As a landscape photographer it really doesn’t get much better than Autumn, it is and will always be regarded as one of the best seasons for landscape photography and it really isn’t difficult to understand why. After the dark greens of summer disappear the earthy warm golden tones really start to take hold, trees are awash with warm yellows, browns, reds and oranges, even the bracken, which is usually pretty un-photogenic takes on a wonderfully golden brown colour. When the soft golden early morning or late evening light hits these colours they become wonderfully rich, warm and vibrant which is so appealing to the eye. Aside from the colours we are also treated to some fantastic weather conditions which further enhance the landscapes and tempt us photographers. Mist and fog are common at this time of year and we also start to see the first frosts of the year. Any combination of the colours and conditions can yield superb results for photography. That mixture of the warm golden trees meeting the cool tones of a morning frost or misty conditions can offer superb contrasts, tones and textures to your images and is a mouth watering prospect for any photography enthusiast. Now that’s the good……so what about the bad.
For all its gorgeousness Autumn doesn’t come without its issues. First contender in the bad category is the ‘Window of opportunity’. I really do struggle to get out at this time of the year. Daylight hours are greatly reduced and in the week, I’m usually in work or on my way to and from work…….meaning I miss the best of the day…..well all of the day to be fair. So I’m purely down to shooting at the weekend and am at the mercy of the weather gods….as we all know, they don’t always play ball. If the weather is bad that’s my opportunity gone for another week and when time is off the essence this is far from ideal. That leads me nicely on to problem number two…..stormy weather. Autumn is incredibly prone to storms and inclement weather. It is something about the position of jet stream which causes constant low pressure systems bring rain and wind in a plenty. I can cope with rain but wind really isn’t the friend of Autumn as you can imagine, and the leaves can be well and truly blown off the trees before the colours really hit their peak. The previous two years have been a major let down after storm up on storm battered the UK and as a result there was very little leaves left on the trees to take colour and let alone shoot.
Ok that’s my moaning out of the way. Lets get back to talking about the good stuff. Now over the last few weeks I have been busy with the camera trying to grab as much Autumn action as possible. I've ventured to a few locations which I love to visit this time of year, these are areas, in my opinion, that really showcase the Autumnal beauty of the lakes. I’ve been lucky that the weather, thus far has been pretty decent on my days off and I’ve managed to visit most of the places I love. I can't say it's been plane sailing but it certainly has been better than previous years. Either way and image or not it has just been nice to get out and about and witness nature at her finest. So here are my favourite Autumn Lake District locations and what I’ve been getting up to over the last month or so.
Sitting between Ambleside and Grasmere, Rydal Water is an absolute gem for photography and this shows with its popularity. It really is a busy place at present, you can’t swing your tripod around without hitting another photographer. Rydal is a small body of water, with a scattering of wooded Islands, it is surrounded by an abundance of woodland which cover the shoreline and surrounding hills, it has an old Boat house at one end and is a hot spot for a bit of morning mist. It is easily accessible with parking at White Moss and is well pathed. I like to venture up White Moss Common which it at the western end. It is a short 15-20 minute walk and has a gorgeous view over the whole of Rydal Water, like my below image. It is also a short walk from it bigger neighbour, Grasmere and is also well worth a visit.
Rydal Water from White Moss Common:
Borrowdale lies at the southern end of Derwent Water in the northern Lake District. The area around the Bowderstone and Castle Crag, for me is absolutely perfect to visit to catch the Autumn colours. The area is surrounded by gorgeous woodland, none better than Cummacatta woods, which is easily accessible from the Bowderstone National trust carpark just south of the village of Grange. As well as the lower woodland you also have an option of climbing the fells of Castle Crag, Grange Fell and Kings How, which offer grand views over Derwent water to Skiddaw, both Fells have birch trees a plenty just off the summit and can give you endless compositional opportunities whether it be the wider shots or more detailed compositions.
Walla Crag from Kings How:
Castle Crag from Borrowdale:
Holme Fell has long been a favourite of mine, ever since I visited it around three years ago, in fact my wife thinks it’s my second home. Holme Fell, two miles North of Conistion, is blessed with many Silver Birch trees and it is also surrounded by woodland on the lower flanks and in the valleys of Tilberthwaite and Langdale, which makes it great at this time of year, as the trees take on those gorgeous colours. The Fell is accessible from both Yew Tree Tarn and Hodge Close. I like to park at Yew Tree Tarn as it is also a lovely little location to visit for those Autumnal reflections when the colours are in there prime. There is ample parking at Hodge Close and is only a short walk up to the fell through the woods. There is plenty to explore around the woodland areas of Hodge Close, you have a series of small tarns and from up on the fell you have endless compositions picking out groups of silver birch and other trees with a sumptuous back drop of the Langdale Pikes in the distance. What more could you ask for?
Morning Light over Hodge Close from Holme Fell:
Yew Tree Tarn Autumn reflections:
Hopefully I will manage to get out a couple more times before these superb colours leave us (no pun intended) for this year. I’ve certainly been happier with my exploits and I’ve come away with a couple of images I’m really pleased with. If I don’t manage to get out again there is always Winter to look forward to and that’s not too bad a prospect.....oh and then there is spring......I shouldn't complain.