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Sony Alpha A7rOccassionally I like to share my thoughts on any new camera equipment I might purchase mainly because I know it helps others with their purchasing decisions. That said, for me, a camera is a means to an end, a working tool that so long as it produces a decent image, I'm happy. Having worked in the electronics industry for over 30 years, gone are those days when I slaver over new technology and gadgets. I prefer instead to keep a camera a decent length of time so that I can become totally familiar with its functions and idiosyncrasies. That was until I came across the Alpha A7r.

Autumn DancersFor most people it would seem that the best of 2014 is coming to an end, what with the nights drawing in and the temperatures beginning to fall. However, for landscape photographers the best is yet to come. My diary books up months in advance for autumn with keen landscape enthusiasts requesting tuition at the peak of colour - usually around the end of October/beginning of November. This image I named 'Fire Dancers' was taken at the peak of autumn on the 3rd November, 2011. The beautiful soft light enhances the shape of the tree trunks as they entwine.

Which brings me onto the subject of what to do in winter months?

Holding OnHaving been so busy running 1 to 1 practical & post-production workshops along with co-leading multiple day workshops with Joe Cornish and Steve Gosling, 2014 seems to have become a blur to be honest. By far it has been my busiest year for tuition and looks set to continue into 2015 and beyond, which is great because I really enjoy running them! 

I'm not sure how I did it but I also managed to make a few images of my own which I thought I would share on the website.

Recently, one of my 'Geophorm' images was featured in a 2 page spread in Amateur Photographer magazine. Part of AP's Photo Insight articles, they are designed to bring readers expert advice on a range of photographic subjects - in this case it was making a successful abstract image.

Out of the darkThere's a well known phrase about the cobbler's children having no shoes and that's the position I've been in recently - building websites for paying clients thus never having the time to update my own. However, I've taken the bull by the horns and sorted it out at last!

For a while I've wanted to create a responsive website (That is one that responds and adjusts according to the platform it's being viewed on i.e. phone, tablet or computer), as more and more people are using portable devices to view websites these days. I also wanted a fresh, bright look for a change. So here it is www.markbanksphotography.com!

I was also going to take this opportunity to advertise my joint 2014 workshops with Joe Cornish but they're already fully booked.

However, I can announce that after a successful 3 day workshop in Swaledale last year, I will be teaming up once again with Steve Gosling for another 3 day creative photography workshop in the western dales. >>

DSC1563 MO LadyHill-BW USOne of my favourite dales is Wensleydale. In comparison to others it's more lush and soft with it's undulating curves and slopes enriched by long meadow grass in the summer. I often run workshops in Wensleydale and of course I need to travel through it to visit other dales like Dentdale, Ribblesdale and Malhamdale for instance.

DSC1551 MO UllswaterStudyI USIt's no secret to those who keep an eye on my blogs, that I like to simplify my images as much as I can. I just find these types of images more calming and satisfying on the eye. I'm not sure if it's because I'm better at it or that I derive the most satisfaction from them.

DSC1071 MO IcedTree USAt the time of writing this blog the outside temperature is around 23˚c which is why I though it would be nice to publish an image to help cool us all down!

Today's image was taken on the same day as my 'Copse' image back in January when hoar-frost was in abundance,

Whitby West PierWhitby is a great place to visit for photography at any time of the year but its particularly interesting on poor weather days. In fact, most of my best images are made on poor weather days. Yet bizarrely its the time I see least photographers around - a plus point for me of course. ;)

DSC1071 MO Copse USInspired by viewings of Black and White Photographer, Michael Kenna's superb work, I came across an image on his website recently that I swore must be of a copse in a little village by the name of Great Smeaton in North Yorkshire. The reason I was so sure is that I lived in Great Smeaton for many years and this copse always stuck out as being very photogenic (although I wasn't into photography as much back then).

DSC1033 MO outofthedark USOut of the dark was made in late November last year when I had a rare afternoon to myself. Unless it's snowing, misty or there's hoar-frost about I find a lot of the Yorkshire dales looks forlorn this time of the year. This generally leads me to look for close-ups around rivers and streams or consider black and white images. However, I decided instead

TranquilityUnusually for January, the first week of this year has been very mild and calm. I made a last minute decision to head out to the coast just south of Sunderland as my good friend and fellow photographer, John Harbron told me about this area being full of promise. I've visited most of the north east coastline at one point or another but this area was one I hadn't explored at all.

DSC1041 MO IcePastels USTaken on the same day as my previous image, 'Ice Blue' today's image I've named 'Ice Pastels' captured my attention due to the complex lines and structure of the leaves. Highlighted by hoar-frost, the skeletal beauty of the leaves can be seen in minute detail. It's a small scene that has captured autumn in all it's delicate detail and frozen it in time.

DSC1046 MO IceBlue USToday's image was taken just a couple of weeks ago in Constable Burton in Wensleydale. It was a very misty day with plenty of potential of making a nice close up of leaves due to hoar frost that stayed all day.

DSC0776 MO AutumnBronzeSilverGold USThis autumn was a particularly colourful affair and I was lucky enough to be able to spend two weeks of it exploring some wonderful woodland around the North of England.

Hebridean exhibition of contemporary fine art photography at the gallery within joe cornish galleries northallerton with steve gosling paul harris mark banks ian paterson ruth fairbrother peter leemingI'm very pleased to be exhibiting some of my work alongside eminent photographers Ruth Fairbrother, Steve Gosling, Paul Harris, Peter Leeming and Ian Paterson.

SwaledaleI am delighted that my Yorkshire images have been selected for projection at the Original Yorkshire Calendar Girls Royal Albert Hall final fundraiser at the Royal Albert Hall in October. The evening is raising funds for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research (LLR).

Pebbles-in-the-palmCarrying on from my last blog, you've probably worked out by now that I'm really impressed with the performance from the Carl Zeiss 25mm f2 lens. So what about the other two lenses I purchased - namely the Nikon 45mm Tilt/Shift lens and the Nikon 70-200mm?

saltwick-bay fullA few blogs back I promised to update you on my findings so far with using my new Nikon D800E. Since then I've had many requests and questions from fellow photographers asking questions about the D800E and in particular what I thought about my lens choices. Therefore, this blog (and next week's) addresses my reasonings for purchasing the lenses I did, my findings so far (now the honeymoon period is over) and my likes and dislikes compared to using a Large Format view camera.

angrambarnsI'm really pleased to have been asked to feature in OnLandscape - an on-line photography magazine run by Tim Parkin and Joe Cornish. Only just over 2 years since it's launch, OnLandscape has become the landscape photographers choice for all information related to landscape photography.

P1030144 MO Sandsend USIt's hard to believe I know, but around 8 weeks ago we were enjoying a high pressure system across the country resulting in cloudless skies everywhere. As good parents(!), on Sundays we try to encourage our two teenage children to join us in the countryside or at the coast for a spot of fresh air and exercise by going for a few miles walk (OK, they come kicking and screaming but you knew that right?).