Francis Spooner

Photographic Landscapes

The winter time in the New Forest is something very special, with the filigree of the oaks to the scattering of leaves still on the beeches, so reluctant to give them up and yet what a carpet they make. Even then, what magic, waking up to a hoar frost, texturing each blade of grass, each remaining leaf and the twigs of the birches.

To the north of Hampshire, tucked away now on a minor road close by Micheldever, is a bluebell wood - not just a scattering but a crescendo of colour and smell, almost overpowering. Beech trees make the perfect foil for the bluebells, with their gorgeous light green leaves timed to enhance the blue. My landscape photographs are unable to create the smell, but everything else is there for you.

I have many pictures en route to Cornwall, but the south coast displays a gem, "St Michael's Mount". I have pictures of the Mount being lashed by ocean storms which threathen to move great rocks .. but which are resisted. I have pictures of yachts, becalmed, with cliff-top flowers in the foreground that have waited patiently for their moment in time. I have waited patiently for these special sunsets, peculiar to Cornwall and Ireland ... I have the photographs to prove it.

Onward a few miles to the Lizard Peninsular and the stunning Kynance Cove displaying the serpentine rock standing firm against the Atlantic Ocean, proud as the sun sets displaying a million twinkling lights on the sea. The north coast has spectacular views from St. Ives to Hartland Point ... I have pictures depicting these incredible rock formations in all their glory. The North Devon coastline is bedecked with greenery, past Lynton and Lynmouth and on to "Woody Bay". Pembrokeshire is also blessed with this spectacular coastline, including the famous island bird sanctuary of Skomer.

Coastlines are dramatic, but this Britain of ours is also blessed with the Shire Counties. I have mentioned Hampshire, but do you know Shropshire with its variety of scenery and the River Severn? Do you know Derbyshire, with its quarries, its Dales and its rivers? I do, one of my most popular and succesful landscape photographs is called "The Rain Forest", depicting the last standing tree where once there were millions, now gone to make coal.

I am now drawn north, not to another Shire but to Cumbria and particularly the North Lakes where I have spent weeks chasing the light to capture landscape photographs of lakes and mountains. "Wastwater", beautiful in the summer but foreboding in the winter. To "Buttermere" and "Ennerdale", glorious all of the time, and then to the jewel of them all, "Derwentwater" with evening light and no wind, looking across the clear water to Skiddaw. One must be moved by such beauty.

And finally to Scotland, for which I use the word grandeur as I think that it fits precisely. Big skies. Big glens and big mountains. Look down Glen Coe if the rain has eased. Look across the Mull of Kintyre and be at peace with the world.

All of my landscape photographs are designed to have this effect, to make you feel that you are there. To make you gasp at the sheer beauty, and to make a focal point anywhere.