Photography News / Blog

The Northern Photography & Video Show, Rheged on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May
30th April 2018 - 0 comments
It's that time of year when everything is gearing up for The Northern Photography & Video Show. This event takes place at Rheged next to the Lake District in Cumbria on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May.

I'm proud to be the curator for the show and to work in partnership with Rheged to put on what is quickly becoming an established and higly regarded show.

An inspirational weekend dedicated to all things photographic.

Now in its third year, this show is the only one of its kind in the North and offers a chance for anyone with an interest in photography and video to hear talks from some of the UK’s most inspiring photographers and filmmakers. You can get your hands on the latest gear from leading manufacturers, as well as having the chance to view and buy a fantastic range of landscape and wildlife work. With support from Penrith Camera Club, there will also be an exhibition of over 250 photographs from Cumbria‘s leading camera clubs.

If you’re a business looking for a fresh marketing approach, it’s a great opportunity to network with a very talented pool of photographers and film makers.

Stands from Ann & Steve Toon Wildlife Photography, Art By Camera, Carmen Norman Photography, Clare Malley Photography, Emma J Campbell Photography, Fotospeed Distribution, FotoVUE, Jack the Hat Photographic, Kase Filters UK, Lakes Wild Lens, Leica Store Manchester, Longridge Mount Cutters, Long Valley Books, Melvin Nicholson Photography, Mike Prince Landscapes, Natali Barr Photo, Rod Ireland Photography, Simon Whalley, Sony Centre Carlisle, The Guild of Photographers, Tommy Martin Photography

Camera Clubs – Eden Valley Camera Club, Penrith & District Camera Club, Holme and District Photographic Society, Copeland, Photographic Society, Carlisle Camera Club, Workington and District Camera Club, Barrow Digital Photography Club, Morton Photographic Society, Keswick Photographic Society.

If you are interested in exhibiting at the show, please contact

For full information on the talks and workshops, please see here:

Photography workshops in the UK and client care
22nd April 2018 - 0 comments
An article looking at some of the issues around looking after clients on photography courses and workshops in the UK.
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Should I upgrade my DSLR? - Gear Vs Photographer. The Great Debate!
15th April 2018 - 1 comment
During photography workshops and courses I’m often asked by clients, “do I need to upgrade my camera/lenses” etc. So, I'd like to set out my take on the great debate around what’s more important, the Photographer or the Gear, But im more interested in listening to some other perspectives and hearing your experiences and most importantly, I’d love to see some images you’ve taken with older DSLR’s etc that would be considered to be outdated in comparison with today’s gear!
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Landscape Photography - When weather goes bad!
04th April 2018 - 0 comments
The Easter bank holiday saw a loosely 'planned' trip down the East coast, from Dunbar in Scotland to Bamburgh in Northumberland. I'd set off with an idea of what I'd like to photograph but, like on many occasions, this goes out the window when confronted with weather reality.

I'm not a subscriber to the maxim that "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing". There's truth in this to a point, but particular activities become difficult or impossible when the weather becomes extreme, regardless of what you're wearing.

The weather wasn't extreme this holiday (cold, with persistent rain and gusty wind) but it wasn't particularly attractive for the type of photography I like to undertake and would test the patience of most photographers. Truth be told, if I'd been at home, I'd have drank lots of tea and read or watched telly instead!

But when you're away on a trip, what do I do? I could just give up (which I've often done!) or I can adapt my expectations and be flexible around the types of images that can be created. Having sat in the campervan for many hours watching the rain, I decided the latter option would be the way forward.

I generally shoot with prime lenses and am much less inclined to swap these around when it's wet. That means most of the shots I took on this trip were with my trusty old 50mm lens which is fine as I'm very taken shooting with it these days.

In bad weather, I use my tripod less frequently, especially in very windy conditions where camera shake can creep in even when mounted on the tripod. Instead, I switch to handheld, bumping up the ISO to access faster shutter speeds and I work more quickly, dashing in and out of shelter between grab shots.

So, weather impacts on the camera settings I use and the kit I deploy. But the most significant change is my approach to landscape subjects. One thing I encourage clients to do on workshops is analyse the scene in front of them, breaking down photographic opportunities into three categories.

1) The Big Picture - The sweeping vista set out before you and captured with a wide angle lens, ideally with some epic lighting.

2) The Vignette - how I describe taking a small distant aspect or element from the overall scene and isolating it , often through use of a longer focal length.

3) The Near World- getting physically close to nearby subjects and isolating them from the greater landscape scene.

Bad weather generally sees me focusing on the last category as it's less impacted by poor lighting and shot set up is usually simpler. This was the approach I adopted on this photography trip - focusing mainly on detail, getting in really close to tightly frame those smaller landscapes. When there was a break in the weather, categories one and two were back, albeit briefly on the menu of photographic possibilities.

I often find being 'forced' to consider subjects I'd normally overlook as a good exercise for the photography brain as well as throwing up unusual and interesting results. In this case, the sad demise of a small bird with it's final resting place on the high tide line, and the strange case of fish heads leaving me wondering how they ended up there?

So, if there's a point to this little ramble, it's that I try not to give up when the weather goes to pot. I might not get what I want (what I really, really want) but if I've driven hours to get somewhere then I know there's usually something I can come away with. If the weather is REALLY extreme, then hand on heart, yep, I give up and go and drink tea or have a dram!

Happy Shooting, Rod

Photography Courses in the Lake District - late availability!
03rd April 2018 - 0 comments
We have a few places left on some of our April courses. If you fancy getting your camera up to the Lake District, why not take a look.

Gift Vouchers are available and make great presents!

13th April - Intermediate Workshop - LAST PLACE!

19th-20th April - Photography Wildcamp exped - 2 places left

25th April - Mountain Photography Day - 2 places left

28th April - Beginners Workshop - LAST PLACE!

For other dates or any other details, just give us a shout CONTACT

Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition - Good news!
06th March 2018 - 0 comments
I don't enter many photography competitions, but decided to give the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year a try this round time. It's a little different in that the main category considers a portfolio of images, rather than just a single one which I quite like the idea of.

A while back I found out I was a finalist with five of my images being shortlisted - Three making up a portfolio in the Overall Category final and the other two being shortlisted for the John Muir Award.

Rather unexpectedly (my images never seem to do well in competitions!) I've finished with my portfolio receiving a highly commended in the Overall category. This means the images will sit alongside other successful entries in the 'Official Collection 4 Yearbook' (available, ahem, at all good bookshops) as well being on display at one of the exhibitions taking place during 2018.

So, I've another excellent excuse to head back up to Scotland to have a look around the exhibition and maybe squeeze in a little bit of photography along the way.

I've pulled out the successful images, along with a little description. I've also picked others from my entry - alas, they couldn't all make it through!
cheers, Rod

Overall Category - Highly Commended

Monument, Stac Pollaidh, Inverpolly

A bleak December trip to this stunning landscape had yielded little light to work with. My long suffering partner and I had spent endless hours of darkness in the campervan over the course of a week. When it did get light, the conditions were lacklustre and this morning was no different until a brief burst of stunning light.
Piercing through the small tear in the cloud, the light was, very briefly, outrageous. Then to heap drama upon drama, the cloud moving above Stac Pollaidh momentarily seemed to reach down and almost converge with the summit.

It was one of those 'you couldn't make it up' scenes. I'd picked the wrong moment to be without my trusty tripod, so did my best with hand holding and bumping up the ISO. Ten minutes later it was all over and the sun disappeared for the rest of the trip!

Nikon D810, 85mm lens, f5.6, ISO 800, 1/125, -1.7 exp comp. Contrast adjustments, dodge & burn, tonal adjustments Photoshop & color efex pro.

Rainbow Castle, Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt, Sutherland

Driving along the loch, showers were quickly passing through and dappled light was shifting along the mountainside in the healthy breeze. I'd walked to the foot of the castle before realising that I was stood in the wrong place if a rainbow appeared. I can't claim any real powers of vision - we'd been seeing rainbows all morning and there was a good chance that if I waited long enough, one would emerge close by.

So, I backtracked about half a kilometre and framed up a composition with the castle and the shoulder of Quinag behind it. Twenty minutes later and I was treated to a rainbow perfectly framing and illuminating the castle. Result!

Nikon D810, 50mm lens, f8, ISO 400, 1/500. Lee Polariser. Square crop, Contrast adjustments, dodging, tonal adjustments Photoshop & color efex pro.

Shifting seaward, Achnahaird Bay, Coigach peninsula

I love this bay and have visited it four or five times now. I'd got images from here before and knew a good shot was on if the tide and sunrise coincided favourably. Unfortunately, camped up nearby the night before, my companions and myself had over indulged in some rather fine 12 star Metaxa brandy.

When light broke, I had to quickly (but slowly) get myself together and down to the spot I'd scouted out for the shot. The tricky bit was getting the surf pattern I wanted and there was lots of trial and error and this was one of two dozen very similar shots. Job done, it was back to bed with a cup of tea!

Nikon D810, 24mm lens, f14, ISO 100, 2s. 0.9 ND grad. Tripod. Contrast adjustments, tonal adjustments, spot removal Photoshop & color efex pro.

John Muir Award - Shortlisted

Protracted Pier, Traigh Niosaboist, Isle of Harris

A cycle tour of the Outer Hebrides allowed me to travel along at a leisurely pace and stop wherever the mood took me. I'd camped up for the night at this lovely spot and had a wander to think about some compositions. Early next morning, there was a delightful pastel tone to the scene and I had the whole beach to myself and the pontoon/pier stretching out in front of me.

Nikon D700, 18mm lens, f16, ISO 200, 1/8. Tripod. Lee Polariser 0.6 ND grad. Contrast adjustments, tonal adjustments, spot removal Photoshop & color efex pro.

Stac Pollaidh from The Fiddler Sgurr an Fhidhleir, Coigach peninsula, Ullapool

Some images mean much more to the author than they ever can to the viewer. This for me is one of those images. Even reaching the bottom of Sgurr an Fhidhleir takes a fair journey for anyone coming from South of the border (indeed, for many North of the border too). There's then a fair slog by foot from there on in to get up the mountain.

I'd planned a sunset shot from the summit but a shroud of mist refused to shift so I'd positioned myself at the Col where there was the odd glimpse through the mist. I'd spent three hours there and was close to the point of heading down because I was getting very cold. Luckily, the mist parted for a few magical moments and a splash of light on
Beinn an Eoin presented me with a shot. Not what I came for but a delight for me given the energy taken to get it.

Nikon D810, 50mm lens, f8, ISO 100, 1/15, Tripod. Cropped, Contrast adjustments, dodge & burn, tonal adjustments Photoshop & color efex pro.

If you'd be interested in a Photography Tour in Scotland, you can find out some more details here Glencoe Photography Tour - October 2018
Winter comes to the Lake District!
12th December 2017 - 0 comments
The long term forecasters suggested we might be in for a cold winter this season. Up in the Lake district we've not really had a 'proper' winter since 2010 when it was the real deal.

The Lake district in winter is perfect for photographers and it's been a proper start this December so fingers crossed that the conditions stay favourable throughout! Keep yourself nice and toasty though and if you're taking the dog along with you, keep them nice and warm too (found this site recently that's all things doggy in the lakes!

I've put a few winter pics below to give you a taste of what's to come. Get out there and get some great shots.

10% off Photography Gift Vouchers - Great Christmas present!
25th November 2017 - 0 comments
10% off Photography Gift Vouchers - Great Christmas present!

Why not treat your loved one to a Photography gift voucher? Can be used for Workshops, Tours and Photographic prints. It's that time of year when we feel you deserve a bit of a treat so all Vouchers purchased by 08/12/17 will get 10% discount off - includes all courses except those where accommodation is included.

Find more details here:

Autumn finally arrives in the Lake District for Photographers
03rd November 2017 - 0 comments
Hello and happy Autumn from the Lake District. It's been a funny old autumn for photography in the Lake District up to now. We had a few cool mornings a while back but it was only really last week that much started to happen - colour, chasing early morning fog around the lake district and Eden Valley. The weather hasn't been great and a lack of sunlight means colours have been subdued.

Ps - here's a free Guide to Autumn Photography

I've just started to pull together a few pictures from what I've taken so far and things are looking pretty decent.

I'm out leading an Autumn Photography tour next week and have got fingers, legs and toes crossed for some decent conditions for the week to come. There's still lots to see out there people!

Cheers, Rod

Love Landscape 2017 - Photography Exhibition
23rd October 2017 - 0 comments
Free Landscape Photography Exhibition, Askham Village Hall, CA10 2PF. Less than 10 mins drive from Ullswater in the Lake District. Open Saturday 28th to Sun 29th October, 10.30-5pm.

Yes, it's that time of year again when I dust of the old RAW files and see what the past 12 months of photography has thrown up!

I've pulled out a selection of my personal favourites which means there's an eclectic mix of everything from grand landscape vista's with snow capped peaks, long exposure seascapes and to close up 'landscape within' images.

The exhibition is free to enter and I welcome you all to have a pop in and have a good old natter about photography, places you've visited and life in general (just go light on the last bit!)

There's Coffee & Cake available (as well as tea for Northerners such as myself) as well as a selection of greetings cards, prints and framed images. Any of the prints on display can be ordered on the day for delivery within the next three weeks.

It'll be great to see you

all the best, Rod

Why do we enter Photography Competitions? Landscape Photography of the Yeat time again!
28th July 2017 - 0 comments
A blog post considering the Landscape Photographer of the year competion and photography competitions in general
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The Lake District in Autumn - A unique photography break
23rd July 2017 - 0 comments
The Lake District in Autumn - A unique photography break
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The Cumbria Photography and Video Show 2017
10th May 2017 - 0 comments
Once again, I'm thrilled to be involved in delivering The Cumbria Photography and Video Show 2017 at the Rheged centre, Cumbria this coming weekend (13th&14th May)

Last year was the first time that we looked to put on such an event and we had a fantastic response. Buoyed by this, we've put in lots of hard work this year to bring a fantastic programme of speakers, exhibitors and photographers.

On a personal level, I'm really excited about the event and can't wait to catch up with the photography community from across Cumbria, the North of England and the South of Scotland.

See you this weekend!


Photography beyond the Lake District - A Snowdonian odessy!
21st March 2017 - 0 comments
Taking a quick break from Photography workshops and tours in the Lake District is always a double edged sword. I get nervous once outside the boundaries of Cumbria into the big unknown! This trip to Snowdonia was a little different though as I'd spent four years there during my early twenties when I went to University in Bangor.

A rude introduction to mountains came when a friend led me on a walk up Tryfan - the first mountain I'd ever walked up, and what a mountain! Reflecting back, that was a pivotal day in my life and influenced many decisions I've since made, ultimately leading to me living where I live and doing what I do to this day.

The weather for the week was mixed and I had a few locations I wanted to explore again, but I was keen to go back to the quarries and industrial landscapes I'd paid scant attention to all those years ago. Now, with my photographers observational awareness heightened, going back with a camera and the sole purpose of taking photos would be an interesting exploration.

As always, I feel like I barely had chance to scratch the surface of the location I visited - so many subjects to indulge in, so little time. However, I've already edited a number of my favourite shots from the trip and have made a commitment to memory to return quickly - another trip in autumn might be on the cards!

Anyway, here's a few edits from the trip - I hope you find them interesting . Do let me know what you think!

cheers, Rod

Pop-Up Photography Exhibition, Glenridding, Ullswater
13th February 2017 - 0 comments
Ok, most of you will know that Glenridding, Ullswater has had a really tough time of it over the past year! The community and businesses there have shown amazing resilience in the face of some incredibly difficult circumstances.

That said, we'd hate for people to forget just what an inspirational special little corner of the lake district this can be. So, I'm putting on a two day 'pop-up photography exhibition' this weekend, 18th & 19th February at Glenridding Village Hall. It's completely free to enter and refreshments will be available. If you're around, pop in and say hi and enjoy some landscape photography images - we'd love to chat with you!

all the best,

Never give up on trip to Scotland!
30th January 2017 - 0 comments
Taking a break from delivering photography courses and landscape workshops generally means me heading off for a trip somewhere, even if it's winter. This can sometimes be pretty tough going being cold, dark or wet. When it's all three of those things together, things get dispiriting to put it mildly. When it's like that for the nearly two weeks and your living in a camper van, it can just be plain miserable!

Knowing that there were 17 hours of darkness each day, combined with a pretty stinking weather forecast wasn't enough to put me and my better half off our planned trip up to the north of Scotland over Christmas and New Year. With a very loose plan, off we drove off on Christmas eve, stopping off around Edinburgh for a couple of days before making our way up to Sutherland.

When we pencilled the trip in the diary, we were picturing snow, ice, maybe even some nice clear skies for those northern lights - basically, everything a landscape photographer could want from a trip. Unfortunately, the weather forecasts were pretty much spot on and what we got was cloud, rain and gale force winds!

We persevered though and were lucky enough to get a few tantalising glimpses of Scotland putting on a spectacular show for us. Inverpolly and Assynt gave us about one hour of decent light over about 6 days - but for the brief time when it was present, it was perfectly packaged. On the journey back south, we had a lovely evening in Torridon and a cracking day in the Snow above loch Maree.

So next time you're in despair, give it a fair crack of the whip and you never know, that little bit of magic might be waiting just around the corner for you.

06th December 2016 - 0 comments
Last month's special prize draw was a One Day Photography Workshop in the Lake District for two people! Many congratulations to the winner, Gemma Woodcock of Kent.

Fear not everyone else who didn't win, this months prize is a signed Landscape photographic print of Ullswater in the Lake District. This shot was taken as I was driving home from a day on the fells one autumn. I pulled the car up sharpish as I saw this serene vision in front of me.

To enter the competion, just pop along to our facebook site here

Good luck!

Photography article published in "Cumbria" magazine
01st December 2016 - 0 comments
As well as running photography courses in Cumbria and the Lake District, I can now lay claim to officially being a published author! John Manning at the 'Cumbria' magazine kindly asked me if I fancied writing an article on aurora hunting in Cumbria.

It's a while since I've sat down and really thought about writing something properly so it was a bit of a challenge. However, with a dictionary at my side and spell checker switched on, it all went quite smoothly! No doubt my old English teacher will be in complete shock at this turn of events!!!

The article is out in the December edition of "Cumbria" - Lakelands favourite magazine if you fancy a read.

all the best, Rod

Photography Exhibition - Lake District National Park Brockhole centre, Windermere
28th November 2016 - 0 comments
Photography Exhibition at the Lake District National Park Brockhole centre, Windermere.

As well as running photography workshops and courses in the Lake District, it is nice to occasionally get my own work up on display somewhere. So, it was lovely that the Lake District National Park asked me if I'd put on a pop-up exhibition at their visitor centre at Brockhole on Windermere. This rather grand old property has a cracking space in the restaurant annexe for displaying images (photographs, paintings etc).

Working with Fiona, Simon and Cat from the national park, I've managed to get 18 rather nice images (if I do say so myself!) on display. These are all images of the lake district, with half of them being from the recent 'lake district by night' project I undertook with fellow photographer, Jonny Marchant.

So, if you're nearby it's worth dropping in for a look and a bite to eat. The exhibition will be on until early in the New Year.

all the best, Rod

A favourite Lake district photography location!
21st November 2016 - 0 comments
A great thing about the Lake District is the many different photography locations available. Some areas are 'overdone' (queues of photographers lining up!) yet many others are beautifully peaceful.

Recently during some fantastic autumn weather, I decided to visit Martindale, a favourite nearby spot. Travelling along the quieter road on the south side of Ullswater, you reach Howtown with its steamer pier and the close by, 'Waternook' which is situated at the foot of Hallin fell ( - if you're after a special holiday retreat this place is stunning!).

I stopped at the top of the hause (pass) and made my way up the fell as I knew there was a temperature inversion that I'd climb above. I was treated to this rather fantastic scene which will stay in my minds eye for a good while to come.

Later, I moved further into the valley and had a walk into lonely Bannerdale to watch and listen to the red deer rut. The reward? Another 'keeper'! I suppose the 'moral' of the tale is don't just visit the honey pots, but try to explore other areas too!

take care, Rod