on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Tim Parkin’s 2013

Review of 2013

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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We asked a number of our contributors to answer a few questions on their past year and what 2014 holds.

1) What have you been doing photographically in 2013, anything new & different or exciting trips that got the juices flowing?

2013 has had a general lack of photography for the first half of the year but I did visit Iceland with Joe Cornish to shoot a Phase One video and although I didn’t get too much photography done I was quite taken with the island - especially the north side around Myvatn.

In the second half of 2013 we moved house to the Yorkshire Wolds, what a painful experience that was. I am quite excited about having a relatively unphotographed part of the UK on my doorstep and I also have a Paul Moon in the next village who is a wonderful guide to the area and who sets a very high standard of photographs to follow.

2) What have you been shooting with most in 2013?

I took a Canon 1DX to Iceland with me and although it was stunning in it’s ability to capture low light, it’s a little rich for my blood (never mind a Phase One back, even with the discount offered by them for the video shooting). So I decided to buy a D800 but after a couple of months, I realised I liked using the Sony A900 more and the quality of images from the simple 28-135 zoom was more than enough for my digital needs so the D800 went again.

Most of my photography has still been with the 5x4 camera, either the Ebony 45SU or Chamonix 045N1. However I have finally found a couple of old ‘pictorialist’ lens to play with - a Zeiss Jena Tessar 145mm f/2.7 and a 165mm f/2.7. The former nearly covers 5x4 and the latter covers with room to spare. They have a wonderful quality to them and have produced a couple of my favourite images of the year. I’m still learning how to best use the sometimes nausea inducing effects they can produce but I think they will reward patience.

3) What is your favourite image from 2013 and what is the background to it?

Never an easy decision but I think the image that I keep coming back to is this shot taken during our annual Glencoe pilgrimage.

Water becomes sky whilst looking into the Ballachulish slate quarry.

Water becomes sky whilst looking into the Ballachulish slate quarry.

Most people initially think it’s a picture of a strange craggy hilltop with some trees sticking into the air but in actual fact I’m looking down at about 45 degrees onto a small promontory of slate sticking out into a quarry pool at Ballachulish. The water was so still that the diffuse light from the sky was almost perfectly reflected. If you look in detail you can see the ripples on the surface of the water.

I’ve realised I have a bit of a passion for reclaimed spaces like quarries and mines. They show how resilient nature can be and that our transgressions on the natural world will all disappear given time.

4) What does 2014 hold? New books? projects? trips ? or even new gear…?

Well I’ve resisted the urge to buy a Sony A7R so far - the A900 is doing the job for me still. I have however bought some video equipment and I’ll be using it to produce some shorts about photographers or locations - I’ve nearly finished building a “Brushless Gimbal” (an automatic camera stabiliser on steroids) and am waiting for a slider that will be put to good use in Iceland in February when I’m accompanying Joe Cornish, David Ward and Daniel Bergman.

I also have an exhibition, my first, at the Ryedale Folk Museum at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It opens mid Feb and will run for six weeks and I’m just in the middle of the panic that happens when you realise how many pictures you’ve got to get ready. More about that when we’ve got details confirmed.

Charlotte and I are also learning how to take on the winter hills properly in February where we’ll be taking the crampons and ice axes out into the Lost Valley where our guide will be teaching us how to fall over properly and get lost in the dark (I think I understood that right from our phone call!?). So here’s hoping for more snow in March!

As for the rest of the year, the biggest thing is the Landscape Photography Conference in November but I really hope I can get more photography done before then!

5) Portfolio of 6 personal images from 2013

6) What are your predictions for the industry (either technical or general)

I think the A7R will be the straw that breaks the back of the DSLR industry. The quality of screens and electronic viewfinders is such that, combined with the advantages they proffer, all but the most optically obsessed landscape photographers will be tempted. Over the next 12 months I expect to see more full frame mirrorless cameras and the current minority interest sport of alternative lenses become mainstream. I don't think DSLRs will disappear but they won't be the default choice they have been for so long.

I also expect that these cameras will start to feature customisation and possibly apps just like we’re seeing on smartphones. Using the amazing screens on modern phones and tablets as wireless viewfinders will be more common too, especially with more weather devices. I’m not convinced by Sony’s strange lens/sensor combo but I like the general idea and am interested to see where it goes.

I’m also really happy that lenses are starting to not only get better quality in terms of corner to corner sharpness but also that the “look” of a lens is becoming recognised as more important. The chase for ultimate center sharpness seems to have waned a little and people are recognising that there’s more to a great picture that unlimited contrasty pixels.

Photographically I think we’re seeing more interesting work being created by many photographers and have a feeling this is a mass maturing of the huge wave of photographers that arrived during the heyday of digital photography. The vast majority of photographers have only been taking pictures for a few years and I think where at first people were treading a common path whilst learning about cameras and photography, this large wave of photographers are starting to discover what they like and don’t like and I’m excited about what will be produced by them over the next few of years.

7) What are your personal ambitions or goals for 2014

I’m hoping that my exhibition in February/March will act like a catalyst to push me into finding my own voice as a photographer and that I’ll actually get out to make the most of it. I have a couple of projects I’d like to work on but it’s scary not knowing what that means quite yet.

I really hope that the magazine can continue to be a positive influence for landscape photography and that we can continue to find interesting and inspiring photographers to talk to and to write for us. The conference will obviously be the focal point of the year and I suggest you ask me more about how my ambitions went if and when you meet me there!

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