Thomas's Favorite Photographs of 2020

4We're continuing the annual tradition of Thomas sharing his favorite pictures from the past year. He's more happy as the man behind the scenes helping with some of my photographs and always giving encouragement and support, but once a year it's nice to put him front-and-center on the blog to share some of his thoughts. I always get a kick out of his descriptions (and titles!) and seeing some of this past year through his eyes. So without further ado here are his picks and why he likes them.

1 1. The difference a yawn can make 
Nestled between two ancient trees hugged by moss in the heart of the woods not far from home, the wolf finally finds his prize. Who knew the difference a yawn could make? The flash of some pearly whites certainly brought this picture together on theme. The simple removal of his collar automatically created a separation from his master and domesticated lifestyle. His body shape is even on point here looking more bulky like a wolf because of how he is sitting, sometimes you can’t win with Solomon but then other days he gives you magic like this.
2 2. Oh lily oh pad 
Brave Rebecca ventured into the murky waters to bring this vision together, even with an audience on the bridge I shot from. Passers-by thought she might be in trouble but the only trouble would be if I couldn’t get the picture right, mightily quick. We wanted to create something like the old water nymph paintings and pictures you see in books and I’m pleased with how it came out. The abundance of lily pads drifting into the abyss was an important part of this image for me, as I wanted that sense of never ending, to compliment Rebecca’s longing pose.
3 3. Sometimes you must climb the ladder 
Ladder shots are often trust exercises for us as it entails me climbing a highly wobbly ladder perched on uneven ground and then dangling a fairly heavy camera over Rebecca’s head from a height that could easily do some damage. Luckily it continues to work out, unfortunately such shots are becoming quite regular as Rebecca’s favouritism grows, but I’d say this one in particular was worth the risk.
4 4. The mouth of the castle 
A bitterly cold day on the hill where Castle Roche stands in ruin made for a majestic backdrop for this lavish dress. The wind chill alone coming through that doorway would have killed most warriors who dared to step there. This wasn’t by any means the image we imagined when choosing this location but it was the one we came away with which made a lasting impression, funny how photography works sometimes. We both love these medieval warrior princess shoots and hope to add more fun props down the line, googling castles is like a hobby of mine these days and with over 30,000 castles on the island I have no shortage of choice.
5 5. Candid beauty 
If I was ever mad with Solomon, this picture would be his forever get out of jail free card. A perfect candid moment having fun during a beautiful apple orchard scene blowing dandelion seeds onto a pup unfamiliar with the world around him. I love Rebecca’s expression and the fact she is cut off doesn’t bother me at all because of how natural it all is; that’s the beauty of candid shots for me, the technical imperfections fade away when the emotion and feeling conveyed, is overwhelming.
6 6. Clean and crisp 
This reminds me a little of some Japanese anime movie image, which is funny because I haven’t watched a lot of those, maybe it’s the clarity of the sky and the pastel colours, it’s not as busy as our usual blooming flower shots and one where the sky is actually complimentary.
7 7. Go beyond 
The feeling of adventure for me is strong here, the pop of colour in Rebecca’s dress against the contrasting white snow and the relentless Mourne stone wall leading into the distance and stretching on for over 20 miles. I really like the greyness of the sky too, makes me feel another snow shower isn’t too far away, a site you come to cherish when living here, due its rarity.
8 8. I see triangles 
Fireweed is quite spectacular when it blooms, seldom do we use the wide angle lens but here it helped capture the full extent of the background with the fir trees mirroring the shapes of the fireweed in the foreground, and that’s what I like about this one. This particular area was quite a challenge to get to, having crossed a fairly deep mucky ditch, climb over a huge log and wade through some thick undergrowth, as they say “once was enough.” Somehow Rebecca managed to keep her dress remaining pink, no easy feat.
9 9. The Witch House 
No witch ever lived here of course, but the giant dead hogweed stalks propped against the crooked walls will be a sight to stay with us for a long time. We want to go get our own giant hogweed now to decorate our house but transporting them will be no easy task with their dangerous reputation and size. Rebecca’s flick of the dress creates a nice sense of movement to the scene and her colour edit fits the atmosphere.
10 10. I love trees 
I’m sad when I see trees cut down, to me they frame the countryside, and every tree loss is another scene compromised. I love the way they grow in all shapes and sizes and move with the wind, changing colour by season and home to so much wildlife and intertwined in folk tales of old. I spoke to an elderly man during lockdown who mentioned his brother left this region to live in Canada 25 years ago and the man said he asked his brother what he missed most about home, and he told him “the intimacy and proximity with nature and the countryside”. I liked that idea and something I can relate to. The chestnut tree in bloom is something we enjoy every season and one very much under appreciated in the tree world in our opinion. I like this picture because it captures the scale of the tree well, the shadows and highlights give some nice depth to the tree. Somehow despite all that is going on with the hawthorn blossom and Rebecca, my eye is still drawn to the towering chestnut.


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