Its been a long time since I sat down with a brew and wrote a blog, so I thought I best pull my finger out. I do, however apologies for not keeping on top of the website. Its been an interesting few months I must admit and for the first time during this pandemic I have really felt the impact of this awful virus. In terms of health and family all has been good, however from a Job perspective, I haven't been so fortunate. Around a month or two back sadly I was made redundant, the first time in my life. Its taken me a little time to adjust and get my head around it, but through the support of my family and friends I'm slowly starting to look at the positives and to re focus. It is at times like this that I've realised how very important landscape photography has become for me, in a way it has become my therapy, a way to unwind from the stresses and strains of the world. Its a stark reminder to me that no matter how tough things can become, there is an awful lot of beauty to cherish in this world. Through my family and photography this has given me the boost I needed at this challenging time. So, with one door closing another will open, and having this time off has allowed me to spend precious time with my family and also a little more time with my camera, time I wouldn't have had in different circumstances and for that I must be thankful. Anyway enough of the doom and gloom and lets move on to the photography and an update on some of my exploits over the last few months, Its been a busy time and I've really enjoyed myself and got out as much as possible. Here is a little run down on what I've been doing.
The Return to an old friend:
If you've followed my photography for any length of time you will know of my fondness for a little tarn on the side of Torver common called Kelly Hall Tarn. I can't tell you how many times I've been over the course of the last 5 years....but its probably bordering on obsession. In August I was treated to a wonderful misty morning at Kelly Hall Tarn, it was probably one of the most enjoyable I've had and was completely unplanned. I wasn't feeling overly adventureous that morning, I think the summer sunrise were starting to take there toll and I was definitely feeling low on motivation. However its amazing what a touch of mist, colour and a gorgeous little tarn with killer views can do for ones soul...it was just what the doctor ordered. The shoot was relaxed and not rushed, which again I needed after a few weeks of headless chicken photography. I was using compositions I'd shot many times, so it was just a case of enjoying and maximising the beautiful conditions and going on auto pilot. I came away with a few shots I was really pleased with and one that is high on my list of favourite images I've taken over the last few years, in fact I've printed it and its now has pride of place on a wall in the house. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning and I really felt energised. This little outing was a real advercation of visiting locations time and time again until you get that magic shot. Its also a great example of not having a set plan in mind and just follow the conditions and seeing where the path takes you.
The lone Scots Pine Tree at the edge of Kelly Hall Tarn on a misty August morning.
Another one from August and a trip to the River Brathay. I was meeting my Dad for a hike up Wetherlam and we were meeting around 8am in the morning, which allowed me a little time before we met to get sunrise in...well would be rude not to....especially with mist forecast. After a little bit of twoing and frowing, I finally ended up at the River Brathay....this was probably plan D but with time not on my side I had to just roll with it and if anywhere is going to have mist....it is definitely going to be the Brathay. I wasn't wrong, the river was shrouded with thick mist, which took a little time to clear, however as the sun rose above the fells it slowly lit up both the trees and mists leaving me enveloped in a gorgeous warm golden glow....it was like been wrapped in a warm towl on a cold day. The sun rose pretty quickly after this and within about 5 minutes the mist burnt away and revealed an absolute scorcher of a day and time for my hike.....which was great but extremely hot.
Brathay Golden Glow.
Lurking In Langdale:
Well its fair to say I've been hanging aroung in Langdale a lot over the last few months, with about 6 different trips. The main reason I was visiting Langdale so much was to try and capture the heather. There are a couple of fells in the Langdale area which can be particularly good for heather, so I've been frequenting both Side Pike and Lingmoor Fell waiting to capture that perfect shot. Now I certainly wouldn't say I got the perfect shot, as the heather wasn't as good this year as previous, but I did manage a couple of shots I'm really pleased with. This was all down to sheer persistance and determination to keep going back time after time until I got the image. There was certainly some epic fails along the way, but you get out of it what you put in and good landscape images dont come without alot of hard work and effort. My various trips must equate to around 30-40 hours spent in this particular area, which is alot of time, roughly around a weeks work (if I worked). It highlights the effort and time which goes into my photography and any landscape photographer for that matter. To me having determination and persistance really is a key trait you need to have and it doesn't really come easy. I actually think its easier to learn how to use a camera than having the desire to get out time and time again and knowing that you may walk away empty handed on many occassions. I've always said the difficult part of photography is having the motivation to get out at stupid o'clock, if you can master that then everything else will follow.
A labour of love - Looking over Blea Tarn towards Wetherlam, Swirl How, Great Carrs and Little Langdale
A lesson in Patience:
Another important trait you need to have in landscape photography is patience and you need it in abundance. I took a trip up to Deepdale Beck a couple of weeks ago, a gloriously rugged and secluded location which oozes mood. I chose this location on this particular morning as the forecast looked like it might be suitable. Many photographers will visit this location on moody overcast days, and while I understand there views, I've always wanted to catch this location with dramatic light on Greenhow End, which is the imposing lump of rock at the head of the valley. If you have a dramatic landscape like this why visit it when there is no light?? Anyway enough of my rambling. There was forecast to be a lot of cloud but windy, so this ment fast moving clouds which, hopefully, would allow for breaks so the light could get through. It looked perfect for what I wanted to achieve, however these conditions can be hit and miss...literally. I spent quite an enjoyable two and a half hours stood in the beck, poised and ready for action. The light was breaking but never really where I wanted it. As time went on I noticed one bigger gap in the cloud and knew it would hit in a few minutes. I checked all my setting and made sure I had nailed my focus and was ready. It seemed an age but slowly the light appeared, tentatively at first but then the sun found its way through and the light washed over Greenhow End. It was around 30 seconds of beautiful light which really got the heart pumping and a huge rush of adrenaline. Over 2 hours stood in an icey beck for 30 seconds of light, some may say I'm nuts but this is what we have to do to get the shot and one I've wanted for some time.....I think the results speak for themselves.
Good things come to those who wait - Light on Greenhow End, Deepdale Valley.
A second chance
Sometimes we can be well and truly underwhelmed by a location. Now this can be for a number of factors, we may not be feeling on our A game, we may not have the best weather conditions, we might not have been able to work a shot etc. So its always worth giving it another try and another and while you are there...another. You see we are never going to get the measure of a location on the first visit, it potentially could take many visits to really understand and get the best out of a location. Last weeked, I decided to have a trip back to Park Brow Ullswater, I had not been for a good few years and my previous visit was less than inspring and I really struggled at the location. I think a lot of it was to do with the lack of foreground interest and the chaotic nature of the location. It boasts one of the finest view around Ullswater in my opion but I could not find a workable shot, too much random scattering of trees, the old barn, some telegraph poles and arrgghhhh. In short I struggled and subsquently hadn't been back. Now a little older and wiser (maybe), I decided to give it another go. Going back I knew exactly what to expect and had already formulated an idea how I could maximise that gorgeous view and cut out the distractions. I used the top part of trees to frame the bottom section of the image and then Ullswater sweepin in from the left to lead the eye up to that amazing view. The scene is very heavy on the left side which Place Fell dominating that side, so I tried to balace this with having more trees on the lower right handside of the image. The conditions also played to my advantage with a really interesting sky, which allowed me to elimate alot of clutter in the lower part of the image and have the sky play more of a starring role than I would usually do in my images. The conditions really can make or break an image, obvious but so true. We need to play to the strengths of the view and in my previous visits I didn't do this and was trying to shoe horn an image into the scene, instead of letting it do the talking. We can sometimes over complicate things and try and force the issue, when really don't need to.
The view from Park Brow looking down to Ullswater and Glenridding is one of the finest in the area.
I hope you enjoyed my little run through of what I've been doing photographically over the last few months. I've really enjoyed my time out with the camera and I've managed to make some images I'm really pleased with. I also hope you enjoyed the little bits of insight I give about the the images and what I do to catch them and hopefully this helps. I will try and get a little more content in the sight over the next few months and I've already got some blogs in the pipeline and future ideas as well. Until next time, do look after yourselves and each other.