Hoorah!!!! 2020 has made its timely departure and I think I speak on behalf of most people when I say thank god. However squashed in between lockdowns, home schooling, baking and all sorts of crafts with my kids I did manage a fair chunk of photography in 2020. I think I've probably taken some of my best images this year and it has certainly made the hardship of 2020 a little more easy to swallow. So here are my personal top 10 images of my least favourite year on this earth.......in no particular order...
Kelly Hall Tarn Misty Scots pine:
So first on the hit list is this little number from Kelly Hall Tarn back in the summer. I can usually be found at Kelly Hall Tarn, it's one of my favourite wee spots to visit, but having said that I rarely photograph this view, which it turns out is ridiculous as its an absolute beaut. It was one of those mornings when I was chasing the mist and I actual drove past initial as I wanted to try a new location, but the further I drove the less the mist became. So I drove back and I'm so glad I did. The conditions were sublime, with rolling mists and pastel colours in the sky. The usual view wasn't really working and I noticed that the sky behind me was taking on some lovely colours, so I made that huge 30 second walk around the tarn. I was presented with a gorgeous scene, with mist, reflections, the lone tree and wonderful colours in the sky. I really love this image and I have it printed and hanging on my bathroom.
The Old Sheperds Hut Kirkstone Pass:
This is an interesting one and probably wouldn't be everybodies choice. However it is my top ten so if you don't like it tough. This is a location which I always swing by when heading home from Ullswater over the Kirkstone Pass. On this occassion I was heading home after a rather foggy morning at Ullwaster. The fog was clearing as I dropped down towards Windermere and I noticed in my mirrors the light breaking and was one of those moments where I just had to pull over and jump out of the car. The breaking sun was hitting the side of the hut and there were splashes of light washing over the landscape and moody clearing skies behind..it looked beautiful. What I really love is the foxgloves poking through the bracken and growing up around the derelict hut.
Rydal Boathouse Mists:
Number 3 on the list is a wonderfully misty Rydal Boathouse back at the start of Autumn. A location I've only shot a couple of times and one I really wanted to catch in the mist. What I really love about this image is this is a great example of when it all falls into place and I get it exactly right. The location, the conditions and the execution of taking the image. It looks a peaceful calming image to the eye, but the reality is some what different with over 7 miles of walking involved, last minute swapping of location, hours waiting in the cold for the light to come, a group of wild swimmers ruining the reflections, 2 other photographers at the location etc. Sometimes a picture cannot tell the whole story. Thats what I love about photography, the lengths we go to behind the scenes to get an image.....sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't....on this occassion it worked.
The Borrowdale Golden Tree:
This image was the result of heading back to the same location 3 times in 3 weeks. For me another clean and simple image where the elements just fell into place. It had been a morning of heavy rain but the sun was forecast to come out and it certainly did that. It was funny really as I wasn't intending to shoot this tree, as I'd taken an image in the rain a few weeks before and was really pleased with it. I was out with another photographer friend and I was showing him the tree, when it looked like the sun was going to break through the clearing clouds. Well I thought I might as well set up while I'm here. Well when the light broke it lit the tree beautifully and really set off the gorgeous autumnal colours. I took a series of shoots as the light changed, I really wanted one with light on the tree but a darker background and luckily for me that did happen. It really helps to make the tree 'pop' and get vital seperation from the background. Nature at its very very best. This has to be on in my top ten due to it being a wonderful moment shared with a good mate.
Deepdale Beck - waiting for the light:
Ok halfway through kids. So number 5 is from another location I truly adore and love spending the hours clambering around the waterfalls.....it is of course Deepdale Beck. I've always wanted a shot of Deepdale with some Dramatic light hitting Greenhow End with moody skies behind. This every morning it really had started out pretty dull and I'd spent a good hour hiking further up the valley with very little to show for my efforts. I headed back to my favourite section of the beck and tried a few different compositions as I wasn't expecting much from the day. After about an hour after sunrise, splashes of light seemed to start breaking through the clouds. So I decided to get set up and just hoped the light would fall. Well my resolve was tested with plenty of nearly moments but eventually after standing in the beck for a further one and a half hours the break I wanted finally came and the feeling was utterly amazing. The cloud allowed just enough of the sun through to light up Greenhow End for a matter of moments before it went. I'm so glad I stuck it out.
Wallholm Island pastels:
Back to Ullswater for number 6 and the beautiful Wall Holm Island. This is probably one of my favourite views around Ullswater and it was an absolutely gorgeous morning to boot. It was back in June when sunrises are around 4.30am in the morning, a ridiculous time of the morning but one which brings utter peace and tranquility as others sleep. Taken after lockdown restrictions had eased and when the Lakes where a little quieter than it became in the height of summer. It was another misty, hazy morning which really gave a lovely soft and pastel look to the scene with Wall Holm Island sitting proud beautifully mirrored in a calm Ullswater. I think I took in this view for some time before heading home feeling revitalised.
Oxen Fell - Looking to Langdale:
SEVEN!!! Next on the list is an image I took on Oxen Fell in October and the back end of Autumn. Oxen Fell has rapidly become one of my favourite places to visit over the last year, so it only feels right to add a shot into my top ten. Its a place which gives me huge enjoyment and sense of peace and contentment. I've probably been about 10 times in the last 6 months. Id headed up one afternoon, with the promise of a bit of afternoon light. Well I got a little more than I bargained for with light, mood and plenty of rainbows...it was a gorgeous afternoon and had the whole place to myself which was particularly nice. This shot was taken not long after I arrived with some dramatic skies, a touch of light and a wee rainbow......oh and a view to die for, what more do you need?
Number 8 is this woodland image I took in the summer. I know that this wont be to everybodies taste, however it marked the start of trying my hand at Woodland photography and also the meeting of one of my photography inspirations the same day......which inspired me to take this shot. The conditions where perfect and it was a real light bulb moment for me. I think I took around 2-3 woodland images that day and I was really pleased with all of them. Sometimes little scenes like this can be just as satisfying as those big vistas and it certainly opened my eyes to this and why it has to go in the top ten.
Beacon Fell Mood:
Nearly done now folks you will be pleased to know. A shot taken at the start of 2020, when the world was a little more settled and very much the storm before the storm. Beacon Fell is only around 20 minutes drive from home for me and I always enjoy the 30 minute hike to the summit. The view, in my opinion is one of the best of the Coniston Fells and a view which never fails to inspire me. This really is my sort of shot with moody skies, epic view and some gorgeous late afternoon light. Definitely worthy of my top ten.
Park Brow - Ullswater moods:
So hear we go folks my final image. Yes Ullswater again and another view which I really do love. Its not the obvious view you think of for Ullswater but it really is one of my favourites. Again taken on a moody day with dark clouds and just a touch of light hitting the fells....my type of image.
So what do you think? How many of these would be in your top ten? I'd be really interested to know your thoughts. As I mentioned before these are very much my favourite images and for different reasons. Some bring back happy memories of the day, some a good images and some are from my favourite places to visit. Photography will always be very personal to the individual and you do what makes you happy as a photographer and person and these 10 images certainly do that to me and put a big smile on my face and bring back great memories.....which at the moment are so so important.