Twelve months surprised

If there has been a theme to my 2016 then it would be – ‘the unexpected’. Surprises have been frequent. I have ended up in places, in body and mind, that I’d no intention of visiting – the best and the worst. If I had to identify either the highest or lowest points of the past 5 years, most of them would fall within the past 12 months.

Because and despite of it all, I’m finishing the year with a renewed energy, a changed outlook, and with the belief that the best is yet to come.

My photography has taken plenty of unexpected twists and turns over the past 12 months, both professionally and personally. Below are my favourite images from 2016, if not necessarily my best.

'Highly Commended' - British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016My first success in a major national competition – this image of the mid-winter Cairngorms gained my a ‘Highly Commended’ in the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

In the past few months I’ve been doing some work with James Moore at Black Isle Photography Hides. His pine marten project and photography workshops were a real highlight of the summer.

High camp on the Trotternish RidgeA high camp on the Trotternish Ridge whilst walking the Skye Trail for The Great Outdoors Magazine. Commissions for outdoors magazines are now providing my main income from photography.

Loch MareeMy time is the hills has become increasingly spent at work, not just at play. It has provided me with a much-needed new focus when it comes to my mountain photography.

Knoydart in winterNovember in Knoydart.

Arkle at sunsetLast light during a Foinaven/Arkle Traverse on one of the shortest days of the year. One of the very best mountain days I’ve ever had.

Last light in FisherfieldThe view from a summit bivvy in Letterewe.

Cave of the Liar, ApplecrossIn the Cave of the Liar, Applecross. This image was shortlisted for ‘Outdoor Photographer of the Year’.

Recording an episode of ‘Mountain Podcast’ with Christopher Sleight, in Cnoc nan Uamh cave in Assynt.

Coming through ‘The Sphincter’ in Allt nan Uamh stream cave.

European otterWildlife photography guiding is slowly starting to become a more significant part of my work.

I’ve had much less time for personal wildlife photography this year but it has had some memorable moments.

A scene from Glencoe in November.

Bonxie gatheringA gathering of ‘bonxies’ on Handa.

Black Isle mist‘Forest-scapes’ are rapidly becoming one of my favourite subjects.

Glen Strathfarrar. October was the best month of 2016 for my photography.

Exceptional conditions in the woods on the Black Isle.

The River Affric The surface of the River Affric.

Abandoned oil depotThe abandoned places of the Highlands featured heavily in my personal photography in 2016.

TullochmacarrickIn one of many abandoned houses in the southern Cairngorms.

Abandoned oil refineryA study from the vast abandoned fuel depot in Invergordon.

Another from the Cairngorms.

Glen CanispA difficult period in my personal life in the summer brought on a fixation with the strongest lines and most prominent forms, and my photography began to take on a more creative character.

StarRosemarkie Bay,

Birch leaves in a burnBirch leaves in a Torridon stream.

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