Welcome to a new series celebrating the locations and stories behind the photographs in my new book Wild Horses. I will share these over the next few months, as we celebrate the global publication of the project, and I gradually reveal the photographs.


When I left my home in East Anglia, I was well aware of the many challenges that would face me in the week ahead — the mountains of Northern Wales are unforgiving, and the Carneddau Ponies are a rare sight. It was a strong possibility that I return from the mountains with an empty camera.

As with all shoots, I began by undertaking several months of research into the areas I was going to work in, the ponies I may encounter, and the best backdrops upon which to tell their stories. My research told me that there were just three hundred individuals roaming the two-hundred square kilometre Carneddau mountain range, which meant that even with the best advice from the best people on the ground, it was far from certain that I would find one pony, let alone the group I so desperately wanted to see.

As I have mentioned many times in my career, my diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder means that I have a very vivid imagination and a very intense sensory experience, which can be a major hindrance in day-to-day life, but a major benefit when it comes to dreaming up potential compositions. I left home with a target list of photographs I wanted to capture during the assignment, including a group of ponies together, young ponies interacting with their mother, and ponies interacting with the incredible landscapes in which they thrive, and I aimed to tick two or three off the list.

The View From Our Accommodation

Our accommodation for the week was in a central location, on the edge of a waterfall, and surrounded by rolling mountains and the distant shadows of the Carneddau mountain range towering over us. It was the perfect place in which to dream of potential images, there was an overriding sense of wilderness, wonder and magic.

We had four days in the wilderness, and this meant the search for ponies was set to be quite intense. I undertook a daily scout in the mountains, searching for ponies and potential backdrops or opportunities that we could use to create the pictures on my bucket list.

I want people to feel the rawness of the environment and the emotion I have invested into the trip, none of that is possible until I have settled into my surroundings and I can feel the environment. Therefore, the first day was set aside for me to settle, and to feel all that these mighty mountains are about.

With each day that passed in this most incredible landscape I felt increasingly lucky to in these mountains, the home of these beautiful ponies for several hundred years. I have included some of the results from the assignment, along with their stories, below.

“I want people to feel the rawness of the environment and the emotion I have invested into the trip, none of that is possible until I have settled into my surroundings and I can feel the environment. “

Wales: The Results


Our trip to Wales was preceded by a great deal of research, and conversations with locals had alerted me to the regular presence of a beautiful stallion near to our base. This news had got me excited – it would be incredible to photograph a dominant stallion, and what if we could somehow include a dramatic backdrop? 

We found him on day 3, high in the Welsh mountains on a day the sky was filled with dramatic cloud – it was a dream come true. I was reluctant to photograph him with a towering mountain behind him, he is part of this place, rather than just living in it. I decided to try and photograph him side-on, and found the perfect spot with a rolling mountain; I would photograph him in front of it, almost as if he was part of the rolling mountain.

Everything came together in the end. I love the knots in his mane.

On The Edge Of It All

We found this vista on our second trip up the mountains of Northern Wales, and I instantly knew that we had to tell a story here. We had seen just eight ponies in this particular, and so the likelihood of finding one grazing in the opening was unlikely, but as determined as ever, I returned to the same location the next day and bided my time.

Later that day it all came together – cloud, a foal and her mother, and the perfect dusting of sunshine to illuminate this tapestry of rich colours. Those mountains are magical.

Spirit Of The Carneddau

Our first three adventures resulted in a couple of sightings – the first a singular pony, and the second a mare with her young foal. But it was the fourth and final trek that resulted in ‘the shot’ of the trip; I had climbed mountains and crossed streams all morning by myself, and then, when I was considering heading back to lower ground, I spotted a small herd of ponies on the peak of a distant mountain.

The adrenalin kicked in immediately, and I trekked towards the foot of mountain, and then began the steep ascent. The view at the top was breath-taking, but the ponies were nervous – it was obvious that this herd had witnessed very few people atop these ridges. I spent the next hour or so laying in the luscious grasses, at a respectful distance, watching those ponies interacting and thriving in the rugged lands they have called home for over two-thousand years, before they began to relax, and then, became inquisitive. Over the next thirty minutes, magic unfolded in front of my eyes and my camera.

When I began the descent two hours later, I knew that I had the photograph I had travelled two- hundred miles to Wales for, I had accomplished my dream atop that mountain, and what a humbling experience it had been to spend time in the company of these most-magical creatures.

The Climb

On Day 4, during my routine daily scout, I discovered a group of ponies high on a ridge in the distance. I un-packed my camera, attached my longest lens, and zoomed in on the herd – there were two tiny foals amongst the group, and I knew immediately that I had to pursue this opportunity.

I ran across the heathland towards the mountain, but by the time I got there most of the herd had reached the top and had their heads down grazing, then I noticed a mare and foal were still at the bottom. If they followed their friends up the ridge then I had my shot, so I had a much-needed rest and bided my time. 

Sure enough, after a while, they began the ascent and I got into position. I got lucky, because the foal was slower than her mother, meaning I had an opportunity to photograph her on her own. 

What a remarkable thing to witness.