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  • Chris Nowell


The Abbey

Due to the arrival of the new puppy, I was keen for a quick trip away knowing I would have limited time for the next few months. To that end I organised a trip with two landscape photography friends. James pictures and Matthew Oliver.

James who I have mentioned a few times before in the past is a very good friend and we have completed many landscape photography adventures over the years. Matt Oliver photography I have known less time but again we all get along very well and appreciate each other's imagery. I have always been a big fan of the work created by James pictures, Plus I believe Matthew Oliver produces some of the best woodland photography I've ever seen as well as the outstanding Peak District Photos.

This was a quick overnight adventure in the area of Whitby and we stayed in a pod just outside Whitby. The location was one I visited many years ago and knew would be quiet.

The day began completing some slow exposure photography at a seaside location. For now, let's discuss location scouting.

Overall this was the big part of this trip. We would spend some time photographing the late morning light and hopefully capturing some slow exposure imagery at the beach. However the rest of the day would hopefully be completed location scouting ready for further trips in the future. We had a few scouts around this area throughout the day and finished the day at the well-known 199 steps to the abbey. This was to have a good look at the location work out the same position and how it would look different in the summer months with more flowers adding more interest in the foreground. Plus because we have a location local we could visit this composition early meaning they should not be many other photographers or tourists running up and down the steps. With all the checks completed we headed back to our pod to relax and warm up via a quick stop for a drink. Hopefully you can see this photo in the future and I could display the two with the information about location scouting. In any case, this is the plan

As we were leaving this location we also noticed what looked like a local camera club photographing a group of girls nicely dressed at the bottom of the steps. Not in a pervy way just in a point of interest did they want to photograph these girls. I took a quick snap of the composition I plan to photograph later in the year of the camera club members.

So let's jump in and look back at March 2023

Abstract composition

Although I very much love where I live. And I especially appreciate the green lush countryside of the Derbyshire Dales and the Peak District National Park. There is no denying there is a sense of excitement when you are visiting the seaside for your landscape photography. Abstract photography can be completed easily where I live, however the offers of the seaside and abstract style photography is definitely more so when you are in a Sea location. Whether you are looking at sand formations, rocks, or sea creatures, if you look down, you will definitely be able to see some beautiful compositions.

Saltwick Bay

Looking for something, a little bit more abstract and somewhat minimalistic, less is more, you could say. We miss a lot of the world because we don't always look down at our feet.

During my recent trip to the beach with Matt and James, I wanted to tackle this subject by photographing some slightly abstract scenes.

Stone composition


My first minor issue whilst visiting this awesome location, was the fact I was quite stupid and decided to only bring trainers instead of my waterproof boots. Although technically my trainers are still supposed to be waterproof, there's not much you can do when you are up to your knees nearly in seawater.

In the end though I just gave up keeping the tripod stable and secure is more important. After seeing some of the results on the back of the camera of those slow exposures I didn't really care that my feet were cold and wet.

Not to bother though we had soon finished as the harsh light had now taken over and it was Time to stop off for a hot brew.

Tired water coming towards me
Sands of time

Experimenting with time
Slow exposure

Stopping time

From Sand to snow.

Not long after my trip to the beach the weather took a turn for the snow. I never really believe the snow is going to be that bad however at the same time my camera gear is always ready to go. When I get home after any shoot I've put the camera straight back on charge and not long after if there's any cleaning or filter issues that need to be fixed I complete it ASAP. That way I know there's no surprises at stupid o'clock in the morning when I'm cold on a hillside screaming because I left my battery is on charge at home. And yes I have done that before.

As the snow arrived I was pleasantly surprised just to see how intense it was. Further to this my wife who works in one of the local schools was also told the school would be closing just like all schools in the area. As we have recently got a new puppy who is doing really well it means I am training her on a daily basis or just keeping her safe. So when I heard the news that everyone was going to be home early and the snow was increasing even more I was ready to rock 'n' roll that afternoon and get out with the camera photographing the best of this intense snow in Derbyshire. Also it really did not disappoint as the snow was fantastic. Overall I spent a full afternoon and a full morning the next day enjoying the snow before it warmed up and the best of the snow had been stepped on.

Setting up my tripod and Fuji film camera
Composing the lone tree

Image captured on the Fuji film XT3
The mighty oak

I am not someone who regularly shoots in black-and-white. This is not because I don't enjoy it all like this form of photography, it is simply because I don't think I'm good at it never really completing this project with any justice. I do know a few fantastic photographers who only ever shoot in black-and-white including landscape photographers but it's just not my thing to shoot.

However this is also one sort of image I have been wanting to capture for some time however I needed the right conditions the ability to get out to a location like this and to do a bit of experimenting. With the Fuji film film simulators I was not disappointed and this image actually came out exactly how I had it in my mind.

Shooting with a classic square one by one orientation photo this came out perfect in my minds eye.

Fuji film xt3
1x1 Square orientation

On that first evening as the snow had arrived I did also go for a walk around my local Dronfield area. Where I did come across a few compositions some old and some new however it was the next day that I came back to these locations and really enjoyed shooting them properly.

The first composition was a great set of large oak trees nicely leaning into each other almost looking like they were supporting each other or for comfort. And just 100 m up the field was a second composition which I came across the day before and it was begging to be photographed. Very happy overall with this amazing snow and a great way to start off the year as we step into spring.

A set of large oak trees supporting each other during a snowy blizzard

Interesting tree during snow blizzard
Leaning into it

The drone Valley snow
My classic drone Valley landscape


A gentle reminder that my photography will be featured in the April edition of the Hope Valley journal. You can still put order this and any other back issues you may need as I will be featured in issue number eight. Featuring a landscape photographer on a regular basis many other forms of art and supporting local Peak District businesses all working together. I am very honoured to be invited into this party. To that end you can also pick up or put order a copy now of the issue I will be featured or any back issues you may wish to pick up.


As I mentioned them at the beginning of the blog both James pictures of Matthew Oliver photography. Please check out the two links below which will direct you to the individual websites.



Matt has recently released a very impressive e-book which is free for you to sign up to. There is a short piece about my photography in this however it is just the imagery that Matt has created which is great to enjoy so why not sign up to Matthew Olivers e-book and escape into the countryside for a moment.

Spring is really kicking off nicely now, the daffodils are standing proud and the bluebells and wild garlic are just around the corner as the green shoots start coming back on those trees. Perhaps this is what we can look forward to next.


Equipment used for this month

Vanguard VEO 3+ tripods
Vanguard VEO Active 53 camera bag
Fuji film xt3 camera
Kase Filters
And a wet pair of trainers

Echo enjoying the toy squirrel

Chris Nowell Photography


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