Lake District Photography - An Autumn to Remember Part 1

December 11, 2020  •  1 Comment

Well time seems to have hurtled past at a rate of knots as we transition from Autumn through to the Winter months. I've been meaning to sit down for a while and do a little round up of my time during Autumn but things have just got in the way. So while I had a little bit of free time, I thought I'd get blogging. Autumn now seems like a lifetime ago but it will remain in my memory for sometime as it has been the most enjoyable I've had in my time as a photographer. Autumn will always be regarded as one of the best seasons for landscape photography and over the last couple of years I've really tried to embrace it. This year more so that ever before as my photography tastes develop and change. Trees and woodland photography have definitely grown more appealing to me and as a result I've wanted to explore this genre further. Having said that, we shouldn't just confine ourselves to the woodlands in this particular season, as the landscape in general takes on a wonderfully warm and rich colour palette, which is a joy to work with. This year it hasn't just been memorable from a photography point of view but also from a personal one as well. I've met some wonderful people along the way and it was great to share it with other like minded photographers. I will definitely look forward to meeting up with them again once the world is a little more healed. So I'm going to do a few blogs looking back at some of my favourite images and tales from a wonderful 4 week period which has probably become my most enjoyable time I've had as a photographer. So here is part 1.  

The spectacular view from Kings How looking over Derwent Water, Keswick and towards Keswick as the rain clears:
Kings How - Clearing skiesKings How - Clearing skiesClearing rain showers over Skiddaw and Keswick from a rather damp Kings How Borrowdale. North Lake District.

I decided to concentrate my efforts in a certain area this year. The reason for this was to explore and really get a good understanding of the place and hopefully as a result produce some wonderful Autumnal images. The area I chose to base myself was in Borrowdale, which is a wonderful location and even more so in Autumn. Just outside the town of Keswick and sitting at the southern tip of Derwentwater, Borrowdale is blessed with an abundance of woodland. It is also perfectly situated to for both sunrise and sunset and made it perfect for an all day photography session. This would give me greater scope to really maximise my chances of catching some awesome images. Day one in Borrowdale was a challenge to say the least, with the majority of the day being subjected to heavy rain and downpours. However, I wasn't too concerned with the weather as this first trip was more of a scouting exercise with the real colours a few weeks away. I started the day on Kings How, a delightful fell which sits proud above the woodlands of Borrowdale and is a fantastic vantage point for both the valley Borrowdale, surrounding fells and also towards Keswick. I spent roughly 5 hours on Kings How being utterly battered by the rain and wind with very little to show for my efforts. Nearing lunch time, I decided to call it quits and make the hike down to the car to refuel and try to dry out. On my way down and looking towards Keswick, I was stopped in my tracks, the cloud was clearing and the rain was litrally sweeping over the town of Keswick and the Skiddaw moutain range. I quickly set up and caught the tail end of the rain. It was amazing to watch and made the miserable hours in the rain worth it. 

The Borrowdale Birch - In coming: 

Autumn StormsAutumn Storms

After I had my lunch and swapped a bit of clothing around, I then headed into the woods. I was hopeful that the sun was going to come out and that would be that for rain......boy was I wrong. I found this rather lovely birch tree, which I'd been meaning to shoot for a few years, but never got around to returning to it. I got set up and waited for sun to light up the tree, as it was teasing me it would.....well that didn't quite happen and I got absolutely pelted by the biggest downpour I think I've ever been in. I could see it moving up the valley infront of me and I braced myself for the inevitable. Well I shielded my camera with my beanie hat, put on my lens hood to keep the rain off and started snapping away and caught a great shot of the tree in the rain before yours truly got utterly soaked. I'm really pleased with this image and it certainly captured the mood and moment perfectly. I then was forced to hide under a tree for a while waited for the rain to stop. 

Castle Crag - Sunshine after the rain: 

Castle Crag Autumn ViewCastle Crag Autumn View

Once the rain had eased I moved on and headed out of the woodland and towards a small open area which looks back towards the woods and Castle Crag, which is a gorgeously jagged, wood flanked fell. Again I was ambling along when I looked and could see another incoming rain shower on the way. I wasn't near any form of shelter this time and just had to suck it up and get a damn good soaking.....again, to be fair I probably couldn't have got any wetter than I already was....may be if I went and jumped in Derwentwater. I've always been a firm believer that after the rain you can sometimes be presented with fantastic conditions - the old sunshine after the rain. Once the rain had ceased, the sun slowly started to break through the clouds and it lit up the woods and Castle Crag, it looked truly beautiful and like it was lined with golden. Definitely worth the soaking and determination won the day on this occasion. This was the final rain of the day luckily, and it was a welcome break, having been wet for majority of the time. I then continued to explore and looked to find my final image of the day. I was hopeful with the clearing weather that I was in for a lovely golden hour before the long drive home. 

The final shot of the day, a lovely birch tree is illuminated by the late afternoon sun, with the Castle Crag beyond:

CAstle bor (1 of 1)CAstle bor (1 of 1)
Now by this point I was absolutely whacked, having been on the go since around 4am. I was freezing cold from wearing damp clothing, my old legs were tired and my back was a little sore having carried around a ton of gear all day. Luckily, I found a nice little composition which was in touching distance of a rather nice rock, which was just big enough for me to stretch out on and rest my weary limbs and dry my dripping wet clothes in the warm sunshine. It was lovely just perched on the rock waiting and taking in the glorious view. I didn't have to wait to long before I got the final light of the afternoon, which lit the scene infront of me for a few moments before the sun dipped behind the mountains and the valley was left in shadow. There was also a rather large bank of cloud on the horizon and that also did a good job of snuffing out any further really golden light, but it didn't really matter as I grabbed a nice image and was really pleased with my days work. Sunset didn't really materialise, as I suspected, so it was time to pack up and head home. What a wonderful day of photography and exploring...if not a wee bit damp. Same again next week? Oh go on then. 


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