Photographing The Wye Valley – Meet Adam Handley
Next up in our Meet the Photographer series, we meet Adam Handley.
Adam Handley hails from the Wye Valley in South Wales. As his Instagram shows, he can often be found exploring the borders with camera in hand. Some of his recent work shows Hay Bluff in all of it’s glory.
Adam’s answered our questions and has taken the time to share some of his most memorable experiences.
Over to Adam:
How did you get into landscape photography?
I first got into photography when I studied it at school at AS level.
I used my Dad’s old Olympus OM-10 with a Pentax 50mm f1.8. We used to process and develop all our own photographs in a dark room a tactile process that I miss from my current work.
What equipment do you shoot with today?
Currently I am shooting my trusty Canon 6D combined with a Rokinon 14mm f2.8, Canon 16-35mm F4L, Sigma 50mm f1.4 ART and a Canon 70-200 F4L IS. I also use a Three Legged Thing Carbon fibre tripod with a ball head.
I find this set up to be relatively light and compact for weekend adventures but provides great image quality.
Where’s you favourite location to shoot?
I have grown up in the Wye Valley and therefore have a very deep-rooted love for this area with its great light, trees and mist. I would say that Wales has pretty much everything a landscape photographer could ever want.
What’s on your bucket list for 2017, in Wales and beyond?
The bucket list continues to grow at an alarming rate.
I would say a camping adventure week in Pembrokeshire followed by a planned trips to the Antigua in the Caribbean and the French Alps in May.
What would be your advice for anyone wanting to get into landscape/ outdoor photography?
I have three piece of advice for landscape photographers:
- Study Art – Studying great landscape artists and landscape photographers is a great way to develop your understanding of what elements make a good landscape photography. Much in the way of learning composition, subject matter and the feeling of a photograph can be understood by immersing yourself in art.
- Practice every day – Even if the natural light or landscape is not right but knowing your equipment and its limitations / capabilities is essential.
- Prepare – Preparation of what photograph you want to create is key. I do this by choosing a location, work out what gear I will need, consider where the light source (sun/moon/stars) will be and consider other factors such as tide times or possible cloud cover. The more you prepare the more you maximise your chances of nailing a shot.
Which shot of Wales that you’ve taken are you most proud of? Why?
It’s a shot I named ‘Wye Valley Trees’. I am most proud of this shot as it came at a time where I was experiencing a creative rut.
I found myself looking further and further afield for shooting locations which weren’t providing the goods due to lighting and weather conditions. It was all getting a bit depressing so I decided to look at what was on my doorstep in the Wye Valley. I believe this photograph gave my work a point of focus and a new impetus and became my most popular photograph on social media.
Any photography trips gone wrong?
My last trip to Lake District had me leaving Monmouth, South Wales straight after work at 4.30pm on a Friday after a very a rushed decision to go wild camping for the weekend.
Finally after a 6 hour drive I eventually made it Buttermere, a small and beautiful little village in the West of the Lake District. After a quick scout out for a good camp spot I decided to pitch what I thought was my tent. After much fumbling around I came to realise that in my rush to grab my camping gear I had picked up my other tent bag that only contained a large blue tarpaulin and two ropes!
Needless to say my weekend wild camping in the Lake District trip was wet, breezy and very cold. After that I promised myself I would heavily prepare before wild camping trips.
How did you build up your Instagram following? Any tips for anyone just starting out?
First of all I had a large body of photographs that I had built up over a couple of years of shooting, I started to post one of them most days.
I tried to make sure I post at regular times of the day and to post when I think most people will be using the app. I also try to only post what I believe to be my best and most creative work – and of course I use popular hashtags to reach out to my target audience.
Who are your favourite Instagrammers/ photographers for us to check out?
There really is such a great community of photographers throughout Wales and I love being part of it!
Beyond that, my favourite photographers of all time have to be Max Rive, Sebastião Salgado, Chris Burkhard and Paul Nicklen.
Adam’s work features in our 2018 Discover Cymru Calendar – on sale now.