Photographer Focus

Jack Anstey

Interview

Jack Anstey (@jack_anstey) is a landscape photographer who has captured some of the most stunning photos on the British Isles. From the heights of the Scottish Highlands to the deep valleys of the Lake District, Jack constantly searches for unexplored spots within Britain's vast green land, capturing them in such unique ways.

First of all, let’s talk equipment, what do you take out on your shoots with you?

I usually shoot on a Sony A7. It’s a really decent bit of kit; equally great for photos and video, with a full frame sensor packed down into a small, mirrorless body. For me the size and weight of my gear is really important, and having a small and lightweight Sony seemed like the better choice than the 5D/D800. I’ve used a variety of lenses in the past, but the Sony 28-70mm lens what gets the most use – often I have to respond to my surroundings quickly, and a telephoto is great for capturing a wide range of different subjects. My gears usually wrapped up in a Matador Camera Base Layer, which keeps it safe but also highly accessible – I cannot commend this camera case enough. My Joby Action Gorilla Pod lives in my bag, and is what I primarily use as a tripod, with my Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod spending most of it’s time in the boot of the car.

I’ve got a GoPro Hero4, that I always carry with me, but it rarely gets used. I’m not massively impressed with the photo quality from it, but keep it on me as it’s one of those things that you won’t miss until you’ve left it at home for the day. There’s also a couple of film cameras, and my retired Canon. 

Within the British Isles where is your favourite place to shoot? 

For me, it has to be the Isle of Skye. For something of a relatively small size, it offers so much potential for photography. I’ve been a couple of times, and am always blown away by the stunning scenery there. I’d really like to spend a whole month there, and have a chance to really get to know the place. There’s just so much to see, I’d recommend it to anyone. 

Scotland as a whole has to be my favourite area of the UK, it’s just much more vast and wild that anything else here. I find when going to Snowdonia or the Lake District, I’m constantly crossing paths with previous trips I’ve done. But up in Scotland there seems to be seeming endless mountains to climb and views to capture.

How do you go about discovering new locations around the country?

There’s a number of different ways I find new places to shoot. Instagram is a real help, before heading somewhere I’ll usually spend some time looking through hashtags and location tags to get an idea of what’s in the area. As much as I love travelling to stunning places, I also really enjoy the sense of adventure, and like planning something myself – heading somewhere without a real plan, just a couple maps and a loose idea of what I want to achieve.

Do you have any tips to budding landscape photographers?

Get out and shoot! Nothing improves you more than getting out and taking photos. The great thing about shooting outside is that you have to learn to adapt to changing weather and light conditions. It’s all about learning, and even if you have a day thats a complete write off, mistakes are there to be learnt from. 

Besides that try to look at what other people are doing. Try to analyse how they’ve taken that photo - what were the settings, why did that take it from that angle, how have they processed it? Asking questions is the key to learning and development.

Where is one place around the world you’d love to go for photography?

Short term I’d love to get to Iceland, but I feel that’s a reasonably achievable goal – something that is going to happen very soon. But if I could choose anywhere in the world, it’d probably have to the the US. Yosemite is definitely up there on top, but also the whole of the Pacific coast, and into the national parks of Utah, Arizona and Colorado. Yeah, that’d be a great road trip.