Last year I shared a series of blogs about an ‘Autumn to Remember’. I regaled stories and basked in the triumph of my most successful Autumn to date. Sadly, this year painted a very different story. I would have been well within my rights to talk about an ‘Autumn to Forget’, a little dramatic maybe, but this year has certainly been a struggle for a number of reasons. The first culprit, as always, is the weather. It’s been nothing short of atrocious this year with storms and all manner of extreme weather conditions, indeed Cumbia suffered the worst flooding in years. Secondly Autumn also seemed to come very late this year, maybe in part to do with the wet conditions. The gorgeous earthy tones we associate with Autumn weren’t particularly forth coming and October remained a rather green month. The final reason was my ability to get out with the camera. Last year I was out of work and while it brought its own set of problems, for photography it was great. I could pick and choose my days and wasn’t wholly relying on the weekends. I’m now back in fulltime employment, while I’m loving the security, it does have an impact on my success rate. Indeed, in the build up to this blog, the last 6 weekends in a row had produced awful weather and ultimately no photography. To this point autumn was a bust.
The first of the sun breaking the mist on White moss Common:
I always feel a great deal pressure this time of year. It always seems to be a mad dash and time is always at a premium, Autumn as a season doesn’t last long. Baring all this in mind and with a period of the first settled weather in weeks, I decided to take my remaining day off work and try and save my Autumn. I really did see this as my last chance of success for the year and as a result my pressure levels where through the roof. With so much riding on this shoot It started to affect my decision making and as a result I couldn’t really decide on a location to visit. So much so, as I jumped in the car at 5.30am I had no idea where I was going to go……in the end I just drove North. As I made my way up the side of Lake Windermere I started to notice pockets of mist, well by the time I reached Rydal Water is was wall to wall pea souper. Well, that was my decision made, I parked up at Grasmere with a great deal of excitement and a whole bunch of apprehension and headed off up to White Moss Common which sits above Rydal Water. It’s a lovely little spot with an abundance of birch trees and the best view of Rydal Water in my opinion, perfect place to start. I spent the most fantastic 4 hours mooching around Rydal and enjoying the wonderful conditions. Ok it wasn’t vintage Autumn but it was pretty darn good, and I came away with a couple of images I was really pleased with.
The mist briefly clears to reveal Rydal Water:
Rydal Water in all its glory as the mist clear:
The pressure was off and I could enjoy the rest of my day knowing I had a few images in the bag. While heading back to the car for lunch and a deserved refuel, I decided to have a quick look at Grasmere, as it’s a location I’ve never really spent a great deal of time photographing. I could see a few other photographers at the shoreline and thought it was worth an investigate. Well, I was really pleased I stopped by as the conditions were beautiful. The mist was just starting to clear and the sun was slowly breaking through warming up those beautiful autumnal tones. The lake was very calm considering the time of day and it was a joy to witness. So, I got set up quickly and I spent a further 45 minutes photographing the rapidly changing conditions, surprisingly good for this time of the day. My pressure levels had well and truly receded and while I sat in the car munching on my lunch, I formulate a plan for sunset. The day light hours are vastly reduced this time of year and you can start getting good light a couple of hours before sunset, so with this in mind I decided to stay put and not drive further afield and potentially miss the light. I decide to have a quick flit up Loughrigg Fell, only a 35 minute hike from where I was parked, so I would have enough time to get up there. It’s a location I know well but not at sunset, so I thought it worth a go.
Grasmere emerging from the clearing mists bathed in glorious sunshine:
The Daffodil Hotel and the clearing mists:
My prediction was correct and by around 2pm the light around Loughrigg Tarn and the Langdales was absolutely gorgeous. I took a number of images centred around the tarn and Langdale Valley. I was blessed with dramatic light, moody skies and warm Autumnal colours. In fact the later stages of golden hour and sunset were snuffed out by a rather large bank of cloud off to the west, so I’m glad I was in position in time to enjoy the earlier light. So that was very much my day done and what an enjoyable day it was. Weeks and weeks of failed attempts well and truly forgotten. It illustrates the fine margins in photography and eventually if you keep plugging away it does come good. Autumn well and truly saved and a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Ok so the conditions weren’t the best I’ve ever been blessed with, as a lot of the leaves had fallen due to the high winds, but Autumn photography doesn’t always have to be about dashing to your nearest woodland. The general landscape takes on a warmer colour palette and is equally rewarding this time of year. This is definitely the case this year for me and where my best images have come from…..I’ll just save the woodland photography for Spring…….after an amazing winter first obviously.
Beautiful late afternoon light sweeping through the Langdale valley: