Togspace catches up with Manchester-based landscape and nature photographer Kieran Matcalfe
Grand Canyon Glow: Kieran Metcalfe
Grand Canyon Glow: Kieran Metcalfe

Thank you for taking some time to share with us your photography Kieran, could you tell us a little about yourself as a photographer and why you like landscape photography in particular?

I’m a freelance web & graphic designer from Manchester, and needing to be creative on-demand for clients can be quite draining. Photography gives me a chance to get out of the house and to be spontaneous whilst working to my own tastes and brief.  Being able to get out into the fresh air and the stillness of the countryside focuses your attention on what is around you, rather than the busyness of the day.

Dinorwic Hospital: Kieran Metcalfe
Dinorwic Hospital: Kieran Metcalfe
Ravenstone Mist: Kieran Metcalfe
Ravenstone Mist: Kieran Metcalfe
Milky Way over Talacre: Kieran Metcalfe
Milky Way over Talacre: Kieran Metcalfe
Quiraing Glow: Kieran Metcalfe
Quiraing Glow: Kieran Metcalfe
Quiraing Glow
My favourite images in my portfolio are those where there’s a clear interplay between the light and the landscape. As such, I have a habit of shooting towards, or even directly into the sun. This shot from Skye earlier this year was a fleeting but stunning burst of light through a passing rain storm. This often means that even my trusty Firecrest 3 stop grad can’t cope with the dynamic range, and I will frequently bracket many shots. Compressing the contrast gives a painterly feel and the light often lends a sense of softness to the image too.
Black Cuillins from Sligachan: Kieran Metcalfe

Curbar Sunrise: Kieran Metcalfe
Curbar Sunrise: Kieran Metcalfe

One of your favorite locations to photograph is the Peak District National Park. The image below 'Parkhouse Hill' won the National Parks photography competition. Could you tell us a little about this image and the opportunities that came from this? 

That's right, the Peak District is my usual hunting ground, with many places about an hour at most from home. After winning the 2019 Campaign For National Parks photography competition with the shot of Parkhouse Hill, I was delighted to be asked to become an ambassador for both Let’s Go Peak District (a hub for tourism and local business) and for Formatt Hitech filters, whose products I use a great deal in my work.

The Dragon and the Flame: Kieran Metcalfe
The Dragon and the Flame: Kieran Metcalfe
Parkhouse Rays: Kieran Metcalfe
Parkhouse Rays: Kieran Metcalfe
Is there anything in particular that you try to avoid when you're out on location? 
As a photographer, one of my main concerns is the impact we have on the honey pot locations. While I do like to visit them, I don’t find the tripod-holes overly appealing and would I’d much rather find an original way to represent the scene. Even better, I enjoy going to less-frequently visited spots, maybe coupled with an overnight camp. It doesn’t always work out, and the standard shots are classics for a reason, but I find it more rewarding to come away with something I had to work for.
Higger in Sunset Light: Kieran Metcalfe
Higger in Sunset Light: Kieran Metcalfe
Ramshaw Grasses: Kieran Metcalfe
Ramshaw Grasses: Kieran Metcalfe
What camera gear are you working with at the moment?
Being an obsessed amateur I shoot on a Canon 80D (crop sensor) at present. I’d love to progress to a mirrorless full-frame at some point in the future, but for now I’m not finding any real limitations in the kit that I have.
 Lens-wise, for wide-angle shots, I use either a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, or Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. For the more detailed shots, picking elements out of the wider scene, I use a Canon EF 70-200m f/4 L.  I also love the Sigma 150-600mm - it's a beast to lug around, but I've been glad of it on a number of trips.
As with most landscape photographers, a high-quality set of filters are an essential part of my gear, so I rely on my Formatt Hitech Firecrest NDs - They're supremely neutral in colour and provide excellent control over the exposure.
Trinnacle Sunset: Kieran Metcalfe
Trinnacle Sunset: Kieran Metcalfe
Your portfolio is a mix of both landscape and portrait images, which orientation would you say that you prefer to use when photographing?
I have a certain fascination with shooting in portrait orientation. Obviously I will take a landscape shot when needed, but I find my eye is drawn to vertical compositions to show height and depth.
Sunset along Stanage Edge:  Kieran Metcalfe
Sunset along Stanage Edge: Kieran Metcalfe
What would be your best piece of advice for anyone looking to start or improve their landscape photography?
That there’s always an image to be had, regardless of the conditions. I’ve been guilty of staying at home because the forecast looked rubbish, or been tempted to give up because the conditions weren’t what I’d hoped for. But whether the light hits or not, there’s always something to shoot - it’s just a case of learning how to deal with that mental adjustment. Some of my favourite shots are ones where I found something unexpected, or the conditions presented a totally different way to work with the location than what I’d gone for.
Sunset from Bamford Edge: Kieran Metcalfe
Sunset from Bamford Edge: Kieran Metcalfe

Your photography has been featured in a variety of magazines and exhibitions, could you tell us a little more about some of the places that you've exhibited your photography?

 Yes, I'm proud to have had my work featured on national and regional television, newspapers (including Guardian, Mirror, Sunday Times) and magazines (including Nat Geo Traveller, Amateur Photographer, Practical Photography) and thoroughly enjoyed being part of a 9-week exhibition by Staffordshire Moorlands Council last autumn with 12 other Peak District photographers.

Trinnacle Sunset: Kieran Metcalfe
Trinnacle Sunset: Kieran Metcalfe

More of Kieran Metcalfe's photography can be found online

kieranmetcalfephotography.co.uk

Twitter: @kiers

Instagram: @kieranmetcalfe

Facebook: @Kieran Metcalfe Photography