Four Seasons in a Day

Photographer Colin Prior, best known for his atmospheric shots of the great outdoors, reveals his relationship with the weather.

Colin Prior

Weather watching for many is about no more than making sure that they are appropriately dressed for the day, however, for a small group of individuals, myself included, the weather is something of an obsession.

As a landscape photographer, needing to know what the weather is doing isn't something that I can switch off. I'm constantly looking for weather conditions, which will give me an opportunity to capture images that will never repeat themselves exactly. Shooting definitive images of mountains takes patience and never happens by accident - the analogy I use is that it's a bit like a military strike - gathering intelligence initially, planning, knowing where you're going to shoot and when, watching the weather and when a window looks like it may present itself getting yourself onto location, whatever it takes. It's simply about stacking the odds in your favour.

Gordon Brown and Colin Prior. Gordon is Colin's first guest in the series.

It's also a very personal challenge, having to overcome so many obstacles with no guarantees - you can do all the stuff, but still come back with nothing. I never see this as failure - just another step closer to success because there's always another time. So you wait and you watch and when the weather looks good I'm constantly thinking; "what will it be like tonight up on that mountaintop?". It's not something I can switch off, watching the weather is permanently on, for me it's become instinct.

Mountain Rescue team member David 'Heavy' Whalley and Colin Prior.

So is the reward worth the chase? There are few things in life that compare with the feeling I experience when I finally capture these fleeting moments. Standing on a summit in the twilight, I'm essentially attempting to translate what I'm witnessing in the three-dimensional world into the two-dimensional world of photography. Success for me is about an alignment with nature.

Four Seasons in a Day was a four part series broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, in July 2009.

Page first published on Tuesday 14th July 2009
Page last updated on Tuesday 11th August 2009

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