan canal in Argyll, having shot the wooden boat festival the day before. Then over breakfast I check the weather and decide that maybe today is the day to shoot Sandwood Bay in Sutherland. I want the images to illustrate a chapter on wild camping titled ‘The necessity of Wilderness’ after a quote by John Muir. The beach lies four miles from the end of the nearest road and with an 11pm sunset and 4am sunrise in midsummer, camping on the beach is the only way to shoot. The only problem is that it’s a 250-mile/7hr drive just to get to the start of the walk.
5.00pm: I’m parked up at the end of the old peat track where the walk to Sandwood begins. Although still isolated and remote, this is now a popular route and especially appealing on long summer days. All the kit I need is in the van, and I have provisions for supper on the beach too, having stopped off at the stores in Kinlochbervie.
Travelling as light as possible, but with the right clothes and equipment is critical. You won’t take good pictures if you’re too cold or if you have been bailing water out of a leaky tent all night - or in Scotland if you can’t concentrate for all the scratching of midge bites. My backpack is loaded with tent, sleeping bag, Trangia stove, food, water, head torch, Skin so Soft spray to keep the midges away, OS Map, waterproofs, hat, gloves (this is the North West Highlands) and swimming shorts (it is July!)
Nikon D3X with 15-30 f.2.8; 24-70 f2.8; 70-200 f.28: I left the long lenses behind – too much weight Leica M8 with 21 f2.8; 35 f1.4; 50 f2. Plenty of CF cards for the Nikon and SD cards for the Leica Filters: 0.3/0.6/0.9 ND grads; Tripod: Gitzo carbon fibre with ball head Lowepro bags Zip lock bags to keep the gear dry and clean
7.00pm: I arrive at the bay and pitch the tent then go for a recce walk to check out the locations and views that I want to work with. The obvious landmark is Am Buchaille (The Herdsman) – a magnificent sea stack, but I am so familiar with that view that I’m looking for something else. I’m struck by the extent of the dunes and the freshwater Sandwood Loch at the back. Aware that I already have the chapter opening double-page spread for this chapter from a previous trip when I’d shot the picture ‘Midnight at Oldshoremore’, I’m looking for something for the following two pages. Still with plenty of time before sunset, I can’t resist and dive in for an icy swim – carpe diem!
8.00pm: The sun takes a long time to set in the far north-west at this time of year, but I’m aware of gathering clouds out to the west. I shoot one or two simple pictures, but nothing that I’m really happy with and it’s maybe 50/50 whether the clouds are going to ruin the next two hours or really help the mood of the place with the setting sun. I decide to make a quick bowl of pasta – this could be a long night!
9.30pm: The clouds gather overhead, but there were still gaps of sunshine illuminating the beach and the dunes. I choose the angle that I want to shoot and decide on a wide triptych to run right across the double page. This allows me to really get a sense of the whole scene. I can keep the recognisable stack out at sea, but also shoot the light across the dunes and catch a glimpse of the loch and mountains behind.
I just get the pictures before the clouds claim the sun for the last hour of daylight. A minute after the picture is made, the sun is gone and a flat grey light covers the scene.
10.15pm It’s getting cold, so I head back to the tent to make sure all the kit is packed away and waterproof and zip up the tent before the midges came out in force. Overnight the clouds burst and pour torrents of rain onto the tent, I wake up at 4.30 to check the light, but it’s flat grey and still raining.
5.30am: Check again and there’s a hint of a break in the clouds, so I get up and wander out onto the beach. Although there are heavy clouds the atmosphere is serene and I enjoy an hour to myself in a most magical place. I have photographed all over the world, but at this moment I don’t want to be anywhere else.
6.30am: Within the hour the mood of the weather has changed and I need to pack up the kit and get back to the van as soon as possible.
7.15am: Just as I reach the top of the track leaving the beach, I feel the first spits of rain and the wind that comes with a gathering storm. Looking back, there is the last glimpse of the sun as it breaks through the storm clouds illuminating Sandwood Loch and haunted Sandwood Cottage. I have about ten seconds to make the picture, which goes on to win the homeland category in the Travel Photographer of the Year. I often find it ironic that despite all the planning, preparation and patience required to be a landscape photographer you still need luck and a newspaper man’s ability to work fast and make quick decisions when it really counts.
My new book 52 Weekends by the Sea with writer Brigid Benson is available from today in all good bookshops and on-line. Please join us at http://www.52hq.co.uk
Here's what people are saying....
"A stylish, useful and well researched book." Tim Jepson, The Sunday Telegraph
"Beautifully presented....as much a document of indigenous life as it is a travel guide" Matt Bolton, BBC Lonely Planet Magazine
"This is the book that proves you don’t need to leave the country or spend very much money to have a great time……a must-have for those who want to get out and explore the beauty of Britain." Abigail Damms, Waterstones Books Quarterly
"A year's worth of beach breaks to plan? Yes, please!" Red Magazine
"..a year's worth of hand-picked breaks that include dramatic views, quirky cafés and stunning hikes along the length of Britain's coastline" The Independent
And as promised....a few pictures to whet your appetite.....
Chapter 7: Go West!
Very excited: just received by post the first copy of our new book '52 Weekends by the Sea' with writer Brigid Benson. This has been great fun visiting and revisiting favourite places, photographing such wonderfully diverse people and landscapes and putting it all together with the team at Virgin books. Its full of fabulous weekend escapes all around the coast from the far north of Scotland to the south tip of the Lizard; from wild west Wales to wonderful Whitley Bay. Beautifully written by Brigid, she'll introduce you to great, great people in some fabulous places - take you to quirky b&b's, the best beach cafes and even tell you stories of shipwrecks and smugglers - hopefully the pictures will inspire you to go and make your own discoveries too. From the introduction:
The idea is simple: we’ve created fifty-two weekends that deliver a flavour of our shores. Along with great adventures and people to meet, we’ve included special places to eat, drink and sleep too, all carefully handpicked from our own experience.
and from Rick Stein's foreword:
Whether it’s the long walk to CapeWrath, the most north-westerly tip of the mainland or the myriad of seabirds perched on the high cliffs of Flamborough Head, the dreamy Celtic quality of the Llyn peninsular in West Wales and Pembrokeshire, or the art deco splendour of the heated, salt-water swimming pool at Stonehaven close to Aberdeen, Brigid and Craig’s book is a delightful enticement to get in the car or on the train and leave our daily routine behind for a while.
Available from April 15th - watch this space for more details and pictures.