Continuing on from my previous blog about inspiration. I thought it would be a good idea to discuss books and which ones either help me or inspire. Reading of course can be difficult for someone with site limitations like myself however it is not impossible . Technology has improved massively at the same time therefore improving the life of blind people. Devices that can read simple things like a tin of beans glasses that can be worn and give you as the blind person information about what you can read in front of you. Or simple devices such as the smart phones where VoiceOver can be controlled to read texts and information for you.
So let's look at a few books blogs or websites that help me and of which I would highly recommend.
When I was injured in Afghanistan I soon received support from the charity Blind Veterans UK. Initially it was my father in law who helped me with basic maths and English. However after a while I became a member of the charity at which time I worked closely with a member of staff called Dave Hickey. On occasions Dave would show me some of his landscape photography which was where my love for the great outdoors and taking photos was first born. However he also mentioned another photographer who he highly recommended that of David Noton. After which I did my own research and came across a DVD by Mr Noton called chasing the light which was instantly inspiring.
The way David Noton explained the art of taking photos. Composing the image then controlling the exposure and Shutterspeed before producing these outstanding classic landscape countryside photographs had me hooked straight away. David would explain the benefits of exploring your local area knowing where you live getting up early and just enjoying that perfect side of photography. I would continually watch the DVD over and over again to soak up the information due to my brain injury it was very hard to retain information therefore this was the only way to do it. After this I noticed that David had a group on his website called the F 11 club which is still available now. With this you get access to landscape photography and photo editing information from David on his impressive travels he completes with himself and his wife Wendy.
By joining the F 11 club I received access to David's website e-books and previous magazine articles plus discounts to the books or photos.
At some point I contacted David directly regarding some landscape photography information. David replied helped and discussed the idea of me spending a few days on a one-to-one workshop with David in my local area more specifically the peak district National Park. I am still in contact with David and I highly recommend his books and website.
Slightly confusing I agree as we are discussing two separate Davids. Therefore this time I will simply call this David by his surname Hickey.
Mr Hickey left the charity blind veterans UK after a few years and retired with his wife to the Isle of Skye. In what was supposed to be a quiet relaxing time for them soon became a 10 year project. Mr Hickey decided to put together a photographers guide to the Isle of Skye which I can say is absolutely outstanding and I would highly recommend. Before mr Hickey left the charity however he created the first photography themed week at the charity. I was honoured to attend the first themed week at the Sheffield Centre which has sadly closed now. However the charity continued with the photography weeks in other centres both Brighton and Llandudno. I was honoured to follow on the first themed week after David's retirement at the Sheffield Centre in short organising the week with a helpful member of staff Lucy. These days however or at least before the pandemic kicked in I would volunteer myself with other members to continue the photography weeks in both the Llandudno and Brighton centres with myself mostly being in North Wales. Hopefully these will continue soon but for now it is still very risky with the elderly members of the charity.
As I mentioned David Hickeys book was finally put together after an incredible 10 years of work. This shows you the commitment of the book which is full of amazing photography information and location knowledge. All the help needed to the locations and more specifically when the best time will be to photograph these areas. Mr Hickey did not just start landscape photography before his retirement. No he had been doing it for many years before meaning his knowledge was outstanding and still is.
There are many companies producing similar books and online information these days and I am not saying one is better than the other I am simply saying I am aware of the commitment that David Hickey put into this book. At the same time I am aware of his photography knowledge being absolutely outstanding this book would go very well for any visitor or photographer wanted to get the best of the Area and I highly recommend it. Plus smart phones and tablets don't always get the best reception or signal or battery life books last longer.
A few years before completion of the book and with the help of blind veterans UK I visited David hickey on the Isle of Skye with my brother-in-law. It was great to experience new locations and compositions however it was just good to see David again.
I haven't been asked to do this it is my own opinion and I highly recommend the book to anyone wanting to add to there own collection or visit the Isle of Skye.
Check out the link below if you would like to pick up your own copy of this great book. : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1527204219/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_0YH256PSJTQA17D6NZP0
My next recommendation for a book inspiration comes from a well-known company Fotovue.
Out of them all the one I use the most is that of the Peak District National Park book. Over the years this book has been extremely helpful and I highly recommend it. It is full of great imagery from photographers Chris Gilbert and Mick Ryan. Like it should be the book is full of outstanding imagery and the information of how you can take these photos yourself at well-known Peak District locations. How to get to the locations and when the best time would be to attempt your photograph.
This year I hope to return myself to South Wales as it's not somewhere I have actually photographed however it was somewhere we visited on a regular basis back when I was in the army. I look forward to using the book photographing South Wales very soon.
Fotovue have a truly impressive selection of books across a lot of the country and further afield such as the Dolomites and that of Iceland. You can check out the website below and pick up a book anywhere almost in the country.
From from Scotland Northumberland and all the way down to Cornwall and Dorset. There truly is an endless amount of information for most landscape photographers needing location information.
My final recommendation comes from fellow Peak District landscape photographer Veteran and friend James pictures.
James also has a interesting story from his army career to landscape photographer of which you can read in the link below. However for this I highly recommend his website as a great source of location information if you didn't want to have a book on you. This is available on your smart phone and works Great when you are out and about as long as you have decent signal. James pictures put together this impressive website over a number of years starting with his own exploring and capturing his own impressive photographs.
James created a very helpful impressive map which is easily zoomed in and out then by clicking on an area will display one of Jameses photographs followed by the information of how to photograph it yourself. James put together a list of the first top 10 locations of which are some of the obvious favourite hotspots. Locations like Mam Tor Winnats Pass and the saltcellar. However altogether there are over 101 locations to photograph and explore. James pictures has also put the locations in a rank structure giving you information of how popular the location is also how difficult the walk will be to complete which county the photograph is situated in. Plus the Best time to photograph either morning or evening and in what season before finally a link to Google Maps to find it yourself.
Ideas once existed in my mind of having perhaps my own version of this but to be honest there is zero point. James has put together an absolute beast of a website something truly impressive helpful and I commend him to that end I highly recommend checking out the link below if you needed your own Peak District location information.
Instead I will keep to the idea of one day having a book named after me.