I’ve photographically charged into 2020 with, well…….a little bit of a whimper to be brutally honest. Usually New years Day morning I’m up with the larks and ready to see the New Year begin with renewed vigour and camera in hand. I feel this sets a president for the year and really gets me motivated and into the swing of things. Well this hasn’t happened and due to a mixture of circumstances I’ve had to wait until the 12th January before my first dedicated trip out with the camera. The weather has been, lets say, less than kind so far this year and we have had numerous storms, winds and heavy rain battering the UK. All this combined with heading back to work and general January blues has meant that opportunities and motivation has been hard to come by. It can be difficult to re focus after Christmas and get back into the swing of it and uninspiring weather doesn’t help. It’s needles to say that I’m now starting to regain my enthusiasm, my mojo is cranking up, the weather apps are in full swing and the batteries are on charge……..hello 2020!!!!
So with my mind firmly focused on Photography I just needed that window of opportunity to physically get out with the camera. This year I really want to start to refine my technical abilities, It is going to be the year of technique but in order to do this, it is paramount that I maximise my time out with the camera, it is the only way. I also want to explore new areas and not always rely on going to the tried and trusted locations where I know I will get a shot. I want to take more risks and look for different angles and creatively challenge myself. I would like improve my reactive photography opposed to always having a plan. There is nothing wrong with having the plan, but at times I need to be more reactive and fluid with my photography when plan A isn't on offer and you need to change tack and react to your surroundings. I don't do resolutions as such, but I do want to continually improve my photography both from technical stand point and also creatively. That's my plan anyway.
The opportunity presented itself for the first trip out of 2020 on Sunday afternoon to a location I’ve only really visited once before, the weather was looking very promising and with a bit of luck, the conditions could be superb…..to say I was excited was an understatement. On the drive up through the Duddon Valley the promise was there to see, with splashes of gorgeous light breaking the fast moving cloud and highlighting the landscape, my excitement was growing by the minute. We arrived at our destination of Hard Knott Fell, which sits at the head of Upper Eskdale. It is a wild and rugged Landscape and home to the impressive Scafell massif which forms a mighty back drop to the valley. The plan was to shoot the Eskdale Needle, which is a huge pinnacle of rock which juts out from the side of the fell with the Scafell range behind. We made the 20 minute walk to the needle and assessed the situation. It had plenty of potential, but sadly the Scafell range was covered in low cloud, which I was hopeful would clear. We still had a good 40 minutes until golden hour so we had a further explore setting up camp.
It didn’t take long to get my first shot in the bag. While exploring I noticed some lovely light breaking through towards Green Crag and over towards Birker Fell. So I quickly whipped out the camera and fired off a hand held shot. I used the telephoto lens to create compression and some layers In the landscape, the combination of the layers transitioning from dark to light on both foreground and sky really helped to focus the eye on the fells and the gorgeous light in the middle of the image. I’m really pleased with this shot as it was a pure reaction to the light and time was off the essence to catch it and luckily I did….the mojo was back.
Light and Layers towards Green Crag and the Birker Fells:
After a further explore we settled back to the shot of the Needle and patiently waited to see if the cloud would clear, sadly, even though it teased us on many occasions it never fully cleared, which was a shame, as many of the elements where in place for a great shot…but without that impressive back drop for me it was no cigar this time. On the positive I have a greater understanding of the location and a ready made composition for next time. With a shot already in the bag, I was happy to look at other potential compositions and really liked the look of the view into the Eskdale Valley and I was just keeping an eye on it in case the light broke again. After a little bit of waiting and trying other things a bit of light did break and cast a warm glow over the fells and valley. As I already had pre visualised the image it was just a matter of focusing and taking he image. Another use of the longer lens to create layers in the landscape all.
Light and Layers across Eskdale:
The sun dipped behind the cloud and that looked like the end of the photography for the day, with two shots In the bag and a really good explore I was feeling pretty chipper. We packed up and started to head back, when mother nature just gave us one final light show which really did take us by surprise. The setting sun crept out from behind the cloud and lit a couple of the larger fells with warm intense light, it was superb, but we weren’t in a good location to catch it, so we had to dart to the nearest vantage point, knowing the light would be gone in the blink of an eye. I hurriedly unpacked my gear and managed to fire off a couple of shots of the last of the light fading from the Summit of Esk Pike, If I was in place about 30 seconds earlier I really could have caught some very special light, but again I’m happy with what I got and you can’t have it all. Overall a grand day out.
Last light on Esk Pike:
I have to say the feeling of being out on the fells again was absolutely superb. I can’t stress enough the sense of wellbeing you get from being out, If you ever want to find a release from the maelstrom of everyday life then I can whole heartedly recommend getting out into the great outdoors. So the first of the year ticked off and I think a solid start point and it was great to get my eye back in and blow off the cobwebs. I’m hopeful that 2020 and be another great year, 2019 was probably by best in terms of the work I produced and will take some beating, but hey you know what……I’m up for the challenge and to see where the journey takes me this year. Bring it on.
Keep smiling and cheers for now.