I always said the first place I would visit after lockdown was eased would be Holme Fell, without question. It has become a real favourite of mine and I've spent many happy hours exploring this wonderful place and had really missed been able to visit over the last few months. It has fast become a real go to place for me as it is only a 30 minute drive from home and as a photographic location it has so much to work with. Now as it happend, it wasn't the first place I ventured back to, as eventhough it is a small fell, I had made the decision to stay off the higher ground for a few weeks longer and until things had calmed down further. However my wait was finally over last week, as I headed out one evening and it was so good to be back and spend 2-3 hours wandering, exploring and taking in the wonderful views this magical place has to offer. Its hard not to take these types of places for granted when you have the ability to visit on a regular basis, but one thing the whole coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has taught me is you shouldn't take anything for granted and I certainly wont in the future. Something else I've learned is not worry about getting the 'big vista' or the 'wow' shot all the time and take pictures of scenes which interest me and have caught my eye. I think at times we can lose sight of this and its something I've certainly been guilty of, trying to please others and not myself. The trip to Holme Fell was a great exercise in photographing what I wanted to and as a result I had a wondeful late afternoon and evening of photography.......and thats what it should all be about.
My first shot of the day and only a few moments from the car. The late afternoon sun lighting this collection of trees at the end of Yew Tree Tarn:
So I jumped in the car, filled with nervous excitement and made the 30 minute drive to Yew Tree Tarn, this is my favoured route up the fell. It's only a relatively short hike and should take you around half an hour to arrive at the gap between Holme Fell and the ridge which leads to Oxen fell. I tend to not go to the main summit of Holme Fell and favour heading across the ridge, as I believe this is the best area for photography. The flanks of the fell are covered in woodland, the top of the fell is blessed with lone silver birch trees and you have 360 degree views, to name just a few features the fell has to offer. My first shot of the day was taken just a short walk from the car, as I headed along Yew Tree Tarn to pick up the path through the woods and up to fell. The light was catching a collection of trees and they looked beautiful and really stood out against the dark back drop Usually i would have walked past but not today. A quick snap and then off again and it wasn't long until I was presented with another shot. As I entered the woods, I noticed that a single tree was perfectly spot lighted by the sun breaking through the thick blanket of trees, it was absolutely amazing as the wood was pretty dark but the light breaking through was warm and really gave superb vibrance to the tree and grass below. I quickly got my camera out and grabbed a hand held shot and I'm really pleased how this one turned out. Think this may be a very productive trip out.
Nature's spot light - my second shot of the day, really lucky to catch this magic little scene, right place at the right time.
I then made my way up the fell and was greeted with the glorious views over the quarries of Tilberthwaite surrounded by beautiful woodland and towards the Langdale Pikes, a fine reward for my efforts. I had a brief moment to soak up the views before I started to make my way up and along undulating ridge which leads off towards Oxen Fell. I was looking to capture some of the lovely lone silver birch trees, hopefully with a little light on them. After heading towards the further side of the fell, I started to look back from where I had come from and noticed a little birch tree which kept getting a little light on it and it stood out quite fell against the slightly darker fell behind it. In terms of a composition I wanted to get more of the fell in shot, as the ground below the tree wasn't as interesting and I was liking how the light was hitting Wetherlam (the fell behind the tree). I moved around a little to try and get a better angle and eventual decided on the one you see below. I used my longer lens to get as close to the tree as possible and get some nice compression between the tree and mountain behind. I also liked how the light in the image transitions from dark to light as you move through the scene. Blimey this was going too well, three shots before golden hour. The light now had started to get diffused as it tends to do in the summer as we get alot of haze and this effects the intensity of the light. So I moved on and took this opportunity to have a scout for some future locations when conditions would be better.
Holme Fell is blessed with an abundance of lone silver birch trees which made great subjects to shoot:
I'd forgotten that with the summer brings the midges, the bracken and ticks......oh the joys of summer. I was getting eaten alive by this stage, it didn't help that I had forgetten my insect repellent. It was also getting rather warm and I'd left my water bottle at home, so I was absolutely partched after all my exploring and getting tired. As we crept towards golden hour I decided to try and pick up a shot looking towards the Langdale Pikes and hopefully get a little light on the trees and also across the quarries. I set up my camera in portrait orientation and used my longer lens, which helps me to compress the perspective and catch the great layers starting with the trees, over the quarries, the fells and towards the Langdale Pikes behind. It was now golden hour and the light was warm and soft and starting to cut through the haze. It was just a matter of waiting for the light to break over the trees, which luckily it did and I got my shot, it wasn't really intense light but was enough to give a lovely golden glow. The light started to fade across the landscape and I decided to head back. On my way it looked like the sky might light up as there was a fair amount of higher cloud. I quickly nipped up to another view point which I thought would work as a sunset shot. I don't usually get too excited about sunset, as I prefer golden light, however I decided to hang around, brave the midges and get my final shot of the day. While I was waiting for the colour, I was sat watching a deer running up the fell side, it was an awesome sight. It clocked me and gave me the eyes before darting off. I then packed up and made my way home.
Langdale layers - Looking across to the Langdale Pikes and he wonderful layers in the landscape:
The sunsets over the Langdales - my final shot of a productive trip out.
It was an absolutely wonderful evening and I really enjoyed myself, it was lovely and quiet with not a soul insight. There was also no evidence of the littering, camping and general abuse the region has been subjected to over the last few weeks, which was good to see and I do hope it stays this way. It was also creatively very enjoyable to just shoot whatever took my fancy and I came away with a nice collection of images, granted some turned out to be rubbish, but thats what you get. I always say take as many images as you want, experiment and don't be worried that some might not turn out as you wanted or necessarily work......this is a great way to learn and improve your photography. This is something I haven't done so much recently, but moving forward this will change. Shooting for me is the most important thing. I also can't stress enough how great it is again to be out and in one of my favourite places on the planet.....it certainly was good for the soul. It was great to be back.