Northern winter sunset

This is when your return from a lovely day out is so well-timed that you catch a beautiful sunset.

Winter is closing in here in Manchester, and the walkway near Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop is an excellent place to watch the sun slide away. The sky is pierced with urban silhouettes, adding detail to sundown frames. Down by the canal, there’s a purple haze to the water and a few lit windows beckon you into cosy interiors.

The northern chill seems to bring more dramatic colour schemes to the darkening sky. It may no longer be warm and the nights are lengthy and dark, but isn’t that a small price to pay?…

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Mersey meets the sea

It didn’t take me long to return to the Wirral Peninsula after being bowled over by the seaside and estuary town of West Kirby. 

On the opposite of this nub of land is the resort of New Brighton, which sits at the mouth of the mighty River Mersey and close to the great city of Liverpool. In Victorian times it was a coastal mecca with a pier, mighty tower and many visitors.

That period magnificence may have disappeared, but this area has engaging views, open seas and industrial colour, fishermen and a landmark lighthouse. It’s a northern spot well worth visiting.

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Autumnal notes

Autumn arrives every year without fail, and with it a billion photographs of warm oranges and burnt russets. It’s hard to resist, but I wonder why we do it. One year I avoided the fall altogether, another year I took some leaves indoors in an effort to do something different.

On a recent break in Wales, I found an autumnal spot and succumbed to the inevitable. Do you ever think it’s best to sail against the tide and put your camera down when everyone else is snapping away?

Sweeping leaves to one side, a seasonal moment came to me one dark afternoon as the rain lashed against the window pane and darkness had already set in. A moment when outdoor bleakness almost seeped in. This capture of mood made me want to pick up my camera.

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Hills and lakes

Cumbria’s Lake District is one of the wonders of the British Isles. I’ve only just visited it for the very first time and have no idea why it took so long.

We stayed in the spectacular Langdale Valley, north of Lake Windermere. The hills were shrouded in fog throughout our break, adding drama to the landscape. It’s a place to clamber the pikes, walk the valleys and amble along lakeside paths. 

This is a beautiful world away from the urban cut and thrust of Manchester – and close enough to visit again.

Click first image to view gallery

The Lancashire seaside

My latest exploration of Manchester’s expansive hinterland took me north to Lancashire. The coastal resort of Lytham St Annes is close to Blackpool, but a world away from its neighbour’s glitzy, brash vibe. 

I walked from St Anne’s and its green pier along a tranquil, sombre stretch of tidal coastline to Lytham, with its curious windmill and grand white-tiled church. It’s also on the estuary of the River Ribble – calm, mysterious and perfect for wide skyscape photographs.

This trip veered from brash man-made colours to stark minimalism. The kind of contrast I favour on a photo excursion…

Click first image to view gallery

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