I love to see my photos printed. Aside from the framed images I have on the wall at home, I also began gifting calendars of some of my favourite images to my Mum and Dad and subsequently my aunt from about 2011.
After using Lulu’s printing services for several years, the more recent ones are printed at A3 size by White Wall (UK / CH) and then sent out by post. The quality of the velvety Premium Matte Silk paper is wonderful and the photos look amazing at A3 size.
This is the selection for the 2023 calendar I made for Mum. The selection I made for my aunt is here.
Cover: River Shin at Lairg
On a cold, frosty morning a few days before Christmas in Scotland, I took the opportunity to drive up into the north-west Highlands. The weather was absolutely beautiful — if very cold — and many of the trees, fields and hedgerows along the route were frosted over before the low sun rose higher in the sky. En route to the far northern coast, I stopped off near the small town of Lairg to photograph the river, where the shoreline remained frozen despite the slight thaw in the trees.
January: Weisshorn, Zermatt
We visited Zermatt for our anniversary in 2021 and I set the alarm to get up well before sunrise, catching the first train up to the mountain station. Once there, I exited the train in the dark to stand completely alone on the mountainside with my tripod to await the sunrise. This peak is the first of those above the valley to catch the sun.
February: Blair Castle, Blair Atholl
The landscape around Pitlochry and Dunkeld is one of my favourite parts of Scotland, which we get to drive through every year en route between the thickly-populated cities in the central belt and the more remote northern Highlands. We were heading south this time and I turned off the main A9 road at Bruar — where we often stop to visit The House of Bruar — and parked at the side of the road near the castle, sending my drone up into exceptionally cold weather to photograph the last of the sun.
Around the turn of the year this far north, the sun sets behind the neighbouring mountains at a little after half-past two in the afternoon.
March: Bern minster
I dragged myself out of bed early, primarily in order to photograph the pink cherry blossom trees with a view across the old city of Bern. I found my spot and took many shots, but the one I was most pleased with was of a hot-air balloon passing by the tower of the city minster. The light was beautiful on the tower and the rooftops just after sunrise at eight a.m. I love being out and about before dawn… when I can be bothered getting out of bed!
April: Buttermere tree
This twiggy tree has been famous in photographic circles for many years, as it’s so unusual and in a prime position at the head of the lake near the village at Buttermere in the English Lake District. Depending on the time of year and the weather, the tree can be in leaf and standing amongst low, vividly-green reeds, or — as in this case, in October 2022 — monochromatically bare and surrounded by lake water.
May: Île de Peilz, Léman
Sunsets on Lake Geneva — proper name Léman — are often amazing. We love to visit the lake throughout the year because the expansive size makes visiting the towns and vineyards on the Swiss shore feel like being at the seaside.
We visited Villeneuve in March 2022 for a change — not having been there before — and took a chilly walk along the lake shore. I wrote a fuller blog post about this unexpected tiny island at the time, which was a perfect subject for a photo.
June: Serpent d’océan, Saint-Brevin-les-Pins
We stayed in three different coastal villages in Brittany in June 2022. On our way to the first of them, we stopped-off at Saint-Brevin-les-Pins — a shoreline town where the Loire river meets the Bay of Biscay — to see this 2012 sculpture. I cautiously flew my drone in moderate sea winds to take shots from several angles, taking special care to keep away from a surprisingly large number of tourists and locals promenading along the seafront.
July: Plage de Bon-Secours, Saint Malo
Many British people will have heard of Saint-Malo, as it’s the sea port from which ferries connect both England and the Channel Islands to Brittany. I hadn’t seen pictures of the town until not long before we left on holiday last year and I was excited to see that alongside the busy harbour are two picturesque beaches alongside the historic walled old town. I had intended to photograph the long harbour wall from the air, but I was much more taken by the wonderfully-green sea and this other man-made construction.
This image is a straight-down drone photograph of the seawater lido and beach-front bar. The walls of the lido were just becoming submerged as I began photographing. Once the tide is at its zenith, the only part of the construction remaining above the water is the diving platform, which you can see at the top of the photograph. This is one of my favourite photos of the past few years, and possibly my favourite drone image.
The Cinque Terre is a string of five ridiculously picturesque villages along the Riviera on the north-west coast of Italy. It’s almost the closest piece of coastline to where we live and I first visited a few years after moving to Switzerland. It was a stinkingly-hot day but I wanted to walk the coast path, so I set out from Manarola in the south to walk the five or six kilometres along the Sentiero Azzuro (Blue Path).
September: Le Mean Ruz, Britanny
Another image from our holiday to France in 2022. We walked the eleven-kilometre round route along the coast path from Perros-Guirec, and although the weather was a bit disappointing, the swell certainly didn’t disappoint when we got to our destination. Red rocks like this are usually sandstone, but this was actually pink granite: a sight which draws tourists to this picturesque part of northern Brittany.
October: Cross Fell from Mungrisdale
We stayed in an AirBnB on the northern edge of the Lake District for our anniversary in 2020, and we passed this picturesque scene of pine copse and stone barn on our way to and from the property every day. The biggest of the hills in the distance is Cross Fell — the largest hill in the Pennines — which dominates the eastern skyline (even from over 30 kilometres away).
November: Lake Biel
The vineyards on the south-facing slopes of the hillside above the lake are famous as they feature often amongst Swiss tourist materials. Although my main objective had been to visit Ligerz and photograph the church surrounded by autumnal vineyards, this sailing boat drew my lens towards the lake too. The snow-capped Alps in the distance are those of the Jungfrau Region and
December: Lake Neuchâtel at Chevroux
We often visit this lake and nearby nature reserves and reedbeds in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; not just for the nature but also because entering a region in which a different language is spoken feels a bit like a day-long foreign holiday. Not least when we get to eat ice-cream by one of the harbours along the eastern lake shore, or when the lower mountains of the Jura allow a better view of the sunset than we get at home. Despite the colours, this scene was chillier than it looks, with temperatures hovering around zero in April 2011.
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