Nature For Everyone

#NatureForEveryone

Anyone who follows my photography knows that it is highly inspired by nature. So when I came across the Wildlife and Countryside Link‘s campaign for #NatureForEveryone, it caught my eye. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as an outdoorsy person, I do love getting close to nature. My first memories of properly connecting with nature was also when I first started dabbling in photography. I would head out with my camera to capture sunsets, this then evolved in to exploring local farmland and natural habitats. Today I love connecting with natural world around us.

I feel very privileged to live somewhere that is surrounded by so many green spaces, not everyone is so lucky. As our urban landscapes expand we need to find ways to balance these landscapes with nature. Campaigns like #NatureForEveryone are so important for our well being and the well being of our planet.

Enduring the COVID pandemic of the last 24 months has highlighted the importance of being able to get out and explore our green spaces and to connect with nature. It has certainly helped my sanity as well as being a constant source of photographic inspiration.

As well as enjoying exploring green spaces such as nature reserves, forests, beaches, and parks. I have tried to do our bit for nature by turning our garden in to our own green space getaway. Our love for nature has also made its way in to our house in the form of many house plants.

In Review: 2021

2021 was a tough year for us all, what with the continued pandemic and accompanying lockdowns & ever changing restrictions. Personally, I feel that 2021 was just an extension of 2020. Thankfully, we saw less lockdowns in 2021 compared to 2020 as we all tried get back into “normal” routines. Although a part of me misses the extra spare time that the lockdowns gave us. For me, the time to connect with nature more, as well as more time spent with my wife so we could do activities together. I’m sure I spent more time out with my camera during the lockdowns of 2020 (making the most of any outdoor exercise time we had, to go on photo walks).

As some routines returned to a variant of pre-COVID “normal” last year (such as work commitments) I tried to get out with my camera as much as possible in my free time. But I definitely struggled with motivation this time around (especially during the colder months). Days off spent not wanting to leave the comfort of our house. I can’t imagine how anyone who lives alone has coped with the last 2 years.

My Favourite Shots of 2021

I am grateful that we managed travel a little further afield (within the UK) when restrictions eased. Allowing me some opportunities to go exploring with my camera & capture some great photographs during last Spring/Summer. Some of which I have showcased below.

Photo Posts of 2021:

I managed to find some motivation/time to write a few blog posts last year (not as many compared to 2020), to share a collection of the photos that I captured during the year. Below are just a few of the posts of my favourite photo expeditions of last year. The writing part of my blog/website does not come easy to me, I try to write something (hopefully semi-interesting) with each of my photo posts so that I’m not just photo-blogging.

Hopefully in 2022 I will be able to venture out more with my camera and be more motivated. The last 2 years I have focused on nature & wildlife photography. I keep toying with the idea of working on other projects/subjects as well, I shall see where the year takes me.

Prints Available

I have played with the idea of selling my work several times over the years, but I have never found a platform that suits me. My love of photography is my way of expressing myself and sometimes a little bit of escapism. In part my decision to start selling some of my work is to hopefully fund the upkeep of my website so that I can continue to share my love of photography with the world (yes, making a little bit of extra income would be nice). So here we are, a New Year, starting a new endeavour (wish me luck).

After careful consideration of different platforms I have decided to launch my Print Store using the SmugMug, which will allow my followers and visitors to my website to purchase photographic prints of my work by visiting: https://ryangardenphotography.smugmug.com/ (you will also be able to access the store from links on my website/blog). I had initially wanted to my Print Store to be fully integrated with my website, so that clients would not need to visit a 3rd party site. Currently that is not a viable option, but I will review this in the future should my Print Store become successful.

Periodically I plan to upload more of my work to my Print Store, so please keep popping back for the chance to purchase my latest products & prints. If there is any of my work that you would be interested in that is not currently on the store please get in touch and I shall make it available.

I would like to thank everyone who follows my photography, your support is very much appreciated.

Word-Ads Trial

I have been debating for some time to activate the Premium Tools that WP has to offer. One of the premium tools that I have decided to trial is WordAds. I have been undecided about WordAds for sometime, as I’m not overly a fan of adverts on websites, as they can be intrusive. I figured the best way to help me decide if this is the right feature for my site/blog is to trial it.

I would really appreciate the opinions of my readers / visitors to my site? Have you used WordAds yourself? What was your experience if you’ve used it? What are your opinions of adverts on blogs / websites?

Update & Thank You

I would like to say thank you to my followers & readers, your support is really appreciated. Your likes & kind comments encourage me to continue to share my work & keep blogging.

I count myself as a photographer first and a blogger second. The blogging part does not come easy to me (as you can probably tell from reading my posts). Knowing what to write often has me staring at the screen as if starring in to the abyss, my mind completely blank. I have lost count the amount of times I have written a paragraph then rewrite it several times until I’m happy with how it sounds.

So my posts have been a little sporadic of late. It’s the double edged sword of lockdown & being furloughed, all the time in the world to do whatever you want (well from the comfort of your home) and having none of the motivation to do it. This past couple of months since being furloughed I am really struggling with being motivated. To my kinda followers & readers please bear with me.

I have a few ideas up my sleeve for future posts. I’ve managed to venture outside for a couple of local photo walks, which I plan to share. I am also continuing to work on ideas for my #LivingInLockdown project that I started during the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020.

Over the past few weeks I have made some minor cosmetic tweaks to my website, which hopefully make it easier to navigate. I am also working on a potential new section to my website, which hopefully will go to plan and I will be able to publish soon.

Thank you again to my followers & readers. #StaySafe.

Instagram & Photography

I have had a mixed experience with social media with regards to sharing my photography. My photography & my initial website was born long before the creation of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) that we know today.

When I first began to use Instagram (October 2010) it appeared to be a platform for photographers & photography lovers (which is what I liked about it), sharing mobile-phone-photography shots. Trying to make creative mobile photography shots. Although I loved this new style of photography I have to admit I was a bit snobbish back then and didn’t deem mobile phone photography as “real photography”, strange how the world & your opinions change.

One of my first shots on Instagram

In my early days of using Instagram I wouldn’t include any of my Insta shots on my website/portfolio. As I’ve mentioned although I liked the medium of mobile phone photography there was a snobbish feeling that if it wasn’t taken by a “proper camera” then it wasn’t “real photography”. I’m sure I was not alone in this mindset. I’m also sure that there are many people who felt the same way about the switch from analogue to digital cameras. As people we are always suspicious of change.

Another early Insta shot (Nov’ 2010)

My generation are probably in a bit of weird time, born in between the analogue & the digital age, but hopefully are able to appreciate both. It’s safe to say I have definitely embraced digital photography and over time I have left behind the idea that mobile photography is not “real photography”. Although I do still prefer my DSLR over my phone camera.

Alcohol Art (Jan 2011)

I tend to save Instagram for my mobile photography, although I have been known from time to share some of my DSLR work on Instagram or even edit them with Instagram filters.

A more recent Instagram shot (2020)

In 2020 it feels as though Instagram has evolved more in to a platform that is open to anyone who wishes to photo-blog their day to day life (which is now a trap that I have fell in to after recently creating a personal account separate from my photography) rather than sharing the art of photography. I do feel it has lost some of the artistic flair as it’s now been diluted by life bloggers photo blogging their day to day.

That being said there are still some amazing photographers who use the service to share their work. I think my biggest bug bear of Instagram is the multitude of accounts that seem to exist purely to share other people’s work. This frustrates me, I want to follow the original creator. Although I guess they have led me to find some amazing creatives, so maybe they have their place and my point is a mute point.

Winter frost (Jan 2021)

I have come to realise that art is in the eye of the beholder, it’s open to interpretation. We can all see the same thing differently, it’s about creating something that we as the creator love, and hopefully others will like as well. How we all share and view art is also changing.

If there are any other photographers reading my post I’d be interested in your views on Instagram? Do you have accounts? If anyone wants to check out my Instagram photography account you can find it at:

www.instagram.com/ryangardenphotography

Early Work

Feeling reminiscent so thought I would revisit and republish some of my early work, which dates back to 2005 and 2007.

It is weird revisiting my earlier work as it brings back so many memories of the moments when I first took these photos. A time and place a million miles away from the person that I am today. I think what stands out for me looking back at some of my early photographic work is the change in quality. What I remember being really proud of back then, I now look at, and in some cases cringe at the quality. I guess this is a testament to how far my photography skill has developed over the years. Do all photographers (or artists even) when they look back at earlier pieces of work become more critical of said work?

The 3 posts that I have selected above are nowhere near my standard of work today, I was initially hesitant about republishing these. There’s a phrase that I heard many years ago that has stuck with me “photographers & artists should only publish/display their best work” this has always played on my overly self-critical personality trait. But these are works that at the time I was really proud of and I guess I still am in part.

My early work I focused on skyscapes, sunsets and sunrises were may favourite subjects to photograph. I loved the colours that they created in the sky (I still do), almost surreal scenes. I could sit for what felt like hours watching the sun rise or set, I enjoyed the calm. It’s what in part started my love for photography capturing these beautiful moments above us.

4am Sunrise: One of the few times in my life that I have ever got up so early in the name of photography (or for anything to be honest). I remember waking up, looking at the clock, seeing 4am & not being able to get back to sleep. The hint of the sunrise catching my through my curtains and mustering the energy & motivation to grab my camera and venture outside for an early photographic adventure.


Burning Sunset: Sunsets used to completely captivate me, especially sunsets in Scotland. The deep firey-red summer sunsets were my favourite to photograph. This particular one I remember thinking it was like the sky was set on fire, what I’d expect to see watching the sun set over some tropical savannah not in the the North-East of Scotland.


Storm Brewing: This collection of photographs I took from my then bedroom window in my parents house when I still lived with them. I remember sitting on the windowsill of my bedroom window watching the sun trying to peak through the dark storm clouds as they rolled in. The countless hours I would sit on that windowsill and watch the sky.


It is slightly scary to think that it has been over 17 years since I started my adventures with photography, how my life has changed in that time (for the better) and hopefully my photographic eye and skill has also improved over the years. I still find it hard to tie myself down to a specific genre of photography, I have dabbled with many subjects over the years, from nature, still life, portraits to locations. I do find myself drawn more to photographing the natural world, as it calms me.

To my readers and followers, thank you for taking the time to ready my blog and I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I do.

Lockdown 2.0

So here in the UK (well in England at least) we find ourselves 12 days in to another country wide lockdown. All going well it should only last for a month, ending on the 2nd December 2020. Not to sound pessimistic but we were told that last time, and 3 months later it was still in effect. I’m not going to get all political or get in to my thoughts of what I think will or should happen next on here as its not the place for such ramblings. So moving swiftly on I’m taking each day as it comes and trying my best to look on the bright side of life. You can find the silver lining in most things if you look hard enough.

Although I am working throughout this second lockdown (so my free time will be limited), I want to try to record some of this second lockdown in a similar way to the last one with my #LivingInLockdown project. It will be interesting to see the differences as we’re now in Autumn heading in to Winter instead of Spring in to Summer.

#LivingInLockdown the story so far

As yet I’ve not had the opportunity to get out with my camera, we’ve not really been out for daily exercise like we did during the Spring Lockdown. The colder temperatures & wetter weather hasn’t really been encouraging us to venture out for walks.

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, lets all stay safe.

Selling Prints Online

So I really want to have a go at selling prints of my photos online, preferably via my own website. I have tried this several times before and never found a platform that I’m completely happy with.

Firstly I guess it’s the question of would people be interested to buy my work? I’m trying to ignore the perfectionist in me that doubts the quality of my work and whispers to me that no one would be interested.

Secondly which platform do I use. There are so many options out there, that trying to decide what would work best for me is a nightmare. I don’t particularly want to commit to a subscription platform incase my sales don’t cover the subscription but some of the free platforms don’t really give the look & control that I’d like.

I’m currently considering SmugMug as an option (which I have considered before), as it seems to give me the control I want and I can align it to a similar look & design of my website. I guess it’s the subscription charge that’s putting me off, the worry of not being able to cover the cost and at least break even. Obviously the ideal is to make a profit.

Any other photographers reading this (first thanks for visiting my website & blog) I would really appreciate your advice? How/where do you sell your own work?

Photo Walks

Last month I read the article “How to lose weight & stay in shape while photo-walking” on the Phoblographer and it got me thinking. Although I have not been trying to lose weight, my photography has definitely led me to be more physically active this year. Slightly forced by the COVID-19 pandemic & subsequent lockdown, which limited our time outside to only grocery shopping and time for daily exercise. Now as I’m not a very sporty person (I’ll be honest I’m lazy), to make the most of our daily exercise outside we would go for walks around local parks or woodland and of course our cameras had to come with us. So it was the perfect excuse to go on photo-walks.

Squirrel: spotted on one of our photo-walks

Anyone who follows my photography can tell my favourite subjects to photograph is nature & wildlife. One of the thing that this COVID-19 pandemic has taught me, especially during lockdown is to enjoy nature and the world around us more. Our photo-walks has definitely helped our wellbeing (physical & mental).

Getting back to nature exploring parks & woodland

It’s vey rare that I go out with the intention of photographing any particular subject. I normally head out with the my camera and then see what captures my attention.

Spotted on another photo-walk

I want to try and continue with photo walks going forward. This may prove more difficult as we move in to winter and looming further pandemic lockdown restrictions we may find ourselves in. It’s a simple concept which has allowed me to spend more time on my photography and be slightly more active.

A walk in the Park: parks have provided lots of floral photography inspiration

Regardless of your style of photography, whether it’s nature or street photography, photos walks can definitely be a good source of inspiration and helps to keep you active. Especially in times of pandemic, as long as we’re all staying safe & social distancing I think it’s important to get outside (ideally once a day) and breathe in the fresh air & clear our minds.

Wild June

Throughout June I have been taking part in The Wildlife Trusts annual “30 Days Wild” challenge, which I have modified slightly from taking part in something wildlife/nature related to a wildlife/nature photo challenge. The concept has been the same I have been able to enjoy the nature and wildlife around me.

As I predicted, I find committing to daily challenges, well, quite frankly, a challenge! I managed to see the challenge through until the end of June even if I may not have shared photos every day. The extra spare time of being in lockdown has definitely helped, allowing me more time to spend connecting with nature. While abiding by our lockdown guidelines obviously. I have enjoyed connecting with nature more through my photography and I am sure that to some extent it has helped me survive lockdown.

Because I can’t just take one photo when I’m on a photo expedition most of my daily photos are part of a larger series of photos that I have taken on that day, which I have not shared the additional shots as part of this challenge. I shall share these as future portfolio posts.

30 Days Wild

I have signed up to take part in The Wildlife Trusts annual nature challenge: 30 Days Wild 2020. Each day of June 2020 I endeavour to take & share at least one nature / wildlife photo to highlight the beauty of the natural world that we live in. #30DaysWild

I feel that this may be a challenge for me in a couple of ways. 1) Partly due to COVID-19 lockdown, & 2) committing to daily challenges is not my strength. I either get distracted by other commitments or loose the motivation to continue. On that note I have been thinking on how to share this challenge via my blog. I have decided not to publish a daily blog post with each days challenge. Instead opting for a dedicated page “30 Days Wild” with a gallery with each days entry. I feel writing a daily blog post for each entry is a feat I will struggle with, finding the time to photograph my inspiration (as I can never just take one photo) & write a blog post to go with it. I’m sure this will inspire more of my usual portfolio blog posts though. So we shall see how this goes. #30DaysWild

I will also share this challenge via my usual social media feeds: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.