Friday, 26 February 2010

Press Release - Black and White Spider Awards honours Plymouth, UK photographer

Here's the press release I issued yesterday/today

Press Release

PLYMOUTH 24 FEBRUARY 2010 - Amateur photographer Highton Ridley of Plymouth, UK was presented with the 5th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title in the category of Nature at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photo Show attended by 35,000 online viewers who logged on live from 154 countries to see the climax of the industry's most important event for black and white photography.
Thousands of images were received from 68 countries worldwide. The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from Magnum Photos, The Armory Show, Fratelli Alinari, Contrasto to Tate and Hamiltons in London who honored Spider Fellows with 84 coveted title awards in 28 categories. The judges reviewed the entries online for eight weeks before making their final nominations and Highton Ridley's "Haystack and Tracks" an exceptional image entered in the Nature category, received a high percentage of votes overall.
"The Spider Awards celebrates photographers who operate at the highest levels of their craft," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. "Highton Ridley's work represents black and white photography at its finest, and we're pleased to present him with the title of Nominee."
You can view the 5th Annual Winners Gallery at and Highton Ridley's Nominee image here
BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.
Contact: Highton Ridley (Mark)
Telephone: (removed)
Email: Highton.Ridley [@]

I sent it to the local newspapers and local tv news. If anyone knows of other good places to send it, I'd love to hear...

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

See my award-winning shot - now in official Spider Gallery

I announced a while ago that Haystack and Tracks reached nominee status, one step before winner, in the 5th Annual Black and White Spider Awards...

Official Notification

Well, yesterday I got an email from the Awards Team giving me the official Nominee Button, telling me that my Nominee shot is now in their official gallery and that my certificate would be sent in the post sometime in April

Great news and it gave me such a lift. I'll definitely be framing and hanging the certificate in pride of place on the wall!

Haystack and Tracks
Black and White Spider Awards Nominee Button

You can buy cards, posters and canvases featuring this image from my online store...

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Inquisitive sheep on Dartmoor

Another, maybe the last, from my recent shoot on Dartmoor.

Got any hay?

Inquisitive Sheep on Dartmoor

I first noticed these sheep as I was walking around looking for potential shots and at various points of view for those shots. You can see how I got on in my last few posts. As an aside, this is a good hint for photographers looking to up their game a little—your feet can improve composition dramatically. Don't just stop, take a photo and move on. Instead, walk around a bit and see how the various compositional elements interact in the scene and then choose the one that works best for you.

Anyway, each time I walked past the fence, the sheep were a bit closer. Eventually they were close enough for me to pay attention to them and, as I did, talking to them all the while in a low encouraging voice, I got great eye contact and this lovely little interaction. A genuine look of curiosity from the front sheep, while the back one, though a little unsure, was still interested enough in what was happening to throw this backward glance.

(An observation from looking at the back sheep... when all you have are cloven hooves, you learn to put up with stuff that otherwise might drive you mad!)

Anyway, I hope you like it and got something of the interaction with the sheep; and hopefully, for a moment you might even have been transported there.

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Another view of Merrivale Tor

I'm just going through the last of the shots from my recent outing to Dartmoor during the thaw. I've got a cute shot of some sheep that I hope will make it through the digital darkroom.

Tor and outbuilding

Merrivale Tor View

If you've seen my recent postings, you'll know that Merrivale is near Princetown in the heart of Dartmoor. I'm not sure what the hut on the left is, but it's fairly close to some farm buildings so is no doubt to do with that.

I relaxed my normal rules for this shot. I rarely do landscape shots without something remarkable (to me, anyway) to include for compositional purposes. In this case though, I just wanted to make a good shot of the Tor and put it in context, more of a record shot than my usual.

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Last of my recent pony shots

As promised here's the next, and last, of the pony shots from my recent outing to Dartmoor at the end of the melt from the recent Winter snows.

The gorgeous Dartmoor Pony

I think the light, though harsh, worked a little better on this shot than my other recent postings. Here it's angling in through the gorse bushes, giving nice highlights, especially across the face, mane and neck.

Grazing Pony - full body shot

These are such lovely creatures—I don't know the Exmoor's so well but the Dartmoor Pony is tranquil and gentle, if you respect their space. Sometimes they approach you, hoping for food, but feeding them is a no-no.

For a time there were many accidents involving ponies on the roads of Dartmoor. Because well-meaning folks were feeding them, the ponies had learned to associate cars with the possibility of free food. As soon as they'd see a car approaching, they'd amble onto the roads, and often quite unexpectedly—it's surprising how many ponies can appear from behind a gorse bush only big enough to conceal a large rabbit!

It's all common sense to the locals but visitors to our fine County didn't realise the feeding was leading to a problem. So signs and fines went up and eventually the number of injuries to ponies (and sheep) went down.

It's a lovely sight, to be walking on the moors for the joy of it and to round a patch of gorse and see these natives of the moors. Just one of the pleasures of living in this part of the world, and long may it continue :)

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

A Dartmoor Pony in profile

Makin' good progress, only a couple more to do from this photo shoot...

Hmmm... what's be happenin' here?

Profile of a Dartmoor Pony

Not quite suspicious but definitely a cautious glance. These ponies are semi-wild and run free on Dartmoor. To the surprise of many visitors, they're not timid at all, though feeding them is strictly forbidden, as it encourages them onto the roads when they see cars, increasing the chances of accidents.

In this shot, taken during the thaw from the recent snows, as well as the cute profile, I wanted to capture the shagginess of the winter coat and its textures.

Actually, I think the next one due out of the digital darkroom will really do their coats justice. You can be the judge when I post it here in the next couple of days.

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Three more shots from Dartmoor

I said in my post the other day that I'd been working in the digital darkroom. These shots have made it through and out the other side.

I'd love to get your feedback on your initial impact.

Distant Haze

Houses on Dartmoor

Looking towards Tavistock and some distant hills and tors of Dartmoor. Houses nestle amongst some trees beyond a large expanse of prickly gorse, in an otherwise deserted landscape.

Grazing ponies

Grazing Dartmoor Ponies

Shooting into the sun can be quite challenging as this shot proves. Often, the loss of detail caused by the high contrast ruins the shot but in this one I think it suits and complements the composition.What do you think?

A Dartmoor legend

...and now for a bit of fun :)

There is a legend on Dartmoor of a headless horseman—well this is the lesser known one of the headless pony!

The Headless Pony of Dartmoor

No, not a trick in Photoshop, just a bit of luck and some careful positioning of your photographer!

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)

Valentines day cheeky wishes voucher

Have some cheeky fun with your Valentine!!

A customisable wishes voucher

Valentine Voucher entitles the bearer...
This Valentine Voucher entitles the bearer to one of the Valentines Wishes on offer...
(available wishes are fully customisable by the giver)

...or how about the voucher as part of a Valentines Card? The voucher is printed on the inside and again is fully customisable with the choice of wishes the giver wants to include.

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)


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