Landscape photographer Mark Gilligan stops by Wex Photo Video for a quickfire interview
Image © Mark Gilligan
Wex Photo Video: What’s the most expensive piece of equipment you’ve trashed?
Mark Gilligan: I look after gear and use the phrase “protect the investment well”, but sometimes there is nothing you can do especially with extreme weather. I find the wind to be the biggest issue, as it can be so strong that when a freak gust hits, it literally gives you no chance. That happened at Crummock Water and it blew me, the tripod and my X-Pro1 and 18-55mm lens onto rocks. Made a great jigsaw. I was fine but the camera and lens were in bits. Good insurance is a must!
WPV: Tell us about the image that got away?
MG: I honestly can’t recall one. That’s not arrogance. I play the light and weather as it comes and take what I see. There have been some places I knew would yield, but we play the weather roulette game! Always learning but never chasing “that shot” as it will always be elusive.
WPV: What’s the worst shooting experience you’ve ever had?
MG: I honestly can’t think of one, because in days when I had hair, I realised that you can plan as much as you like with landscapes but you take the light and conditions that are there and work with it. I love being out there, and over the years have learned that it is a privilege to witness the light doing its work, but an even bigger thrill being able to photograph it.
WPV: Tell us about your dream shoot?
MG: Quite happy with my current X-Pro2 kit, but the GFX system is awesome. I would take that and photograph the Upper Esk over a year. Some may find that a strange choice, but I find it the most beguiling place I have been to, and I have travelled extensively. There is something ethereal about being there and I never tire of watching it through the seasons.
WPV: What’s your editing pet peeve?
MG: I see images that are presented on social media that have great compositional values but are hugely over-played by software. I keep it as natural as I can. That’s not taking away from those who declare themselves as digital artists because a lot of those images are outstanding. There’s another genre there!
Mark amid the landscape
WPV: What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done to get the shot?
MG: Run! I had to dash back to the car to change a lens that I had left in the boot, as I knew what I was seeing was a once-in-a-lifetime situation. It was and I knew it would only be there for seconds. I did it and I am glad I did! It won the Sunday Times #OMGB award!
WPV: Smartphones have made everyone a photographer. Do you agree?
MG: I have an oven and a microwave but I’m not a chef!