MA Photography passed with Distinction

For the last 2 years I have been working on my MA in Photography, an enjoyable but challenging experience, needing to balance the rigours of post graduate study with a demanding full time job as a programme leader, while also trying to be a husband and a father. Fortunately my family were understanding of my frequent disappearances into the forests of the Tamar Valley and the various other absences spent in front of the computer studying and writing.

The final body of work, Understory, was exhibited at Plymouth College of Art last month and seemed to be well received. I was also delighted this week to receive my transcript confirming that I had passed the MA with distinction. After the considerable time, effort and energy spent over the last two years this was a real pleasure to receive. My thanks to everyone who supported and encouraged me throughout.

I plan to put the text books aside for a little while, but the journey of study never stops. Watch this space for news of my next project.

Understory: New Series of Work

Understory is a new series of work, the culmination of an 8 month project undertaken in the Tamar Valley as part of an MA in Photography. The work explores the dense forest plantations that have replaced the mining industries of the 18th and 19th centuries, environments in a continual state of transition both through natural process and human intervention. Although classified as Areas of Outstanding Natural beauty, these are anthropogenic landscapes – constructed, shaped, transformed by human activity that continues to alter the ecology of the space.

An abridged selection of the Understory series can be seen here on this website

The full series has been produced as a book, published through Bobs Books which can be seen here.

Understory is currently being exhibited as part of the Masters 17 show at Plymouth College of Art until 11th September


After some months of blog silence while working on my latest project, I am pleased to finally upload some new work to my website.

Overview forms part of a project undertaken in the Tamar Valley as part of an MA in photography. The first phase of this exploration involved the use of drone photography and videography as a means to survey the landscape. Although ultimately dropped from the final body of work being exhibited in the Masters Show at Plymouth College of Art later this month, these drone captured images have been an important part of the project. A selection of the images produced can be seen here.

Drone Photography Survey Project for The Duchy of Cornwall

As part of my ongoing study towards an MA in Photography I have recently completed a live external project with the Duchy of Cornwall. As one of the largest land owners in the South West, the Duchy has a number of interests which include management of mining heritage sites across Devon and Cornwall. Interested to explore how drone photography could be utilised to survey sites for possible ground subsidence and incursion of Japanese Knotweed, the Duchy granted me access to a number of sites around Bodmin Moor and the Tamar Valley and commissioned me to produce a series of work. 

The images shown were produced in August and September this year on Bodmin Moor and at the Prince of Wales mine near Harrowbarrow. Drone Photography was used to evaluate the detail that can obtained to identify foliage types and I also explored the potential application of Photogrammetry, capturing sequences of images that were combined in post production to produce high resolution photographic maps, or orthomosaics. 

My thanks to the Duchy of Cornwall for allowing me to work with them on this project, exploring the potential applications of drone-based imaging. I hope that further opportunities can be developed in the future. 

Dronescape exhibited in MA show at Plymouth College of Art

My Dronescape project exploring the use of drone photography to map the East and West Looe rivers was brought to a conclusion this week with the exhibition of the work as part of the Masters Show at Plymouth College of Art.

Dronescape has explored the courses of the rivers, from their sources at the heads of the valleys, to where they join in Looe before meeting the sea. Produced over the course of 8 months through winter, spring and summer the 30 images have been sequenced into a book displayed at the exhibition, along with a series of printed images that explore the development of the urban environment. An updated selection of imagery, shown in the book can be seen here.

The most recent image of East Looe, displayed as a panoramic print at the exhibition, has been produced using photogrammetry, combining multiple drone captured images to produce high resolution photographic mapping. Already being used extensively for a variety of commercial and industrial applications, I am interested to explore how this form of imaging can be used creatively to provide new perspectives on the landscape. 

The MA Showcase is on at Plymouth College of Art until September 29th. For more information see:

Latest work exploring low-light drone photography

As part of my ongoing Dronescape project, I have recently been exploring the capability of the drone to capture images in low light. 

The time of day often referred to as ‘The Magic Hour’ by landscape photographers, isn’t an hour at all. It’s a frustratingly brief and fleeting period roughly 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after sunset where the ambient light on the ground roughly matches that of the sky. With careful planning and timing, and most importantly the right weather conditions, I have been sending the drone up over Looe to capture some late evening views of the town.

Low light drone captures are only possible when the wind permits. Unfortunately the quality of the camera doesn’t allow for high ISO shooting and the need to work with slow shutter speeds requires the drone to hover steadily without being buffeted by the wind. The longer exposures produce some image noise which limits the quality in print, but this is an interesting avenue that I will continue to explore.

I continue to be drawn to the romantic notions of the Picturesque, interested in how drone photography can reveal new and potentially beautiful perspectives on the landscape. Scenic picturesque combined with colourful sunsets is potentially a double cliche trap, but I enjoy making the images and viewers of my work seem to like them. 

AoP Tutor of the Year

I’m not normally one for shameless self promotion, but I’m told this should be made public:

In conjunction with the AoP (Association of Photographers) student awards this year, the AoP created a new award for Tutor of the Year, to be nominated by students of affiliated institutions. My thanks must go to the students from Plymouth College of Art who put my name forward. I was delighted to find out last week that I was picked by the AoP and given the first Tutor of the Year award. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the awards presentation at the Printspace in London on July 23rd as I was away on Holiday, but one of students, Jon Cooney, was able to accept on my behalf.

Suffice it to say I am delighted to receive the award. I do put a great deal of time and energy into my role at Plymouth College of Art so it’s fantastic to be recognised and awarded.


Continuing with the drone photography project, my latest excursions have led to the exploration of habited areas. I am interested in how settlements develop, the structures that emerge and how they co-exist with the landscape. 

The capture and display of these images raise some interesting questions around privacy and the perception of drones as surveillance devices. Under UK law nobody owns the airpspace above their property, and providing a drone does not descend below 50M from a building or structure, the pilot is not breaking the law.

These images are very similar to the satelite imagery available vi Google Earth, but the presence of operator controlled drones capturing photographic and video footage is to some, an intrusion into their privacy. Last week, while I was landing my drone, operating well within the law and after photographing an uninhabited area from over 100M,  I was challenged by a home owner who took great exception to my presence and warned that I was likely to get my drone shot down if I flew there again.

Suffice it to say, I am always mindful of legal responsibilities and have no desire to intrude on anyone’s privacy. I also have little interest in the activities of people, just in the structures and the environments that they inhabit. 

New series of work

As part of study towards MA Photography at Plymouth College of Art, I have recently completed an initial series of work exploring the use of drone photography. The work is in its early stages, driven by research into the potential uses and applications of UAV technology and the some of the questions that it raises for photographic practice. Extending the work created for my Upstream Project, Dronescape is based around following the courses of the East and West Looe rivers, exploring topography and the development of habitation.

Using Format