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Landscape Photographer Mike McFarlane to put UK conservation in the frame

Landscape photographer Mike McFarlane starts a 12-month tour of The Wildlife Trust's 112 landscape-scale conservation schemes for the organisation's major new project, A Living Landscape. McFarlane will produce more than 100 stunning 360x180° panoramic photographs and VR tours over the 12-months on the road, and, to reduce his carbon footprint, will travel using mainly public transport and a bicycle. You can follow McFarlane's travels via his website or on Twitter @mikejmcfarlane.

Press release:

Shot of the landscape

Visual arts project will put UK conservation in the frame

Landscape photographer Mike McFarlane will today (Wed 13 Apr) set-off on a 12 month tour of the UK as part of a unique conservation-inspired visual arts project, commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts.

Using mainly public transport and a bicycle, Mike will cover thousands of miles as he travels around the UK visiting places - from the Isles of Scilly up to the highlands of Scotland, including the Isle of Man and Alderney - until May 2012.

The project, funded by the Tubney Charitable Trust, will see the creation of more than 100 stunning 360x180° panoramic photographs and VR tours of landscape-scale conservation schemes in the UK. The Wildlife Trusts believe these images will inspire people about the natural world and illustrate the variety, scope and importance of the conservation organisation’s vision for A Living Landscape.

By touring The Wildlife Trusts’ 112 landscape-scale conservation schemes - covering more than one million hectares - Mike McFarlane will capture stunning colour images and create high resolution panoramas and VR tours.

On completion of the tour Mike McFarlane will produce a complete set of 360° photographs for each scheme. The Wildlife Trusts will use the visual materials in visitor centres, at events and on websites as part of its centenary celebrations.

Paul Wilkinson, The Wildlife Trusts’ head of Living Landscape, said: “We believe this project will help illustrate how closely nature ties in with the way we live our lives. Over the next 12 months, Mike will cycle thousands of miles highlighting the importance of wildlife moving freely through our countryside; something it needs to be able to do if it’s to adapt to climate change.

“The Wildlife Trusts have spent 100 years safeguarding wildlife havens. Now our nature reserves need to form an integral part of wider functioning landscapes. We are working to create more natural landscapes - involving landowners, farmers and local communities - in rural and urban areas. These large-scale schemes, driven by local people, help alleviate floods, control pollution and help us cope with extremes of temperature.”

Mike McFarlane is a landscape photographer, specialising in landscape, architectural and 360° virtual reality tour photography. Through his use of public transport and cycling, Mike’s carbon footprint will be substantially less - 45% less - than driving the route by car.

Previously an engineer, he gave this up in 2002 in order to follow his passion for composing inspiring images. Mike’s keen eye for detail and need to convey his feel for the landscape make his photography captivating and unique. He feels each photograph should educate and enthrall the viewer. A photograph of a landscape should not only be a ‘pretty picture’, it should stimulate the viewer to be more positive about the natural world and perhaps even inspire them to want to protect it.

This is particularly true of the 360x180° VR tours. They offer the chance for true immersion in the subject of the photograph. Each panorama is made up of 45 High Dynamic Range (HDR) photographs. The rich visual content is linked with location specific audio, video and online content to make the experience of the photograph interactive.

In setting up his business Mike was keen to ensure that it has multiple bottom lines. He makes a donation for each print and article that is sold through his website to charities concerned with the care and preservation of the environment. He also ensures the suppliers he deals with have a good ethical background and look to minimise their own environmental impact.

Mike said: “When I left my job as an engineer to pursue a career as a landscape photographer I very much wanted my business to be ethical and environmentally-friendly and, not only entertain people, but to educate and inspire. To improve the environment is to improve the future quality of life for everyone who lives, works and plays there. But A Living Landscape promises more. I’m excited to see how The Wildlife Trusts’ schemes are capturing the imagination of entire communities, bringing people together for long-lasting positive change.

“Ultimately, I want to be able to show people we have plenty of beautiful places in the UK worth protecting for the next generation and beyond. What better way to achieve that aim than helping raise awareness of The Wildlife Trusts’ vision for A Living Landscape.”

You can follow Mike’s travels via his website or on Twitter @mikejmcfarlane.


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