Portrait of an unknown hillwalker
Walker on Sand Point, north of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 4 Sept 2014.

Sand Point is the limestone promontory on the northern side of Sand Bay, just to the north of Weston-super-Mare.  This small and isolated hill has something of a special meaning for myself and two of my school friends, because it was here that we did a lot of birdwatching in the late 1960s, before we left home to go to university.  This birdwatching included my first tentative steps into the hobby – and, thanks to these two gentlemen, the beginning of my conversion (an epiphany, perhaps?) from an out and out geologist to an ever more enthusiastic birdwatcher.

It is no exaggeration to say that these two school friends – Pete and Clive – changed the course of my life.  Because although I went on academically as a geologist, I became a birder by nature, and I took a geological job in Kenya so that I could see African birds – and that culminated in A Bird Atlas of Kenya.  Although retaining a vast love and appreciation for birds, I ceased being a birdwatcher in the true sense of the term around 2002, and started thinking more about photography.

Both Pete and Clive travelled across the world to the UK at different times this summer, and both wanted to see Sand Point again.  This was the second visit, during which we were delighted to see a Clouded Yellow butterfly – an uncommon migrant to our shores – and a Grass Snake.

We walked out along the limestone ridge and, looking back I liked the mixture of dark bushes and paler grass and could see it as a mono shot – and then this walker appeared, silhouetted in the distance, in the notch where the path cuts through bushes on the hill’s crest.  I was carrying a smaller zoom than usual because I wanted to take photos that would remind the others of their visit, and so I could only zoom out to 120mm – but this was actually a very good thing because zooming in any closer would have lost much of the landscape, as well as diminishing the sense of solitude engendered by this tiny and lone figure.

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Underexposed EV -1 preset.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. LensScaper says:

    Always interesting to read a bit of back-story to add to an image, Adrian. The diminutive figure is perfectly positioned – and you are right – too close a zoom would lose the sense of scale and the loneliness of the solo walker


  2. Looks like an omen of some sort. Like someone is trying to tell you something. Don’t ask me what. I just think these things up. Regardless of my jibberish, great capture. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. paula graham says:

    Hi Adrian, Like your story, the shape of the hill and the lone, tiny figure up top. Very good, thoughtful photo, full of symbolism


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you for saying that, Paula. I think a lot of symbolism must be subconscious with me, I’m not as tuned in to it as you are. I do it – I think! – but not in a conscious, thinking way. But “the loneliness of the long distance runner” here is even apparent to me!

      And yes, the story. Strange how things pan out through Life, isn’t it? I took up my two friends’ invitation to go birdwatching as a means of getting out into the sunshine and fresh air – with unforeseen results! A


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