Category Archives: Photography

2012 Captured

With 2012 fast disappearing in the rear view mirror I figured it’s a great time to look back and see how it stacked up…

Going through my photo archive brought some memories back which I’d filed deep away. It’s probably one of the understatements of the year but I’d say it’s been quite a challenging year as a photog! That said, I’ve added plenty of images to many of my portfolios from climbing through heritage and travel. I even started a new category of Olympic sports although I’m confident though that that particular portfolio won’t see any new additions anytime soon!

Climbing wise, the year started and finished bizarrely with Rowter Rocks. I say bizarrely because it’s some coincidence that my first and last outside climbing trips were at this off-the-beaten-track venue. As a photog I’m always really keen to explore new venues and this year it’s been some of these ‘new’ venues which has given me some great shots adding depth to my climbing portfolio. Rowter is certainly interesting, as are both Anston Stone and Nuda’s Tartan.

The joy of shooting in interesting light – read mixed, evening and twilight as well as winter light – was something of a recurring theme whether shooting climbing or other subjects. Two of the foulest days imaginable in the midst of the wettest spells ever gave me some nice waterfall shots. Jokingly, I’ve said to more than one person that next year’s calendar will be waterfalls!

I’ve pulled in a fair few heritage shots this year as well including some of Britain’s must see locations such as Fountain’s Abbey, Cragside and Lindisfarne.

The Olympics were awesome too. We managed to get seats to the ladies hockey play-off matches. Sadly, I couldn’t get field-side but shooting from the stand wasn’t all that bad!

The summer highlight for me though was a trip intoFrance toAnnecy and Chamonix. The former, sadly in the news this year for the wrong reasons, is well worth a visit – especially if you’re visiting with a family who like biking. Chamonix though was the real joy and we had just the best weather that we could have imagined. From Montenvers we visited the famous Ice Grotte as well as losing a few calories hiking along the Plan d’Aiguille. Save for a flying visit about fifteen years ago, this was my first proper return toChamonixsince my first visit in 1976! I was truly shocked at how far the Mer d’Glace has receded since then too. It’s staggering to mull over the shear loose in volume of the glacier – we should though, and we should do everything we can to help redress the balance.

Autumn saw a return to the shoddy UK weather and Simba, a new addition to the family. New skills to learn to capture that pupster! I washed-up at Whitby over Halloween. In a couple of hours I’d captured some nice night shots of the harbour and had one of the best fish and chip meals I’ve ever had – win-win!

Finally, 2012 finished photographically with the shock that images captured by modern smart phones are really quite good – assuming good light and static subjects. No-one should be afraid of getting their smart phone out and snapping away – they’re way better that you might think and as often as not you can get photo enhancer apps as well that do really reasonable basic tweaks for web/FB posts.

Here a link to the full gallery…

Hope you enjoy – see you in 2013…

Dec 18th: And the winner to the spot the DSLR image is…

And the winner to the spot the DSLR image is Matthew Vernon who, along with Rob Johnson, scored three correct answers…

Matthew emailed to say; “at the resolution you posted to your blog, there’s nothing to choose between the pictures quality-wise. So I’m afraid I guessed the difference based on what you said: the twoSheffieldParkphotos looked to have been taken on the same occasion, so I figured were the same camera. And the wreath image is a more “arty” shot, so I figured that would be the DSLR shot, and the two outside ones were smart phone pictures”. Neat deduction Matthew using the circumstantial evidence!

By comparison, Rob went down a photographic route for his analysis; “After looking closely at all three photos, I would say the wreath is the one taken with the DSLR. My reasoning is, even though all three images show an impressive level of detail, the wreath shows much more clarity and definition in the black areas of the image; for example, the letterbox. The image is much more crisp in its detail. Having said that, the 2 woodland shots are both very clear, with good colours and no discernible distortions or fringing that you might expect from such a small lens as that found on a smartphone”. I wouldn’t disagree with any of those observations Rob.

Steve Crowe also got in touch from the North East and offered his reasoning behind his two out of three correct answers; “The first two were taken for the purpose of comparing the cameras, the third was a red herring! I like the first two but not keen on the third.

1. Woodland Path – Phone
Great shades of brown with a hint of green and a splash of blue. Lots of detail to pick out. Crouched down to add an interesting foreground detail but essentially on a walk in the woods with the phone.

2. Tree Roots – DSLR
My favourite. Great shades of mostly one colour, superb composition, making me look at something that I could have walked past and not noticed. Great shades of brown and a few flecks of green. Left me wondering what the photographer was thinking at that moment, why did he stop?

3. Wreath – Phone
It looks a fairly flat image with nice colours but little composition, looks like it was taken on the spur of the moment. Nice enough but didn’t grab my attention.

So all interesting thoughts and my thanks guys for getting in touch and getting involved in the fun. And as it’s Xmas I’ll beef-up my intended prize giving and fire each of you all a copy of the calendar via Postman Pat!

Finally, I think that this little exercise has triggered a line of thinking for me and I’ll be posting a bit more on this exploring the idea of smart phone v’s DSLR shooting so please stay tuned. Meanwhile, here’s another shot from my Sheffield Park expedition over the weekend – and yes, this is another smart phone capture. This, by the way, is Chelsea Park which is the same park used by a certain Jessica Ennis for training runs…

Also posted in KSP Publications, Uncategorized

Dec 16th: DSLR or Smart Phone? Tell the difference in the images and win a Calendar or a Year Planner

It’s been play time for me this weekend. It’s been a glorious couple of days – although not so out in the Peak (but that’s another story) and I’ve been shooting scenes in my local parks as well as the Xmas wreath my wife made last week. I was pitting my DSLR (36mb) camera against my new smart phone camera (8mb). I’ve just spend the last hour or so looking at the results and it’s been ‘interesting’ to say the least. Rather than just share some of the images with you straight out, I’ll will do that but later, I’ve just had the idea of having a bit of fun by running a quick competition to give away a copy of my climbing calendar…

So, look at the following images and then answer the same question for each – is the image captured by either the DSLR or the smart phone?

The first five correct answers will go into the KSP hat and the winner and runner-up will get a copy of Climbing 2013 and a copy of the 2013 Year Planner/Poster respectively for Xmas.

Email your answers to me at before 22:00 tomorrow (Monday 17th) and then I’ll post the winner and runner-up asap thereafter.

Please inset Calendar Comp into the subject header. List your answers as below

Image 1 – DSLR or Smart Phone

Image 2 – DSLR or Smart Phone

Image 3 – DSLR or Smart Phone

Oh yes, and I’ll need your postal address as well please…

I should say that all the images have been uploaded for basic processing including resizing etc. into Nikon Capture.

Finally, if you want a wreath making for Xmas well I’m sorry, time’s too short for that I think…

Image 1: Sheffield Park  


























Image 2: Sheffield Park  

























Image 3: Xmas Wreath





















Also posted in KSP Publications

Dec 1st: Winter Photography…

There’s something about photography in the winter months that is pretty special I think. It’s the quality of the light and the clarity of the atmosphere I think that makes shooting in the winter really rewarding…

Sure, we get the grey days, the rainy days and then with snowy days – but we also get the crisp days and the long winter nights and these give really great photo opportunities – providing you take the opportunities when they arise. Invariably its cold but you can grab sunrise shots on the drive to work, sunset shots on the way back as well as some cracking midday shots if you’re lucky enough to get out when the sun is shining.

Daytime shooting is pretty much the same as usual albeit you need to be aware that contrasts can be massive across images that contain both sunlight and shade. Typically, you’ll need to dig-out the tripod for night shooting – although you might be lucky and find a convenient wall or tree to brace yourself against. I can’t help but feel – and that’s all it is – that the colours are more intense.

Here’s some random day/night stuff that I’ve snapped in and around Sheffield over the last month to check-out…

Nocturnal scene at Sheffield Rail StationNight Bouldering at Burbage BridgeChatsworth House

Also posted in Scenic

No 18th: Down Under shots published in Digital Photographer

Out of the blue – shows the power of the ‘tinterweb – I had an email from a photo-journalist a wee while back asking if I would contribute some photos and text on shooting down under in caves as part of a feature in the Digital Photographer magazine on ‘shooting in unusual places’. It would have been rude not too…

I haven’t seen the piece yet but I’m told that it’s in the Nov/current edition of the mag. Two photographers were featured, Mathew Emmett and myself. The final piece ran over five pages as the thumbnail that Mathew was kind enough to fire me over shows.  

 Mathew’s work featured shooting in disused buildings and mine was about shooting in the caves of Derbyshire. I’ll know more about the piece when I see the actual copy but meanwhile here the shots they had to pick from…


Tim in Peak Cavern streamwayTwo Tim's in Peak Cavern streamwayJim in Giant's Cave

Also posted in Caving, Published

Belay Bunny Turned Bad wins the fifth ‘Be in My Calendar’ Competion

The fifth ‘Be in My Calendar’ Competition went live on UKClimbing portal back in the summer and the emails started coming in straight away…

Belay Bunny Turned Bad, a.k.a. Becky Lounds was the winner and she brought Tim, her husband, along for the photo shoot in Llanberis Pass.

For the full story behind the day’s activities click through here and see the gallery below…

Becky Lounds starting up the slate classic, Pull My Daisy (E2 5c)Becky Lounds well into her stride on Pull My Daisy (E2 5c)Becky Lounds putting on the style on Pull My Daisy (E2 5c)Becky Lounds on the tough initial moves on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Becky Lounds settling into the middle section on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Becky Lounds well into the groove on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Becky Lounds pulling through the final moves on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c)Tim Lounds getting involved with Manatese (E4 6a)Tim Lounds pulling the steep mid-section on Manatese (E4 6a)Tim Lounds scoping-out the final section of Manatese (E4 6a)Tim Lounds heading for home on Manatese (E4 6a)Llanberris Pass from the slate quarriesTim Lounds sans Fear of a Slopey Planet (Font 7a)Llanberris Pass from Llyn Peris

Also posted in Be in My Calendar Competition, KSP Publications

Nov 4th: Climbing 2013 is now shipping…

Yep it’s official, Climbing 2013 – my 9th climbing calendar – was back from the printers mid last week and is now shipping…

As I said in an earlier blog about the calendar, this year feels like it’s been something of a long haul on account of the lousy weather. However, seeing all the calendar boxes piled up is definitely exciting, finally all that effort has produced tangible results. As an aside, not only do the calendars physically occupy a surprising amount of space but they also have something of a pungent smell! Bundling them into packages and shipping them out is a tactile and a cathartic experience – the final leg of the long haul.

I’ll include a link to the calendar images and pages later in this post but I’d like to give you the full griff first. I was really pleased with the redesign for last year’s calendar but, as with many things, further modifications come to hand during the year. Firstly, I’ve gone with a snazzy glossy laminate on the cover on Climbing 2013. Secondly, I‘ve shot landscape images only – as opposed to a mix of landscape and portrait – this year and during the pre-press work in the design studio we figured that they just begged to be run with full bleed, ie no border. And whilst I’m talking about images, the bulk of them have been shot on my new D800 and I think that the increased dynamic range and resolution of Nikon’s flagship hi res DSLR has given a noticeable boost in the image quality. To complement the images I’ve included longer captions again. And finally, the date grids have been re-gigged so that the weeks run Monday to Sunday so that plans for the all-important weekends can be kept together. All small mods for sure, but important ones nevertheless which I think have given Climbing 2013 a real boost.

The aforementioned lousy weather played havoc with my intended photographic coverage but I’ve tried to stay as true as possible to the usual and deliberately eclectic mix of venues, routes, climbers and rock types. Once again the ‘Be in my Calendar’ competition winner, who this year is Becky Lounds, headlines on the front cover of Climbing 2013 climbing Pull My Daisy (E2 5c). Becky also features climbing German Schoolgirl (E2 5c) in March. Both are in the Rainbow Slab area in Llanberis slate quarries, Snowdonia. As usual, Climbing 2013 features plenty of grit action with shots of the uber classic that is Eastwood Traverse as well as Brimstone at Millstone and Goliath at Burbage South. Limestone action isn’t ignored either – that would have been rude – so Raven Tor, Two Tier – Chee Dale and Kilnsey complete the role-call from the Pennines.

Further up north, as they say, the Lake District is well-represented with shots at Little Font in Kentmere and Bowderstone Crag. Off the beaten track shots – as it were – come in from the Blueies (ie Blue Mountains) down-under in Oz, Dry-Tooling in North Wales and British Bouldering action from Cliffhanger.

So as I said – Climbing 2013 is now shipping and copies will be winging their way to climbing walls/shops across the county forthwith. However, if you want you copy direct from the calendar stash in KSP HQ then you can order your copy – postage and packaging included – from the KSP e-shop right here. And if you want copies of the Climbing 2013 Year Planner/Poster then you can get them from the KSP e-shop too.

Finally, to see the images in Climbing 2013 click here or to see the pages click through here

Also posted in KSP Publications

Sept 30th : #9 is in the bag…

After an age off radar, I’m back on-line to get the blog up to date with what the heck has been going on over the summer monsoon season. Well apart from holidays, new arrivals at Chez Sharples and lots of photo-missions, Climbing 2013 is what’s been going on. Yes folks, calendar #9 is in the bag and away at the designers…

It was all going super smoothly – back in January. One month into the new year and two shots in the can. Feb gave way into March and the sun hit and it was climb o’clock. Trouble was, the weather then took control and things went south – fast! Wet crags, injured climbers – not the stuff of dreams.

Long story short; the pixs for Calendar #9 are now done and TBH I’m getting a good vibe about them too. I’ll have the first proofs early this week, then with a bit of luck the printer proofs the week after then the finished article the week after. Fingers crossed.

So, I guess you wanna see some shots right? Sure; but not just yet. Here’s a mini gallery of action all snapped as I romped the country shooting for the calendar…

Little Big climbing at Lawrencefield: Neil Foster crankingLakes Blocs: Badger RockLakes Blocs: Bruno Marks havin' it at Little FontMold's best bouldering: 'Ruthless' Tom at PantymwynChee Dale: Stuart Littlefair having an Abberation at Two TierLlanberis Pass: Tim Lounds not worring about the Fear of a Sloppy PlanetKilnsey North Buttress: Chris Parsons getting onto the Grooved Arete

Also posted in Climbing, KSP Publications

July 12th: Be in My 2013 Calendar Competition…

There’s now less than 24hours left to enter the ‘Be in My 2013 Calendar Competition’ so if you fancy being in with a chance at a money can’t buy prize then you’d better be flippin’ quick!

If you’re not familiar with the competition, UKClimbing, alongside some of the biggest names in the UK climbing business, are sponsoring a page in my UK-centric climbing calendar, Climbing:2013, and I’m looking for a keen climber to be photographed in a special photo shoot for the UKC page. It is a prize that, as copy writers would say, money can’t buy.

It’s the fifth consecutive Be in My Calendar Comp that has been run in conjunction with UKC and it’s proving to be even more popular than ever. The four previous winners have been snapped making some great shapes on some of great routes. Craig Bailey (2012) and Ally Smith (2010) both featured on the fine Llangollen area limestone crags whilst Liam Lonsdale (2011) and Rachael Crewe (2009) were captured at St Bees and Stoney Middleton respectively.

Here’s a quick gallery of the previous winners in action…


2009 Calendar Comp winner Rachael Crewe climbing Froth at Stoney2010 Calendar Comp winner Alley Smith climbing Digitron at Craig Arthur2011 Calendar Comp winner Liam Lonsdale climbing Dreaming of Red Rocks at St Bees2012 Calendar Comp winner Craig Bailey climbing Climb High at Dinbren


Here’s the detail…

Need to be…

YOU need to be an experienced rock climber capable of leading rock routes of V Diff upwards. You must be available late July to early August for the photo shoot and will bring a sac of kit and a mate along to climb with.

Here’s the Deal…

  1. The winner (in addition to appearing on the UKC page in the calendar…) will also get a complementary 18×12” poster print (of a photo of their choice) from the photo shoot as well as a copy of Climbing:2013
  2. The winner’s mate will also get a copy of Climbing:2013
  3. A selection of images from the day will be published in a gallery on UKClimbing and/or KeithSharplesPhotography in a write-up of the day
  4. Further copies of Climbing:2013 will also got out to the three runners’

Closing date…

Midnight on Friday 13th July 2012.

Here’s the questions…

  1. Which uber wad did Keith photography recently for Climbing 2012: a) Adam Ondra b) Dave Graham c) Chris Sharma
  2. Which ‘wide-boy’ recently notched-up a monster USA tick-list AND appeared in Climbing 2012 a) Tom Hanks b) Tom Randall c) Pete Whittaker
  3. Which ex-pat Brit recently notched up the first ascent of a monster roof climb onMalta: a) Stevie Haston b) Stevie Wonder c) Steve McClure

Here’s what to do…

Entry to the comp is via the UKC pages. Click through this link and follow the instructions…

T&Cs (a.k.a. Terms and Conditions)…


  • must lead routes of VD standard or harder on outdoor crags on a regular basis and your mate must also be a competent climber and belayer
  • and your mate will provide all your own climbing kit and take sole responsibility for your actions when climbing during the photo shoot and will travel to and from the photo shoot at your own expense
  • must agree to a suitable location from those suggested by Keith
  • must be at least 18 years old
  • agree that images from the photo shoot can be published
  • accept that the image selected will be chosen by Keith in consultation with UKClimbing and that their decision is final
  • accept the inclusion of another/substitute climber in the calendar if a mutually acceptable venue or time for the photo shoot cannot be established for whatever reason
  • accept that no compensation or substitute prize, including cash alternative, will be provided in lieu
  • agree by entering the competition that you have read, understood and accept the competition rules
Also posted in Be in My Calendar Competition, Climbing, KSP Publications

Cliffhanger 2012: Two Tickets to the Gun Show…

Far from being somewhere between a damp squib and a total wash-out, the British Bouldering Championships over the weekend in Sheffield produced some thrilling climbing. Sadly, the near biblical rain which poured down last week forced Sheffield City Council to pull the plug (sic…) on Cliffhanger 2012 at the eleventh hour on Thursday, the day before the gates to Graves Park were due to open for the weekend. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook the word got out very fast but the ‘Cancelled’ notices posted over the Cliffhanger hoardings around the city made very despondent viewing for many of the Sheffield residents who have really gotten behind Cliffhanger as an event in recent years.

Being British must count for something though and despite reports earlier in the week of water pouring through the marquee and running down the bouldering wall whilst the setters were hard at work the bouldering comp survived the deluge – just. Come Saturday morning the Senior and IFSC Junior competitors arrived for isolation – under stormy skies of course! Recent Cliffhanger events had featured international World Cup bouldering events but the comp this year was strictly a home-grown affair with the British Bouldering Championships riding on the event. And given the circumstances, perhaps it was just as well.

Following the well-contested Qualifiers, which saw all the usual names get beyond the cut-off, it all came down to the four problems in the finals. The 2011 Champs Ned Feehally and Shauna Coxsey were not only through to the finals  but led their respective packs. Could they retain their titles? As usual the setters had concocted a wicked mix of problems to catch the competitors out – more slopers and volumes than ever it seemed; the simple crimp all but banished to the spare holds bin behind the wall. Two of the women’s problems took gnarly groove-lines as well.


As if the problems weren’t hard enough, further difficulties lay ahead for the would-be champions as head-setter, Percy Bishton, ditched his cordless impact driver for a cordless radio mic and started barracking competitors in a double-act with the official MC, Ian Smith, who valently battled the BBM (Bishton Banter Machine) all afternoon to keep the loyal crowd up to speed with the action and the whole ship on an even keel.

Whilst the male Senior Quals were especially tight, with no less than four climbers coming in joint second, the finals were real close. Gaz Parry, ex Spain, turned in a very creditable performance to come in 5th. The 2011 champ, Ned Feehally, couldn’t quite match his previous form and slipped to 4th. Messrs James Garden and Adam Watson equalled Ned’s number of top-outs of three but took fewer attempts and pulled 3rd and 2nd respectively leaving the power-house that is Dave Barrens to take top slot with successful attempts on all four problems. IRSC Male Junior’s were Nathan Phillips (1st), Luke Tilley (2nd) and Ben Norman (3rd).

The female Senior Quals by comparison produced a nice spread of positions with no ties – a setters dream. Likewise the problems in the finals split the leaders across the board as well. Sheffield’s own ladies, Katy Whittaker, Diane Merrick and Mina Leslie-Wujastik (placed 6th, 5th and 4th respectively) couldn’t quite muster the power and athleticism that Leah Crane (3rd) nor Alex Puccio (2nd) brought to the boards. However, it was Shauna Coxsey that topped the table with a maximum of four tops to maintain her current good form and scoop the top place for the second year running. IFSC Female Junior’s were Shauna Coxsey (1st), Charlotte Garden (2nd) and Jennifer Wood (3rd).

Paradoxically, Sunday saw another day of OK weather for the IFSC Youth Categories comp which was well-attended and well-contested. For a full breakdown of the result s see the BMC website–results.


Cliffhanger 2012 - Gaz Parry on his was to topping out on problem #1Cliffhanger 2012 - Dave Darrens on the final 'rock and pop' move on problem #1Cliffhanger 2012 - Leah Crane getting into the groove on problem #1Cliffhanger 2012 - Diane Merrick on the 'blue sloper volume' problem #2 from hellCliffhanger 2012 - Leah Crane taking a campus approach to problem #2Cliffhanger 2012 - Alex Puccio hiking problem #2Cliffhanger 2012_Adam Watson hanging-in on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Ned Feehally heading north on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Alex Puccio eyeing up her options on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Leah Crane focuses on closure on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Alex Puccion again closing out problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Shauna Coxsey stretching for the title as well as the finishing hold on problem #3Cliffhanger 2012 - Gill Peat lost in the blob-lands on problem #4Cliffhanger 2012 - Ned Feehally cranking hard for closure on problem #4Cliffhanger 2012 - IFSC Junior Female PodiumCliffhanger 2012 - IFSC Junior Male PodiumCliffhanger 2012 - Female Senior PodiumCliffhanger 2012 - Male Senior Podium

Also posted in Bouldering, Events