It's not often that you get to spend a day with one of the world's leading landscape photographers, who is often described as a 'legend' in the industry! But earlier this week I was lucky enough to do just that. Finding time in Charlie Waite's diary is never easy, so this day was booked many months ago, and I've been very much looking forward to it. Needless to say, he didn't disappoint!
We started off by discussing my aspirations over coffee, and talking about which areas of the art most appeal to me - as well as why it's important to define your style and identity as a photographer. I'm still torn between landscape, travel and street photography (not forgetting the odd bit of macro!), so this was an incredibly useful exercise and really helped me to determine my future direction.
We then moved on to looking at how my career is developing - currently a mix of selling stock photography and framed prints, plus some commercial commissions - and Charlie had some very useful insights into areas which I might look at, in order to develop my profile as a photographer. Watch this space for more on that . . .
The next stage was the one I'd been agonising over for the previous week - the critique! There are few things more scary than showing your images to someone of Charlie's standing, but to my relief it all went well and he was very complimentary about most of my 10 selections. He was also able to offer very useful advice on how to improve some of them even further, but in a very positive and constructive way. We also reviewed my six images for the upcoming Light & Land on the Mall exhibition, which again were well received. I'm now suitably inspired to carry on doing what I do best, but with a new found level of knowledge and insight.
After lunch, I was then given a sneak preview of one of Charlie's latest amazing landscape images - shot in blazing sun just a few days ago - before heading out to view the same vista in sadly somewhat greyer and damper conditions! But in a way this made it all the more interesting, as we discussed how to shoot the same scene in more challenging light, as well as considering how to compose the shot, where to crop, how to avoid key structure lines being broken by foreground objects and so on. It was thoroughly fascinating to see the landscape through Charlie's eyes.
We then ended the day at a second location - Win Green in Dorset, which is one of his favourite places in the local area around where he lives. The shot on the right was taken here, looking out across the hills from the affectionately known 'Win Green Clump'.
All in all it was an outstanding experience and one I shall not forget in a long time. Charlie is, as ever, an inspirational and thoroughly engaging host - and I know I will be using some of the insights which he gave me for many years into the future, as I continue on my photographic journey.
Photo credit: The image at the top of this article was taken by my sister, Helen Rushforth, who joined us for part of the afternoon session.