Last week I held a landscape photography workshop in Grasmere for Paul and Karen Simpson from Northallerton. It was a very enjoyable morning out with the camera and I thought I would give you all a 'behind the images' insight into the workshop. We had agreed on Grasmere as our location of choice and Paul and Karen where both keen on incorporating sunrise into the workshop. I met them at White Moss car park at 7am, this would allow us enough time to get set up and ready for sunrise. It was obvious, to me, on the journey from home and arrival at Grasmere that we were slap bang in the middle of a cloud inversion and that we would need to get a little elevation in order to get above it and hopefully enjoy some amazing conditions. So we decided to make the short trip up Loughrigg Fell to find a better vantage point.
My hunch was correct and as we ascended Loughrigg Fell we got above the cloud line and the whole scene and spectacular views openend up infront of us. We reached a good vantage point and started to look at compositions and really working to the conditions we had. We decided that, while a wider view looked amazing, it wouldn't really work on camera, so we looked to simplify our composition and add impact by really focusing on a group of snow capped mountains and the detail and textures of the landscape. Once we had settled on a composition, we looked at the camera settings we needed to get our shot, set our focus and made sure we were ready for action and then just waited for the light to come. The morning light beautifully hit the fells and added real impact and texture to our scene. We reviewed our images to make sure they were correctly exposed, in focus and nice and sharp.
First Light on the Langdales:
We then, keeping the same view, looked at how the changing and developing light can also impact a scene and how it can add great depth, texture, contrasts and really lift an image. Again we were all composed and focussed and ready for the best light, it was just a matter of waiting for the right moment. We looked at using filters like a polarizer to add real 'pop' and a little bit of drama to the sky, which really worked well and helped the snowy mountains really stand out. This second image was taken about 15-20 minutes after the first and is such a different scene. The light which is highlighting different areas and leaving others in shadow really does add depth and layers to the image and gives it a really 3D look, I think this perfectly illustrates the importance of light on landscape photography.
Happy with the images we had in the bag, we decided to move location and take advantage of the mist and see if we could look for more detailed and intimate compositions within the bigger scene. You really can create some very striking images in these sort of conditions and I was hopeful that, even though we had missed the best of the light, we could still produce some great images. We looked at points of interest in the landscape like trees, different shapes and layers to create interesting and striking images. Both Paul and Karen picked out some wonderful images taking on this method and I was really impressed with the scenes they had found and perfectly composed. I picked out this scene from some lovely trees in the mist, I used the little road to add interest in the scene and along with the mists, snow and light offered fantastic contrasts and made for a really striking image.
Trees in the Mist:
We were blessed with the most fantastic weather conditions, but we still had to make the most of them and I think we did. The main point I wanted to get across was to think a little outside of the box and not just try to cram the whole scene in to an image, which would have been the temptation. Instead we looked to pick out scenes from the bigger picture and create striking dramatic images. We looked to use layers and textures in the landscape to compose our images and used the available light to add real depth. Hopefully both Paul and Karen took something away with them that they can use moving forward in their photography. It was a wonderful morning and I very much enjoyed Paul and Karen's company and they were genuinely interested in learning and taking on board some of my advise and help.
If you are interested in a Landscape photography workshop then please contact me for more details.
Keep Smiling and cheers for now.