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Behind the lens: Remote house

This mesmerising shot taken by Mark McColl in Arctic Norway won Charlie Waite's expert vote in our Landscapes contest. Here is Mark's story of the image:

"When I sent in a couple of images I didn't have any real expectation of winning. Photography competitions are so hotly contested nowadays, and there are a lot of very talented photographers out there. So this was great news!

I have been interested in landscape and travel photography for well over ten years, but over the past few years I have really enjoyed photography in colder climates - Norway, Iceland and Yellowstone to name a few - and I plan to go back to Iceland later this year. Living in Scotland, I am also lucky to have some great landscape locations close to hand.

This image of a remote house in a snowstorm was taken in Arctic Norway (the Lofoten islands) in March 2013. A small group of us had been driving around looking for possible images, and when I saw this isolated house in the snow I knew there was potential for a unique and memorable picture. I didn't bother using a tripod for this shot as I usually do - the conditions were such that a number of handheld shots was all that I took before beating a hasty retreat back to the warmth of our van. I tried a variety of compositions with the house either side of the frame, but settled on a wider view with the house on the left and plenty of space around it to emphasise the remote nature of the subject. I tried a few different exposure times to get the feel of the snow falling.

The image was shot on a Canon 5D mark 3 in RAW. The RAW file was processed in ACR, tonal adjustments made in Photoshop, and some post-processing was done using Colour Efex Pro to emphasise the snow falling.

For me the snowfall is what makes this image stand out - it gives it great atmosphere, and I haven't tired of looking at it. My wife asked me to make a large print of it for our kitchen - she was after a Scandinavian theme - and she still loves this image. If my wife likes it and wants to put it on the wall then in my book it has succeeded!"


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