"One of the hardest parts of photography is being colour blind, I have deutan colour blindness which affects 4 per cent of the world’s population which means I struggle with red, green, blue, purple, grey, brown, pink and yellows.

When colours are mixed together I can’t pick out individual colours which means it’s a challenge sometimes to photograph certain landscapes but I know which colour I see and what it actually should be so I get by with it so don’t let anything like that put you off. 

My interest in photography started when I was a teenager out doing hillwalking and hill running. I always liked to have a camera with me and just fire off some shots, one of the reasons I think I mostly shoot landscape and night photography is due to my love of the outdoors.

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My photography journey really started three and a half years ago when I bought my first DSLR camera, entry level basic model but the first one I owned with interchangeable lenses.

I joined various Facebook photography groups to learn the basics, regularly went up the Afton Reservoir, New Cumnock, four to five times a month and just shot the same scenes over and over till I was happy with that scene, then moved onto the next, within a year I had bought a second camera, a more professional full frame camera to further my hobby.

I started venturing further afield out-with Ayrshire to areas in Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Galloway Forest Park etc. Some people think I’m mad heading out to remote places late at night to photograph but you're almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself, peace, quiet, tranquillity and above all the best time to photograph.

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When COVID-19 and lockdown occurred it, I had to change the way I went about my photography, instead of travelling miles I had to get creative and shoot in my home town, good thing was I found many hidden gems right on my doorstep that I wouldn’t have looked at otherwise.

In 2018, I entered the Cumnock Chronicle Camera Club competition which I subsequently won with a shot I took down at the Barony A Frame using burning steel wool, a whisk, a dog lead and long exposure settings. 2018 also saw Muirkirk Community Council use my photos (which I donated for free) for their community Christmas cards, they ordered 500 from a local printing company and thankfully sold 500 which was really good, I believe the profit they made went towards a defibrillator for the community.

Last year saw me delve into calendars for the first time, producing, along with another local photographer Neil Given, a calendar called Muirkirk Landscapes.

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We were talked into it by a few members of the community, starting off mid-November which was really late to start producing a calendar we initially ordered 60 calendars and to our surprise we sold them all within two weeks.

We will be producing another Muirkirk Landscapes calendar for 2021 and possibly an East Ayrshire landscape calendar as well, incorporating the villages around where we live. COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on these plans though as, with travel being restricted, we haven’t managed to shoot together since March and therefore travel to the villages we’re planning on featuring in the calendar. Hopefully in the next few months we’ll get out and get the scenes shot for both calendars.

I’ve mostly commented on my landscape photography which I love doing but my favourite is shooting the Milky Way galaxy. In the Northern Hemisphere we have a small window of opportunity to see and photograph it.

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Scottish weather, cloud cover, moon phase all play a part in seeing and shooting the night sky. The best time is the beginning of June til mid August for the Milky Way.

One of my favourite places to photograph the night sky is the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, if you’ve never been I highly recommend it, especially from Loch Bradan, Clatteringshaws Loch to Loch Trool. All stunning places during the day but amazing under a clear moonless night.

You can’t beat the feeling of setting up your camera gear, clicking the shutter button, waiting 15-20 seconds for the camera to do the long exposure shot and waiting on the results on the back of the camera and seeing the Milky Way pop on the screen. It’s well worth the drive and late nights or early mornings to get the results.

Some shoots I’ll come home, sit the camera backpack down and vow not to touch it again, but next day, mood has changed, I’ll go out a few nights later and try again. I won’t always get the shots I want. I’ll have good days and bad days but my advice for anything is just keep trying and the results will come eventually.”

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