on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

David Ward’s 2013

Review of 2013

David Ward

T-shirt winning landscape photographer, one time carpenter, full-time workshop leader and occasional author who does all his own decorating.


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?

Finally fulfilling my long held ambitions to visit Spitzbergen (in June) and New Zealand (in August) were definitely my highlights of 2013. I actually made very few images in Spitzbergen but I was deeply moved by being in a wild place hardly altered by mankind. New Zealand was more productive photographically, but even after a fairly long visit, I feel that I barely scratched the surface. These are both places that I intend to revisit as soon and as often as I can. For me, 2013 was a little like living in the Shetlands, where they only have two seasons: winter and July. I experienced "winter" from January through to June, firstly in Scotland and the high Arctic. I managed just one week of hot weather in July, in Pembrokeshire. Then it was back to "winter" in the southern hemisphere and in the Rockies. So this was the year of snow for me. And, I have to say, I really enjoyed both the cold and the enforced simplicity!

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

Whilst I have definitely made more images on digital cameras this year than I have with film, I still think of myself as a film photographer. This is because I get the most pleasure out of working with my Linhof Technikardan 5x4 view camera. I almost invariably find the resulting images more satisfying too.

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

Vik Beach

Vik Beach

My favourite image will always be the next one that I really like… But as I have to choose from 2013 I'll pick Vik beach in Iceland - an image made not on film but on a digital SLR. This was almost the first image that I made using a Canon 1DX. I felt like a fish out of water using a modern digital camera. The one familiar thing was employing movements - using a 90mm T/S lens - to achieve the plane of focus I was after. I'm sure that I would find a rigid bodied camera far too restrictive. Whilst most of the photographers around me were pointing their cameras at the spectacular sea stacks off Iceland's southern shore, I was concentrating (as usual) on the possible subjects at my feet. I loved the sinuous, organic looking curves. The hard part was working out how to frame them! I am fascinated by the way that chaotic processes (in this case waves beating on the shore) can result in coherent patterns. I also love revealing beauty in unusual subjects - the kelp-like ribbons are actually rubber, part of a sea defence that has been destroyed by a storm.

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

I find sticking to a plan for twelve hours tricky, let alone twelve days or twelve months - so it's hard for me to say what 2014 will hold for me. But I do hope to start working on a new book… I'm loathe to give too much away at the moment so I'm afraid that you'll just have to wait to find out what it will be about! I can say that I envisage it being more image led than my previous works. In terms of trips, the most exciting prospect will be my return to Tasmania in September. I made a pilgrimage there in 2012, following in the steps of Peter Dombrovskis and Chris Bell, and am really looking forward to the chance to make new images in this remarkably diverse, beautiful and wild place.

5) Portfolio of 6 personal images from 2013

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

I predict that film sales will have a resurgence… but that Fuji Film will continue to behave erratically and that Velvia 50 will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Negative film here I come!

7) What are your personal ambitions or goals for 2014

To continue to explore the visual realm, to try and see more like a stranger in a strange land, to be able to translate my vision more to my satisfaction (without being any less self-critical!) and to carry on trying to help fellow photographers understand the incredible depth of the amazing art form that we're engaged in. (Did I forget world peace?)


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