Step, count to 10, step, step, step, count to 10, and repeat! This recurring mantra fills my every thought as I ascend the formidable Langma La, a high pass that guards the entrance to the Kharta Valley on the east side of Mount Everest. At 5360m/17,585 feet you reach a series of rock cairns mostly hidden under miles of multi-coloured prayer flags: This is Tibet personified; thin air, faith and huge mountains – the Himalaya.

What took me there, why did I want to go, and why do I continue to go back, when again and again I swear it’ll be the last time!?

I won’t bore you with my entire life-story, but by the mid-2000’s I was living in a small mountain town in Southwest China, in the Province of Yunnan. My wife, who is Chinese, visited Tibet in 2006 and fell in love with the place, the people and the unknown – and as a smart husband, I knew to make my wife happy meant me being happy! I was away overseas on a business trip when I spoke to her on the phone – “I’ve changed your flight back” she says – “We’ve moved.” In the two weeks I’d been away, she had sold our 4×4, my motorbike, all our furniture and a good chunk of other personal items. I was so used to this wonderful way of life that my only question was “Sure thing, where to?”

One word that changed my life forever followed – “Lhasa”

Tibetan Fox by Alister Benn

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Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day…

The opening line of “Time” from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album; 10 words I repeat often when the world seems to conspire against my creative will. If I had a buck for every time a photographer at an iconic location said to me “Shame there aren’t any clouds” – well, I’d have about $70, but you get the point!

Time is precious, moments in the wilderness or in nature are priceless and people work hard to enjoy some solitude and tranquility. If you choose to spend some of this time outside making photographs, the weather and shooting conditions are important and it is very easy to measure your enjoyment of your free time by the quality of the images you make.

In this article I aim to demonstrate that even on days when there are no clouds or spectacular colour, with harsh light, mist, fog or even rain, that our lives can be filled with creativity and beauty.

Isle of Skye, Scotland
Isle of Skye, Scotland – raining morning. I never make great landscape images when I don’t go out. Without rain, there is never a rainbow 🙂

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In Search of Creativity by Alister Benn

The Ultimate Guide to Discovering Your Personal Photographic StyleI am certain that a detailed survey of every reader of this article would demonstrate very clearly one main thing: We are all unique. We may share many things in common with each other; race, nationality, ethnicity, profession, interests or temperament to name a few, but the special mix of your personality and everything that has ever happened in your life, combines to make you absolutely unique on this planet. Nobody does being you, better than you!

I don’t know about you, but I find that quite satisfying! I’m the best in the world at being Alister Benn. (Smug face!)

In this article it is my goal to highlight the importance of expression and individuality in contemporary photography.

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Guest Article by Alister Benn

7 Essential Tips for Winter PhotographyFire and Ice, Scotland

Making the Most of Winter

If we look at seasonal advertising, TV marketing and movies as an indicator – the world is crazy about snow. As kids we pressed our faces up against the windows, watching as the giant fluffy flakes drifted down and transformed our mundane reality into a winter wonderland – the home of Jack Frost, Snowmen and adventures of our imagination.

One of the eternal joys of making a living as a photographer, is I can continue to explore the world with that sense of wonder and express those emotions in my images.

With a few straightforward tips and techniques we can make sure we max out our opportunities in these snowy months and make some images that really capture the magic of the winter landscape.

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