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Landscape Photography, Looking back and looking forward

A belated Happy New Year to all ,

I am a bit late in doing a blog for the New Year, in fact I am late doing a blog full stop, July was my last one!

I thought I would recap my favourite images over the last 12 months, and what I have planned for 2024.

2024 promises to be a great year, my long term ambition to produce a book will hopefully be a reality, 1-2-1 workshops are added to the website and these will be tailored specifically for you.

Again, I will produce a calendar at the end of the year.

I will also be focusing a lot more on wildlife, with a few little projects to keep me busy.

I'll be heading to new locations as well, some that I have been wanting to get to for many years, this is all to come over the next 12 months.

But without further ado, Lets go over for my personal favourite images from last year.

It was a pretty good year to be honest, I actually think some of my best images came this year, but that is subjective of course.

The New Forest as well as being my home, was it's magnificent self, and gave me countless opportunities to capture some amazing variety of images, but other locations, some new, some old, gave me some amazing moments.

Please feel free to leave your comments below

Number 1 - Peaky.

Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Matthew Wardle Photography, UK Landscape Photographer

I was told about a badger set from a great photographer who is local to the Forest, and as I have never had the opportunity so see a wild badger, I wanted to see if I could I could capture one.

Me and my wife headed off to the location after the evening dog walk and we stood there, surrounded by bluebells for an hour just waiting and hoping that they would emerge.

Wildlife photography is totally different to Landscape Photography, yes you need a similar skill set, but you also have to accept that waiting, doesn't always produce results. After about 30 minutes, we began doubting they would appear, but it was just at that point when they came up. It was a truly magical experience and one which will stay with me for a long time.

We bother headed back to the car with huge smiles knowing we had just witnessed a beautiful moment in the New Forest.

Number 2 - The Perfect Start

Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Matthew Wardle Photography, UK Landscape Photographer
The Perfect Start

One thing landscape photographers crave are the right conditions, and mist and fog are at the very top of these.

After scouting locations for weeks, I knew one that would work perfectly with the sort after moments.

Like everyone else who does what I do, the weather apps are vital, its something I personally check every few hours so I can plan my trips and locations for the week ahead.

With loads of chatter going on the Instagram messaging, the weather looked good for an early morning start and I headed to this lone Birch tree which is located near Matley Wood.

Driving out of my drive and in to Ashurst, I knew there was a good chance I was going to get a shot I had been planning for weeks. The fog was rolling of the fields and the air was still.

I pulled up at the car park and walked across the pony tracks to the spot I had scouted, there was no one there, just me.

I set up and waited for sunrise. It was perfect. The fog rolled through the heath behind and the glow of the sunrise broke through the nearby woodlands changing it from a soft light, to a beautiful amber glow that flooded the landscape.

After a 30 minutes of taking in all this and drinking an appreciated hot flask of coffee, I walked back to the car, knowing I had just captured what my hard worked had all been about.

Number 3 - The Shadows

Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Matthew Wardle Photography, UK Landscape Photographer
The Shadows

Despite the New Forest being known for its woodlands and heaths, the coastline is a pretty special place.

Keyhaven has always been one of my favourite places, it is a small fishing village on the Solent Coast and is home to an amazing array of wildlife as well as a beautiful lighthouse and Spit, but it is not a place where I have managed to get an image that I liked before.

This day was different, I have a weird love of boats in photographs, I think they make a great subject when used in a minimal way.

Minimal landscapes are possibly my favourite type of landscape photography, it is a simply take on a subject that makes you feel the solitude in the scene.

Keyhaven is a place that is always windy, and I knew that a long exposure was well out of the question here, so I headed down hurst spit to try and find a bit of shelter from the gusts.

This yacht was something that caught my eye. Simple, and beautiful, The Isle Of Wight was just showing on the horizon and the lighthouse was just visible beyond the distant boats that were moored further out in the harbour.

A simple set up with my Fuji , a circular polariser , and my tripod produced this.

After ten years of hoping for an image from here I finally managed one, and it is one that I am extremely happy with

Number -4 -The Morning Light

Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Matthew Wardle Photography, UK Landscape Photographer
The Morning Light

The months leading up to Christmas are my least favourite to photograph. The weather is generally wet and cold, and the light never seems to be on my side. 2022 was no different, so when the New Year came around, I knew it could only get better.

With the first decent bit of weather of the year, I headed out for an explore of the Forest and stopped at Knightwood Oak. It was not the famous old oak that I wanted to photograph, to be honest I don't think there is a shot that can had of it, and there are many better trees in the Forest to photograph ( sorry Knightwood ) but with the light coming up through a cold winters morning, I hoped that I could find an image that would capture the winter in the Forest.

After spotting this Pony making it's way around the woodlands to feed on the holly trees, I followed it around the oaks at a distance and waited for the perfect moment to get the shot that I wanted.

After sunrise on a cold clear day in the New Forest is a special time and I urge anyone who has not been out at that time to do so, and just take in nature. It will change your mood 100%.

After this image I spent a few hours walking around this location and it was the perfect way to spend a morning.

Number 5- Cast a Shadow.

Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Matthew Wardle Photography, UK Landscape Photographer
Cast a Shadow

I love storms, I love the energy and light when we get them.

With back to back storms forecast around the South Coast, I knew I needed to head to Dorset to make the most out of the conditions.

Boscombe, Dorset, has always been a place where I go to test out my new gear when I get it. It's a great place to try out seascapes.

As I pulled up to the car park, which is conveniently placed on the sea front, I could see the weather changing over the distant Purbeck coast, I decided to wait for the moment the beach would clear of people and for the tide to retreat so to give my a clean beach without footprints.

After around an hour, the moment came, people disappeared and the rain came, I grabbed my camera, which was already set up for the shot, and legged it, leaving the warm shelter of the car for a wet cold beach.

As I got there the rain stopped, the sky changed and the light came.

Apart from a few confused people watching me from their own sheltered cars, I was the only one there.

Number 6- Take the time to make some sense

Landscape Photography, Wildlife Photography, Matthew Wardle Photography, UK Landscape Photographer
Take the time to make some sense

I love planning trips, Sussex is a place that I mean to get to a lot more over the coming years. It' has some of the most beautiful landscapes and seascapes in the South and I think a few days around my neighbouring county may be needed to get to these.

Halnaker Windmill was one that was actually of my radar, I only discovered it while spending sometime of Google Earth looking at locations for a trip in the coming weeks.

As with all my locations, I research it the best I can and check the weather leading up to the trip and after a week of rain in the Forest, I wanted to chase the light and headed for this location.

In short, this was a very simply image to shoot, Just had to wait for the clouds to drift across to the point where I wanted them and took the shot. Simple sometimes produces the best results.

Number 7 - Guide me through

Take the time to make some sense
Guide me Through

Holidays for me, my wife and step daughters, never take place in a hotel on the beach in Europe, we are more of a stay in the UK and stay in a holiday cottage kind of family, my reasoning for that is the fact we have some of the best scenery and it gives us a chance to explore these.

Devon is a county that I love, It offers everything for a landscape photographer, dramatic coastlines, beautiful woodlands, and beautiful vistas, there is also great food and cream teas that are an added bonus.

One thing that I only recently found out was that we have rainforest in the UK, not many, but there are a few special woodlands that are remains of what was a huge covering throughout the UK.

I could talk about this for a long time but if you get a chance, and of course if you are interested, check out the Lost Rainforest Of Britain , it is a very interesting read.

This woodland ( temperate rainforest ) is located near Mouthmill Bay, and is stunning.

The mosses and lichens covering these oaks were everywhere, a sign of a healthy ecosystem, and the ferns seems so green.

There was so many compositions around here, I could have spent days here, but this was the one that stood out, I just love the shapes in this, the way the oaks are trying to reach out, or have a conversation with each other.

Number 8 - Teach You To Dream, While You're Awake

Dorset Coastline, Photography from Dorset, UK LAndscape Photographer Matthew Wardle
Teach You To Dream, While You're Awake

Once in a while, you get conditions that not only surprise you, but inspire you.

I do spend a lot of time in Dorset, I love it and the coastlines are beautiful.

I had planned this trip a week in advance, not 100% certain of the conditions, but I knew the weather was fairly settled.

The starting point was The Purbeck lookout carpark located near Kimmeridge Bay.

Whilst driving through the narrow lanes, I spotted mist on the horizon, but above the horizon was clear, this could only mean an inversion, something I had never witnessed before.

As I got out of the car, I looked down of the valley below to see this completely covered in fog, but everything above my vantage point was crystal clear, I could even see the coastline in the distance.

I was in awe.. I quickly grabbed my Fuji and snapped on the 100-400mm lens of to try and get some images of trees in in the mist, and managed a few, there were even some horses on the ridge that were amazingly photogenic, but for me, the best was yet to come.

After an hour trying to capture the drama, I headed down to Kimmeridge Bay. Driving through the inversion was dramatic, subject kept leaping out of the fog but due to the winding road leading down, I couldn't stop to get an image. One I had reached the bay, I walked up to the east side, and climbed halfway up the cliff and was presented with this view. With the 100-400 still attached, I took 5 images at portrait with my tripod attached and stitched the later in photoshop to produce one large panoramic image.

I wish I could show the true details of this image, but due to it's size, I can't. but the mist rolling in over the distant headland and the clouds made this image one of my favourites of the year.

Thanks for reading this, and I promise I will do a new blog each month for 2024.

Stay safe,


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