On Your Doorstep Issue 1 - Page 8

The location is of interest to geologists and it is not unusual to observe groups of university undergraduates on a field trip to the area. I am not a geologist but I do find the geology of the area fascinating and it was the geology which caught my interest in the first place. I would like to thank George G Meldrum BSc, MSc, Honorary Fellow of the School Of Geosciences, The University of Edinburgh, not only for his knowledgeable input about the geology of the area but also for his encouragement of the project.

Landscape photographers are drawn to the cove and nearby areas and I've had the pleasure of meeting some of them. Neil Gove and Douglas Griffin spring to mind and of course Ian Cameron who, certainly in my opinion, has made some of his best photographs in and around the area. I've never had the pleasure of meeting them but Joe Cornish has also made photographs in the area which he included in ‘Scotland’s Coast – A Photographer’s Journey’ (Pages 138 – 141) and Paul Wakefield told me only recently that, although he hasn't been there for a while, it is a location that he really likes visiting.

I appreciate how fortunate I am to live in close proximity to the sea as there is something about being close to the sea which fascinates me. The sea is never the same, the foreshore changes with every tide and there is that inherent power which the sea has. Calm one day maybe but so violent the next that it can really scare you. Sound does plays a huge part as well. The booming sound of giant waves as they crash against rock during a storm and the roar at high tide. Then there is the nature which survives on and around the foreshore and of course the geology of an area has a sigificant part to play.

The intimate landscapes of Swedish photographer Hans Strand inspire me but maybe more importantly I like his ideas about finding locations close to home as most of my photographs are made no further than a few miles from my home in Lossiemouth with some just 5 minute’s walk away. Findhorn would be the furthest and that’s only 15 miles away.

Of course there is nothing wrong with visiting distant locations in the UK or even foreign locations for that matter. As an example I personally like the North West of Scotland and plan visiting the Assynt area yet again later on this year. It can however I think sometimes be easy to slip into the notion that good photography, even more so when talking about landscape photography, can only be made in what would be termed 'exotic' locations, be that Assynt, Yosemite, Iceland or where ever your own personal dream location is.

One of the first things I learned about landscape photography, and it sounds like a very simple concept, is that if you don't get out there then you won't make any photographs never mind any satisfying photographs. If you are a beginning photographer don't worry about 'gear' as there will be plenty of time for that if you get interested. Use whatever you have, a mobile phone will do. Take a walk, open your eyes and have a look at what is 'On Your Doorstep'. You might just be surprised!

The project is on-going and I update that section of my webside regularly. For a more detailed look have a look at Clashach Cove Project