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Nick Mason: Mountain Photographer

Thank you for visiting my website and I hope that you enjoy looking at my photographs as much as I have enjoyed creating them.

I am an outdoor photographer based in Cardiff, UK. From my very first steps into the mountains of Wales as a teenager I have always taken a camera with me. Initially this was to record the places I visited and the routes I climbed with my friends but increasingly I found in photography the medium that I needed to express my love of the mountains and wild places that have been so central to my life.

When not taking photographs, I work as a Consultant Anaesthetist. I am the Chair of Trustees for the International Porter Protection Group UK (IPPG), a UK based charity that works to improve the well-being of mountain porters throughout the world but especially in Nepal where, working in partnership with Community Action Nepal, IPPG operates two high altitude rescue posts in the villages of Machermo and Gokyo not far from Mount Everest.

I have been privileged to visit some indescribably beautiful parts of our planet, but more and more I find that I am drawn to the hills and valleys of my local Brecon Beacons National Park. This unique landscape, carved from Old Red Sandstone, with its barren broad rolling ridges and flat-topped summits presents unique challenges to the landscape photographer. I frequently uses the panoramic format which is ideally suited to the Brecon Beacons’ long escarpments and deep valleys and I can often be found making my way to a summit ridge before dawn, or lingering long after sunset, to capture the best light in which to show the effect of the changing seasons on this distinctive and strangely beautiful landscape that I have come to make my mountain home.


Photography Equipment

"The challenge to the photographer is to command the medium, to use whatever current equipment and technology furthers his creative objectives, without sacrificing the ability to make his own decisions.”  -  Ansel Adams

There is a preoccupation with equipment brands among some photographers which I do not fully understand and which risks placing the importance of equipment above the creative process. The reality is that the majority of top end cameras and lenses of today are capable of producing superb quality images. The important thing is to find and develop a system that works well for you, for the type of photographs you are taking and in the environments in which you operate.

I have been using predominantly Olympus equipment since switching to digital capture over fifteen years ago and for the last decade the Olympus Mico 4/3 system. When travelling in mountainous terrain, particularly on skis, weight is at an absolute premium. The OM-D Series has proved itself to be the ideal camera system for me: small yet robust; completely weather-proof; excellent ergonomics; very fast autofocus for skiing or wildlife shots and capable of capturing the highest quality images with a stellar collection of lenses.

My main set up consists of the excellent Olympus OM-D EM1 Mk2 camera used in combination with a number of Olympus lenses:

Olympus 8mm f1.8 Pro fisheye

Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 Pro

Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Pro and MC-14 1.4x teleconverter

Olympus ED 12mm f2

Olympus 45mm f1.8      

I also use the small but feature packed Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk2 camera with the following lenses when I want to travel light:

Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 lens

Olympus 14‑42mm F3.5‑5.6 II R lens

Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6 R lens     

Some of my best images have been photographed on my EM5s using these so-called kit lenses and yet the prints are pin sharp and virtually indistinguishable from those I have shot on high-end, full frame cameras. The key is to know your gear and how to get the best out of it.

I much prefer to be out taking photographs than stuck in front of a computer and so use Lee Filters to keep post-capture manipulation to a minimum.

A good quality tripod and ball head is almost as important as the camera and lens for capturing high quality landscape images. I use a Gitzo 3530LS tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head or a Gitzo G1228 Mountaineer tripod with Kirk BH3 ball head when I need increased portability. Both of these tripods have now been superseded but, despite receiving years of abuse, continue to be unfailingly reliable For shooting panoramas I use a Really Right Stuff Panning Clamp and a MPR-CL II Nodal Slide. 

Everything is carried in either an F-stop Loka or Satori exp back pack. F-stop make genuine mountain camera back packs and are the best camera packs that I have used.  

If you have any questions about my equipment, please feel free to email me through the contact page.  

All images and content of this website © Nick Mason. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without permission.