Robin Rowe: Blog en-us (C) Robin Rowe [email protected] (Robin Rowe) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:36:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:36:00 GMT Robin Rowe: Blog 120 120 BHS photo of the year 2013 Happy 2014 everyone. My website just passed it's 1 year anniversary, and what better way to mark the occasion than to share the exciting news that one of my photos was category and overall winner in the BHS photography competition 2013. The competition was judged by representatives from Shires Equestrian, BHS and Simon Palmer of into-the-lens fame ( )

I am looking forward to joining Simon on a photography workshop with the Cumbrian Heavy Horses ( ) in May - look out for an update from me from then.


Here's the winning photo, which was taken on Formby beach a couple of years ago:



I'm looking forward to lots more photography projects through 2014 - there's lots of exciting things in the pipeline and it's shaping up to be an exciting year. As always get in touch if you have any feedback or photo projects for me to get involved in!

[email protected] (Robin Rowe) Thu, 20 Feb 2014 21:15:32 GMT
Iceland Well, it's been a while since I've written a blog, partly due to being a busy year, and also a lack of any major photography excursions. Last week however, I got away on a family trip to Iceland. When I booked it, I'd made sure to time it at the peak of the 11 year solar cycle to stand the best chance of catching the Northern Lights, and also with a new moon, to be sure of dark skies.

In the days leading up to the holiday, the forecast did not look promising, with overcast / rain / gales forecast every day and a very quiet sun.

With expectations lowered, we arrived to torrential rain and cold. Picking up our 4x4's from Keflavik we headed out to our log cabin near Selfoss, around an hour inland from Reykjavic.

That evening, the skies cleared and we were treated to fantastic views of the milky way. The following morning we were treated to a spectacular sunrise, which lasted for well over an hour. Because of the northerly latitude, there is only around 4-5 hours of daylight, so it is almost constantly in a state of sunrise/sunset making for some spectacular lighting and hues.

The first day we went to visit Geysir, which was around an hour excursion. It had snowed overnight which had then melted and made the roads quite treacherous, even with studded ice tyres and 4x4. It was well worth the trip out, and seeing Strokkur geyser erupt as well as all the boiling springs and vivid blue volcanic pools.

The second day, we planned a visit out to a crashed Dakota which has sat on a black sand beach for over 40 years. It's something I've wanted to see for a long time, and a quick google found the co-ordinates:

I'd read that there was around an hour trek including wading through a river to get to it. Luckily with the wonders of modern technology I found a private 'road' which let us drive off-road for a couple of miles across the beach. When the GPS showed we were close, we ditched the cars and walked on foot over the sand dune and were greeted by the shiny fuselage of the C47 standing out like a beacon in the miles of black volcanic sand.

The weather was very volatile with gale force winds and hail showers which made the photography a challenge, but we stuck around for about an hour before heading back to the cars to thaw out and dry off. We then continued on  the seaside town of Vik to try and find the giant's causeway-esque basalt columns nearby. We didn't find them, but took some photos of the surf (the black sand and white surf looked like an Oreo biscuit).

That evening, the skies cleared up again. Looking out North, I noticed above the hills had a faint silver light, as though the moon was behind a cloud - I grabbed my camera and tripod and grabbed a quick 20 sec / ISO 3200 / F2.8 exposure, and to my delight, the sky was bright green. We then spent the next few hours taking pictures as the aurora borealis intensified. At one stage it changed from green to turquise, and grew big 'fingers' which stretched overhead from horizon to horizon in a big arc, and then changed back to green. Eventually it subsided and clouded over, which concluded one of the best photography days ever. It turned out that the light show this evening was a result of 'moderate' solar activity (KP4) due to the affects of the solar wind following the traversal of a sunspot facing the earth.

The following day we visited Kerið (ð) which is a road-side volcano crater, you pay about 4 quid to enter, but you can walk down and round the base which is awe inspiring. We then went on to Þingvellir national park (Þingvellir) to walk on the fault line between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates - this was awesome, with some fantastic rock structures. It was late in the day and very cold at this point so we had a look around and got a few shots before heading back.

On our itinery the following day was a visit to Skógafoss Waterfall (ógafoss) en route to try and find the Basalt columns. We failed to find the columns again, but explored the area near Dyrhólaey Lighthouse and were treated to a spectacular sunset. On the return, after driving past eyjafjallajökull, we stopped at Solheimajokull glacier which was stunning, and like walking on another planet. we walked right to to foot of the glacier and took a few shots before heading back home.

On our penultimate day, we headed up to Gulfoss waterfall ( and took a few shots in between blizzards, and called in for another quick walk around Geysir on the way back.

The final day we'd planned to go whale watching from Reykjavic - unfortunately the trip was cancelled due to high seas, so we had a look round Reykjavic, and went up Hallgrímskirkja church tower, which is the tallest landmark and has a viewing platform at the stop to take a few final shots before heading back to the UK the following day.

Our log cabin was fantastic and the owner very friendly -

We hired our Honda CRVs from SAD cars - they were older cars, and hence cheaper to hire but the company were very laid back and helpful, and was definitely worth going for 4x4s at this time of year -


See my pictures here


Thanks for reading!




[email protected] (Robin Rowe) Sat, 07 Dec 2013 12:44:51 GMT
Refraction and water drops This week I fancied getting out and about to take some pictures. However, the weather has been really bad of late. Not bad in the exciting / photogenic way, but more of the nondescript cold /sleet/grey finger numbing, gear soaking type. Definitely not the start to Spring that we had last year. With this in mind I decided to have a play with my macro lens. After the cats got bored with being models (Some new additions to my 'cats' gallery) , I had a go at some water droplet / refraction shots. I  firsly ventured briefly outside to find some dew drops, and managed to get this inverted shot of my house.DSC02807






II then tried to replicate this in the warmth indoors, but found it very difficult to make water comply. After a bit of googling, I found the concensus was to either use a mist sprayer to help accumulate the drips more evenly, or use Glycerine. The latter being the material of choise due to it's 'gloopiness' hence bigger and slower drops.


I picked some up on Ebay for a couple of quid, and using a syringe from a brake bleeding kit, applied some to a cocktail stick in a vice. I encapsulated the rig in a home made light box (an open box with a window cut in the side, with tracing paper over it for the wireless flash and black card on the inside) After finding my range with this, I tried to get one of my cats to comply with being a model behind the drips. Unfortunately it turns out that cats are partial to a bit of glycerine, and love playing with cocktail sticks. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

After evicting the cat from the room, I then played about with putting a printed photo behind the drop. The refraction inverts the image, so if you want your image the right way up, you have to place your photo upside down. I left mine the right way up, and inverted the whole image afterwards to get a snow globe effect. DSC02820

I definitely plan to revisit this technique. Next time I plan to fill a punctured plastic bag with glycerine to get a more predictable drip. I should then be able to get the drops mid-flight and have some fun making mini-planets etc.

Stay tuned :)



[email protected] (Robin Rowe) Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:50:51 GMT
Comet Pan-Starrs After my first attempt to photograph Comet Pan-Starrs at the weekend was hampered by cloud cover (welcome to the UK) I have been keeping a watchful eye from my office window at sunset to try and find a window of opportunity to get some shots. Last night the cloud cover was a lot lighter, and spotting the thin crescent moon, I took an early lunch break, grabbed my camera and tripod and walked to the edge of a nearby field. I got some shots of the moon, and a nearby power station whilst waiting for the remnant of the sun to disappear. There was some heavy cloud formations hanging about for a while (Look in my sunrise/sunset album for these) and eventually a gap in the cloud appeared. There was nothing visible to my eye, so I took a test shot, and saw my first glimpse of Pan-Starrs - I got a close-up and a couple of landscape shots incorporating the moon, before more cloud rolled in and I called it a night.

Check out all the comet pics in my 'astro' gallery. A good warm-up for comet ISON later in the year (hopefully)


[email protected] (Robin Rowe) Pan-Starrs astro comet Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:03:23 GMT
Hello World + Viva la South Africa Hi Guys,

So this is my first ever blog post. I'm quite excited about getting this site up and running, I have lots of photos to upload over the coming days and weeks and this will eventually become the repository for my past, present and future pics.

It has been an eventful start of the year from a photography standpoint, starting with an amazing 2 week road trip across South Africa, and last weekend helping out with photo duties at my Mother-in-Laws amazing wedding.

South Africa

South Africa was a photographers paradise. Whether you are into landscape, wildlife, macro, astro, or street/candid/portrait, there is someting for everyone. 

We started out in Cape Town, and got to visit the impressive Table Mountain which has stunning 360 degree views over Cape Town itself, the Atlantic, and miles in each direction. DSC07109

We then hit the open road and headed inland for several hours across dramatic terrain (it reminded me of the ruggedness of the Scottish Highlands combined with the desert feel of Arizona) and eventually arrived at our first stop in the town of Prince Albert.

This turned out to be one of the most rewarding places we visited. We were staying on a working vineyard with lots of free roaming animals (Cats, Cockrels, Geese, Dogs etc) and there were critters galore (crickets, spiders, moths, beetles etc)

Our timing of the trip had unfortunately coincided with the (almost) full moon, so the view of the stars was obscured considerably, however we waited up until around 3AM when the moon set, and were treated to the most magnificent views of the milky way. It was my first opportunity to photograph such dark skies, and learnt a lot from the experience.

We then moved on to Plettenberg Bay, where we went on Horse Safari (The camera remained locked in the car boot for this one!) but got the chance to drive past free roaming Zebra on the way out, and took some of my favourite shots of the holiday.

Our next stop was Addo Elephant Park, which is a 130 KM long free-drive safari which has tonnes of different animals including Lion, elephants, Rhino, Boar, deer, Jackals etc. It was an amazing experience as all are totally wild and unfed and frequently we would have to stop to give way to a herd of elephant crossing the track in front of us.

From there we drove to Jeffreys Bay, which is a worldwide sufing hotspot known for it's 'super tube' waves. It was relatively calm whilst we were there, but still impressive, and Rob hired a surfboard and caught some good waves.

From there we spent a couple of nights in Cintsa on the wild coast, which felt very much like the deserted wild beaches in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. We then made our way up north to the Drackenberg mountains:

This gave me the opportunity to take some timelapse videos of the dramatic clouds, and also photograph wild baboon (who were launching nuts at the car from nearby trees!). 

We then meandered back to Johannesburg to catch our flights home.

Check out the 'South Africa' Gallery for all the pics!

I will devote a seperate blog entry to my experiences of shooting my first wedding, which was both a scary and rewarding experience!

[email protected] (Robin Rowe) Cape Town Cintsa Plett ant brown button elephant j-bay jeffreys bay milky way plettenberg rhino south africa spider zebra Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:00:38 GMT