on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Secret Affair

Richard Childs reveals his guilty secret

Richard Childs

Richard Childs

Richard trained as an Orchestral Percussionist in the 1980's but his true love has always been the outdoors and particularly mountain environments. Throwing in his drumsticks to become a full-time photographer in 2004 he continues to work with a large format camera alongside digital equipment and exhibits his work in solo and group exhibitions as well as at his own gallery in the Ironbridge Gorge. Links to Website and Facebook

OK, I'm coming clean, and I think it's only right that I do it publicly and nationally in this magazine.

I have been having a secret affair. It's been going on for about four years now but has been far more serious in the last two. Initially she modelled for me and I would visit perhaps once a month spending an hour or two in her company, sometimes making successful images sometimes not. She's no supermodel, nowhere near as glamorous as some of the others hereabout and although I regularly photograph them, she is the one I go to the most. Just over two years ago, following a health scare in the family I found that she was the one most able to help me come to terms with the stress and strain. I started to visit her more regularly, often just to sit, to spend time clearing my head of the jumbled thoughts and problems trapped within. She would quietly listen, never offering any advice but never the less allowing the tensions to fall away.

Beinn Lora, from Dunstaffnage

Every time I visit she reveals a little more of herself to me. Her many colours and moods. Together we have experienced sunrises, sunsets, days of ice and snow, warm summer breezes and howling gales. Her name is Lora, Beinn Lora and she resides just one hundred metres from my home.

At just over 1000ft high and with no particularly defined peak visible from a distance Beinn Lora is a fairly unremarkable hill to look at. But sat with my back to the summit trig point I never fail to be blown away by the views. just the other day I climbed (without camera) and sat as blizzards swept around each side of the hill, miraculously missing me, painting the landscape white before racing out to sea.

Ben Cruachan and loch Etive at Dusk

The climb to the top is brutally steep in places, rising in great steps from sea level through thick forestry plantation and moorland bog. As a consequence the summit offers a commanding view through 360 degrees. The sea lies on three sides, Benderloch, the nearest village, is written Meadarloch in Gaelic meaning the land between the waters. Thrusting north is Loch Linnhe and beyond this the mountains of Ardgour and as far as Glenfinnan. To the East Loch Etive reaches towards Ben Cruachan, beyond which the horizon includes the hills of Arrochar on Loch Lomond. North East lie the mountains of Glencoe and to the South West the breath-taking Firth of Lorn and the inner Hebridean islands including Mull, Colonsay, Scarba and even Islay some 50 miles distant.

Larches, Beinn lora

Fighting for space.

While the top offers a plethora of views and a true mountain/moorland experience the first six hundreds feet are blanketed in in a rich tapestry of deciduous woodland and managed forestry. More often than not my photographic forays go no further than this as it offers a never ending supply of possibilities throughout the year, right on my doorstep.

While Beinn Lora hasn't yielded an enormous number of images to date (unlike Joe Cornish's bit on the side, Rose Berry) my evergrowing familiarity and the constant discovery of new possibilities keep me going back for more. A small hill among giants, Beinn Lora offers all I need as a photographer of landscape, the chance to get out and stay out a while.

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