Richard Watson , NiSi UK Ambassador
I am a professional commercial, landscape and travel photographer/filmmaker based on the Causeway Coast in the north of Ireland. Although well established within the advertising world it’s my love for travel & landscape photography that truly inspires me. I set up my commercial photography business back in 2009 but it wasn’t until a trip to Kyrgyzstan in 2018 (my girlfriend is Kyrgyz and I now offer photography tours to this amazing country) that my love for landscape photography exploded. It was really during Covid and lockdown that I truly moved more into landscapes (so much time on my hands) and had the chance to explore the incredible variety of locations we have here in Ireland. I’ve been hooked ever since.
During lockdown I then set myself a long term project to shoot a Timelapse film covering the 4 seasons in our stunning Mourne Mountains. A true labour of love carrying 20kg of photography gear at a time into the mountains, often to peaks over 700 metres. The final film can be viewed in 4K on Youtube here –
It was this year in our mountains that truly made me fall in love with landscape photography – not just capturing the image but the battle with the elements to acquire it. Whether it be watching clouds caress mountains or studying water and waves to decide how they’ll lead an eye through an image I love being outdoors and discovering how filters can translate the ordinary into wow moments and memories.
Living on the Causeway Coast and having so many rugged coastlines in Ireland I’d say seascapes is my main passion and I love using NISI filters to help control the movement of the water and clouds.
I’ve been fortunate that my love of photography has taken me to many breathtaking countries. As well as shooting the incredible landscapes & vistas, it’s also the personality of each country I strive to reflect through my imagery of the people I meet along the journey, in a fresh, unique & contemporary style. My portfolio of landscape images includes Ireland, Scotland, Kyrgyzstan, Iceland and Norway.
Richard’s Gear Bag
I shoot on various Sony cameras – A7r IV, A7 IV and A7s III.
My lens list is extensive as I cover a lot of disciplines in my commercial work. For landscapes though I mainly use 16-35GM, 12-24GM, 24-105G, 70-200GM, 200-600G, 24GM.
Other lenses include Canon 17mm and 24mm Tilt Shift (adapted) for architecture, 35, 50 and 85 primes and even a 24mm Laowa probe lens!!
My NiSi system includes a Landscape and True Color circular Polariser, V7 holder, GND32 1.5 Soft 5 stops, GND4 0.6 Medium 2 stops, GND16 1.2 Medium 4 stops, ND64 6 stops and ND1000 10 stops.
I also have the S6 system dedicated to my 12-24mm with circular polariser, GND8 and GND16 3 and 4 stops Medium, 150mm ND64 6 stops.
Timelapse setup is with the Rhino Arc 2 system and my current tripod is a Benro 34CLV with Acratech pano head.
What got you into photography?
Richard: It was actually my cousin who gave me an old film Pentax camera 20 years ago that got me hooked. At that time I was working in an advertising agency and loved flicking through the stock photography catalogues (yes even before it all went online based – showing my age!!). At that time I loved seeing all the abstract and macro shots – peoples vision to make tiny details of everyday life into striking images. I began shooting macro and had a particular fondness of urban decay imagery. A number of years later myself and 2 others set up our own digital agency and slowly I began shooting commercial images for clients. Finally in 2009 I decided I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t take the plunge and try so I set up my own photography business and never looked back.
Talk me through your favourite shot with NiSi filters
Richard: This image was taken looking towards our Mourne Mountains in the distance. This was before my year shooting Timelapse in the distant mountains – you could say this image lured me. It was one of those evenings when I wasn’t sure the sky would light up and it just exploded from nowhere. Using an ND grad I was able to turn the water around the rocks to velvet and it almost looks like a cloud inversion from one peak to another. Truly an incredible evening. I got so caught up shooting the scene for an hour that when I looked behind me the tide had come in and left me stranded on a rock. I had to wade over my knees back to shore holding my camera above my head.
What is your dream location to photograph?
Richard: Kyrgyzstan is my favourite location to shoot by far having been there 4 times now. This incredible country is just beginning to be discovered as a photography location and in a world that’s oversaturated with landscape images from the well trodden locations and countries, Kyrgyzstan feels like you’re exploring it for the first time. Being 80% mountainous its truly a photographers dream and it’s possible to walk away with images that are truly unique. And being very much Nomadic yurt based in the remote regions there is zero light pollution so I’ve never seen dark skies like it! For images of Kyrgyzstan and info on my photography tours here visit http://www.richardwatsonphoto.com/kyrgyzstantour.