As with Vanessa Cass, we've also talked a lot on Facebook but never really in-depth about his outlooks and approach. And so we begin...
AM - Hi Mark, thanks for giving up some of your time to chat to me about your photography. We've talked many times on Facebook already and, along with many others, I'm sure, I enjoy seeing your images each time you post them.
Its true to say you've tried a few different genres with your photography, but, correct me if I'm wrong, landscapes appear to now be your subject of choice. I'd like to go back to when you first started and understand what made you want to pick up a camera in the first place and how photography has subsequently become a more serious thing for you?
MM - Well I first picked a camera up when my daughter Maisy was one, over eight years ago. I started my journey by just taking photos of our little trips out together. Then going out taking photos of bugs such as lady birds, and moving on to family friends.
My skills for capturing sharp images came from weekly trips to the zoo, practicing capturing sharp images of monkeys jumping about. Then I got asked by friends to take photos at weddings.
As Maisy grew up we traveled further and stopped out later, or camped out and that’s when I got the bug for landscape photography. Waking up and seeing the sky all red/pink or watching it turn yellow at sunset, before walking home in the dark smiling.
AM - Thanks Mark, you've painted such a lovely picture there which will echo with a lot of peoples' experiences and I bet there are going to be a few images in the mix that your daughter will thank you for later in life. Your reason for picking up a camera in the first place was to document the life and development of your daughter, and in doing so your attention was drawn to what stirs your soul and the desire to capture it. Your landscapes.
I was going to ask you about your reason for taking landscapes but you beat me to that one, so lets change tack a little. Locations? Where are your favorite locations to shoot? What time of day/year do you like to visit, and most importantly, why?
MM - My favourite locations so far would be Glen Etive in Glencoe, Scotland and Wastwater in the Lake District. They're two locations where you could go back hundreds of times and never take the same shot twice. With Wastwater, it has it’s very own climate, very much like Glencoe. If you can get too such places you'll feel nature all around you. Even in the pouring rain both locations are still magical.
You can stand there for a hour and just forget about taking photos. At night, both locations take on even more magical themes. They're both dark sky locations so you'll see the sky is full of a billion stars.
The best time of the day? I would say around sunset to darkness. At times you can look out of your window and think, "Yes there is a good sun set". The other time is around sunrise, but you're in the dark so it is more of a guess that it will be good.
And winter, that is the best! When its frosty and misty and cold.
AM - Excellent, Mark. That gives a great method for stetting up your gear and what's required. After that, I think I could even set-up a shot. But as we all know, the camera and equipment is just a tool we use to make the image. It is what the photographer brings to the table in terms of vision and planning that produces an image.
From your point of view, what makes a great landscape, seacape or starscape? Also, what is it that you're looking for when you're setting up a shot?
MM For my planning, I just use the weather apps, BBC and Met Office. Location wise, the better I've got, the more I realise that planning is just as important as the taking of the photos. I use Google Earth. I also have a look at Flickr to see other peoples' ideas on certain locations but for me, I think in my photos I want to have emotion, and mainly I like to capture weather good or bad.
The lone tree in Buttermere can look different in a hour or Windermere in 20 minutes just by the changing sun or clouds. I climbed Loughrigg Fell, it took 50 minutes only to find not a cloud in the sky and the images, in my eyes, looked rubbish. I enjoy moody wet clouds with the sun breaking through.
For me, a good photo is one that replicates the view that is in front of you. If the weather or view isn’t good, then the photo normally isn’t. You can be in the best location but grey, flat weather, and you may as well go home.