Picture the scene; you're on the shoreline looking towards Dunstanburgh castle on a cold morning in December having risen early to get the best light. You are looking at one of the most striking scenes in Northumberland (if not the entire country) but this isn't the cliché I want to talk about.
The weather today is overcast and the lights flat as a pancake but the icing on the cake is the fact the tide's still high and those wonderful basalt boulders are still submerged, what am I going to do?
I look to my right and Robin is busy working on a close up composition of rocks in the angry surf but my mind is blank and I'll admit I'm starting to panic. I quickly snap out of it, I know what I must do in the face of a blank scorecard, it's time for the misty water shot so beloved of camera magazine editors! Snapping on a long lens with a x2 converter I set the aperture to f/45 and bung on a 4 stop ND filter for good luck. A quick meter reading, the backlit Sekonic display shouts 45 seconds, excellent.
A dozen frames later and a roll of film is in the bag, at least I've made a start to the day and things can only get better (they didn't by the way). Had I been on my own I probably wouldn't have got the camera out of the Lowepro, chalk up another reason to shoot with friends.
Whilst I don't think the picture will be making it into my portfolio any time soon I actually quite like it, but then I suppose that's what cliché’s are ultimately all about?
Steve O’Nions is an experienced landscape photographer working almost exclusively with black and white film. Much of his work is shot with a medium format Hasselblad although he also uses a number of vintage and 35mm cameras. He is a master of the darkroom, producing stunningly beautiful images and prints. You can view more of Steves wonderful work at his website www.silverscape.co.uk.