Inside this issue
A Change of Pace
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
Mark Littlejohn is a landscape photographer based on the edge of the English Lake District. He specialises in moody, atmospheric early morning conditions and offers bespoke one-to-one workshops and Lakeland tours.
This interview was in 2013. Since then Mark Littlejohn has won the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2014. You can read his latest interview here and his video interview in the run up to the Meeting of Minds Conference.
We've been hassling Mark Littlejohn since 2011 for an interview after seeing some of his wonderful Lake District photography and persistence as finally paid off when we visited him at his Penrith home and spent a very wet day in a valley off Ullswater, his watery muse.
Mark has only taken up photography in the last few years but obviously has a strong vision and a dedicated persistence in realising it. From a hobby to de-stress from possibly one of the worst jobs in the world to a passion that has transported him into a different lifestyle where he now works on the pleasure boats on Ullswater, showing some of the passengers what he sees out there.
After the wet trip out we retired to Mark's house and surrounded by two of the biggest cats you've ever seen we spent a pleasant hour chatting about his love of the lakes and more..
Tim: We've just spent a day down Deepdale off Ullswater and we were going do some video but we had the biggest volume of rain the Lakes has seen this whole summer
Mark: I think we would have needed underwater gear to get anything done.
T: So we're back at Mark Littlejohn's house and sitting with a glass of wine and taking a more leisurely approach to interviewing. You only started photography recently is that correct?
M: Yes I started almost exactly three and a half years ago today when I took possession of a Pentax SLR.
T: What made you pick it up in the first place then?
M: It was a roundabout story in that the job I was doing at that time was quite stressful which led me to doing a bit more walking than I used to - I used to do a lot when I was younger. This was about five or six years ago and I'd walk now and again, Golf was my main hobby though. I was advised to do a bit more excercise to destress and living five miles from Ullswater it was quite easy to nip out and walk around the feels.
And the winter of 2009/2010 was magical, even from a non-photographers perspective. And I'd taken some pictures with the family compact camera, a tiny little Canon thing, and I was showing them to somebody and they said "You need to put them online", so I put them onto Flickr and I started browsing everybody elses photographs. And they were just people like me who were going out walking and taking pictures and I thought "I quite like that". Even when I was walking along in the landscape I could always look at a bit of landscape and recognise it as nice, of having potential, taking a photograph in your mind so to speak.
So I read a few camera reviews and bought the Pentax Kx which had not long come out then. It was quite small and I think the fact it wasn't Nikon or Canon appealed to me. I went out the next day and got a photograph of a deer using the 55-300mm; It was a proper wild red deer - not a Glen Etive red deer that comes up asks for a sandwich - and I was quite pleased with it. I was only taking pictures of my walks really, I wasn't getting up at dawn or shooting sunsets. But as I was looking around Flickr and seeing people of the likes of Brian Kerr, a photographer from Carlisle who was also taking pictures of around Ullswater, who wasn't a professional but was photographing out of love of the landscape and trying to record it as best they could and they inspired me and I got more and more hooked.
17th July 2010 (you'll have to excuse me I've got a strange memory for places and dates) I'd not long come into possession of a Sigma 10-20 lens, I was still getting to grips with the fact that that made the foreground so important, and I'd also bought a B&W 10 stop filter. I went past a particular road between Great Salkeld and Langwathby and there was a dead tree up on the hillside that looked across to the Pennines and I thought "Right I'm going to have a go with this wide angle lens and 10 stop filter" and I took this picture at dawn and when I got home I saw it and thought "Bloody hell! I took that!". I think prior to this I was just going on walks and taking pictures so I would pass by a scene and take a photograph - there wasn't any real thought about putting this there and that over there.