July 13th 2015 British Bouldering Championships at Cliffhanger

The best bouldering comp climbers in the country went head-to-head over the weekend in Millhouse’s Park Sheffield in the British Bouldering Championship and the action was pretty captivating. After three intense rounds, Shauna Coxsey and Tyler Landman collected the male and female titles respectively.

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Shauna Coxsey – cruising to another victory

Amazingly, it was the ninth season for the Cliffhanger Outdoor Festival and as usual Matt Heason and his team had done an amazing job of arranging the event as well as the weather which– Sunday morning excepted – was on its best behaviour for once! I’ve always been lucky enough to get along to Cliffhanger and photo the climbing competition. It’s a frantic, full-on, run-and-gun affair and this year was no exception – although for the first time the climbing wall was housed under a bespoke scaffold-based construction clad with white tarps. Previously the wall had been within a dark and dingy ‘big-top tent’ and photographing the action was always a massive technical challenge in which the photographer wielding the biggest and most mobile lighting units usually came away with the best results. This year was fantastic by comparison – the massive white tarps acting a giant diffuser casting nice soft light on the bouldering wall. As usual the setting team dished-up a veritable mix of the delicate and powerful. Competition climbers are so strong these days that it’s not enough to go small and steep – hence there was some dirty vert and blob-city action amongst the blocs as well as some dynos and down-and-out techie stuff in the corners. Most noticeable about the competitors was the number of young guns within their midst – many emerging from the junior classes and looking – if not baying – for success. It’ll only be a matter of time before they come away with the metalwork!

The final results were as follows:

Men 1 Tyler Landman 2 Dave Barrans 3 James Garden 4 Orrin Coley 5 Nathan Phillips 6 Billy Ridal

Women 1 Shauna Coxsey 2 Fanny Gilbert 3 Leah Crane 4 Diane Merrick 5 Jennifer Wood 6 Molly Thompson-Smith

Finally, here’s a gallery of images from the finals. Hope you enjoy…

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Posted in Bouldering, Events, Photography

May 27th; Three Queens hit Merseyside…

Thousands lined the banks of the Mersey on Bank Holiday Monday to see the three Cunard Queens steam down the river – a rather grand celebration to mark the company’s 175 year presence in the area.

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Queen Mary 2 had sailed in May 24th and docked on the famous waterfront. Fortuitously, the sun made a brief appearance in the afternoon as well. From the Seacombe Ferry terminal the QM2 looked pretty darned impressive in front of Liverpool’s Albert Docks.

Monday’s grand parade, when the QM2 met her sibling ships – Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, was sadly lacking a blue sky but the monster crowd didn’t seem too stressed by that. The three Queens met off Perch Rock and then streamed down the Mersey together before spinning round in front of the Cunard building and then heading back up the river. The Red Arrows even dipped down out of the murk at one point on a flypast on their way to another engagement.

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I always try and nip along to events like this if I’m in the area and I’m glad I did. It was rather frustrating photographically – dull and overcast for the main event on Monday but eventually a smidgen of sun did appear – just as I was leaving – doh!

Here’s a few shots of the Queens visit…

Queen Mary 2 moored at the Albert Docks on Sunday 24th, 2015Queen Mary 2 moored at the Albert Docks on Sunday 24th, 2015Three Queens meet up off Perch Rock on the MerseyThe Three Queens streaming up the MerseyLiverpool's Albert Dock sea front and the QM2Liverpool's Albert Dock sea front Liverpool's Albert Dock sea front and the QM2


Posted in Events, Photography

April 30th, 2015: Panning for Gold in the Glyders…

Although it’s often said that “there’s gold in them there hills” – and that might be the case – it seems highly unlikely to be honest. The photographical gold in the hills is much easier to find though I think– any sunny day and you see it everywhere – assuming

Tryfan, Llyn Bochlwyd, Y Garn and the Ogwen Valley with Carnedd Dafydd beyond

Tryfan, Llyn Bochlwyd, Y Garn and the Ogwen Valley with Carnedd Dafydd beyond

you’re on the look-out. I’m talking about shooting panoramic images and the hills are usually full of opportunities to get some great panos.

There is no formal definition of a panoramic images but it’s generally considered that the image needs to be at least twice the wide as it is high – ie to have a 2:1 width to height ratio – to be considered a panoramic. Some of the widest that are produced see that ratio increase to as much as 10:1. Many cameras can take images of various framing sizes – although most shoot at 3:2 – for example, the same proportion as a ‘stills’ image shot on 35mm film on which an image of 36x24mm was/is recorded. To be considered a panoramic image therefore more than one frame is needed – assuming that the height of 24mm is maintained. Two full frames would be 72x24mm which is a ratio of 3:1. It is possible to crop a standard single shot image into a panoramic format, for example adopting a 36x18mm framing, although most photographers shoot multiple images and then stitch them together in the digital darkroom using software.

There are numerous pitfalls to shooting panos although perhaps exposure, focus, perspective and parallax are the common issues. Fortunately, by using to some simple methodologies and careful framing it’s possible to avoid many of these issues when shooting panos in the mountains where even shooting hand-held good panos can be created pretty easily. At its simplest, two or more landscape images are captured and then stitched together. For a higher resolution image shoot several shots in portrait mode and then stich the lot together. There’s a need to exercise caution though as file size and other issues start to creep in.

During my recent tromp around the Glyders – see my previous post – we had cracking weather and the view down from the Glyders towards Tryfan and into the Ogwen Valley was stunning. It just begged for some panos to be shot. Here’s a few I’ve just stitched together. Hope you enjoy…

Trwfan and the Ogwen Valley from the Miner's TrackTrwfan and the Ogwen Valley from the shoulder of Glyder FachTryfan, Y Garn, Carnedd Dafydd and the Ogwen ValleyTryfan, the top of Bristly Ridge and Y Foet Goch


Posted in Photography, Walking

April 19th, 2015: A stroll around the Glyders…

It dawned, as forecast, a windless blue-bird day – perfect for a Gylder’s Round. We arrived just after 9am at the Pen-y-Pass to a full car-park so the decision was made for us; park at Pen-y-Gwryd and take the Miner’s Track up Glyder Fach, scamper over to Glyder Fawr and then drop down the so-called red dot route down the South Ridge and be back at Pen-y-Pass for a pint before getting off home. All it needed was a volunteer to nip down to the Pen-y-Grwyd to pick up the wheels. It wasn’t discussed, but I had a feeling I knew who would be getting that job!

Snowdon from the Miner's Track on Glyder Fach

Snowdon from the Miner’s Track on Glyder Fach

For those with Classic Walks from what was Diadem Books, the Glyders from Pen-y-Gwryd is route #63 as described by Showell Styles. Viewed from the south, the Glyders aren’t especially inspiring – surprisingly uninspiring in fact. Gylder Fawr at 3278ft or 999m is the taller of the two, just pipping Glyder Fach at 3261ft or 994m. The southern slopes of both are rounded and convex and arguable rather dull because of it. The northern slopes are the opposite however; massively concave giving steep headwalls above their respective approach cwms. Tryfan lies to the north of the Glyders as well and the classic walk from the Ogwen Valley starts up Tryfan, then drops down in a col and then up Bristly Ridge to Glyder Fach. The usual descent back to Ogwen is down Y Gribin. Whilst the Glyder Round from Pen-y-Gwryd sounds less inspiring it does afford absolutely fantastic views of Snowdon to the southwest.

Yours truly testing the Glyder Cantilever stone

Yours truly testing the Glyder Cantilever stone

We weren’t especially quick – in fact we were a good couple of hours longer than the ‘book’ time of five hours for the round. The view of Snowdon was as good as it was said to be as were the views to the north towards Tryfan – so much so that the Trwfan-Bristly Ridge-Glyder Fach-Y Gribin round has been added to the list of must-do’s. And whilst the approaches to the top of the Glyder’s wasn’t anything to write home about, the summits themselves were quite impressive. Dropping off Glyder Fawr to locate the start of the red-dot route down the South Ridge isn’t especially easy even in good visibility – it would be pretty difficult in bad weather I’d have thought. Like many others I don’t really agree with the use of red paint to way-mark the descent but I have to say it’s very useful! Without the reassurance of the red dots it would be a baffling descent – and a much boggy one too.

The pint in the Pen-y-Pass was especially pleasant too and yes I did get the job of fetching the wheels up from Pen-y-Gwryd although I have to say that it was very welcome getting a lift from a runner heading round to check-out a route in the Moelwyns…

Here’s a few shots from the day – hope you enjoy…

Starting out up the Miner's Track up Glyder FachThe view towards SnowdonSnowdon and Llyn CwmffynnonSnowdon and Llyn CwmffynnonTryfan and Ogwen ValleyTryfan topTryfan and Bristly Ridge with walkers beginning the scramble up the ridge in the botton leftYours truly on Glyder CantileverGlyders Fawr from Glyder FachCastell y Gwnt (Castle of the Winds) and Glyder FawrPen-y-Pass from the red-dot descent off Glyder Fawr

Posted in Photography, Walking

April 9th, 2015: Twenty Four Hours in Beddgelert…

Having driven through Beddgelert more times that I can remember, a stop-over was long overdue. Bank Holiday Monday wasn’t, at least on paper, the ideal time to explore but we pulled over just Beddgelert_DSC_0074_captureto the north of Beddgelert to explore the National Trust property and gardens. What we saw there was really quite a shock…

The weather was absolutely stunning; blue skies and very little cloud – definitely not the usual Welsh fare so very gratefully received. We figured that starting a 6+ hour walk at 14:00 won’t be especially smart so a wee walk in the hills around Beddgelert got the vote. In fact there’s three walks signed by the NT behind the car park at Craflwyn; we opted for the ‘Green’ walk and rather nice it was too – short, but well-worthwhile. It never gets especially high but the views above Beddgelert are decent enough and there’s the odd disused mine building and a few much-loved seats to keep you interested as you poodle round. The final section as you drop back in to the woods currently has an extremely splendid wooden bench carved by Captain Chainsaw – well worth checking out.


An easy going afternoon slipped into an easy going evening and the temps soon dropped in the clear skies as dusk came. The new day that followed brought an overnight frost and a crystal clear morning; time to investigate Llyn Dinas a few miles north of Beddgelert. I don’t often make the effort to catch the early morning surmise’s but it was a beauty. The lake surface was as still as a mill pond – although some early morning flights had left jet trails across the skies. A convenient placed footbridge give access to the south eastern side of the lake from which the view was cracking.

Here’s a few shots from the stop-over – hope you enjoy…

Looking south west towards BeddgelertRuined Mining buildingLocking north east towards Llyn DinasCaptain Chainsaw's handy workSunrise over the southern outlet of Llyn DinasSunrise over Llyn Dinas

Posted in Photography, Scenic

2014 Captured

Ridiculously belatedly, I know – glaciers have moved faster – I’ve finally pulled together a gallery of images from 2014! Post processing your images take forever – or so it seems – but notwithstanding it’s always worth reviewing your work. Not least, it’s worth asking what works and why and what doesn’t work and why and pulling together a gallery of images is one way of doing just that.

1402_DSC_5417In my round-up for 2013 I said that I’d shot some 7,500 images totalling 263 GB of space and that had trumped my efforts in previous years. Well, 2014 blew those figs clean out of the water; c.13,500 images shot consuming c.454 GB of disk – nearly twice my previous max! Quantity isn’t, nor has it, nor will it ever be a measure of artistic value or quality but – to coin a phase – the more I practice the better my images get – arguably! As an aside it also shows that myself and most other photogs have data handling issues equivalent to companies many times the size of our businesses. Quite literally, digi photogs are awash in data.

Photographically, 2014 was an extremely interesting and different year to those that went before it. I continued to shoot climbing images – as I figure I always well. The bulk of these however were in the Peak District – only a single overseas trip to Riglos being the sole exception. Cycling shots were up for sure – hardly surprising given that La Grand Depart happened on the doorstep. A week-long summer trip facilitated some UK surfing shots but the big newbie in my portfolio was trail running. Vertebrate Publishing were in the final stages of a trail running guidebook for the Peak District and our paths collided. By the time the guide went to print in the autumn I’d shot images on trails all over the White and Dark Peak. As you’ll see, trail running is well represented in the gallery accompanying this post – though more of that anon.

2014 kicked off with some spectacular dawn light on Merseyside. The New Brighton Lighthouse, formally known as Perch Rock Lighthouse, is a favourite1412_DSC01725 of mine and a few thousand other photogs as well! Originally constructed in 1827, the current lighthouse ceased operation in 1973.Since then it has been maintained by the Kingham family. Reports of Northern Light activity flooded the media in the second week of January – so much so that I donned suitable attire and jointed the throngs of night revellers at Stanage for whatever meagre glimpse we might get of said NL spectacular. In the end, most folks bailed an hour or so past mid-night with so much as seeing anything other than car headlights and a light-polluted (admittedly) clear night!

The main event in February was F-BO14 – an open bouldering comp at The Foundry. It produced some surprises along the way. Against some stiff opposition a certain Mr Ben Moon qualified for the final which was absolutely great to see that he could still hold his own in the rarefied air of top-flight bouldering comps. By March the weather was heading rapidly into spring and limestone action at Stoney was underway as well as some grit. It was great getting out again especially as I was in the midst of a climbing shoe review for CLMBER magazine.

1436_DSC_9294A four-day trip to Riglos in late March/early April felt like the real start to the season. And what an amazing route Fiesta de los Biceps is – absolutely knock-out; c.300 m of stunning climbing up unbelievable steep rock. What not to like? Back home after that, the flora was springing (sorry…) into life everywhere. April and May went rushing past in a blur with trips to Wallasey included the unexpected bonus of ‘finding’ The Breck as well as the more usual haunts in Chee Dale and Stanage providing photo opportunities. Farther north, a trip to Northumberland – with excellent weather as usual – was a real bonus. We based ourselves near to Dunstanburgh Castle which is just spectacular as are the nearby rock/boulder strewn coast line.

July, of course, was all about La Tour, what a great event that was – again bags of photo ops. It’s a cliché of course, but I couldn’t resist a snap of the yellow jersey as ‘it’ came past. And following that was the Sheffield Criterium – a city centre race where the pro teams and the best amateurs hack round a loop flat-out for an hour in a first-past-the-post race wins. A brilliant race and another great night out with the camera.



August and the school summer hols provided the opportunity for me to dip my toes photographically at least into a totally new genre – concerts; specifically Camp Bestival at Lulworth. It did occur to me that I might sneak off for a cheeky DWS or two but the festival was full-on that half-baked idea withered on the vine. What a great opportunity to add some new material to my portfo1467_DSC_4788lio as well as catching some great performances too. The week after we washed-up on the Devon coast at Bude intent on sampling the surf and some Devonian bloc action – both were rather good as it turned out. A trip down to Colchester later in the summer hols offered another opportunity to catch the Red Arrows and an iconic Spitfire. August bank holiday saw us back up north in the Whitby area. As well as a trip round Go Ape in the Dalby Forest we nabbed a few waterfalls and night scenes on the coast. I also managed to fulfil a long-term objective – photographing a field full of fresh cut/baled hay which doesn’t sound much but it seems to have taken me a while to get the tick.


1471_DSC_0778Starting in September I dropped into running mode; shooting trail running to be exact for a guide on trailing running in the Peak District. I’d shot runners before – but always as part of events and never as stand-alone image to illustrate a book. The brief was to shoot the runners at various stages around the routes and to shoot couples running wherever possible. With twenty odd routes to shoot in about as many days, it was an interesting challenge. Shooting a single runner as its own challenges but adding in another runner into the equation takes it to another level. Imagine shooting fast moving action and trying to get a good body shape as well as a good composition showing the routes is OK, but getting two runners to run together and look half decent is… well try it and you see what I mean! Fortunately the weather was stunning last autumn and I got the job done to deadline – just! Plus I got to go to some places I’d never been to before in the Peak which was brilliant. I also got to see and photo some great wildlife too.

And when I wasn’t shooting running, I was out climbing and snapping climbing action too – that seemed a doddle in comparison to shooting two runners. Autumn seemed to pass very quickly – the colours were beautiful but seemingly gone in no time and then it was winter, Xmas and then the New Year and then time to start over!



To see the full gallery of 2014 Captured click thru here





Posted in Aviation, Bouldering, Climbing, Cycling, Events, Photography, Running

F-BO15: And the winners are…


Posted in Bouldering, Events

Dec 30th: Surprise last shots of 2014

With 2014 fast running out I managed to grab an hour out to the Peak late this afternoon to try and capture the something of the snow we’ve had dumped in our lap over the weekend…

I’d heard main roads were fine but side roads and those off the beaten track were iffy to impassable so I kept it simple and headed out to the Surprise View. I knew driving out that I’d left it late but figured that something would grab my attention so I parked the car and headed off towards the Surprise View itself. Last time I’d been there I shot a tree above Lawrencefield Quarry so thought that might be a good starting point. However, walking up I spotted a lone tree in the middle of nowhere so I doubled back rather jump the fence. Responsible for once!

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As they say, “Beggars can’t be choosers” and given that the sun was on the verge of disappearing I set-up PDQ and got a few shots off.  In next to no time the sun had gone so I figured I’d walk over to the Surprise View and then back to the carpark. The Surprise View is one of the wonders of the Peak District; so well-named. However, the view down the valley wasn’t inspiring – it was pretty dusk by then – but perfect for car-trails though as the cars zipped round the bend itself. It was too cold to mess about with ND filters so I dialled in the lowest ISO I could and under-exposed by a couple of stops and grabbed a few light-trails looking both into the Hope Valley and back towards Sheffield.

It definitely wasn’t the most meticulously planned and executed photo-shoot ever, but hey-ho. Here’s a selection of what will – in all probability – be my last shots from 2014…

Lone Tree by Surprise ViewSurprise Light TreeSurprise Car-trail#01Surprise Car-trail#02



Posted in Photography, Scenic

Nov 2nd: Autumn Colours

Autumn is being very kind to us this year with some cracking scenes and wonderful colours around every corner. It’s great getting out at for family walks over weekends/half term etc. – nothing finer that stretching the legs out in the Peak. It always raises a conundrum for me photographically.

DSC_7860_lo resWhilst I’d love to linger and really get stuck in photographically I stay ‘run and gun’ shooting with one lens and no tripod. Photography, like most of life, is a compromise; better to take a shot with limitations rather than not shoot at all in my book. Here are a few images from recent trips – all taken with D800 plus one lens (usually the 24-70 F2.8) and all on the hoof…

River Derwent upstream of GrindlefordTree under autumn skyTrees, Walls and Leaves in GrindlefordAcer ColoursWhitely Wood, SheffieldHeron in pond, Whitely Wood, SheffieldFungiiFungiiThat Crag again - Popular End of Stanage

Posted in Photography, Uncategorized

Oct 24th: KSP Goes Big in Autumn

Keith Sharples Photography has just gone big into autumn and then some!

A while back, Foundry co-owner and living legend Jerry Moffatt got in touch with me to ask if I had any images of iconic scenes out in the Peak District that they could print up for the wall in the Foundry Café. “Only a zaggillion or two” was my reply…

Since then I sent Jerry a selection of shots to have a look at and he picked out a shot of the Popular End of Stanage in full late autumn colours. It was actually shot back in the days of film (remember them…) so I supplied a scan of said image for printing.

Well I called into the Foundry in downtown Sheffield this afternoon to check out the final result. I hadn’t really thought much about it but I was thinking 18×12 inches maybe or perhaps poster-sized. When I got there I was blown away – the Foundry café wall had disappeared under the print which can’t be far off 8 by 4 feet! It’s a monster print and it looks pretty darned good even if I say so myself.


Nip down and take a look see for yourself if you’re in the area. Damn fine show skippy… err Jerry…

I’ve uploaded the original shot and two others below that were taken the same day. As I say, they were shot on film coming up for 11 years ago this autumn. I recall the day pretty well ‘cos I’d just nipped out to meet Steve Mac at the plantation and I only had a couple of hours but I felt that the light was so good that I couldn’t go climbing and not take the shots. Funny how you remember the minute detail related to some pixs. Glad now I stopped though. Sadly, I’ve still not done Jerry’s Traverse at the Plantation. Maybe one for this winter?!?!

Finally, I should say that smaller prints can be made if required!!

Stanage, The Popular EndStanage Plantation and the Popular EndStanage Plantation

Posted in Climbing, KSP Publications, Photography