Short exposure: Anne Johnston

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Image above: Storr Aurora © Anne Johnston

It was just four years ago that Anne Johnston picked up a DSLR camera and started to photograph her local landscape in Angus, north-east Scotland. Now with a stunning portfolio to her name, she catches up with OP and shares her aspirations, inspirations and what she’s working on at the moment…

Outdoor Photography: Hello! First of all please introduce yourself: tell us the type of pictures you like to take and how you first got into photography.

Anne Johnston: Hi! I’m a landscape, wedding and press photographer from Angus, north-east Scotland. I’ve always been interested in photography and remember hanging out of my third floor bedroom window as a child to capture the awesome sky at sunset. I did a photography and darkroom course at school but it was only four years ago that I picked up my first DSLR. After years of people telling me I had an eye for photography, I decided to do something about it. Landscape photography is what I enjoy most of all. I can immerse myself in a situation without a specific client in mind; it pushes me to do things and go to places I wouldn’t have considered without a camera.

Image above: Beinn Eighe © Anne Johnston

OP: How often are you able to get out there and photograph, and is there a particular location you normally go to? 

AJ: I’m out as often as I can but I shoot more landscape imagery during winter as I’m less busy with weddings. There’s so much to explore in my home county of Angus. I’m also hiking my way through the Munro mountains (albeit slowly!) which takes me all over Scotland. I recently spent a week in Torridon and was blown away by the spectacular vistas in every direction, not to mention the views from the summit of Slioch – quite possibly the best from any Scottish mountain. I also love the Isle of Skye and visit at least twice a year.

OP: What are you working on at the moment? 

AJ: Now that winter is here I’ll be taking full advantage of the spectacular sunsets and clear dark skies, I also hope to add some more photographs of the Northern Lights to my portfolio. My fiancé, John-Paul Bell, is also a landscape photographer so we’re often bouncing ideas off each other and exploring new places together.

Image above: Winter traverse © Anne Johnston

OP: Where do you find your inspiration? 

AJ: It’s difficult to pin down one particular thing but there are so many talented photographers around and social media is a fantastic tool to discover new places to explore. Seeing amazing photos just makes me want to get out there, whether it’s first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night (while most sensible people are still asleep!).

OP: What’s your dream photography project? 

AJ: I’ve had a dream since I was a teen to go to Africa to photograph all sorts of wild animals and the unique light, that deep orange glow, you see there. Since I discovered the Aurora Borealis, taking my night photography out of Scotland could also be on the cards! I’ve been so lucky to capture the Northern Lights just 20 minutes away from my home, but you can’t beat it further north.

OP: Is there one thing in particular you think would help improve your photography?

AJ: If I’m being honest, it would be a bonus to have stronger legs to get me up the hills! The only way to get hill-fit is to keep going up those trails but my workouts with kettlebell weights are certainly helping! I wouldn’t say no to spending a day with Colin Prior, I’m sure he could pass on a few tips I could put to good use.

Image above: Arbroath sunset © Anne Johnston

OP: What do you think is hot right now in the photography world?

AJ: Everywhere I look on social media, websites and magazines I see pictures of Iceland popping up. It could be because the country fascinates me, but I have seen some images that are out-of-this-world.

OP: Where do you see your photography in five years time? 

AJ: Now that’s the million-dollar question, hang on a minute and I’ll get my crystal ball! All I can say for sure is that I’m really enjoying the mix that I’m doing right now. Photography is a life-long journey and I hope to just keep pushing my boundaries and improving as time goes on.

To see more of Anne's work click here.

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