Short exposure…Russ Barnes

Image above: Born to Fly © Russ Barnes

With a family background in art and photography, it seems the writing was on the wall for Russ Barnes to work in the creative world. A successful landscape photographer who makes himself known on Twitter for his serene tree images, he catches up with us about his aspirations, influences and inspirations…

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.

Russ Barnes: I’m a landscape photographer based in the Midlands. I’ve been interested in photography all my life, but it was Sir David Attenborough who really inspired me to connect with the natural world. I tried my hand at wildlife photography for a few years but unlike Sir David, I got tired of spending hours waiting for illusive creatures to turn up, so I turned to landscape instead.

Image above: Enter the Dragon © Russ Barnes

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

RB: Now I’m more selective about when I go out than I used to be as I’m after particular conditions, light or mood. My local landscape in Warwickshire is perfect for me and has stunning woodland, but I also venture north to the Peak District and sometimes south to the Cotswold region.

OP: What are you working on at the moment?

RB: I have about five or six concepts in my head at any time. Right now I’m building an abstract infrared series called Backwater that I’m particularly happy with; I’ve also got a very challenging project called Fallen on the go, which celebrates the end of life in trees. It’s all work in progress.

OP: Where do you find your inspiration? 

RB: As with many landscape photographers my inspiration comes and goes, but I’m continuously drawn to the basics of light – how it reveals and equally hides a subject. I have found infrared an incredibly interesting concept because it’s an invisible spectrum, it’s another world beyond what you can see with the naked eye.

Image above: Translucent Purity © Russ Barnes

OP: What’s your dream photography project? 

RB: I wish I lived closer to the Lake District or Scotland, it’s the locations found in those areas of the UK that seem to have endless possibilities – I could easily build another portfolio based on the incredibly changeable weather. I love wide-open spaces and although the fields and woodland of Warwickshire are beautiful, it’s all quite intimate and never really very dramatic.

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

RB: I definitely have all the gear I need so it’s nothing physical. I guess it’s time served? Looking back at images I took only 2 years ago I can see the imperfection in everything and I definitely subscribe to the 10,000 hour rule (look that one up). I reckon I could benefit from a workshop with someone like David Ward.

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

RB: There is endless talk of the ‘death of the mirror’ in DSLRs but that’s incredibly premature. The drive is mainly about reducing kit weight but I’ve started buying smaller vintage Nikon prime lenses to tackle this…the 35 year old Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AI-s is a perfect example, it’s got stunning optical quality, cheap to buy, all made from metal but still only 250g!

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

RB: It’s impossible to say. I know I’ll still be shooting landscape and probably still getting lost in woodlands. I genuinely don’t have any grand ambition for my work though it would be nice get a book published in the next year or so. I genuinely take each day as it comes, when the light shows itself I’ll be out there again.

See more Russ’ work here