Starting a new blog

So, here it is, my new Blog. I’m going to post the best of my photos here over the next few months. I was tempted to do this alphabetically, but then I think you might get a bit bored, so I’ll be a bit more random. The idea is that from here you’ll be able to see my photos in more detail, I can give a bit more commentary than you get from the gallery page. The photos are here for you to enjoy, and within reason, share, but if you really like them, perhaps you’d consider following the Photobox link to buy them, maybe even explore the gallery that you’ll be sent to.

If you’re interested, I’ve also created ‘Personas’ for Firefox that you can use to customise the GUI (the bit with all the icons and stuff). Go to: to see them, and dress up your browser! Besides that, I’ve got a few pictures on Geograph, which are more connected to my work as a Geography & Ecology Tutor in the Brecon Beacons, and might not be as interesting to all comers (it too is a work in progress from my point of view -watch this space).



As you know if you follow me, the photoboxgallery service has been discontinued, and therefore very little has happened here for quite a while. For now, I’m selling a few images through eBay in the Art Photographs category, all under landscapes, which are mostly of mountains, a few woodland scenes and a couple of others. However, it seems to me that if you’ve found an image on this site that you’d like to buy then we can probably sort something out through Paypal. I’ve put a contact form under the Price List to exchange details -I’ll send an invoice, and hopefully we should be able to take it from there. I’ve suggested clicking through on the image in the Gallery page to get a web address to identify the image you want, hope that works for people. I’m certainly not big enough to need the paid service that Paypal provides to enable direct ordering, so I hope it’s not too clunky this way.

I’ll be updating other bits and pieces here as and when I have time…who knows, maybe even a few new images might be forthcoming at some point.

Best of 2017

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These photos represent what I think of as the best of my output in the last year. Looking back, it seems that this blog has been inactive for at least that long. The fact is, life has been rather busy, not least because we had a son in April. That’s not to say I haven’t been taking photos, just that they’ve been rather different…you couldn’t say that many of these relate to the wildness of the rest of this gallery, but reflect the change in my lifestyle, indeed a good number of these new photos come from my garden. They also represent a little more experimentation, trying a new lens (the other one fell from a Land Rover on holiday in Scotland), and having a go at the photography competition site Gurushots, so there are some more macro shots, and some with specific subjects relating to a challenge title. Gurushots has become rather too big for me now, so I’m not doing much at the moment, but it has been useful to test myself against other photographers and try some new styles, with some surprising results. Anyway, I hope these new photos have been of interest, and there may be more to come that go back a little further, watch this space. As for the year to come, I’m looking forward to getting my family out into the mountains and wilder places and capturing some great new material to publish here. Our first family walk was this past weekend, visiting the spectacular falls on the Nedd Fechan in Waterfalls Country, so there should at least be something to show when I get the film developed. I think going forward that will be the new purpose of this blog, rather than writing about existing photos and the subjects they depict.

These are all available to buy, and soon there will be a new way of ordering (see the previous post about Photobox closing their Pro Galleries), although it will take me a bit of working out to perfect it…you may have to bear with me. In the mean time, drop me a line using the contact form, and we’ll work something out. At present I don’t have anything listed on eBay, but hopefully that won’t be for long.

Next Steps…

Now that Photobox have done away with their ProGallery service, the ordering/sales process for my photos is going to have to change, which is probably not as big a problem as it might be, since as far as I’m aware, we never managed any sales through them directly. I could continue selling through eBay, but that is a bit of a faff when a number of images is involved, and now might be as good a time as any to make a change for a more professional printing service. So, I’m turning to the photography blogging community for a bit of advice please: does anyone have any recommendations for an amateur UK photographer with a few sales under their belt for a low-cost alternative? The ideal solution would be for a service that both hosts a gallery and prints the image, either for a small fee or a percentage of the sales, but anything that allows a simple transaction is the goal. If anyone has any experience, please use the comments below. Your help is much appreciated, thank you.

By the way, new material is in the pipeline, but for now, given the above, that will have to wait…

Please vote for me!!!

Well this is embarrassing! It seems that the links on the photos had broken and reverted to the media file rather than the voting page. I hope it wasn’t too annoying and you would still do me the honour of voting for my pictures. Do let me know if there are more issues.

Mountains, Wild Places & Water

Ordnance Survey, the UK’s mapping agency, is looking for photos to put on the front of their hundreds of paper maps, in a competition they’ve called Photofit, and as a passionate geographer and photographer, I feel the opportunity is too good to pass up. So, I have submitted 12 of my photos (so far) in the hope that they might use one/some of them. They’ll be entered for either the competition to be on the cover of the Explorer Maps (1:25,000 scale, the orange ones*), which ends on the 19th April 2015, or to be on the cover of the Landranger Maps (1:50,000 scale, the pink ones), which ends on 31st October 2015.

To be considered, I need people to vote for them, and it is the photos with the highest votes for each area that will be put forward for judging. The main prize is the prestige of…

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Please vote for me!!!

Ordnance Survey, the UK’s mapping agency, is looking for photos to put on the front of their hundreds of paper maps, in a competition they’ve called Photofit, and as a passionate geographer and photographer, I feel the opportunity is too good to pass up. So, I have submitted 12 of my photos (so far) in the hope that they might use one/some of them. They’ll be entered for either the competition to be on the cover of the Explorer Maps (1:25,000 scale, the orange ones*), which ends on the 19th April 2015, or to be on the cover of the Landranger Maps (1:50,000 scale, the pink ones), which ends on 31st October 2015.

To be considered, I need people to vote for them, and it is the photos with the highest votes for each area that will be put forward for judging. The main prize is the prestige of having my photos on a published map, available to all, but I would also get my own personal copy of the finished product. I would be hugely grateful if you would consider voting any/all of my pictures!

Anyway, here are the photos I’ve submitted; if you like any of them, please follow the links to get to the page where you get to vote (sorry, you have to vote for each one individually), thank you so much:

Haytor Quarry, please click to vote for this image

Disused quarry workings in the Dartmoor National Park, near to Haytor Rocks.

Cairngorms, please click to vote for this image

The corries of Braeriach in the Cairngorms, the Highlands of Scotland.

Brecon Beacons, please click to vote for this image

Corn Du and Pen-y-Fan from Cwm Llwch

Black Mountains, please click to vote for this image

The Vale of Ewyas in the Black Mountains, in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Beacons Sunset, please click to vote for this image

The sun sets behind Corn Du, on the descent from Pen-y-Fan

Aberystwyth, please click to vote for this image

North Beach, Aberystwyth, with the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance.

Cadair Idris, please click to vote for this image

Llyn y Gadair on the north side of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia, North Wales

Porth Iago, please click to vote for this image

Porth Iago, a beautiful secluded cove on the northern shores of the Lleyn Peninsula

Forest of Dean, please click to vote for this image

Sun streams through the plantation in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Cwmystwyth, please click to vote for this image

Green fields and forested slopes on the road in to Cwmystwyth in Mid Wales

Welsh Marches, please click to vote for this image

Sunset in border country, near Wormbridge, Western Herefordshire

Wast Water, please click to vote for this image

Autumn sun in the Lake District reflecting off the still waters of Wast Water

Thanks for taking the time to look, I’ll let you know how I get on.

*except for the Outdoor Leisure Maps, covering the National Parks and similar, which have already been chosen. Most of these pictures are in the OL Map areas, so I guess a lot of them could end up on the Landrangers….

….A Trial…..2015 Calendars


Merry Christmas to one and all! A bit belated, but I would contend that we are still in the 12 days of Christmas, and there’s still plenty of celebrating to be done 🙂 Hope you’re making the most of the season and that you and those that you love are happy, fit and well. Anyway…on to this trial…

I want to test the market for selling my photos in calendars. I know other photographers might be doing quite well out of calendar sales and as such I wonder if it would be worth me going into it for next year. So, with New Year fast approaching and old calendars about to go into retirement, what better time? For a limited period in 2015, what I propose is this (since it seems you can’t actually order a calendar from the Photobox Gallery site): let me know which of my images you would like and in what sequence, and I’ll get the order sorted and sent out to you (contact form below). I’m going to offer four options to keep it simple, A3 Wall Calendar, A3 Poster Calendar, A4 Wall Calendar and Desk Calendar. In terms of cost, I’ll let you set the price. The Photobox prices (and specs) are here, which would be absolute the minimum I can do it for, but otherwise, you just need to let me know how much you’re willing to pay (bearing in mind what you’ll be getting and that there will be a certain amount of time that I will need to spend creating the calendar for you). We can then arrange a Paypal transaction -I will only make the order once funds are recieved.

I suggest that we only use the landscape (orientation) photos here, as the portrait ones don’t fit as well on the template. The photos available are therefore these (in alphabetical order):

To include a photo in your selection, please let me know the photo name (by the text written on it -numbered 1 and 2 by their order in this gallery where there are two the same) and the month you’d like it to represent. It might be easiest to copy and paste the following into the text area, and then add your choices:

  • January:
  • February:
  • March:
  • April:
  • May:
  • June:
  • July:
  • August:
  • September:
  • October:
  • November:
  • December:

By the way, if you’d rather have the image without borders, titles and signature, just let me know, it can also be arranged :-).

Thank you, and once again Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Stob na Broige, Glen Coe

Ston-na-Broige, Buachaille Etive Mor

Stob na Broige, one of the munros that make up Buachaille Etive Mor, the great shepherd of Etive, which guards the eastern end of Glen Coe. Stob na Broige is the the furthest peak on the ridge, photographed here near Stob Dearg, the other munro. The peak in the the centre is actually Stob na Doire. Available to buy at my Photobox Gallery.

About 13 years after I took this photo, this still brings back happy memories for me -I was recently asked to list one of my best days in the outdoors, and this one sprang to mind. Another one from the time before my kit matched my ambition, I feel lucky to have had just the right conditions for the film to work just right and come out with a lovely photo to remember a superb walk.I’m particularly proud of the perspective and sense of scale the image conveys, and the bluish hue of the distant hills (I’m always looking for a ‘blue remembered hills’ image, although this perhaps a bit more extreme than Houseman’s Shropshire).

The walk came at the end of my undergraduate years at Aberystwyth, when I was president of the University Walking Club, and had considerable say over where we went for our end of year ‘tour’. Only my third visit to the Highlands of Scotland, I’d decided we ought to try some of the iconic peaks, and combined a few nights’ stay in the Glen Coe area with a further stay in the southern Cairngorms a later on. Having ticked off the Pap of Glencoe as a warm up, and bagged The Ben shortly afterwards, The Buckle was next on the agenda. But by this stage, we’d already done a lot, so a good number decided on the smaller Beinn A’Chrulaiste. The result was lovely small group of just 5, compared to a normal group size of around 10, and all of us we about the same fitness level, which  meant very little ‘group management’. We started up the Coire na Tulaich (one day I’d like to go back a do the scramble/climb up the Curved Ridge, but we weren’t looking for that level of challenge on this day in history) with nothing but a few red deer grazing in the screes above us for company, and a great view back down the burn. The top end of the Coire is a bit of a loose scramble, but we were soon rewarded with breath-taking views from the top of the headwall. This photo was taken shortly afterwards, although my memory’s a little hazy as to whether it’s from the summit of Stob Dearg (the main peak) or somewhere nearby. After that, it was a nice easy ridge walk, ticking off the tops and munros, with plenty of 360° views and dozens of panoramic photos (yes, this was before you could just press a button and spin round with your camera/phone, so each one had to be set up just right and took about 12 snaps). With Rannoch Moor away to our left, Bidean nam Bean and Buachaille Etive Beag to our right, the Aonach Eagach, the whole Nevis/Mamores range behind us and Glen Etive ahead, it was heaven to be surrounded by mountains and places I had hitherto only read about. I think it was the combination that makes it so memorable -good company, great mountains and perfect conditions, with a small amount of challenge. Of course the long walk out to Stob na Broige itself did mean quite a long walk out through the Lairig Gartain, and a certain amount of dehydration (poor planning -the day was hotter, and the walk longer than perhaps expected!), but overall a stunning day, and well worth shooting a whole role of film (a few of the other images can be found on my Photobox Gallery, mostly in the highlands collection).


Click to order prints (opens a new window)

This one’s wide screen, so the the best prints will be long and thin: e.g. 12″x5″, or 20″x8″

All images © Stephen Tyrrell, Mountains, Wild Places and Water, 2014. All rights reserved.

August in the Beacons

Field Studies in the Brecon Beacons

Activity Days Poster Summer rgbThis August at YHA Danywenallt

At YHA Danywenallt National Park Study Centre we’ve got a busy start to the month ahead which will get the summer holidays going in style! We’re running a week of Bushcraft activities for children from 4th-8th August, followed by a weekend of music and fun for all for the Brecon Fringe Festival. More details below; please ring 01874 676677 or email: if you want to find out more or make a booking.

Bushcraft Activity Week 4th-8th August

All week we’re putting on a series of outdoor activities that will encourage confidence in the outdoors, develop new skills and forge new friendships. As well as the ‘headline’ activity, there will be teambuilding, problem-solving and creative thinking games. Children can come along to explore, discover and get messy -whatever the weather! All that’s needed are old clothes and an adult.

Open to anyone aged 7…

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Winter in the Industrial Landscape


The frozen waters of Keeper’s Pond catch the alpenglow at dusk in the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, a World Heritage Site. Prints for sale at my Photobox Gallery.

A double whammy this time, from the hills above Blaenavon -I thought they’d make a suitable pair since they were both taken on the same day (I’m sure you recognise the likeness in palette, if not necessarily the subject).

Winter at Pwll Du

Frozen rushes in the moorland around Keeper’s Pond. Also available to buy at my Photobox Gallery.

Depending on your feelings about snow, we either had a bad winter or a good one this year, as the white stuff was very sporadic. Unlike the last couple of years. This image is actually about 2 years old, from around midwinter, when snow was lying deep and crisp and even -not so bleak though. That year the snow was lying on the ground until around mid March, and in places it was a few feet deep right up until it melted (made it very difficult to move around in at times). The joy having of the snow around for so long was that photographic opportunities were rich and varied, as many of the other winter pictures in my gallery show. So a beautiful clear day with a dramatic sunset meant that on this day in history I dashed out to get some snaps. Now that the weather is warming up a bit here in the UK, it feels like it’s just about safe to post them without tempting fate (no one mention this year’s storms!).

The place, Keeper’s Pond, is between Abergavenny and Blaenavon, just off a road known locally as The Tumble, which ascends the side of The Blorenge. I used to live fairly close by, and it’s a favourite viewpoint of mine for when the conditions get spectacular. The frozen pond in the first picture used to be a reservoir for a forge in the early stages of the industrial revolution, while the second actually shows spoil tips from iron and coal mining (under all the snow). You see this is an industrial landscape, and is actually a World Heritage Site, because of all the 19th century industrial remnants; either intact buildings, or ruins and workings up on the hills. I believe the citation for World Heritage inscription goes something like: “the most complete example of the 19th Century industrial landscape”. This is such an isolated area that modern industry and development largely passed it by, with the result that the mass demolition and rebuilding that may have gone on in other valleys towns never happened here. So in the ruined ironworks down in Blaenavon, there is still a core of solidified iron in the blast furnaces, because they just shut up shop and walked away to a newer, better site. Housing demand here was so low due to out-migration that there wasn’t any need for many new-build housing estates in the 1980’s, so old miner’s cottages remained largely unchanged too. Add this to the fact that this was a pioneer town (you could read frontier town there), at the leading edge of industrial development in the 18th century and there’s some really interesting history here, if not necessarily as spectacular as some World Heritage Sites. Heritage status is now working to bring life back to the area, and has brought all sorts of funding, events and projects. There are some excellent websites to look up if you’re interested:, or, so I won’t say too much.



Click to order prints (opens a new window)

Click here to order ‘Keeper’s Pond’, best at 18″x12″ or similar. Click here to order ‘Pwll Du’, best at 20″x8″ or 12″x5″.

All images © Stephen Tyrrell, Mountains, Wild Places and Water, 2014. All rights reserved.

Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris

Llyn Cau

The deep, dark pool in Cwm Cau, nestling below Craig Cwm Amarch and Pen y Gadair, part of the Cadair Idris “Massif”. Available to buy at my Photobox Gallery.

Apologies for the hiatus -been lacking in inspiration of late, but determined to get back in my flow. A belated Happy New Year to all my followers, I hope the Christmas period was kind to you. I thought I’d start the renaissance with a nice bright image from the gallery to warm you up a bit (hopefully), since the UK at the moment is feeling distinctly grey and damp (make that saturated!!). So we return to a favourite location of mine: Cadair Idris in southern Snowdonia. In particular this is the lake that fills Cwm Cau, a corrie which I’ve blogged about before in: Misty Cwm Cau, and Cwm Cau.

Another from the bank of images taken whilst completing hours of dissertation fieldwork, this is an early morning snap on one of the longest days I’ve ever spent in the field. There was so much to do that I spent the night on the mountain, with the consequence being rising mega early, and seeing the sun come over the encircling arms of the corrie. Anyway, a spot of breakfast later and the lake and the corrie walls were drenched in sunshine (I’d come to regret that later -it was baking hot that day!). With a bit of ascent, I was in position to take this picture, which is actually a composite of about four portrait images -it was the only way to get the detail I wanted. (So lucky that the lake was dead calm.)

They say that spending a night on Cadair will either send you mad or make you a poet -I’ll leave you to make that judgement, although it may refer to the summit, which I have yet to do, so I could be safe… What I wanted to talk about was wild camping. I’ve only done it a few times, because I haven’t yet got to grips with travelling light when going camping and always end up shattered. Wild camping is a great way to extend your time in the mountains, and often allows you to have the hills to yourself, but requires a great deal of thought and planning. You see you can’t just do it anywhere. First of all there’s picking a good site: flat, relatively stone-free, with a reasonable water supply nearby and providing a decent amount of shelter (I have been on top of other mountains in the middle of a storm and let’s just say you don’t get a lot of sleep). By the way, all water should really be treated somehow to make it safe to drink -in the Welsh mountains there’s always a risk of contamination from the sheep, and there are many other things that could make you sick. I know some would say “I’ve been drinking from streams all my life…” but I’ve done a bit of work on water quality and don’t fancy it myself. Personally, I tend to boil my water for at around 5-7 minutes, which some would combine with passing it through a filter, or alternatively you could use sterilising tablets if you don’t have a way to heat your water (adds flavour!). Whatever you do to purify it, you should pick water that is flowing, preferably turbulently (more oxygen), as close to the source as you can manage, and check upstream for dead things.

Then you need to consider the legalities -strictly speaking you’re supposed to ask the landowners permission to camp out in England and Wales, but by and large no one worries if you pitch up late and leave before anyone knows you’ve been there, especially in the more remote and inaccessible places. I guess you need to try though, and if there’s one farm local to where you’d like to camp, it’s probably worth asking. Or if you’re really planning a long way in advice, Rights of Way Officers (at the Local Authority) often know who owns what around a footpath.  Obviously it’s important to leave no trace, so no fires, no rubbish (that is unless you’ve got permission and made arrangements) and generally no damage to the environment -even relating to ‘bathroom waste’ (yes you need a plan for that too, especially to protect water supplies -your own and anyone else’s). You should note Scotland has a different system again and there’s a code of conduct to follow, which is essentially the same, but with less emphasis on getting permission. I have to say I didn’t get permission to camp here, and found out later that the reserve’s management (the Countryside Council for Wales at the time, now Natural Resources Wales) prefers people not to camp here, because there’s a chance that it could get out of hand, and this is ultimately a fragile mountain environment. I didn’t leave any trace, and there wasn’t any obvious sign that I had been here so there was no problem, but I guess it’s incumbent on me to say “do as I say, not as I do”.

The other thing (which as I say, I haven’t perfected), is to travel light. Taking a tent is a lot of weight, then there’s all the cooking stuff, sleeping bag, spare clothes and usual walking gear, so it’s good to trim weight where you can -I’ve heard of people cutting toothbrushes in half to shed a few grams. Really think about what you need on the mountain -do you need a full set of spare clothes (who’s going to be getting close enough to smell you)? Choose things that can be used a number of ways, and keep it simple. For example, a mug is often all you need in the way of crockery, especially if you’re using dehydrated food. Obviously it helps if here are a few of you, you can share the load, but then it’s harder to reduce your impact.

Anyway, this is ultimately meant to be a photography blog -I hope this diversion has been of interest and not to long-winded. Wild camping definitely provides some quality opportunities for early morning or evening photography when the shadows and contrast are at their greatest (Ogwen Valley is from another wild camping trip, and I do have more), so if you’re able, it’s worth a try, bearing in mind it’s not practical to carry a lot of additional gear.


Click to order prints (opens a new window)

The dimensions of this one are a little different as a composite, but it works well on an A4 (that’s the size of the print on my wall at home) or A3 -you might just have to trim it a bit.

All images © Stephen Tyrrell, Mountains, Wild Places and Water, 2014. All rights reserved.
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